Policy and Procedure Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Policy and Procedure Management

As the economic world expands with an increasing reliance on third parties, there are a growing number of policies that a business must implement and adhere to. In the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry, ensuring compliance throughout an organization has become even harder with the onset of a global pandemic and administrative employees having to work remotely. As such, efficient policy and procedure management has become a priority for many boards and businesses in pharmaceuticals, not only because it can save time and money, but can also help protect their organization against risk, litigation, and fines for non-compliance. This is vitally important from a financial and reputation standpoint, especially as many pharmaceutical companies are under scrutiny due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

In the current climate of digitization, having a substandard policy and procedure system can seem out of date when you can implement a modern management system, especially in an industry which relies on technological advances. However, a surprising number of organizations are still relying on unreliable and fragmented systems to manage their policies and compliance. Poor end-to-end management or visibility means no monitoring of the vulnerabilities in the supply chain and where it is exposed to risk. With the complex contracts and supply chain required by pharmaceutical companies, combined with the ever-changing and strict adherence to regulations in the sector, it is imperative to have a quality policy and procedure management system in place to ensure compliance and avoid financial consequences.

By implementing an automated software solution like the one from Symfact for example, companies can start taking control and improving governance from procurement through to off boarding a third-party supplier.

Management Software can provide a consistent and robust automated process for management of corporate policies, exceptions, regulations, and the compliance required. It can offer a centralized platform for creating policies, standards, and control procedures, whilst allowing you to communicate policies and procedures across your business or organisation to help ensure compliance by tracking acceptance, assessing comprehension and by managing any exceptions. This can simplify the policy management process, especially with ever changing regulations, and can keep you up to date in the fast-paced economic drugs market.

One area where management software can really benefit the pharmaceutical industry is during the procurement stage. With specific criteria and explicit detail required for any contract, adopting software that can standardize contract templates whilst still being configurable to specific clauses can quicken the procurement process and by keeping all the information about bids, contracts and services in the central repository offered by policy and procedure management systems, pharmaceutical companies can maintain and manage the complex information and control organizational structures with minimum complications. It also enables you to have better management of stakeholders and suppliers.

Visibility is something often lacking during the lifecycle of supply and distribution contracts within the pharmaceutical industry. Although having a central repository for data can allow better communication and visibility to not just government and regulatory bodies, but for employees and third parties alike, there will be times when sensitive data is involved, and access and visibility need to be restricted. It is important to implement management software with a similar tool to the control access interface offered by Symfact, which allows configuration and control over information and data. This helps protect both employees and your business and reduces your liability.

Improving communication and visibility is necessary for the industry and trying to communicate and implement changing policies and procedures across an entire organization can prove a monumental task when done manually. But by automating this process using management software, you can use the event triggers and notification tool to send a notification out to every employee concerned when a regulation, policy or procedure has been changed or is up for review. As well as any that concerns your extended enterprise such as suppliers.

Managing risk and ensuring compliance is often a complicated task for the pharmaceutical industry. Not only do organizations have to manage policies and procedures, but all trading activity, record keeping and managing all the administrative tasks regarding all information on the services procured. Automated software is designed to make that process simpler and help protect your business with fact-based decision making and control over records and regulations.

Reporting and processes are a vital part of compliance, regardless of the management system in place. To keep on top of all compliance management and changing regulations, it is important to ensure the software organizations use, not only has reporting features as standard, but has a tool such as the custom reports feature from Symfact, which can allow businesses to analyze operational data, workflows, information, and documents. This automated reporting feature tracks valuable information and with some companies offering a complete revision history within their software, you can even track how procedures, regulations and management has changed over time.

Another benefit to this software is that certain Policy and procedure management software providers offer industry specific solutions, including here at Symfact and can integrate Policy Management Software into ERP and CRM systems, so you can link policies and changes to regulations to both employees across the organization and any third-party suppliers. This is important if you want to be able to minimize the risk of non-compliance fines and litigation.

Due to the regulations and compliance issues many pharmaceutical companies deal with regularly, your management system should have features and support in place such as:

  • An incident capture and reporting suite that ensures all incidents of non-compliance are stored and automatically assigned for investigation, whilst analysis tools included in within the software can assist with legal protection. This helps organizations manage issues quickly and with the least amount of disruption to the day-to-day running of the business.
  • Automated tracking is essential to make sure any change is fully tracked in the audit logs, along with a time stamp and the user’s information. By auditing and tracking every step of a policy, procedural or regulatory change, organizations can hold employees and third parties accountable for their actions and give companies some security against non-compliance.
  • Due to the ever-changing nature of entities and regulations, businesses and organizations often prefer an online/browser-based management system because it enables them to monitor any events from wherever they are which helps the management process run as smoothly as possible. All that is required is an internet connection.
  • Interactive dashboards give you a quick visual overview on the governance of contract lifecycles throughout your organization.
  • One of the most useful features of a management system is the automated reporting tool. It can be used to configure and track important milestones and events and trigger notifications to the relevant persons.

 

Technological solutions are best practice when dealing with complex industries such as Pharmaceuticals, however, it is imperative that whatever software a business implements or integrates with a current system of management, it is configured to the specific requirements, which can often be industry specific.

Some management software providers offer a tailor-made configuration layer within their software. This helps increase accuracy throughout an organization's management processes, as the software can be configured to match any current management framework, giving organizations a level of consistency vital to the success of governance and management.

To fit the financial requirements of a pharmaceutical company, it is important to configure a package to the needs and scale of operations. With the correct features, management software can have financial benefits to implementing such a system, especially compared with outdated processes. Improving overheads and containing cost are always high on a board’s priority list. By keeping a closer eye on workflows and reducing the time spent by employees on manually managing tasks, efficiency and productivity will improve, which in turn improves business growth and performance. By optimizing management and choosing the correct tools to be included with management software, you can keep on top of any changes or events allowing you to assess and project long-term revenue. Plus, the reporting and auditing features of management software means organizations are always alert to compliance, which helps avoid financial penalties. If management software can be configured to needs and size, it is often a cost-effective method to streamline management and ensure a higher quality of governance throughout organizations.

Although Management Software is designed to be user friendly, with clear dashboards and processes, we understand that sometimes it can take staff some time to get used to using a different platform and system. Especially if the organization or enterprise has many employees. If you are worried about using a Policy Management system, at Symfact for example, we have a support portal that is available 24 hours a day, with lots of useful information and “how to” guides, as well as providing phone and email support, which ensures a smooth rollout of the software.

If you feel your organization could benefit from pharmaceutical management software, then please get in touch with us here at Symfact. We can discuss your requirements and configure the right solution to streamline your processes, optimize your business and increase your revenue.