Global versus Local Process and Procedure and the eQMS

Companies both large and small grapple with how and when to create standard work at the global level, while still having the scalability to capture different GXP activity families and product modality.

I’ve discussed before on document hierarchy and on the leveling of process and procedure. It is really important to level your processes, and this architecture should be deliberate and shepherded.

This really gets to the heart of work-as-imagined and prescribed, and the concept of standard work.

Benefits of Standard Work

  • Ensures all work is done according to the current best practice
  • Consistency is the essential ingredient of quality
  • Allows organizations to scale rapidly
  • Puts the focus on the process and not an individual or team
  • Makes improvements easier and faster

Global versus Local Process and Procedure in the Document Hierarchy

Most Quality Hierarchies look fairly similar.

A Document Hierarchy

Excluding the Program level (which becomes even more important) we can expand the model in the process band to account for global versus local.

Global and local process within the document hierarchy

Quality Manual and Policy remains global with local input and determine the overall structure of the quality management system.

Global Process is created when a process is majority task and role driven at a global level. It is pan-GXP, pan-modality, pan-geography. It is the standard way of work to drive consistency across and through the organization.

Local Process is created when a process is specific to a specific GXP, product modality, geography.

Procedure, which describes the tasks, can be created off of local or global process. When the global process has localizations (a CAPA is a CAPA but how I build action items may differ across sites), I can build local versions off the global process.

For an example, Document and Record Management.

This approach takes real vision among leaders to drive for consistency and simplicity. This activity is a core component in good system design, no matter the size of the organization.

PrincipleDescriptionApplication for Global and Local Process
BalanceThe system creates value for the multiple stakeholders. While the ideal is to develop a design that maximizes the value for all the key stakeholders, the designer often has to compromise and balance the needs of the various stakeholders.The value of standard work really shines here.
CongruenceThe degree to which the system components are aligned and consistent with each other and the other organizational systems, culture, plans, processes, information, resource decisions, and actions.We gain congruence through ensuring key processes are at the global level.
ConvenienceThe system is designed to be as convenient as possible for the participants to implement (a.k.a. user friendly). System includes specific processes, procedures, and controls only when necessary.The discussion around global versus local will often depend on how you define convenience
CoordinationSystem components are interconnected and harmonized with the other (internal and external) components, systems, plans, processes, information, and resource decisions toward common action or effort. This is beyond congruence and is achieved when the individual components of a system operate as a fully interconnected unit.How we ensure coordination across and through an organization.
EleganceComplexity vs. benefit — the system includes only enough complexity as is necessary to meet the stakeholder’s needs. In other words, keep the design as simple as possible and no more while delivering the desired benefits. It often requires looking at the system in new ways.Keep this in mind as global for the sake of global is not always the right decision.
HumanParticipants in the system are able to find joy, purpose and meaning in their work.Never forget
LearningKnowledge management, with opportunities for reflection and learning (learning loops), is designed into the system. Reflection and learning are built into the system at key points to encourage single- and double-loop learning from experience to improve future implementation and to systematically evaluate the design of the system itself.Building the right knowledge management into the organization is critical to leverage this model
SustainabilityThe system effectively meets the near- and long-term needs of the current stakeholders without compromising the ability of future generations of stakeholders to meet their own needs.Ensure the appropriate tools exist to sustain, including regulatory intelligence. Long-term scalability.
Pillars of Good System Design for Gloval and Local Process

Utilizing the eQMS to drive

The ideal state when implementing (or improving) an eQMS is to establish global processes and allow system functionality to localize as appropriate.

Leveraging the eQMS

So for example, every CAPA is the same (identify problem and root cause, create plan, implement plan, prove implementation is effective. This is a global process. However, one wants specific task detail at a lower level, for example GMP sites may care about certain fields more the GCP, medical device has specific needs, etc. These local task level needs can be mainted within one workflow.

The Key is Fit-For-Purpose Fit-for-Use

A fit for purpose process meets the requirements of the organization.

A fit for use process is usable throughout the lifecycle.

Global and localizing processes is a key part of making both happen.

Design Problem Solving into the Process

Good processes and systems have ways designed into them to identify when a problem occurs, and ensure it gets the right rigor of problem-solving. A model like Art Smalley’s can be helpful here.

Each and every process should go through the following steps:

  1. Define those problems that should be escalated and those that should not. Everyone working in a process should have the same definition of what is a problem. Often times we end up with a hierarchy of issues that are solved within the process – Level 1 – and those processes that go to a root cause process (deviation/CAPA) – level 2.
  2. Identify the ways to notice a problem. Make the work as visual as possible so it is easier to detect the problem.
  3. Define the escalation method. There should be one clear way to surface a problem. There are many ways to create a signal, but it should be simple, timely, and very clear.

These three elements make up the request for help.

The next two steps make up the response to that request.

  1. Who is the right person to respond? Supervisor? Area management? Process Owner? Quality?
  2. How does the individual respond, and most importantly when? This should be standardized so the other end of that help chain is not wondering whether, when, and in what form that help is going to arrive.

In order for this to work, it is important to identify clear ownership of the problem. There always must be one person clearly accountable, even if only responsible for bits, so they can push the problem forward.

It is easy for problem-solving to stall. So make sure progress is transparent. Knowing what is being worked on, and what is not, is critical.

Prioritization is key. Not every problem needs solving so have a mechanism to ensure the right problems are being solved in the process.

Problem solving within a process