Wholesale and manufacturing companies are subject to a diverse array of regulations, such as Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS 15), and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Operating in full compliance to these can become a complicated and time-consuming process, especially for your in-house IT department. Optimizing IT includes taking a proactive approach to compliance that will decrease costs associated with “firefighting” and help turn it into a competitive advantage.
Integrate to Create a Compliance System of Record
At its core, compliance issues are quality management issues, whether it’s bad data or a product defect. Error detection and prevention, and compiling accurate records of corrective actions are crucial for maintaining a good quality system and preventing the reoccurrence of defects. It is important to have a closed-loop mechanism for initiating, implementing, and verifying the effectiveness of changes resulting from the non-conformance process. When manual processes dominate the quality management process workflows of a manufacturer, it is common to find disconnected or totally isolated systems that contain only a small proportion of the total quality management strategic performance of the company. For any manufacturer to realize the benefits of pursuing quality management strategies, there needs to be greater integration across the many fragmentary databases, data sets, historical performance data, and supplier audit results. This compliance system of record allows IT to easily manage all documents required for regulatory compliance and tracking and traceability requirements.
Internal Controls Allow Effective Management of Audits
Providing an accurate audit trail is an integral compliance requirement. That’s why it’s so important that any and all relevant information is stored over the long term, and that it can be accessed and searched easily. Enabling the IT department with internal controls that provide drill-down and look-up functionality for users and/or auditors to easily follow extensive audit trails will not only reduce audit costs, but also deliver deeper insight into supplier audit findings, compare suppliers and proactively identify potential problems to better protect stakeholders.
Let IT Pave the Way for Change
The best way to ensure regulatory compliance is to eliminate the circumstances that lead to infractions. That starts with employee training about the specifics of compliance and the best practices that have developed in response. IT can be used to quickly and effectively disseminate information throughout your workforce, to deliver tests/assessments meant to demonstrate fluency, and to provide corrective action updates as necessary. Additionally, compliance initiatives can give IT a powerful lever to re-centralize IT and thereby regain control over devolved systems.
Find the Right Software for Your Compliance Needs
The complexity of new requirements may require new software or modifications to existing systems. Companies should ensure sufficient time to develop and implement any required modifications to processes. Whether on premise or cloud-based, SAP and Oracle both provide distribution accounting software with special functionality unique to the wholesale industry. Both deliver reduced compliance costs, automated discount tracking, better compliance reporting, and accurate information flows through supplier and vendor systems. Additionally, manufacturers can benefit from SAP and Oracle’s enterprise compliance and quality management ERP applications, used to selectively automate manual processes within compliance strategies.