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Ethiprint is a PS9000 approved printer and leading provider of medical, healthcare and cosmetics packaging to ethical and generic pharmaceutical companies, licensed contract packers and manufacturers of medical and surgical devices in the UK and overseas. These markets are highly regulated and audited and Ethiprint need to maintain the highest standards both to meet the needs of existing business and to win new clients. As a PS9000:2011 approved and MHRA compliant supplier Ethiprint undergo regular audits by their sanctioning body and by new and existing customers. They also need to maintain excellent operations and business systems to consistently provide a



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Ethiprint    Website   
Ethiprint    Website   
Author Picture

Ethiprint is a PS9000 approved printer and leading provider of medical, healthcare and cosmetics packaging to ethical and generic pharmaceutical companies, licensed contract packers and manufacturers of medical and surgical devices in the UK and overseas. These markets are highly regulated and audited and Ethiprint need to maintain the highest standards both to meet the needs of existing business and to win new clients. As a PS9000:2011 approved and MHRA compliant supplier Ethiprint undergo regular audits by their sanctioning body and by new and existing customers. They also need to maintain excellent operations and business systems to consistently provide a high standard of finished, compliant product to their customers.

Historically, Ethiprint had used Factory Organiser within the business. However, as the business developed this could no longer manage volumes through the complete production cycle with the levels of accountability needed for internal business management and external regulation. After trialing a solution designed for production in non-regulated environments, and exploring options to bolt applications on to this, Ethiprint decided this would not meet their accountability and traceability needs or provide the business metrics to better control and develop their business model. The delay finding a solution was becoming critical for Ethiprint, but finding an affordable ‘off the shelf’ solution was proving difficult. Following a recommendation by their IT service provide MD Rhys Evans contacted VSS to see if any of its applications could meet Ethiprint’s needs.

Although the level of functionality required was not available in one single application we were able to produce a specification and proposal based on our 20 plus years of application development across a number of highly regulated markets. After board level consideration it was agreed that VSS would develop the application on a stage payment basis followed by a multi-year agreement that would see the development of the application now known as E3-PM. What followed was a compressed development process with the VSS team working closely with Tudor Evans, Ethiprint’s Operations Director to develop high level functionality from the outset.

Developing the E3-PM solution

Warehousing and stock control
Due to the pressing timescale for replacement of Factory Organiser it was decided to implement E3-PM in phases, beginning with warehouse and stock control. Complete traceability was at the core of E3-PM from the outset with barcoding used to apply unique serial numbers to all items entering or leaving the warehouse. VSS not only implemented the software but also advised and tested the new printing and barcode reading hardware. Once this phases had been successfully implemented it was possible, for the first time, for Ethiprint to know not only what raw materials were in stock but also the provenance of that stock, information which is vital in providing a robust audit trail for material entering the production process.

Production Control
The next phase of development was production control which again required complex development to meet the stringent needs of complete traceability. All aspects of the production cycle required third party checking and validation at all stages, for example verification of line clearance between each job and each change of material. There was also a requirement to monitor and evidence that any surplus material was returned to quarantine for verification prior to being re-entered in the warehouse and re-used. All of these aspects and more had to be carefully choreographed to allow traceability without adversely affecting production efficiency. This ethos of traceability with efficiency was carried through all phases of development from order origination to production planning, picking and production, packaging, dispatch and finally, invoice generation.

The development of E3-PM was a challenging and demanding project requiring close cooperation between VSS and Ethiprint. However, E3-PM is now meeting and exceeding all goals and requirements and is enabling Ethiprint to grow and develop their business, increasing their market share whilst improving efficiency and providing the traceability required by their customers, auditors and regulators.