GMP Warehouse Guide for Compliant Temperature Monitoring - Warehouse & Cool Room
|Update : 30th September, 2021|
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is a system implemented by most countries to ensure that products are consistently manufactured and controlled according to quality standards. In sectors such as pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals, GMP minimizes the risks that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product.
This is why major manufacturing companies pay keen attention to these practices to protect the consumers from receiving harmful or defective products – bad or failed practices could be lethal when it comes to pharmaceuticals.
Warehouse storage and distribution is a major area of concern when it comes to GMPs. Since most pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals are shipped all over the world in bulk, most of them spend significant time in storage and in transit.
If the temperatures and humidity of the storage warehouse are not kept in check, they could tamper with the chemical balance of the stored goods. The chemical changes are often difficult to spot and could create a danger, especially with the goods meant for human consumption.
Therefore, before a warehouse is deemed safe enough to store temperature and humidity sensitive products, it needs to undergo ‘mapping’ of its humidity and temperature profiles. This guide aims to show how you can keep your warehouse GMP compliant when it comes to temperature monitoring:
1. Make a Validation Master Plan
A validation master plan (VMP) is a declaration of the company’s commitment to comply with GMP guidelines and create GMP warehouses. It outlines the specific areas that the company will focus on and it often takes a risk-based approach, stating where temperature sensitive bio-chemicals will be stored.
The VMP also confirms that the temperature requirements of all the products will be met throughout their storage. This document will also be used by the warehouse regulators to professionally analyze whether your warehouse is up to the required standards.
2. Map Out the Risk-Prone Area
Figuring out storage areas that are prone to temperature changes is the next step. You need to find out which areas have fluctuating temperature based on the time of day, proximity to entrances or exits and ventilation. The temperature also affects relative humidity, so it is worth paying attention to as well.
Once you have identified these areas, you will document them and pay extra attention to them during the mapping study. This will be important for the very next step in creating a GMP warehouse.
Good Manufacturing Practices help protect consumers from receiving harmful or defective products – bad practices could be lethal when it comes to pharmaceuticals.
3. Determine How Many Sensors You Will Need and Where to Put Them
There is no simple formula for this. How many sensors you will need and where you will put them to adequately map out the warehouse will be dependent on several factors. The risk areas for example: You may need to have more sensors in these areas to accurately monitor the fluctuations in terms of how large they are and how frequent they are.
You may also need to take into account the cost-effectiveness of the endeavor. Too many temperature sensors that will only leave you recording the same data values on different devices. Wherever you decide to put the sensors, they should be placed uniformly in all 3 dimensions of the area you are testing.
This means that they will need to be put left to right, front to back and top to bottom. Any place where a control sensor exists or where you suspect either a cool or warm area needs to have additional sensors.
4. Choose the Most Suitable Technology for Your Needs
The next crucial step in establishing a GMP warehouse is to ensure you use the best available equipment for mapping. With the advanced technology available today, most of this mapping equipment comes with accompanying software that will help set it up and download data.
This software will help in the generation of tabular and graphical data. These data tables should however comply with certain GMP regulations such as the 21 CFR Part 11 regulation, the European Union Annex 11, and also all those stated in the European Union GMP Volume 4. This standardization simply makes the data easier to understand by you and the regulators.
5. Profile the Storage Space
Now that you have identified all the risk areas in your warehouse and deliberated on where, and how many, sensors you will need to use, it is time to set up all the mapping equipment. The purpose of this initial temperature profiling test is to pinpoint areas that require attention and those that are stable.
These stable areas will then be considered suitable for storage. To establish this, the software will access the data from the sensors through a secure channel and tabulate it following the aforementioned standardized regulations. After this, calculations are performed and the data is represented on graphs and tables in a report.
6. Review the Data and Make Adjustments
Now that all the temperature profiling has been done and the report is at your disposal, it is time to take into account the findings and make the necessary adjustments. This is the most important step in achieving a GMP warehouse.
Take important steps to minimize air infiltration – it is one of the most common causes of energy loss and temperature fluctuations in a warehouse.
For temperature, there are several standard adjustments you may generally be required to make:
1. Minimize Air Infiltration:
This is one of the most common causes of energy loss and temperature fluctuations. Seal off all air leaks and tend to any compromised insulations. Loading dock doors some of the greatest sources of energy loss in warehouses.
One way of combating this is to use vinyl strip curtains at the doors to reduce the loss of cooled air during the loading and unloading of goods into and out of the area. You could also simply install doors that have lever systems that stay closed unless pushed, or that open and close quickly.
2. Section off your warehouse with the help of an HVAC specialist:
Based on the occupancy of the areas in the warehouse, an HVAC specialist can help section off the warehouse so that focused attention is paid to areas that need it. This is necessary because not all areas of your warehouse will need an HVAC unit installed.
3. Use LED lighting:
Although LED bulbs may be more expensive, they are more stable when it comes to dissipating unnecessary heat. In some cases, the type of lighting you use can impact environmental temperatures.
You can also automate the lighting such that the lights dim anytime they are not in use. This is achieved by using occupancy sensors that will automatically sense human presence and brighten the lights and dim them in their absence.
4. Employ the Use of Ceiling Fans:
Due to the lighter density of hot air, it will mostly concentrate on the highest areas of your warehouse; the ceiling. This may sound harmless, but this layer of air can radiate enough heat to disrupt the temperature balance in your warehouse. Using fans can help the air circulate and redistribute the heat.
Hot air is less dense and will tend to concentrate around the ceiling. Fans or blowers can be used to circulate this air and help balance temperatures in a warehouse.
7. The Final Report
With all the adjustments done, you now need to write a final mapping report. This report will be done after you complete the final mapping study for approval. If everything was done right, then there should be no problem getting approval as your warehouse will be safe to store any kind of temperature-sensitive biochemicals.
GMP regulations must be followed for the safety of consumers and those working at the warehouses. Taking extra care and following all the necessary measures is the easiest way to ensure that you uphold the integrity of your services.
Temperature control is also particularly crucial as it not only affects temperature-sensitive bio-chemicals but also moisture-sensitive ones. This is because the relative humidity is reliant on temperature. With this comprehensive video series below, you have all you need to meet all the necessary standards.