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Managing regulatory compliance has never been more crucial.
As global interaction increases, so do new laws and regulations. Regulatory compliance requires companies to comply with industry, state, and federal laws, policies, and regulations.
The key to fulfilling ever-evolving business mandates is the effective execution of standard operating procedures (SOPs). Expecting workers to fulfill ongoing compliance requirements without documented SOPs is like expecting them to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without bread—it just doesn’t work! Accessible, organized, and clear SOPs are vital to employee and company success.
This article will explore how industry leaders are improving regulatory compliance with digital compliance programs that automate compliance management.
Eliminate Regulatory Compliance Issues with Digital SOP Programs
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assign foundational compliance mandates to all U.S. companies.
However, depending on the industry, businesses may answer to dozens of regulatory bodies representing different areas of risk management. Federal agencies most strongly enforce corporate governance concerning healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and cybersecurity industries.
Unfortunately, when regulations change, it’s not unusual for managers to delay updating paper SOPs because of the time involved in editing, printing, and redistributing them to employees. Keeping track of various paper checklists can also become exceedingly challenging when following multiple regulatory bodies’ sanctions. The solution to the dilemma is managing digital SOPs with compliance software.
Managing Regulatory Compliance with Digital SOPs
Using compliance software to create, assign, and oversee standard operating procedures provides the following benefits:
1. Improves Quality Assurance (QA)
Digital SOPs streamline quality planning and quality assurance (QA). User-friendly checklists make it easy to benchmark employee comprehension levels regarding assigned procedures. Managers also can quickly identify recurring issues in fulfilling SOP assignments.
Compliance software provides real-time feedback that supports refining workflows, clarifying work instructions, and addressing worker knowledge gaps. Such “at-your-fingertips” documentation shows regulators that a company is committed to effective employee education rather than is merely documenting SOP distribution.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 standards for how companies should manage quality assurance and regulatory compliance. For example, ISO 9001:2015 specifies requirements for a quality management system when an organization needs to “demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”
2. Provides Digital Audit Trails
As previously mentioned, organizing regulatory compliance checklists mandated by multiple governing bodies can be challenging. Businesses operating in multiple locations must become even more organized to prevent procedures from falling through the cracks.
Traditional hardcopy forms and checklists make this nearly impossible. Why not make life easier by creating an online library of standard operating procedures, with forms and checklists for workers to sign off on when received, finished, or in need of urgent attention?
Compliance software allows management to pull up SOP backlogs within specific timeframes quickly. During auditing procedures, inspectors frequently rely on completed SOPs as checklists. Digitized SOPs can improve a company’s credibility and legal defenses. OSHA, in fact, requires businesses to submit reports digitally.
3. Enhances Agility
Compliance software allows managers to update digital SOPs on the fly when new situations arise. Workers can instantly access real-time updates for checklists, procedures, and audits from their mobile devices. This ensures essential policy implementations are never delayed.
For companies dealing with asbestos removal, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated NESHAP regulations. These regulations “specify work practices for asbestos to be followed during demolitions and renovations of all structures, installations, and buildings (excluding residential buildings that have four or fewer dwelling units).”
As shown below, a MaintainX user updated his “asbestos regulatory compliance checklist” to include a yearly training refresh check. His workers didn’t have to wait for the distribution of new paper SOPs. Furthermore, the manager’s dashboard indicates the completion of the checklist in real-time:
Other benefits of ditching paper procedures in favor of digital SOPs include:
- Improving the quality and availability of compliance data
- Documenting worker accountability
- Preventing noncompliance
- Avoiding SOP errors and variations
- Reducing downtime when staff leave or are out sick
- Reducing new employee learning curves.
Simplify Regulatory Compliance with MaintainX
Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are one option to manage SOP compliance data better. To check on regulatory compliance, managers can access digital checklists, pull up dashboards, and generate reports in seconds! Real-time insights make teams more agile, productive, and accountable.
Managers can make continuous improvement requirements in areas that are not compliant.For any company, large or small, with multiple sites and facilities or just one, going digital with SOPs and checklists provides on-site monitoring and management. Data will automatically be stored in audit-ready formats, readily available for regulators during an inspection.
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