Life Science Polls Reveal Lack of Automation, High Cost of Quality Stoppages

Increased automation through digital technology platforms is one of the top business trends for 2017 (1). It’s a crucial enabler for businesses to compete successfully, according to the IT research and advisory company Gartner Inc.

In the field of quality management, it seems the forecast remains unheeded. A report based on informal polls by MasterControl reveals that the majority (59 percent) still don’t use an electronic system to manage audit and quality processes. The polls also showed that quality issues resulting in stoppages were costly, with 27 percent saying their companies spend between $100,000 and $1 million due to quality-related interruptions.
“I was surprised how many companies don’t have an automated system,” said Curt Porritt, MasterControl senior vice president of marketing. “I was also surprised how much time and money can be lost due to quality issues.”


Polls Take the Pulse

The report titled “Quality System Poll Results: How Do You Compare With Your Quality Peers?” discussed the results of a series of polls conducted online between September 2016 and December 2016.
The polls were meant to gauge the thoughts of quality professionals, not as a scientific survey. When respondents answer the questions, they immediately see the results, which could be used more as an educational than a predictive tool.

“People are curious to know how they compare to their peers. Are they above or below average?” said Chris Clegg, MasterControl marketing email manager. “We designed the polls to be fun and engaging for quality professionals. We hoped they would enjoy participating and seeing the results. I don’t know anywhere else they can find this kind of valuable insight.”

Poll respondents consisted of viewers of MasterControl’s public website and the company’s followers on social media, including customers. The number of respondents for each poll ranged from 80 to 143. Majority of MasterControl’s audience are quality professionals from the life science industry.

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Highlights of Results

In sharp contrast to prevailing technology trends, 59 percent of respondents said their organizations don’t use an automated solution to manage audit or other quality processes.

In terms of how important quality is to the respondents, 38 percent said they devoted between 20 and 40 hours a week to quality issues, while 21 percent devoted between 40 and 60 hours.

Asked how prepared they are when it comes to audits and reviews, both internal and external, only 38 percent said they were adequately prepared, while 11 percent said they were “scared to death.”
Philip Crosby was right when he said quality is free—that is, if you do it right the first time. What costs a lot of money are defects, which result from not doing it right the first time (2).

Respondents to the polls confirmed this assumption when they answered the question, “On average, how much revenue do you estimate is lost due to quality stoppage?” Thirty-five percent said they lost between $10,000 and $100,000 in revenues due to quality-related interruptions; 27 percent said between $100,000 and $1 million; and 24 percent said less than $10,000.

Get Free Report

MasterControl will continue to conduct polls related to quality management in regulated environments. Get a free copy of the first report now and keep an eye out for future reports.

Spare a minute and answer the current polls; the higher the number of respondents, the more effective the polls are in taking the pulse of the quality management sector. When you answer the questions, you will get a chance to evaluate your organization’s state of quality in a different context. Most of all, you will immediately see how you compare to your peers. Happy polling!

Cindy Fazzi is the editor of MasterControl Insider, a monthly publication for MasterControl users. She writes about the life science industry and other regulated environments. Her two decades of experience as a news reporter, writer, and editor includes working for the Associated Press in Ohio and New York City. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

(1) “Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017,” a press release, Oct. 18, 2016,
(2) Philip B. Crosby, “Quality is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain,” New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.