A properly implemented enterprise resource planning system can help keep product timelines in place and manufacturers in compliance.
The development of a medical device can take years. Over the course of this time, product information amasses and evolves. From quality documentation and design data to computer-aided design (CAD) files and part specs, the device master record (DMR) and design history file (DHF) are critical but volatile entities in the medical device life cycle. The proper maintenance of these files is essential to not only FDA compliance but also operational success. Here are three ways an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system helps overcome common challenges in DMR and DHR management.
Over a product’s life cycle, DMR and DHF files will be created, stored, and modified. Because these files will be submitted for FDA review, they must be kept current and organized in order to be in compliance. However, the risks involved are both regulatory and operational.
Working with hard copies or even spreadsheets opens the door to error, be it by referring to an obsolete version of the file or having multiple working copies being altered at once. These methods could have serious consequences in other industries, but the stakes are even higher for medical device manufacturers. The results could range from improper inventory numbers to faulty manufacturing and product recall. Utilizing an ERP system for electronic documentation management allows users to update one central repository, ensuring all users are accessing the same—and latest—version of the file. This supports FDA compliance and ensures all team members are in lockstep while fulfilling their individual functions.
Having accurate product information remains essential throughout the life of a medical device; however, DMRs and DHFs also contain sensitive, usually proprietary, information. Accessibility is an important concern, both in terms of who can access the files and who can’t.
Rather than distributing files via email or fax, the use of an ERP system allows key players to securely access a single source of truth as the product moves through the supply chain. It also empowers the system administrator to grant access in a selective manner. If, for instance, you work with suppliers that are authorized to view files for one part but not another, you no longer need to download the file to isolate that subset of data prior to distribution. Instead, you can grant permission for that user to access part-specific information while limiting access to the rest of the DHF. This ensures that employees and partners are able tap to into the information needed to do their jobs without introducing unnecessary security risks or stepping out of compliance.