It is notoriously difficult for manufacturers to consistently offer the general public products whose quality and novelty would be systematically guaranteed. However, these constraints strongly weigh on companies in the cosmetics industry: the sector is indeed highly regulated by legislators, from Europe to China via the United States, but it is also concerned by the need for agility in its production. The leaders have no choice: they are forced to speed up the time-to-market of new products, without neglecting the imperatives of compliance. A task that was already difficult early 2020, and which the Covid crisis has further complicated.

Lack of regulatory harmonization: the example of the Chinese market

It’s no secret that the cosmetics industry is highly regulated all over the world. From the requirements of European regulations to the different regulatory statuses in the United States, the environment varies drastically depending on the market. Depending on the product categories and the advertising claims made by the brands, each country has its own system of standards. Uncertainty and compliance thus represent increasing costs for companies with outdated quality control processes.

The trend is clear, - and it is not towards regulatory relaxation! In March 2018, China’s ambition was to streamline conformity verification processes for imported products by centralizing these operations through the creation of a Central Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR). Two years later, despite this desire for harmonization and the introduction of national regulatory requirements, the format of registration filings with the Chinese authorities still varies from province to province, creating uncertainty for manufacturers. This uncertain environment, made more complex by the global pandemic, requires proactive preparation by all stakeholders, and an extraordinary capacity for internal collaboration, with the right tools.

Cosmetic products, an imperative for Speed and Agility

The cosmetics industry is based on fashions. The rapidity of trend cycles, constantly accelerated by the ever more efficient circulation of information among consumers, requires major retailers to reinvent themselves every day to meet consumer demands. But faced with constantly changing regulations, market pressures, and sometimes out-of-date tools, this is no small task...

To stay in the dance, cosmetic brands can’t afford to follow the market: they have to guide it! However, taking into account the regulatory verification and compliance deadlines, is this really possible? The use of high-performance tools for internal cooperation would obviously be a major step towards this goal, which would allow them to strive for a leadership position, without exposing themselves to risks of regulatory non-compliance.

Adaptation starts with collaboration within the company

Cosmetic retailers are facing a rapidly changing competitive environment: welcome to the post-Covid era! The offer is becoming more and more diversified, the players on this ultra-competitive market are in a frantic race to get to market. Pushed to innovate by consumers, towards more natural products as well as a diversification of targeted age groups, but also closely monitored in an unprecedented health context, manufacturers are under pressure from all sides.

In this context, the status quo in the management of compliance processes of legacy companies is not allowed. Processing processes in silos ensures slowness, and is the cause of a multitude of problems later on: poor management of marketing promises, employees demoralized by the inefficiency of their efforts, etc. The risk of being overtaken in the race for innovation is too great to be taken lightly.

While all stages of bringing a product to market involve collaboration between several company departments, many companies have, against all logic, retained internal collaboration methods and compliance control processes that are a thing of the past and, for the most part, simply obsolete. With the wave of modernization in the cosmetics industry and the new global competitive environment created by the pandemic, it is essential to update these methods in order to ensure rapid production start-up AND compliance - despite the galaxy of international regulations.