Understanding supplier management for medical devices

The problem with a supplier management program lies in the fact that the FDA audits suppliers only for finished devices. Because of this, manufacturers need to have a high degree of control over them. So, where is the problem? It lies in the FDA’s interpretation of these expectations. This keeps changing from time to time. Over the past five years, these expectations have changed considerably. Manufacturers whose devices have been around for more than five years need to thus make substantial changes into their cGMPs, hence the emphasis on the ‘c’, meaning “current”.

A seminar from the guru of supplier management

The underlying principles of supplier management will be the basis for a two-day seminar that is being organized by GlobalCompliancePanel, a reputable provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance. The Director of this course, Betty Lane, who is the founder and President of Be Quality Associates, LLC, a consulting company that helps small and medium sized medical device and diagnostic companies implement and improve their Quality Systems, will be the Director of this seminar.

To enroll for this very valuable learning session, please log on to http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=900595SEMINAR?medical-device-manufacturers-Switzerland. This course has been pre-approved by RAPS as eligible for up to 12 credits towards a participant’s RAC recertification upon full completion.

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Analogous to the FDA’s thinking, European Notified Bodies also periodically update their expectations. Suppliers are now expected to remain current with a guidance document published by the Notified Body Operations Group (NBOG). This seminar will explore the details of the NBOG supplier guidance document and a GHTF (Global Harmonization Task Force) guidance that describes the current FDA expectation on supplier management by expanding on them to cover other issues and techniques important in effective implementation.

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Tools, templates and methods of supplier management

Betty will familiarize participants with the nitty gritty of supplier management by building upon it with the tools, templates, and methods needed for implementing an effective and efficient supplier management program. These tools consist of practical exercises which the Director will get the participants to perform.

She will also use FDA Warning Letters to illustrate the points and help the participants learn from others. As part of the practical implementation, the course includes receiving acceptance activities, outsourced processes, process validation at the suppliers’ location, supplier auditing techniques, and supplier issues in management review. These practical steps are aimed at fortifying and reinforcing their understanding of the topic. It will also offer the kind of interactivity with which the participants can understand the concepts threadbare.

The insight the Director will be offering into the area of supplier management will be the highlight of this seminar. This has been accumulated over years and years of experience that the Director has gained in the area of supplier management in medical devices. The Director will detail and examine the concept of risk from the perspective of both the supplier and the regulatory bodies with depth and clarity. She will also review requirements and expectations of the FDA and European Notified Bodies for supplier management, and then show how to incorporate these into the participants’ own supplier management process.

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