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As people further understand the new federal legislation around track and trace, there seems to be some mixed messages around the implementation of the new law. Understanding the full impact of lot level reporting and determining when companies need to aggregate serialized item level data to the case are two areas that are hazy for many. There are a lot of different interpretations. Maybe it is time to take a look at the requirement to serialize product from a different perspective. Look at the supply chain issues that companies face today. Are there opportunities to provide an ROI on the serialization investment while keeping an eye to the future in order to support compliance?

In order to get the thought process rolling, I am going to throw out three reasons that companies should look at adding serialization today and not wait for the compliance-based solution to drive the process.

First thought – How does your returns process work?

Are you able to pinpoint the sale price of a particular item to to a particular customer, and are you able to quickly trace that back to the original sales document? Also, can you easily analyze that information to spot potential diversion or parallel trade issues? With a well thought out serialization strategy you can combine the ERP data and the serialization data to build out a much better picture of how product flows through your supply chain.

Second thought – How do you manage your outsourced partners?

Imagine if you could get quality statistics on every item managed by a third party, or know the status of a batch as soon as it is complete. Once you start to serialize product you can then add pieces of context data to the serial number and use that information to provide more granular information about your products and track their status throughout the supply chain. This enables tighter control of both processes and product quality across your partner network.

Third thought – How do you measure efficiency within your processes?

With serialization, you can start to view product movement at a level never before possible. And if done correctly, limited additional effort is required to capture that information. With serialization you can track internal processes at a much more granular level. You can then look to re-engineer processes using this new level of visibility.

In order to act on these ideas, you need to have a system that can look at the movement of data across multiple areas of your supply network. So don’t forget to include receiving, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and third party processes in your plans.

For more information, read our blog on The Path to Serialization and an overview of enterprise serialization.