According to the recently released 2021 Regulatory Management Trends report, regulatory professionals working in cosmetic companies today are faced with four major challenges:
- Improving daily regulatory processes and activities
- Responding to societal and environmental challenges
- Doing more with less
- Increasing portfolio to meet consumer demands and increased competition
Taken together, the report authors concluded that there is a common thread to these four challenges: “increased efficiency – more than anything else – is a priority for 2021.”
So how can cosmetics regulatory professionals increase efficiency to meet the heightened expectations of consumers, regulators, and the business?
In this piece, we’ll explore 3 focus areas that can give regulatory affairs the efficiency necessary to increase compliance, transparency, and speed to market while keeping up with changing regulatory environments.
1. Ensuring Compliance Through Enhanced Visibility and Network Collaboration
The cosmetics industry’s constantly evolving regulatory landscape requires expert interpretation of complex guidelines, decisions, legislative texts to achieve global compliance. This complexity derives from three main elements:
- Increasing requirements or restrictions that differ by market, product category or country
- Growing product portfolios and complex product hierarchies
- Complex product registrations and registration dossiers
For regulatory affairs professionals in the cosmetics industry, launching a new product or managing a product change can require significant project management, monitoring and traceability efforts.
Across the long journey from marketing brief through to compliance and product registration, it is essential for teams to have visibility into each development and manufacturing stage. However, today the majority of sensitive regulatory data and documents are still being shared through email, shared drives and spreadsheets. This data management method lacks not only visibility, but can also lead to more serious issues such as data manipulation or data loss and security issues.
But it’s not just regulatory affairs who need visibility to efficiently establish and maintain compliance - additional stakeholders also benefit from visibility related to dossier submission to trace various On Counter Dates (OCD) and potential renewals.
To avoid conflicts between stakeholders over different document versions, outdated certificates, declarations, misfiling requests and questionnaires, secure and traceable information exchange should include external suppliers. For example, regulatory affairs needs to be alerted when information that could impact compliance is shared by a raw material or packaging supplier or by CRO, CMO or a certification third-party.
Taking steps to establish visibility and ease collaboration across the product journey - from raw material suppliers through manufacturing to post-consumer monitoring - is critical to achieve and maintain compliance in cosmetics’ complex and changing regulatory environment.
2. Establishing Transparency: Unquestionable Data Reliability and Integrity
Today’s consumers have every reason to believe that approved products from cosmetic brands are safe. However, establishing trust goes beyond just regulatory approval. Consumers and regulators now have heightened transparency expectations. Attempting to meet these expectations has required companies to rethink how they manage regulatory and product data.
Just take for example the hundreds, even thousands, of substances that are being scrutinized by consumers and under the microscope of regulatory authorities and bodies. Increasingly, regulatory affairs is being asked to evaluate and measure compliance related to items ranging from endocrine disruptors, nanomaterials, microplastics, total environmental footprint, or sustainable practices over the entire life cycle of a product. And more are being added everyday!
The spreadsheets and other legacy tools regulatory affairs have relied on for decades to accurately and efficiently manage this level of complexity are increasingly insufficient. The 2021 Regulatory Management Trends report found that regulatory professionals are seeing “the true cost of legacy technology and moving ‘digital transformation’ up the priority list.”
3. Technology Enabling Greater Speed to Market
Regulatory affairs’ is responsible for ensuring product compliance while building more complex registration files (and not delaying time to market). The disparity between what’s being asked of regulatory teams and the IT solutions available to help them do their work is staggering. Establishing a single source of truth is the only way forward to empower regulatory teams to meet deadlines and remain compliant while adhering to regulatory changes and standards.
Increasingly, leading cosmetics companies are addressing this gap by outfitting their teams with unified regulatory management software solutions that increase collaboration, visibility, compliance - which will in turn accelerate time to market.
“57% of Regulatory Professionals report that accelerating Digital Transformation is a Key Priority this Year”
(Source: Veeva Regulatory Trends Report 2021)
The capabilities of today’s leading regulatory management cloud applications enable the efficiency, visibility, and transparency required by cosmetics companies to speed time to market while maintaining compliance.
- Applications are configurable to reflect your organization’s key business activities and allow changes at any time.
- Capacity is scalable to support increasing volumes of data such as SKUs, batches, suppliers, number of users.
- Personalized reports allow every stakeholder along the supply chain to be invited to see or engage with relevant processes, efficiently reducing lead time while meeting deadlines.
- Flexible and real-time dashboards provide an understanding of key metrics under different formats. This allows better decision-making, standardized procedures, tracks all relevant information, and improves time to market.
For regulatory affairs professionals working in the cosmetics industry, 2021 is the year to drive towards greater efficiency to achieve their goals increasing compliance, transparency, and speed to market while keeping up with changing regulatory environments. But regulatory affairs can only do so much when they’re hindered by legacy technology. It’s time to explore modern regulatory management solutions to replace the bespoke, manual systems that are holding your team back.