Compliance: An Interactive Environment is Part 2 of the blog series Designing for Compliance, outlining the benefits, procedures, risks, etc. of designing a product with compliance regulations in the design forefront, rather than the typical afterthought.
Compliance: An Interactive Environment
It is important to understand that compliance does not hinder innovation. Rather, innovation influences the compliance environment. Interaction between product development and compliance is key. For Company A in Part 1 of this blog series, it was the failure to recognize the partnership between compliance and innovation that led to its error in planning. The failure to plan cost the company it’s market advantage and this meant losing business to the competition.
Figure 1 illustrates the interaction of product development with regulatory compliance from the very initial stages of product discovery through placing the product on the market. At the point of product discovery, a company’s marketing group assesses needs for new products among its customer demographics in various markets, and it preps the team for research and development.
At this stage of discovery, there should be research of existing compliance standards regulating the new product being considered. It is imperative to highlight discontinuities between technologies or product plans and the standards that shape the environment in which the product will be sold. Likewise, if standards do not yet exist for the product concept, the early identification of this gap allows time for corrective action during the design stage. Wireless regulations and the coinciding compliance issues are complex, even for the simplest of products. Proper planning with compliance integration during design will reduce headaches further down the line and make product introduction less hazardous.
Compliance issues can affect each subsequent step of the product development and deployment process— enabling or otherwise impacting the -development, delivery, or sustainability of products in the market. Such impacts can be beneficial, as seen in Table 1, while others will present new, minor challenges for the greater good. As the wireless market continues to evolve, the industry can expect to see the emergence of new compliance requirements and technologies. This calls for continuous due diligence in the monitoring of the regulatory environment.
|Financial||• Accelerated realization of revenues from new products
• Reduced need for costly reengineering
• Reduced costs of testing and retesting due to equipment failures
• Avoidance of duplicative testing for multiple markets
• Minimized risk of manufacturing noncompliant products
|Market||• Reduced time-to-market
• Increased market acceptance
• Enhanced customer confidence
|Corporate||• Reduced company liabilities
• Enhanced corporate recognition
• Increased stakeholder value
Table 1. Design for compliance: compliance management program benefits.
Implementation of a design for compliance strategy must be a significant objective of the overall product development goal for the manufacturer. Success requires commitment on the part of management to allocate sufficient resources at the beginning of a project, so that targeted benefits can be realized. In start-up environments or in companies with downsized staff, this may require contracting with compliance management consultants. Investment in this area can help reduce company liabilities, protects the company’s product development investments in the longer term, and maintains company competitive advantage.