A pharmaceutical company that supplies over 400,000 highly valuable medical devices to hospitals and clinics throughout the United States and abroad needed to provide periodic maintenance and refurbishment during the device lifecycle. Previously, the company identified and tracked refurbished medical devices manually—receiving the machines from the manufacturer, opening each individually, reviewing the serial number, repackaging and shipping to the final destination, where the same process would be repeated. Because of this manual process, there was no way of properly tracking the delivery of these medical devices to the intended hospitals and since there are often 20-30 surgical suites at each hospital there was even less likelihood that once within the hospital, these machines could be tracked to the suite in which they resided—making regular maintenance tracking an utter nightmare.
The pharmaceutical company needed a way to automate the tracking and maintenance schedules of these machines a) to keep them well maintained, b) for better inventory accuracy and c) to have better visibility into hospital usage. The latter was extremely important because the medical devices are used in conjunction with the company’s medicine. Therefore, if a hospital is not using the medical equipment, then the company also knows that they are not using the corresponding medicine. When made aware of the situation, the pharmaceutical company can make the appropriate follow ups to determine why the drug is no longer in use and whether they can re-engage with the hospital or clinic to get them using it again or need to remove the equipment.
The company decided to implement a pilot using the ACSIS Asset Traceability solution, a solution for providing visibility and management of asset movement and usages within the extended supply chain. The company is a long-standing ACSIS customer and partner, having leveraged ACSIS’ leading track and trace solutions for more than ten years to meet mandates and regulatory compliance. Previous engagements focused on being reactive to these mandates:
the medical device project would be the first time that the pharmaceutical company focused on proactive remediation using ACSIS’ technology. Moreover, this was the first time that the company would leverage a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
ACSIS ‘Asset solution was selected for this project because it is a web-based solution that allows authorized users to access the system for real-time visibility and to perform authorized transactions from any computer or mobile device that has Internet access. The ACSIS solution was easily configured to conform to certain business requirements, allowing only authorized users to perform transactions and to work pre-defined process flows. For example: a device may only be shipped to a refurbishing location from a hospital location, whereas the same kind of device can be shipped to any location from the company’s distribution center.
ACSIS also provided support for serialized label tagging, allowing labels/tags to be printed and applied to the medical device packaging for easier shipping, receiving and other supply chain movements. This feature is unique to ACSIS and is a competitive differentiator as other vendors only offered RFID tagging which can cause issues when working with independent manufacturers and distributors who may be using alternative tracking technology. ACSIS is the only company that can support any device and barcode or RFID tag information. Additionally, the solution offers the ability to pack unlimited recorded serialized items onto a pallet or container, assign a unique identity to the pallet/container and then perform supply chain movements at that level for increased productivity and efficiency.
ACSIS Asset Traceability enables full traceability and immediate access to all transaction history, current item status and availability, proactive maintenance scheduling, warnings and alerts to irregular movement or status changes/behavior and database reporting.
Being a global organization, the company needed to adhere to the various track and trace regulations that each country imposes. ACSIS helped integrate numerous compliant solutions with the technology as new regulations were required.
As part of the pilot, the company enlisted one of its delivery facilities and one of its refurbishment centers, and to date, the ACSIS Asset Management system has been eagerly accepted and integrated due to its simplicity, ease-of-use and automation of existing manual processes.
ACSIS Asset Traceability has standard capability to seamlessly integrate with the company’s SAP systems and to facilitate serialized number management and post or import transactions and data. Moreover, the solution works with any handheld scanner, ensuring the utmost in accuracy because serial numbers do not need to be keyed in manually.
The solution offers the ability to print barcodes for the outside of packages, removing the need for the company and its hospitals and clinics to manually open each individual medical device for cataloging.