Pharmaceutical facilities compliance management with EQMS – Sodexo customer interview

Here, Carl Stanbridge, Global VP of Quality and Compliance at Sodexo, talks about how EQMS helps his organisation manage quality and compliance and gain a competitive advantage. 


Watch the video below or read the transcript that follows. 


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Qualsys: What's your role at Sodexo? 

Carl Stanbridge: My role at Sodexo is to look after quality and compliance globally. There are two main parts to my role. At the moment Sodexo has been through a fairly significant transformation, so we've re-organised ourselves across various geographies.

We're now looking at how we can implement a programme of quality and compliance across the whole Sodexo group. This is something that I've been leading on behalf of Sodexo. In addition to that, my main role has been to look after the pharmaceutical and consumer-health business.

Prior to EQMS, what were the main challenges Sodexo faced? 

The main challenges for us around managing and implementing quality and compliance before EQMS is that we had lots of legacy systems which were all decentralised. As we picked up new clients and we picked up new business, we inherited many different systems. There were lots of legacy IT systems, paper-based systems and processes and ways of working.

The challenge for us was how we could deliver something that was consistent where it needs to be consistent, but also recognise that there are different clients and different geographies that need different things. How can we do things that are right in terms of consistency when we have so many different processes that keep coming into the organisation? 

What led to your decision to get EQMS? 

The lightning-bolt moment for us was after I'd just been to see one of our very big and important clients and as part of that discussion we were talking about the next big steps for Sodexo. We talked about what else we can deliver around quality and compliance for our customer.

The discussion quickly led to us looking for an IT tool or an innovation of technology to support our quality and compliance processes. Quite a lot of work had been done up until that point to harmonise and standardise our systems. The next stage then was how can we quickly and effectively deploy this to the organisation? So I left that meeting and got in a taxi to go back to the airport. In the 10-minute journey of going back to the airport, I knew that we needed this system.

How does EQMS help Sodexo to achieve their objectives?

The objectives of Sodexo are to improve the quality of life of all the people that we serve. We're very proud that we interact with more than 75 million consumers and customers every day.

A big part of the business that we have in Sodexo is around ensuring that the services we provide are compliant to regulatory expectations and the needs of our customer.

The key way EQMS helps us to achieve our objectives is by making sure that we're doing things in the most efficient way. There's no wastage in our processes. We're delivering cutting-edge technology for the services that we provide. We're able to always comply with the regulations, client contract and their expectations.

This is an environment which is always changing. There are always new compliance requirements and we have to make sure that we're managing EQMS accordingly.

EQMS helps us to achieve our objectives by making sure that we're doing things in the most efficient way. There's no wastage in our processes.


How do your customers benefit from you using EQMS?

Our customers benefit in a number of different ways. First and foremost is that we're able to do something that our competitors are not. In many circumstances, our customers are dealing with Sodexo and lots of other service providers, and what happens is that, by using EQMS, Sodexo are able to improve the level of compliance that the customer can expect. Whether that's the effective closure of corrective actions, the effective management of risk, making sure that training has taken place or having all the documentation available.

We have very tight key performance indicators, service level agreements and critical performance indicators. EQMS allows us to not only deliver against those KPIs, but it also allows the client to increase their demands on Sodexo. Pre-EQMS, we were able to deliver 95, 96, or 97% based on the tools we were using at the time. The customer will now demand of us 100%. EQMS is the key for us to deliver 100%. 

What's your long-term vision for EQMS?

Our long-term vision is that the pharmaceuticals customers that we have are continuing to grow. The EQMS product answers all of our needs in terms of functionality. But the critical thing for us in Sodexo with EQMS is that we've been able to validate the system to meet the very high demands of providing IT tools in a heavily-regulated pharmaceutical environment. So really, EQMS is a fantastic fit for our pharmaceutical business. EQMS is now part of the formal offer that we offer for our clients. 

Wider, outside of pharmaceutical, there are a lot of benefits. There are a lot of principles that we have in our processes that EQMS executes brilliantly. Right now we're exploring where else in Sodexo we can make use of EQMS. It could be used in healthcare, oil and gas, or energy and resources. Right now, EQMS is the best fit for pharmaceuticals, but our vision is to expand the use of EQMS throughout Sodexo.

EQMS answers all of our needs in terms of functionality. But the critical thing is that we've been able to validate the system to meet the very high demands of providing IT tools in a heavily-regulated pharmaceutical environment.

How's your experience with Qualsys been so far? 

In Sodexo, we've made it no secret that the tool is part of the solution. The rest is really about the type of organisation that develops the tool and provides us with the ongoing service for that tool.

Qualsys for us were a great fit. In terms of why we chose EQMS and Qualsys, the tool was there, and great functionality, but we also chose Qualsys because they fit our culture with Sodexo. At Sodexo, we encourage empowerment amongst our employees, so decision-making is at a very junior level.

So we wanted to choose a vendor that was open to that, who was very collaborative, very transparent, very open, very honest with their abilities of where they can deliver and where they can't deliver things.

When we were going through the process, it was as much about testing the product as it was about testing the vendor. For us, Qualsys have delivered time and time again. We're not an easy client to work with. We're a huge organisation. Some of the things we do are very complicated. Some of the demands we have are very high, as are our clients', and rightly so given the industry we work in, so we needed Qualsys to be quick, resilient, and effective with their communication. That's what we've got.  

What challenges does Sodexo now face? 

The challenge for us now is that we've just been through a major transformation. There are new departments and lots of people in new roles. 

We face challenges in terms of the ever-increasing demands of the client. It's right that our customers want more innovation, more value, at a lower cost. We are constantly faced with this challenge – we always want to deliver the very best for our clients, for the least amount of cost.

We face challenges in the general marketplace that we operate in. It's a tough economy in parts of the world where we're delivering our services. There's social media and lots of other new technologies, like EQMS, which we need to make the most of. 


What you should do now

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