Tag Archives: Business

Quality vs. Sales in a GMP Environment

“Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is the part of quality assurance which ensures that medicinal products are consistently produced and controlled to the quality standards appropriate to their intended use and as required by the marketing authorisation (MA) or product specification. GMP is concerned with both production and quality control.” (MHRA)


What really matters?
As a laboratory manager for several years, in various contract laboratories carrying out analysis of food, water and pharmaceuticals, my number one concern has always been Quality. Whether relating to government regulatory authority compliance or independent accreditation bodies, the standards required not only ensure public/patient safety but also provide consistency and a high level of understanding and integrity amongst the scientists carrying out the work, provided they’re trained correctly.

In a laboratory where the business depends on making a profit however, it can be quite a battle with senior management on a regular basis to explain why, for the scientists at least,  Quality will always take precedence over Sales.

This is not the kind of thing you can explain in a half hour chat over coffee with your MD. You could barely scratch the surface in a 2 hour presentation to the board. That’s because working in a GMP environment is one of those things you can’t really explain to those who simply don’t ‘get it’ or are simply too far away in terms of their role in the business.  It’s a way of life, a culture that is almost innate and becomes apparent in everything you do. The number of times I’ve been signing and dating a document at the bank and written the date wrong. The overwhelming urge to cross through, initial and date before rewriting is quite a force to try and resist! Some of you reading will be nodding with a knowing smile…because you get it!

Whenever I write about Quality (always with a capital ‘Q’) I am not talking about it on the same level that your average sales rep might understand it. I’m sure, in plenty of businesses it’s considered quite a skill to be able to know when one can compromise quality for the sake of sales. Taking shortcuts to quickly improve profit margins or temporarily dropping standards for the benefit of a faster turnaround. Timing and risk….I get it, when talking business. When talking Quality however, this is the thing,  Quality cannot and must not be compromised ever. Without it we have no business.

Making It Work
So, how to find a balance? It requires commitment, dedication, integrity and passion. What also helps is doing your utmost to understand the business perspective in order to communicate and work with the people whose job it is to get  the numbers in, in an effective way. Learn their language so you can teach them yours.


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BIG love – season 1 catch-up

Just watching the last episode of Big Love Season 3 and realised I hadn’t written about it!  Shocker…not often I don’t have anything to say about something.  Since I’ve already given a short brief of the background to the overall series in an earlier post, there now follows a short synopsis of each season in before starting on number 4!

Just to remind you though, Big Love is about a family of mormons who follow ‘the principle’ of polygamy. That’s it! That’s your recap!

Obviously any new drama needs to initially introduce the primary characters, which is exactly what this first season is about.  Meeting them, finding out what they’re about, how they live and a kind of general overview building up to a final episode which makes you want to watch the next season.

The series begins by introducing us to the family at home and work and see Bills struggle to expand his business as well as taking care of three wives and nine children!  During this time we’re also shown the contrast between life on the compound and life for others like Bill and his second wife Nicki, who were thrown out of or escaped the compound to live on the ‘outside’ where the whole family are forced into keeping their polygamous ways a secret.  A strained relationship is apparent between Nicki’s father Roman Grant as he tries to gain more and more of Bills profits from his successful chain of stores.  In order to stop him, Bill and his brother Joey, a former NFL player who has returned to the compound after an alcohol addiction, seek to gain a seat on the mormon churches board of directors.


Meanwhile the three wives at home are struggling with their own individual issues.

First wife Barb, is the only one who is married to Bill legally thereby empowering her with a particular status and rank within the family.  Barb struggles with the polygamy and it’s revealed that before becoming second wife, Nicki was actually Barb’s nurse, taking care of her through cancer.  So the suggestion is that at the time Barb agreed to the ‘sealing’ of her husband with a second wife, she was in a vulnerable state and may not have ever been fully on board.

Nicki herself struggles to fit in with life outside of the compound and develops a shopping addiction accumulating a large amount of debt.  She is intelligent and strong willed and constantly seeking to establish her values on the rest of the family which are a little more orthodox than the more relaxed attitude of the others.

Third wife Margene is very young, 24.  She has to cope with her opinions and ideas being somewhat dismissed by the other two wives as they have little respect for her, considering her immature and inexperienced.  Her positive disposition and to a certain extent her naivety, ensure that she perseveres however and slowly finds her place in the family.

The final episode (the one I said makes you want to watch season 2!) ends with the family being exposed as polygamists when Barb is nominated for a ‘Mother of the Year’ award.

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