Press Releases

  • Organizations Across Regulated Industries Plagued by Weak Complaint Handling Processes

    Customer Complaint Data is Being Handled in Inefficient and Outdated Ways, According to New Report from Sparta Systems

    HAMILTON, N.J., Sept. 19, 2017- A recent quality management market survey conducted by Sparta Systems , the global leader in quality management system (QMS) software , found that nearly a quarter of organizations (24 percent of survey respondents) across several highly-regulated industries do not have a well-defined and adopted complaint handling process.

    Customer complaint handling plays an integral role in ensuring consumer safety and maintaining regulatory compliance. Proper use of complaint data helps organizations investigate the underlying causes of product issues, and enables them to launch corrective actions or preventive actions that eliminate their reoccurrence.

    An overwhelming majority of these organizations, including those from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, have no plans to invest in improving these processes in the future. Eighty-two percent of survey respondents said they anticipate their complaint handling budget to either decrease or stay the same in the next 12 months.

    As a possible result of these stagnant budgets, many organizations are not taking advantage of technologies that enable more effective complaint management. Nearly half (44 percent of survey participants) are still using antiquated point solutions, paper-based systems, Excel or Access to support their complaint handling processes. Out of those that are deploying a point solution or centralized platform, only 10 percent of survey participants have leveraged cloud infrastructure.

    "Our report indicates that many organizations within highly-regulated industries are continuing to fight an uphill battle in order to overcome a number of complaint handling challenges," said Joe Humm, Vice President of Sales Operations at Sparta Systems. "In the long run, improving these processes and effectively leveraging customer complaint and quality management data will have a significant impact on a company's bottom line by minimizing the risk of compliance issues and faulty products while quickly escalating key issues to development teams and regulatory bodies."

    Additional findings of the survey include:

    • More than 90 percent of respondents indicated that between 0 – 10 percent of their complaint records were escalated to regulatory agencies.
    • Nearly a third (31 percent) of survey respondents indicated that they have never used complaint handling data to optimize the design of their complaint handling process. 
    • Uses for complaint handling data were nearly split evenly across: improving manufacturing processes (27 percent), escalating key issues to regulatory bodies (23 percent), looking for data signals (24 percent) and informing product innovation or improvement opportunities (23 percent).
    • Major challenges to managing complaints across the enterprise include: implementation of knowledge to actionable insights, system design/capture of appropriate data, transposing data from reporter to complaint professional, employee training to enter data and processing of data for signal identification.

    The full Quality Management Industry Insights Report also includes findings based on anonymized data from Sparta'sValue Assessment and Strategic Planning (VASP) program, which helps businesses benchmark their own performance against others in the industry using similar quality management solutions. To access a full copy of the report, please visit: The Quality Management Industry Insights Report.

    Sparta Systems provides quality management and supplier collaboration solutions that enable and connect the quality business network. By leveraging these solutions, organizations in highly-regulated industries are able to achieve compliance and enhance traceability through proactive management of quality and safety processes. To learn more visit

    Survey Methodology 

    The 2017 Industry Insights Survey was conducted by issuing fourteen questions related to an organization's handling of complaint records or inquiries. Those individuals who received the survey represented a variety of job functions in companies of varying size, and had at least a manager title or above. Survey results were derived from the responses of 148 respondents, and contain no iterations, assumptions or inferences. Additionally, incomplete responses, non-selections, and extreme outliers were left out of the individual sections, and percentages were rounded to the nearest value.


    About Sparta Systems

    Founded in 1994, Sparta Systems is the world’s premier provider of cloud and on-premise quality management software. We offer the solutions, analytics, and expertise that speed up quality and compliance. Our solutions help to lower risk, increase efficiency, and keep consumers safe while allowing manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors to collaborate in a seamless and integrated environment. Sparta is privately owned and headquartered in Hamilton N.J, with offices across Europe and Asia. We support close to 1 million users across 700+ implementations, in more than 30 countries. Companies in life sciences, consumer products, discrete manufacturing and more, rely on Sparta.

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