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Manufacture Quality & Compliance

Paperless Efficiency

Despite the year being 2020 and even though paper records are manual and prone to error, pharmaceutical manufacturers around the world still put pen to paper (literally). Here, we speak to Sinéad Cowman, Global Business Development & Marketing Manager, Informatics at Lonza, about going paperless.

How can electronic logs improve companies’ efficiency and productivity?

There are no compliance or efficiency benefits to using paper records as they are inherently error-prone. They also prevent well-informed decision making as information isn’t available in real-time. Searching through multiple binders of data during an inspection or as part of an investigation is a common occurrence.

Electronic solutions can capture data in a single source – a real benefit to the user because information about equipment usage, room cleaning logs, and other essential data can be automated, exchanged and shared across platforms without the arduous task of manually searching through paper records.

How can companies choose the best electronic record system for the job?

An important question to ask is: “How will this system improve my process?” You should try to focus on how the solution will manage your workflows and make them more efficient and robust. Another important factor to consider is user experience, and so you should ask for a live demonstration of how the solution performs certain tasks and include the end users in the evaluation. In addition, don’t forget to consider how well the solution will integrate data from other sources – and if it will be easy to access and use the data stored on the system.

Why do some companies delay the switch?

Cost and a lack of technical expertise can hold companies back from adopting electronic systems. My advice is to focus on the benefits these solutions will enable, such as enforcing compliance to SOPs and data integrity, reducing deviations and making workflows more efficient. Historically, pharma has been slow to adopt new technologies, but the solution vendors have significant collective expertise  that can point you to approaches that have been successful when realizing similar projects.

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About the Author
Maryam Mahdi

Deputy Editor

After finishing my degree, I envisioned a career in science communications. However, life took an unexpected turn and I ended up teaching abroad. Though the experience was amazing and I learned a great deal from it, I jumped at the opportunity to work for Texere. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me!

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