Across many industries today there is a need to have tighter control of product as it moves through the supply chain. The reasons behind this are many:
- Increased regulatory pressure (Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), plus many other national and international drivers
- Management of counterfeit and diversion issues and an ever-increasing need to allow for the personalization of orders to end customers.
One of the ways that companies can achieve this control and visibility is through the process of serializing products. The challenge lies in developing a serialization solution that can be tightly integrated into the process of manufacturing, packaging and distributing products without significantly impacting the velocity of product moving through the supply chain.
When looking to implement a serialization solution it is important to look at a cross-functional solution that can be leveraged and updated as product moves through the internal and external supply chain. Serialization data that is created during manufacturing and packaging can be used during the distribution process in order to ensure that the product being shipped exactly matches the product that has been ordered. The returns process can be significantly improved by utilizing serialization data to capture the process. Field inspectors and even end consumers can use the serialized data to ensure that product is genuine has not been recalled or diverted.
There are a couple of key building blocks that are required in order to support a serialization initiative. The first is a serialization repository where all of the serialization data is housed along with the related business data needed to tie serialization events to business events. The second is a robust data collection and execution system that can mirror the physical processes on the shop floor with the business systems. Once these two building blocks are in place you can start the process of developing a serialized supply chain that will not only allow for regulatory compliance, but will allow you to develop a true ROI on your investment.