4 Quality & Regulatory Challenges Facing the Personal Care and Beauty Industry and How to Avoid Them

Imagine that your personal care company has received notice to prepare for an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration — in just five weeks. This new, urgent project lands on top of your team’s already aggressive workloads. Vacations are canceled, and late nights turn into all-nighters. You and your team spend countless hours digging through email inboxes, Excel trackers, and stacks of paper files, trying to make sure that the last version of documents that haven't been touched for months are still up to date.

Rest assured, it’s not just you. Pressures are mounting at nearly every global personal care and beauty company, provoking some big questions across the industry: 

How can we maintain compliance, manage product and advertising claims, and integrate new criteria such as sustainability, even as we bring more new products into more markets? How can we reduce time to market while avoiding employee burnout?

In confronting these challenges, forward-thinking companies are finding that unified, cloud-based software can address their biggest challenges and unleash their teams’ potential.

The Quality and Regulatory Issues in the Personal Care and Beauty Industry

Here are four of the biggest challenges and issues facing the personal care and beauty industry today:

Issue #1: Running as Fast as the Market

One of the key problems faced by the personal care and beauty industry is that the market can change on a dime — which means that teams across global brands are feeling the pressure to reduce time to market.

Social media influencers can cause regional stock-outs simply by making a single post on Facebook or Instagram. In addition, the industry is increasingly populated with new, innovative brands that can rapidly respond to the latest trends.

But research and development in the personal care and beauty industry takes time. Established global brands are held back by lengthy product development, and launch processes can take anywhere from 12 months to three years. The product journey — from development to testing to sourcing to packaging — involves more and more complex collaborations between multiple departments and outside partners. To adequately address broad considerations such as safety or sustainability, experts must be embedded from the first day of the project. It can take hundreds of processes and interactions just to get one new product onto the shelf.

As a result, companies are increasingly taking more risks, endorsing more pressure, and revamping their brand portfolios to save market shares against more nimble competitors.

Issue #2: Managing Product Claims

Personal care and beauty companies can also run into hot water if they can’t back up their claims about what their products do or what their products are made of with hard data — or worse if those claims are proven wrong.

Why is claims substantiation one of the main challenges facing this industry?

For one, there is increased consumer demand for natural or organic products, but the industry currently does not have a formal definition of “natural.” As a result, many companies struggle with making claims that are substantiated by scientific evidence.

For another, companies who make unsubstantiated claims or misleading statements can face legal troubles and hefty fines, with good reason: Unsafe ingredients can physically harm product users.

Chaz Dean, Inc., for example, received more than 21,000 complaints in a single year related to hair loss and scalp damage from users of one of its hair-care products. The company eventually settled a class-action lawsuit for $26.3 million and incurred incalculable damage to its brand and consumer trust.

Many personal care and beauty companies also do not keep important product information in a centralized location, meaning that it can become a logistical nightmare for teams to track down the most up-to-date claims from the relevant departments.

Issue #3: Ensuring Global Quality and Compliance

As a number of personal care and beauty companies have learned, research and development of high-quality products in the personal care and beauty industry is no easy feat. On top of being effective, these products also need to be compliant with numerous levels of regulations before entering each unique market.

Compliance is one of the most significant problems for the personal care industry because countries around the world are constantly introducing new regulations and refining existing ones. Failing to comply can result in companies being penalized anywhere between $25,000 to $250,000 and significantly damage their reputation with the public. It can be nearly impossible to regain customer trust once it’s lost.

Ensuring regulatory compliance is a complex, resource-intensive step in the product journey. Global brands often have to release dozens of products, packaging, and claim variations to meet different regulatory requirements. Tracking all this information is challenging and can complicate a team’s efforts to quickly launch a product in multiple markets.

To further complicate matters, most personal care and beauty companies still manage these essential processes and content externally through physical or on-site solutions. This is an inefficient use of time and resources, leading to redundancies such as version control issues and missed opportunities for content reuse, not to mention increased compliance risks.

Issue #4: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Most personal care and beauty companies manage their business processes and content the same way they did 20 years ago: with on-site solutions like spreadsheets, emails, and paper files. If you’re lucky, maybe your company has upgraded to using Sharepoint or Google Drive.

At a time when you can order practically anything from your smartphone with just a few taps of your finger, it’s tragic that personal care teams are still expected to produce strong results with such outdated technologies. This is creating needless inefficiencies, putting companies at greater risk of non-compliance, and causing endless employee frustrations.

Ask yourself: How long would it take for your team to conduct even a relatively simple internal audit? How many systems, inboxes, and files would your teams need to trawl through just to pull together the necessary documentation? Could (and should) that time be dedicated to other, profit-generating business needs instead?

Given these inefficiencies, it’s no wonder that regulatory and quality departments across global personal care brands struggle with high rates of employee turnover, as their leadership is not giving teams the tools to succeed.

How to respond to the evolving global personal care and beauty industry with agility using unified, cloud-based software

What if everything related to a product — from ideation to testing, to branding and manufacturing, all the way to post-purchase support — could be accessed in one secure place? And what if finding the latest, approved version of your brand’s content was as easy as doing a quick digital search?

By investing in unified cloud-based software for managing processes and data, you’d be able to streamline your process in the following ways:

  • Advance all relevant content together — through auditable, secure digital processes that make it easy to collaborate across departments and with outside partners
  • Track content requirements for each region and quickly identify the most recent content versions from each team
  • Access a global dashboard showing the real-time status of active projects
  • Work the way and at the pace you do in the other areas of your life

Find the regulatory and quality software solution that’s right for your business

With unified cloud-based software such as Veeva QualityOne and Veeva RegulatoryOne, you’ll no longer have to dig through your email inbox to find what you hope is the latest version of product claims, registration records, or package designs. Instead, you and your teams will share a common resource for managing regulatory, brand, and quality processes and content. All the information you’ll need for an audit will be automatically tracked and easily accessed. Moreover, you can set up notifications alerting you to discrepancies in near real-time, enabling you to run internal audits anytime on demand.

Veeva’s unified cloud-based software solutions help centralize your process, setting your teams up to work more efficiently, with increased reliability to target and focus on your top business priorities. Veeva solutions also provide you with capabilities to constantly and easily adapt to a changing world to make sure to keep pace with the market dynamics.

But how do you get the rest of your company on board with a new solution? Where’s the best place to start?

Many of your peers have tackled similar challenges before. See the solution they’ve discovered to bring products to market faster, vault over compliance hurdles, and keep their employees happy.

Learn more about Veeva’s regulatory, quality, and claims management solutions for the cosmetics industry. Click here for more on the challenges facing the personal care and beauty industry.

Posted by David Egée

David Egée brings more than 20 years experience as a Quality leader and is responsible for integrating the cosmetics industry unique requirements and trends into Veeva’s software solutions.