Advantages of Using Packaging Serialization in the Pharma Industry
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Pharma Tech Outlook: Pharma Tech Magazine

Advantages of Using Packaging Serialization in the Pharma Industry

Pharma Tech Outlook | Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Pharmaceutical businesses must realize the evolving and underappreciated business value of track-and-trace packaging technology to protect pharmaceutical supplies.

FREMONT, CA: As the pharmaceutical sector proceeds to comply with serialization necessities to safeguard prescription drug supplies, companies realize that their massive investments in time and money over the last decade have left them feeling "unaccomplished" in meeting supply chain safety regulations. While the compliance elements of drug serialization are rooted in protecting the public from possibly dangerous doses of fake or sub-standard drugs, the serialization solutions' structure is increasingly being recognized as a platform for creating increased business benefits beyond compliance.

Top 10 Pharma Packaging Solution Companies – 2020The placing of serial numbers on every level of packaging in the shape of a two-dimensional (2D) barcode, in effect, generates a unique "fingerprint" for the product in this developing ecosystem of serialized products. Then, as the product moves through the supply chain, barcode scans give every unit of sale a virtual time stamp. Paper-based invoicing and physical inventory records were required to monitor product movement, identify inventory levels, and reconcile commercial transactions in the conventional "pre-serialization" pharmaceutical supply network. But such systems cannot provide real-time visibility and control over the prescription drug market and are also highly inefficient.

The systems integration project to allocate and deploy encoded serial numbers to a hierarchy of product packaging forms and then to "warehouse" those codes produced an exciting result. The organization's packaging engineering efforts developed exceptional electronic "bonds" with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, enabling these new track-and-trace abilities. Brand managers have expanded their downstream visibility and control of their products due to collaborations between internal Information Technology (IT), production planning, and supply chain systems.

Today, in the age of ecommerce, every stakeholder in the approved drug trade, from manufacturers to retailers to patients, can use distinctively serialized barcodes as the "currency." Such a new connectivity platform can be used for different business purposes, including patients, medical personnel, or pharmaceutical companies. Serial numbers on the packaging will notify brand owners regarding inventory levels, shipping logistics, and supply or demand trends in a new world of optimized commerce with the minimum human element.

Pharma businesses' sales and marketing divisions can employ real-time scans of serialized products to better evaluate consumer loyalty, contract compliance, and new or lost business conditions, in addition, to supply chain enhancements. When supply chain partners coordinate in exchanging barcode scans in real-time, business analytics such as market share, order size, and sales fluctuations by location or time become nearly automatic. This new and improved drug distribution network has potential advantages to healthcare workers like prescribers, dispensers, and insurers, but mainly to patients who require genuine medicines timely.

Perhaps these ideas are premature for an industry like prescription medicine distribution, which has been allowed a certain level of "shade" in supply chain logistics. In the future, the industry will possibly be confronted with a disruptor capable of delivering prescription drugs to patients' homes, lowering distribution expenses, and speeding up delivery. But the serialization regulations must be fully adopted and applied. When the industry learns that serial numbers are the new trade currency, the drug manufacturing and distribution network will rapidly transform.

See Also: Top Supply Chain Solution Companies

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