Summary: In this article, we chat with applications chemist Cole Holstrom about how igwLAB’s Quality Management System (QMS) helps streamline your extraction operation by providing an end to end quality management system.

Quality is Crucial in the Botanical Extraction Industry

When it comes to hemp extraction, quality management is absolutely critical. As it tracks yields, biomass attributes, and other important processes, igwLAB’s Quality Management System is capable of providing corrective actions, protective shortstops, and streamlined data records all in the name of quality control and risk mitigation in the hemp industry.

So, the question may be asked, “What is a quality management system, and why is it important in this industry?” To find out, we ask Applications Chemist Cole Holstrom for more insight into the igw QMS system.

What is igwLAB’s Quality Management System?

“A QMS stands for Quality Management System,” says Holstrom. “It’s a software system that manages the quality processes at a hemp extraction facility. IGW can help accomplish this, for example, by placing automatic quarantine checks and holds on certain processes.”igwLAB QMS screen

“What the igw quality management software can do is give quality assurance personnel the opportunity to keep an eye on all of the processes,” says Holstrom. “The igw quality management software makes use of personnel and permissions, so you can customize what an operators role would be and edit what they are allowed to do.”

“For example, you can edit the system so that only qualified personnel are allowed to move material from one process to the next. So, if you wanted to make that your quality assurance person, it would ensure that nobody else could move material from point A to point B within the system without quality assurance checking off on it.”

“Another example is in waste generation. You want to be able to log any waste if accidents happen, and you can restrict that ability to only your quality assurance people. So, if someone were to spill some oil on the floor, they wouldn’t simply be able to clean it up and log it into the system; they would have to get qualified quality assurance personnel to review the situation and log it into the system using their login profile.

“This would create a time-stamped event saying at that given point, a particular QA employee logged a specific waste event. By doing this, you create accountability and a streamlined quality management record”

Personnel weighing distillate with igwLAB

How Does a Quality Management System Mitigate Risk?

“Quality assurance personnel can also set rejection criteria when tests are done,” Holstrom says. “Say, for example, a sample from a is sent off to the lab. They will report their findings that indicate the percentages of certain parameters from that sample.”

“Now, let’s say a parameter comes back with a percentage of 11%. Well, if quality assurance says that anything measured over 10% gets rejected for that certain parameter, they can automatically quarantine that lot and can send an alert to quality personnel. Now they will know immediately if a certain lot can be accepted or rejected based on the criteria they previously set in the Quality Management System.”

“So, were that operator then to take that material and try to enter it into the process, the system would not allow them to proceed because it has tripped one of those quality flags and it would not be resolved unless someone with permission like a quality control officer removed that hold on the lot.”

“This would enhance the control of quality by setting an automatic quarantine in the system without the need for QA officers to run around making sure that quarantined material doesn’t move forward in the process.”

How Does it Streamline Production?

“What’s nice about the igw system is that it gives quality personnel tools at their fingertips so they don’t have to run around chasing paper trails. They can simply get their reports and analytical results that come from the lab immediately.”

“You want a system to be simple, otherwise your operators are just not going to use it,” says Holstrom. “In any production, there is a lot of critical information that needs to be gathered. If you leave that up to clipboards, paperwork and personnel transcribing that information, you leave a lot of room for human error.”

“So, what’s nice about the igwLAB QMS is that it simplifies everything. Operators don’t have to think about a thing. They don’t have to fill in blanks in a particular field, they don’t have to fill out any forms – it takes all of that work out of the operator’s hands.”

Another great feature is that all of the data that is collected can be sent directly to a manager’s desktop so they can see extraction productivity, lot information, and more at a glance and gives them visibility to see how everything moves through their facility.”

A Word on GMP Compliance

“The basic architecture of igwLAB is based on the foundation of FDA CFR Title 21 Part 2 that is responsible for governing food and drugs in the United States for the Food and Drug Administration and regulations set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
This level of regulation compliance is incredibly important for producers who wish to sell their products to highly regulated markets like food, beverage and pharmaceuticals. Like all extraktLAB products, igwLAB is GMP compliant and built with components that support global market requirements.”

How Quality Management System Benefits Hemp Manufacturers

“This industry is what we know best,” says Holstrom. “We didn’t take an existing Quality Management System and adapt it to the hemp industry; we started with hemp and said, ‘how can we eliminate the paper trail and simplify the process?’” Then we built the software specifically to address the challenges that we face in our own own processes.”

“Let’s say you wanted to build some kind of machine to harvest from your hemp field,” Holstrom says, “you could either take an existing piece of equipment and modify it, or you could build it from the ground up and design it specifically for that purpose. That’s what we did with the igw system. We looked at everything we wanted to see in a quality management system and created it specifically for the hemp industry.”

Ready to make quality management a top priority in your production?

We’re here to help. igwLAB has a fully interoperable application programming interface (API) capable of merging with any production in the hemp industry. Want to know more? Give us a call to get on the right track with igwLAB today: 651-600-0036