Stewards Try the Clearinghouse Model for Tracking Regulations

The product type variety produced by Johnson & Johnson makes product stewardship a huge task. In the past few years, however, the company has worked towards a more streamlined process dedicated to supporting global product stewardship compliance. This includes establishing a global product stewardship team to coordinate compliance and sustainability efforts.

A part of that effort is related to tracking and managing emerging, new and existing regulations that impact the company’s vast product portfolio. “Collecting the baseline of applicable product stewardship-related regulations was a big challenge,” says Bert Heirman, manager, product stewardship chemical compliance at J&J. He says that subscription services’ geographic or subject scopes are not necessarily aligned with the company’s needs. “The other regulations or additional content you have to manually supply in order to have complete overview of product stewardship regulations that have impact on the product portfolio and its supply chain,” he says.

To tackle that challenge and others, J&J partnered with Arcadis Inc. to build a better program. They started by asking product stewards and regulatory staff what information they track and subscribe to. Then the global stewardship team began to collect and redirect that information to a single database which acts as a clearinghouse. “The J&J product stewards were individually tracking, analyzing and only executing based on their specific business, but J&J recognized the duplicity of this activity and the potential optimization if leveraged across the organization. J&J looked to centralize and manage the information” says Andrea Rayner, senior scientist and regulatory analyst at Arcadis Inc. “Once centralized, J&J needed to be able to communicate back out to the respective businesses. Workflows, based on roles and responsibilities, were necessary in a centralized system to support informative communication to the appropriate subject matter experts, product stewards and management, globally. ”

Based on the Felex product Arcadis had previously developed for regulation tracking, management and communication, J&J and Arcadis partnered to enhance the web-based tool to manage the institutional knowledge captured through the implemented product stewardship governance process. “So the tool acts as a comprehensive business intelligence database as it relates to the applicability of product stewardship regulations and their risk to businesses’ product portfolios” says Rayner.

An added benefit is that individuals spend less time, collectively, on tracking and managing information. “By taking the time to develop this management process as part of the product stewardship governance program, the businesses are able to focus on managing the impact and implementation of the product stewardship regulatory requirements, whether they are emerging or new initiatives” says Heirman.

Heirman and Rayner will talk about the program’s ongoing efforts as it evolves and the lessons learned during Beyond Regulation Tracking: Management, Communication and Governance of Global Product Stewardship Regulations and their Impact​, a presentation at Stewardship 2016.

Andrew Brown

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