The year is drawing to a close and the holidays and their accompanying chaos are hard upon us. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, or even Festivus (the holiday for the rest of us), the swirl of additional activity and mega multitasking is inescapable. So rather than some weighty blog post on some obscure labeling topic, and in the holiday spirit of give and take, I thought I’d throw out some valuable business commentary and ask for a little help with definitions in return.
Business terms come and go and after a certain time become as stale as a piece of moldy bread. CBS News recently published a piece called ‘Ten things you should never say at the office‘. I can safely report that at least half of them are in common use at the Advanced Web Intergalactic HQ. We seem to be constantly reaching out to whomever, leveraging our contacts, expertise, or data, and often describe such efforts, when asked to elaborate, by saying it is what it is. We have also had a number of cutting edge solutions which were a great value-add, and we have often circled back to review them and make sure there was no disconnect in the solution. It’s all pure unadulterated crap of course, language that really means nothing and adds nothing of value to any conversation.
A few years back the Harvard Business Review published an article called, ‘The Smart Talk Trap’. It needs to be purchased, Fair Harvard ain’t giving away any content when it can pad its endowment, but it’s worth the read. If you are in a company that drags you into endless meetings where the articulate babble endlessly about solutions rather than actually implementing any of them, you will recognize all the warning signs. If you are the quiet type that would enjoy ‘getting a leg up on’ the people in those meetings that pontificate on anything and everything, the following BS tool is for you.
I’d like to give credit for this priceless gem but all I have is an ancient copy with the three columns on it and no clue where it came from or who gave it to me. I think former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan inspired it with his painfully stilted language whenever he made a public pronouncement. It does work superbly however. Three numbers are picked randomly and you just string the three corresponding words into an official sounding phrase of pure horse manure. For example, I was sitting in a meeting one afternoon a few years back, trying to decide whether knife, gun, or rope would be preferable to sitting through the meetings end. I noticed it was 4:15pm, had my chart, and offered the opinion that, “having our customer service people handle the finished goods inventory task was most certainly a functional organizational concept”. I had a couple blank stares, a couple nodded heads, and suddenly I became the World’s Smartest Man. In that meeting anyhow. Had I waited until 4:20, an auspicious time in its own right, I could have easily dropped functional monitored options into that phrase without changing the meaning, uselessness, or the banality one bit. Try it, I guarantee people will treat you with a new respect plus their reaction will confirm the thesis offered in the Smart Talk article. Have fun!
|0. integrated||0. management||0. options|
|1. total||1. organizational||1. flexibility|
|2. systematized||2. monitored||2. capability|
|3. parallel||3. reciprocal||3. mobility|
|4. functional||4. digital||4. programming|
|5. responsive||5. logistical||5. concept|
|6. optional||6. transitional||6. time phase|
|7. synchronized||7. incremental||7. projection|
|8. compatible||8. third generation||8. hardware|
|9. balanced||9. policy||9. contingency|
I would like to get some feedback on a couple terms since I’ve given you, the readers, this priceless meeting phrase tool. As we know, our labels in the medical device industry need to be affixed and legible. In your company or companies that you have worked in, how exactly do they define those terms? With permanent adhesive we have a paper fiber tear test that is performed on every job at Advanced Web. The label is applied to the paper QC folder and there must be either paper tear of the label or fiber tear of the QC folder. That confirms permanent adhesive rather than a removable and is a very objective test. As far as legibility the criteria are a bit more subjective. The EU’s lengthy and descriptively titled guidance, ‘Guideline on the Readability of the Labeling and Package Leaflet of Medicinal Products for Human Use’ very simply states, “The package leaflet should be legible, clear and easy to read in all EEA languages”. UL 969, a test standard for which we have a number of approved label systems here at Advanced Web, describes their test process. Legibility Test – Printing shall be legible. Label surfaces are to be rubbed with thumb or finger back and forth ten times with a downward force of approximately 4 pounds (18 N). Requirement: Printing shall be legible. Perhaps the word legible simply defines itself. Merriam-Webster tells us that the word means, “capable of being read or deciphered”. Maybe this affixed and legible requirement is much, much simpler than we are making it out to be. Does it stick to the package and can we read or decipher it? If so, all is well but we all know and deal with the maze of testing, qualification, and process and regulatory angst has risen around these two simple words.
If you can find it in your hearts this holiday season to email or call me with a brief description of how your current or past places of employment define and verify these two requirements I would be very grateful. Once I compile the information that I’ve received from reaching out to you, I can leverage it and generate a document that will have major value add, be a significant game changer, and perhaps even go viral in the medical device labeling world. Once packaging people have been socialized to use this cutting edge tool, we can circle back to explore possibly getting it accepted as an ASTM guidance. After all, it is what it is. Happy holidays everyone!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.706.3742. I guarantee it will increase your self esteem.