Jessica McKeil   |   December 02, 2019

Compliance Starts with Document Management

Quality control protocols, onboarding policies, standard operating procedures... Getting into the cannabis sector wasn't supposed to be about pushing paperwork; it was supposed to be about growing premium crops. How did it become a bureaucratic nightmare?
Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She personally found relief through cannabis for the treatment of her panic and anxiety disorder. She is lucky…

Cannabis is legal, and it's regulated in ways other industries aren’t. Cannabis cultivators have found out that operating within this legal space has meant they spend more time managing their documents than they do managing plants. Other cannabis-touching producers and retailers are equally as bogged down in the details and protocols. But, it doesn't have to be this way.

Enter AODocs, a company established in 2012 and built entirely in the cloud. Since its start, AODocs has never owned or operated a server. From the very early days as a document management platform, its founders envisioned the modern workspace. It's unique among the current software solutions because it exists on top of Google Drive.

AODocs realized back in 2012 that the cloud and Google were going to have a significant impact on how businesses operated going forward. From this foresight, they have big plans to expand their service into the cannabis space. In a recent conversation with Cannabis Tech, Dave Jones, VP of Marketing, focused on the capacity of the platform to work within several markets simultaneously, and the ability to plan for the eventual federal legislation.

Cannabis as a Disruptor

Cannabis is a new industry, unrestricted by the policies, procedures, and traditional tech platforms of other sectors. As such, cannabis is shaking up long-established life sciences companies and has forced them to re-evaluate outdated standard operating systems and server-based software solutions.

Traditionally, server solutions ingrained within most life sciences organizations have a cumbersome document validation process. AODocs, an intelligent cloud-based platform, removes the validation delays without compromising the security of the contents. Layered on top of Google Docs, AODocs eliminates the need to check documents in and out of the server. In a revolutionary move, more than one employee can work within the file at the same time.

Structured around the tried and tested format of Google Docs, AODocs helps companies make change management easy within their entire ecosystem of quality control documents. Even when facing an audit, the platform simplifies the process through strictly maintained and controlled document logs.

Real Compliance Goes Beyond Seed to Sale

Based on his interactions with cannabis-touching companies, Jones feels that most compliance today has been entirely focused on a POS-based seed to sale model. Most tech investment in compliance has been to better the inventories, barcodes, and reporting all generated within a POS system. Yet, this system isn't perfect. Compliance is not all about a POS system; it's a systemic concept.

AODocs helps growing cannabis companies stay compliant with three steps:

  1. Control document creation, workflow, and change orders
  2. Prove compliance and maintain it.
  3. Facilitate employee adoption by operating within a familiar format, Google Drive.

Specifically, they provide turn-key pre-built modules within the AODocs platform, to make the process easy for managers who may have a better understanding of the cannabis life cycle than the document lifecycle.

Jones maintains they wanted their document management platform to help smaller and growing companies get a handle on multiple markets, contracts, and regulatory protocols. They are also already working with larger cannabis companies to implement standard GxP compliance measures, for when the federal government gets around to legalization.

The One-Stop-Shop for Intelligent Document Management

Part of the beauty of a cloud-based system working entirely on top of Google Docs is its versatility. No one needs to be tied down to a server anymore, as jones proved when he spoke with Cannabistech from opposite sides of the country.

As the industry continues to evolve, there will inevitably be unpredictable new developments in compliance requirements. Quickly pivoting to meet these changes is next-to-impossible with traditional life sciences platforms like MasterControl or Documentum. Google Docs, on the other hand, is naturally flexible and continuously evolving. AODocs plays on this to make it easy for their clients to make on-the-fly adjustments.

Covering the gamut of possible document needs, AODocs is working to break into the cannabis market to address the gap in compliance measures left by the POS seed to sale-focused processes. Proper compliance is more than inventory tracking and sales data. It's standard operating procedures, training manuals, and the spectrum of validation documents (ex: Installation Qualifications, Operational Qualifications, and Performance Qualifications).

Long gone are the days when cannabis was about cultivation. Working in cannabis today is increasingly weighed down by documentation and procedures, something most companies neglect until the last minute. To succeed in the industry is to master the art of compliance and hit the ground running when FDA approvals finally trickle through to legislation. As a cloud-based solution in a familiar, user-friendly format, AODocs is working with cannabis companies to make success easy.

 

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