Software maintenance solution can help boost manufacturers' GMP compliance

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

AssetPoint's TabWare software includes analytical functions that can help pinpoint failure modes.
AssetPoint's TabWare software includes analytical functions that can help pinpoint failure modes.
AssetPoint, a provider of maintenance software solutions, helps dietary supplement manufacturers bolster their equipment maintenance record keeping, somethat that can be a weak spot in their Good Manufacturing Practice compliance programs.

AssetPoint, based in Greenville, SC, supplies Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)  and Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) solutions.  The software suites can be hosted on a company’s own server or AssetPoint can host the information via a cloud computing solution.  The company does not seek to provide an end-to-end solution, said Matt Sicker, AssetPoint’s marketing director.  Rather, it seeks to hit a sweet spot in the maintenance/asset management sphere.

 “We’re in between these mega ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems that have financial solutions built into them and the small players that are out there who just handle bits of things that don’t integrate very well with financials or with other parts of the plant. We are that middle ground where we are robust enough to handle all of their maintenance needs and integrate with other solutions so that they can get a lot of best-in-class data,"​ Sickler told NutraIngredients-USA.

GMP compliance aid

But while the company is not seeking to supplant the giants of the business software business, it’s products can be a huge step up in terms of proving that something was done on a given piece of equipment and when. And having proof via documentation is the name of the game when it comes to GMP compliance.

“With GMP requirements, you have to insure that all the pieces of equipment that were involved in the making of your products are properly maintained, that their maintenance schedules were executed, that the procedures that were involved in executing that work are documented and followed.  As well as insuring that any safety issues that came up with a given piece of equipment were catalogued and captured,”​ Sicker said.

“Sometimes the maintenance aspect isn’t as tied in as it needs to be.  They have a hard time connecting the dots between all of their safety compliance stuff that they record and the actual turning wrench maintenance activity that gets done. Combining that into a single system, they get a lot of benefits in the compliance aspect,”​ he said.

“There is a disconnect. There are two or three pieces of the business that are involved in compliance reporting but because is not a single, consolidated system they have difficulties and inefficiencies in proving that.  And not being able to prove something is how you get fined,”​ Sickler said.

Rapid ROI

The software solutions can also be cost effective, Sickler said.  Return on investment times vary with the operation, he said, but usually range from one to two years.  The system can also help pinpoint when failures occur during production runs, and could help provide data to better management a recall if that becomes necessary, he said.

AssetPoint recently announced that a major dietary supplement ingredient manufacturer, Avoca, will install AssetPoint's TabWare system on the company’s three botanical extraction plants. Avoca, a division of Pharmachem Labs, has commercial scale extraction and processing capabilities that allow for large volume single batches, with daily extraction capacities from 2 to 240 metric tons; and a universal annual extraction capacity of 90,000 tons.

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