Many of our solutions are Made in America and readily available on GSA Contract.
Getting Ahead of the Life Sciences Compliance Curve

Getting Ahead of the Life Sciences Compliance Curve

Life sciences regulatory compliance doesn’t end at the walls of the research lab, the clinic, or the pharmacy. Every aspect of life science operations, from sales and marketing to education, training, and lab operations, is subject to regulations, and new or revised regulations are being issued on a near-daily basis. With pages and pages of documentation to read through, business leaders and compliance officers simply don’t have the time to onboard all the new information, much less enforce the rules.

Lately, however, AI technology has been assisting life sciences businesses to assimilate new and revised regulations without having to spend valuable time reading volumes of regulatory documentation. New AI apps extract critical information from the documentation and deliver it in a kind of “readers digest” form. Compliance officers can then apply these actionable insights to their operations.

But that still leaves a pile of internally-generated documents for a compliance officer to comb through, searching for non-compliant language. Sales and marketing literature, training manuals, and educational materials are all vulnerable to compliance issues. Parsing the content in these printed materials is just as time-consuming and error-prone as reading the regulatory documents.

Digital technology comes to the rescue here, too, in the form of document conversion. Digitizing the printed materials creates a searchable database. When a new regulation is issued, the AI app outputs a condensed pertinent version. Then the keywords of the condensed regulation can be matched against the keywords of the digital document database. Outdated or conflicting documents can be flagged automatically, and new compliant documents can be generated quickly.

And in the event of an audit, speedy retrieval of documents shortens the audit and gives auditors confidence in the overall management of records. Digitized documents are delivered with electronic speed, far faster than staffers can locate paper documents in filing cabinets or archived storage.

The average cost for non-compliance is over $14 million. No life sciences business, large or small, wants to pay such enormous costs. Incorporate AI and document digitization into your compliance protocol, and keep that money where it belongs: in your profits.

 

Photo © foxyburrow / AdobeStock

Digitization: Digital has Benefits, but Don’t Shun Paper

Digitization: Digital has Benefits, but Don’t Shun Paper

Paper has been getting a bad rap lately. There’s no denying that it’s not the most sustainable product. Paper manufacturing contributes to deforestation and pollutes water and air. Too much paper ends up in landfills where it produces methane, a greenhouse gas.

However, the availability of recycling has improved the green rating of paper. The U.S. EPA reports that over 2/3 of paper and paperboard were recycled in recent years. Today, much of the paper made for office use is manufactured from recycled paper.

And some of that recycled paper is the result of digitization. As part of the document conversion process, many paper documents are designated for disposal – secure disposal that protects sensitive data – and those properly disposed papers can be recycled.

Digitization offers numerous benefits: reduced storage space, improved security, remote access, and improved sustainability. Nevertheless, paper still serves a valuable purpose, as recent studies have shown.

Writing and printing paper, in particular, are surprisingly important. Writing by hand involves many parts of the brain and sensory system: tactile, spatial, and linguistic. That complexity helps fix the written word in the memory. One University of Tokyo study showed that students’ handwritten note-taking produced better recall an hour later. One example: If you’ve ever written a grocery list and left it at home, you probably found you could still remember a good number of the list’s items.

Books and paper documents, too, showed enhanced recall in comparison to digital documents. Often, book readers can recall the specific location on a page where an important fact was stated.

The takeaway:

  • Information that needs to be remembered should be delivered on paper, and handwritten notes should be taken.
  • Information that doesn’t need to be recalled in detail, but quickly and accurately searched and accessed as needed, is ideally stored in digital format.

Many, many business documents fit that latter description, which is one of the reasons digitization is a good business practice. As noted above, the benefits have a positive effect on your bottom line.

And now, if you want to remember what you’ve just read here, print it out and take some notes!

 

Photo © Prostock-studio / AdobeStock

 

How Hybrid Offices Contribute to Your ESG Goals

How Hybrid Offices Contribute to Your ESG Goals

ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance – stands for the three components of a business’s sustainability performance. Three out of four consumers change their purchase preferences based on ESG factors, according to a CapGemini report. How well does ESG integrate into the new hybrid workplace?

There’s good news: Hybrid offices are a natural choice for boosting your organization’s ESG.

Energy usage

  • Zoned space utilization systems automatically group hot desks and office reservations into energy-saving zones
  • Smart building systems reduce lighting and HVAC consumption during unoccupied hours

Fun fact: One degree change in indoor temperature means thousands fewer kilowatt hours, and thousands of dollars in savings over the course of one year.

 

Reduced emissions

  • Fewer trips to the office equals fewer commuting miles per week.
  • Smart buildings’ reduced energy use results in less emission-producing energy generation.

Reduced waste

  • More meals at home means less lunch take-out waste
  • Offices produce less paper waste if document conversion (digitization) is in place.

This last topic, digitization, deserves additional discussion. Almost all businesses generate paper documents. Those records are important to business operations, and they should be retained as long as necessary.

But paper documents tend to beget more paper – distribution copies, unnecessary printouts, backup copies, etc. The cost to manufacture, transport, and print of all that paper adds up. And an estimated 45% of that paper ends up in the trash at the end of each work day.

Moreover, all that paper takes up an inordinate amount of room, an average of 9 square feet per file cabinet. Hybrid offices typically need less office space than traditional full-time offices, but they still need storage space.

After converting paper documents to digital ones, much of the document storage area can be put to better use. For example, management consultants recommend creating lounge spaces for those invaluable “water cooler moments.” By reducing your storage space, you support hybrid-office creativity and culture without additional real estate costs.

And of course a database of digitized documents allows hybrid staffers to access necessary documents wherever they are working – in the office, at home, or in a co-working space.

Digitization is the perfect complement to your other ESG efforts.  Create a “virtual filing room” and boost your sustainability rating.

 

Photo © Iriana Shiyan / AdobeStock

A Reason to Return: Office Amenities Help Bring Employees Back

A Reason to Return: Office Amenities Help Bring Employees Back

Workplace amenities used to be associated with tech start-ups – meals, game rooms, and bring-your-dog-to-work were some of the popular perks that kept tech workers in the office. Why go home when everything you want is there? Today’s newer office buildings are taking a page from the tech world, offering an array of amenities like gyms, concierge services, and lounges.

It’s all part of tenants’ commitment to hybrid offices, a staffing retain-and-return game plan for many companies. Survey after survey shows the same results: Employees do not want to go back to full-time in-office operations. And employers are discovering that the hybrid workstyle has benefits that they don’t want to give up, including greater productivity, lower real estate costs, and happy employees.

Employees are willing to trade space for the hybrid workstyle. More than half of law firm employees recently surveyed said they would trade assigned seating/offices for greater flexibility. That’s good news for employers, who can reduce their office footprint when they don’t have to find space for all their staff each and every day.

The amenities offered by first-class office buildings aren’t free, of course, and a prudent practice manager or facilities manager will try to balance that extra cost by reducing the amount of space in a new lease. The same law firm survey showed the average square feet per attorney has decreased from 760 s.f. to 625 s.f., and other industry sectors are making similar reductions.

But reducing personnel space can only go so far. For many professional practices, paper documents take up an outsize proportion of the office footprint. High density storage systems help reduce the space needed for document storage. Digitization goes even further.

Just one filing cabinet takes up 9 square feet, at an average real estate cost of $540 per year (and that’s before factoring in the higher price of amenity-rich buildings). Document conversion eliminates the need for that space, and the cost associated with it.

Digitization lets you have your cake (or gym or lounge) and eat it too. When employers can offer appealing amenities to encourage staff to return to the office, without increasing their real estate costs, it’s a win for everyone.

 

Photo © Iriana Shiyan / AdobeStock

Return-to-the-Office: Appreciating the Invisible Hand of Operations

Return-to-the-Office: Appreciating the Invisible Hand of Operations

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is defined as the unseen forces that propel an economy and benefit the larger community. Smith’s invisible hand was self-interested, but there’s a more altruistic invisible hand at work in the business world: The unnoticed heroes of operations.

Just like Adam Smith’s invisible hand, most of us were barely aware of operational systems and the people who manage them. “If you don’t notice us, we’re doing our job properly,” said the manager of a luxury hotel chain. And it’s true – we only notice when something doesn’t work.

In the pandemic before-times, we had many unconscious expectations. We expected the lights and the HVAC to be on. There would be coffee in the break room. Our workspaces would have furniture. Key cards for doors and lockers would function. We’d have ready access to the data we need for our team to work efficiently and effectively.

We rarely thought about how all that operational support came to be. But the pivot to remote work, and now the return-to-the-office wave, has made us far more aware of the functioning of operations behind the scenes. Unsung heroes stepped up with resources to support remote work, and they continue to support it for hybrid offices:

  • Electronic devices and systems
  • Communications and scheduling apps
  • Databases of digitized documents
  • Facilities “smart building” maintenance systems

As we return to the office, full-time or hybrid, let’s take a moment to thank the facilities managers, the practice managers, the IT/IS managers, the HR managers, the office managers who sweated to keep the wheels turning while the rest of us took zoom meetings in our sweats. Hats off to the heroes.

Photo © ASDF / AdobeStock