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Why Contract Manufacturers Desperately Need Digitization

Mar 9, 2020, 08:54 AM by Matt Lowe | MasterControl

By Matt Lowe

Contract manufacturing is a vital sector that impacts nearly every industry. By enabling the outsourcing of certain production activities previously performed by the original manufacturer, contract manufacturers relieve organizations of tedious, time-consuming manufacturing tasks, offering specialty expertise that would otherwise be very costly to develop in-house and at the same time, cutting down on operational expenses. They also allow organizations to scale and better satisfy global demand. It’s no surprise then that for a fundamental sector such as the life sciences, the global contract manufacturing market is expected to see a CAGR of 7% through 2026.

While the value contract manufacturers deliver is undeniable, there are numerous complex challenges this industry faces on a daily basis. In particular, ensuring quality and accountability with antiquated paper-based systems is proving to be particularly difficult. For example, given the volume of different manufacturing processes contract manufacturers are simultaneously conducting for their customers, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of evolving components they must continuously manage. Customers’ work instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) change regularly. Training, recipes and specifications also vary and may need to be updated repeatedly. Accurately and safely managing all of these changing documents via paper-based records is incredibly challenging and inefficient, with significant risk for harmful errors, delays and a lack of transparency.

To Improve Quality and Accountability, Wellington Foods Embraced a Digital Approach

Wellington Foods, a contract manufacturer of dietary supplements and nutritional products in liquid and powder form, understands the challenges of paper-based systems firsthand. As paper documentation moved through the hands of its various employees — from staging, to compounding, to production — not only did Wellington Foods’ volume of paper increase, so did the chance for data entry mistakes, illegible handwriting and out-of-date specifications. These factors significantly impacted the company’s ability to ship products in a timely manner and equally detrimental, employees were chasing down signatures and corrections instead of working on more valuable process improvement tasks.

In its constant effort to innovate and improve quality and accountability, Wellington Foods recently moved away from its paper-based systems and implemented MasterControl’s Manufacturing Excellence™ Solution with the Electronic Batch Records (EBR) functionality. This cloud-based solution brings the notoriously time-consuming, cumbersome paper-based production record process to a fully digital state. By connecting data across the enterprise and relieving quality and production teams of the heavy documentation burden, the EBR solution has helped Wellington Foods achieve higher throughput rates, better product quality and greater employee satisfaction and productivity. In fact, the company has reported a 90% decrease in data input errors and a more than 75% decrease in review time after production completes with this new digital system.

“One of the features that has improved our process is review by exception, which dramatically decreases lead time from batch/lot completion to product release,” explains Tony Harnack, CEO of Wellington Foods. “In many cases, we have reduced the quality review period from 10-15 days after production completes down to three days — a 75-80% reduction.”

Read the full article here: https://industrytoday.com/why-contract-manufacturers-desperately-need-digitization/