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    "We're Different!" Overcoming the Challenges of Applying Lean Principles to Knowledge Work

    If you are applying lean management principles to R and D, life science, or other knowledge work processes, you’ve probably heard the "we're different” argument. It usually goes something like this, “You can’t apply lean process improvement techniques to creative work because everything we do varies."

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  • How to Practice Quality Management in Your Personal Life

    “Quality management” is one of those terms that sounds so simple and esoteric at the same time, like DNA or free cash flow. I’m pretty sure I know what those terms mean until I start explaining them to someone. 

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  • Brave New World: The Mutual Recognition of CGMP Inspections

    Last week, the United States and the European Union agreed to recognize each other’s drug cGMP inspections. The agreement reached (see

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  • How to Lead with Respect

    “Over time I’ve come to realize that engaging in this problem-solving process is actually the highest form of respect….The manager truly respects the employee’s knowledge and his or her dedication to finding the best answer….Only by showing mutual respect-- each for the other and for each other’s role-- is it possible to solve problems, make work more satisfying, and move organizational performance to an ever-higher level.”

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    5 CAPA Best Practices You Should Be Doing Now

    Let’s play a quick word association game. If I say CAPA, I’m betting someone will say manufacturing. The concept of corrective action and preventative action is indeed associated with product quality in manufacturing because of long-standing regulations and standards requiring CAPA in that sector. However, MasterControl’s Patricia Santos-Serrao says you can and should leverage CAPA principles in clinical research.

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    GCP Compliance: Eliminating Silos between Clinical Quality and Clinical Operations

    In a classic episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza is terrified of the potential ramifications of his “worlds colliding” when his fiancée, Susan, becomes friendlier with his dubious pals Elaine, Kramer and Jerry. “Everybody knows you’ve got to keep your worlds apart,” George rants (but when does George not rant?) “If Susan is allowed to infiltrate this world then George Costanza as you know him ceases to exist. If Relationship George walks through this door, he will kill Independent George! A George divided against itself cannot stand!”

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    Process Validation: Life Cycle Approach Beats Crossing Your Fingers

    f you do something right three times, you should be able to do it that way always. If this is your approach to process validation, Hal Baseman, chief operations officer at ValSource LLC, begs to differ. Baseman shared some insights about improving process validation at the PDA/FDA Joint Regulatory Conference in Washington D.C., Sept. 12-14.

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    Retraining and Refresher Training: Aren’t They One in the Same?

    Ask an operations manager and he’ll acknowledge that what it’s called is less important than getting the “assignment” done and entered into the LMS. He’s usually more concerned about the loss of productivity during the training than the effectiveness of the training at that time. It isn’t until later when the training may have to be delivered again (repeated), that the comment “training doesn’t really work” is heard.

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    Identifying and Preventing Common Data Integrity Issues

    Because of the multitude of problems being found in regulatory agency inspections, data integrity is a hot issue for regulators around the world today. Data integrity is critically important to regulators for a variety of reasons, including patient safety, process and product quality. The integrity and trustworthiness of the data provides a baseline for the regulators opinion of the personnel and the company as a whole.

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    Your Suppliers’ Risk Is Your Risk

    In today’s day and age, in which outsourcing can be the norm, and not only major global corporations stretch across the globe, but also potentially mid-market and mom-and-pop suppliers, supply chains are no longer insulated from external or environmental risk events. These risks can range from a natural disaster, such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami, to lax safety policies, in the case of the Bangladesh garment factory collapse, to the regular ebb and flow of business, including when a supplier is acquired or goes out of business. These risks are not new to the supply chain, but as the supply chain grows more complex, so do the risks to supply, especially when visibility is blurred, suppliers are far-flung and there is no backup plan in sight.

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  • The Dude Abides! 5 Quotes from “The Big Lebowski” that Apply to Quality

    “The Big Lebowski” never fails to make me laugh. The 1998 cult classic, starring the indefatigable Jeff Bridges, features some of the most quotable lines in film. Saying them is enough to break the ice among strangers at a party. In my family, the quotes are inside jokes that never grow old.

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  • SOP Revision SWAT-Style

    SOP revision. It falls somewhere between income tax prep and colonoscopy prep on the likability scale. So why would you want to read about it? Maybe you’re hoping someone’s figured out a way to make the process more efficient and less painful. Maybe we have.

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  • Five Reasons Why TMF Training is Important

    Training is a vital component of workplace efficiency especially when it comes to one of the most important deliverables of a clinical trial – the Trial Master File (TMF). Perhaps that’s why, according to a recent article in Forbes magazine, U.S. companies spent over $70 billion on corporate training in 2014, an increase of 15% over the previous year. If you are lucky enough to oversee the TMF, you spend so much time bringing the right employees on board, it only makes sense you would understand the importance of providing them with the proper training to ensure your TMF is always inspection ready.

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  • Cleanroom Compliance: How to Address Common Challenges in Document Control

    A recent warning letter to a medical device firm shows the importance of proper documentation of cleanroom maintenance procedures and corresponding control of those documents. The FDA noted the company’s failure to establish and maintain written procedures for avoiding contamination of equipment, as well as the incongruity between some of its cleanroom procedures and records of actual practice (1).

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    Don’t Trip over These 9 Document Control Pitfalls

    Document control issues are among the most commonly cited observations in FDA Form 483s and warning letters. In the medical device sector alone, document control-related issues represented 10 percent of Form 483 observations and 8 percent of warning letters in 2014(1).

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  • How to Respond to FDA Inspection Observations, Including Those You Dispute

    Although FDA is strapped with limited resources and competing priorities, the Agency continues to hammer regulated companies with FDA 483 inspection observations and Warning Letters.

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  • Big Changes for ICH GCP & EU Regulations

    The most substantial change to international guidelines in 20 years occurred earlier this year when the ICH* issued a draft addendum to its GCP guidelines, ICH E6(R2).

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  • How Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton Would “CAPA the USA” if Elected in 2016

    Although a long list of candidates make up the list of “eligibles” for the 2016 Presidential election, it’s fairly apparent that the two most conspicuous candidates are, respectively, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. These two candidates, though liked and disliked by various population pockets across the United States, have certainly managed to make names for themselves within their various areas of expertise.

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  • 6 Steps to Simplify Software Validation

    Validation is one of the most time-consuming and resource-intensive activities when implementing eQMS software in a regulated environment, often delaying implementation and an organization’s ability to go live with new software.

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  • Risk Management in Clinical Research: Process and Application

    Recently, two key pieces of guidance were released from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) regarding risk based approaches to clinical research. These documents include FDA’s “

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