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Sapphire’s Paul Rogers examines how technology can be the key to guaranteed quality assurance in the chemicals industry.

 For the chemicals industry, quality is paramount, with even the smallest of errors resulting in potentially disastrous consequences. With ever-increasing scrutiny from a range of organisations and institutions that require raw materials, products and processes to be quality tested and recorded at every step of the production process, businesses operating in the industry have no choice but to fully comply with the long list of often complex legislative, regulatory, consumer and environmental requirements, not to mention their own technical specifications.

Such are the huge levels of risk involved if anything does go wrong, it’s vital that chemical businesses get it right every time, putting the right checks and balances in place to ensure no errors occur. Surprisingly, many chemical companies are still relying on dated, inefficient, and manual processes to track, monitor and record the information that’s required for guaranteed quality peace of mind, with a great many such businesses yet to shift to the kind of system which facilitates best practice when it comes to quality assurance.

With the right tools in place, chemical companies can quickly and efficiently manage the entire quality process from purchase goods receipt through to customer delivery, not only guaranteeing compliance with COSHH, COMAH, RoHS, REACH and VOS, to name but a few, but also increasing production efficiency and speeding up time to market.

The right software can ensure compliance and best practice by managing the entire quality control process. Such solutions can define the resources needed to perform the necessary tests, such as microscopes, x-ray machines, weighing scales, as well as prescribing the materials required to perform the tests, such as gloves and safety glasses. It will also scope out the frequency and method of testing needed, as well as establishing automated alerts to communicate to inspectors when tests are due to be performed.

These comprehensive solutions reduce manual processes while guaranteeing best practice, not just in terms of quality control but with regards to overall business efficiency too. If the quality control process is slow and unwieldy, this has an obvious knock-on effect on the rest of the business, with production of further batches of product only possible once a completed batch has ticked all the required quality and compliance boxes. And, by offering much improved document management as standard, guaranteeing the right records are kept in the right place, these solutions guarantee the accuracy of individual product safety data sheets, a process that can be an incredibly complex challenge to manage manually.

For an industry where quality control is so critical, and where increasingly tight demands on the quality of both raw materials and products comes from all sources, quality control solutions are the key to maintaining products and manufacturing standards, all while improving operational efficiency throughout the business. With the right solution and support, the transition to such a system need not be painful, providing chemicals businesses with the confidence that they get it right not just first time, but every time.

What to look for in a quality control solution for the chemicals industry:

  1. Look for a solution that caters specifically for the chemicals industry. What works for another sector won’t necessarily work for you.
  2. Work with a partner with experience of implementing solutions for your peers. Don’t underestimate the value of industry knowledge.
  3. Have you carried out an audit of what you already have? Where is the business currently lacking?
  4. It’s best not to go for a solution that’s designed for a larger company. There are solutions out there specifically for SMEs
  5. Detail is key – not all solutions will provide the granularity of detail that chemicals businesses require.

Find out more on our website or sign up to one of our free software and selection advice sessions.

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