1. Clearly defined and systematically reviewed manufacturing processes. This means that all batch documentation, all quality specifications and all relevant SOPs must be prepared in harmony with one another. It also means that all departments involved must be aware of the work of the other departments in order to eliminate discrepancies. Finally, the quality control staff acting as the overall coordinator of all these activities should be involved in all decisions related to the quality of the production. It is their responsibility to ensure that the activities are aimed at producing products that meet the required specifications. The specifications are approved by the drug regulatory authority.
2. Critical steps of production processes are validated. Since there is variability in the quality of materials and in the performance of the equipment, we need to check whether the process works with all the variability that can arise. This process of checking and documenting variability is known as validation. It means that the company must have sufficient knowledge of its materials, equipment and processes that it knows what variables are likely to arise. It can then carry out controlled experiments to ensure that whatever variables do occur, they can still produce products meeting specifications. Validation is also required if there is a change in any part of the process, materials or equipment used in the manufacturing.
3. Appropriate resources: personnel, buildings, equipment and materials are available to produce a quality product. This means that the company has evaluated all of the elements it needs to produce a product and has sufficient resources of the right quality for its production.
4. Manufacturing is based on clearly written procedures. The procedures referred to here include the batch manufacturing and testing instructions and the SOPs needed for every department. Preparing these procedures and documents is a very important task that needs careful thought. The module on documentation goes into this in more detail.
5. Operators are trained. A company can have "all the documentation in the world" but if its operators are not properly trained to carry out the tasks that they are supposed to perform then the company will not be successful. We will talk more about this in the session on personnel. Operators not only need initial training but also follow-up training.