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The SGS DigiComply all-in-one food safety and regulatory compliance platform combines artificial intelligence and human expertise to bring safer, sustainable, compliant and trusted consumer products to market.
November 27, 2023
If the next blockbuster superhero movie were about the battle of good versus evil in the world of global supplement manufacturing—where adulterants could spread undetected, regulations change faster than speeding bullets and false and unsubstantiated claims threaten to brainwash the innocent masses—the hero’s superpower might look a lot like SGS DigiComply. The all-in-one food safety and regulatory compliance platform combines artificial intelligence (AI) and human expertise to help companies provide safer, sustainable and compliant products to consumers. It may not be the magical whizbang of a superhero’s powers, but it comes pretty close in the world of compliance, empowering companies with speed and knowledge that gives them a competitive edge in the path to market.
“There’s an avalanche of information that you need to deal with in this industry, especially when it comes to ensuring consumer protection and safety,” said Nicola Colombo, global head of SGS DigiComply. “Our goal is to bring all of that together into a product that’s easy to digest and respond to, something that enables industry professionals to keep delivering safe, sustainable and compliant products that consumers can trust… While regulatory requirements have gotten more numerous and complicated, consumer demand for transparency—and the rigorous testing and documentation it demands—has grown as well,” he said.
To help manufacturers stay ahead of changes and the competition, SGS launched DigiComply in 2018. This regulatory, scientific and risk compliance tool for dietary supplement manufacturers monitors regulations from over 150 countries, translated into English. Its vast regulatory database tracks alerts and recalls from more than 70 government bodies, plus insights from news journals and industry associations. Its reach includes over 2 million documents from scientific, government and industry-leading sources as well as what is being discussed in the media, on social networks and by nongovernmental organization (NGO) influencers. SGS DigiComply also helps identify scientific trends manufacturers can use to substantiate claims, keep the R&D team up to speed and keep track of what consumers are looking for.
SGS (human) experts help users leverage the AI-enhanced tools. The service provides access to an in-country expert “who understands the local interpretation of what a regulatory body has posted online,” said Colombo. “It marries the benefits of AI and a human touch to solve business problems in the most efficient way.”
The software slashes regulatory research task efforts by 30%, according to the company, freeing up the team to work on more strategic initiatives fueled by the information.
The types of tools and databases SGS DigiComply offers subscribers are “normally only provided by consulting firms offering advisory services,” said Colombo. Having direct, unlimited, on-demand access to its power enables manufacturers to keep an eye on data in real time.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, SGS is a global leader in testing, inspection, and certification of products from “molecule to market.” More than 98,000 employees work in a network of over 2,650 offices and laboratories around the world, providing accredited and state-of-the-art laboratory and clinical testing, advisory and support services to assure safety, quality and product efficacy. In May, SGS acquired a majority stake in Nutrasource, a global contract research organization. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, with a subsidiary in the United States (GRAS Associates LLC), SGS Nutrasource provides clinical trial management, full regulatory support, testing services and product development R&D. The company also offers a series of third-party natural ingredient certification programs (NutraStrong™, IFOS™, IGEN™, IPRO™ and ICAP™).
“The landscape of quality testing, compliance, and regulatory adherence for manufacturing and label claims has indeed become more challenging in recent years,” said Colombo. “Operations and supply chains have become more global, and manufacturers must comply with a variety of international regulations and standards which can differ widely from one country to another.” For example, Mexico will be the fastest-growing international market this year and among the top markets in 2024, according to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). NBJ researchers expect the country’s supplement sales to grow 10.8%—compared to U.S. sales’ 2.6% growth. Looking into 2024, Mexico remains among the expected top-performing markets with 6.6% growth projected, according to the newly released Global Supplement Business Report. The promising market shines despite “cumbersome regulations and a business infrastructure that has been challenging in the past.” SGS DigiComply can quickly bring a team up to speed about challenges, trends and opportunities in this dynamic market.
“Every country has different classifications and naming conventions, restrictions and regulations—and each of these are always changing,” said Chris Burkhart, SGS Nutrasource senior vice president of sales in the recent webinar, “Exploring AI-Enabled Regulatory Compliance for Nutraceuticals.” SGS DigiComply is committed to keeping manufacturers up to speed.
Not all change is negative, however. “A business that anticipates change is one that is also ideally positioned to take advantage of opportunity,” said Colombo. “An effective regulatory monitoring system will also flag opportunities, which a business can then benefit from. Regulatory monitoring makes compliance management a strategically important, proactive process that can be used to drive product development while reducing lead-in times.”
On the supply chain front, the platform’s horizon scanning tools let manufacturers keep a close watch on supply chain dynamics across a vast expanse of data points to pinpoint ingredient and supplier risks. It can identify biological, chemical and physical hazards, emerging threats and technological advancements that could unveil new business avenues. By combining AI and human expertise into one super-powered platform, SGS DigiComply helps companies provide safer, sustainable and compliant products to consumers more quickly and easily than before.
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