Compliance and connectivity now, insights later.
Compliance—it’s on everyone’s mind right now, and the clock is ticking. Whether you are impacted by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in the United States or the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) in the European Union, regulations aren’t optional. They are the cost of doing business.
As the clock counts down to November 2017, pharmaceutical companies and trading partners need to make some important choices. Compliance is the goal, but can you also use this requirement as a reason to actually improve your business over time?
Consider these three tips to help guide you through selecting the right serialization platform that offers compliance and connectivity to get you to December 2017. But it is also important to find the best partner for the future—a partner who can help position your company as a more agile and data-driven organization.
1. Choose a Serialization Platform Compatible with Data Standards
One of the most challenging elements of any serialization project is effectively managing integration points with partners, such as contract manufacturers, third-party logistics (3PL) or government agencies. Successful integrations rely on the ability to connect and align various networks seamlessly. Leveraging the GS1 EPCIS standard is critical for efficient and optimal integration among partners and customers.
Watch out for out-of-the-box platforms that don’t leverage standards. These platforms often reduce flexibility and extensibility and can increase costs and communication throughout your supply chain. What if you switch partners down the road? Unless you are using a platform that supports data standards, you can be at risk for losing connectivity with new partners or be on the hook for expensive new integrations.
Instead, focus on the data and required integration points that you need to meet serialization compliance, as well as to obtain optimal insights that will make business improvements. Keep in mind that insights—not connectivity—are the key to building an intelligent supply chain that allows you to move beyond compliance into end-to-end visibility. You may not need it today, but you will want it tomorrow to maintain a competitive edge.
2. Identify a Serialization Platform That Benefits Your Entire Business Long Term
For some, finding the right serialization partner comes down to simply selecting the platform that can deliver compliance prior to the November 2017 deadline. But, that shouldn’t be your only goal.
If your company is looking beyond 2017, you want serialization with a proven business value beyond compliance. You want a platform that can improve your overall operations and offers robust data collection, flexible reporting, and automated implementation tools.
When doing your partner evaluations, make sure you understand both sides of the coin. Ask about your potential partner’s process for efficient and quick implementation so you can lock in compliance first. And before you move on to the next potential partner, find out how each one plans to support you in the future.
With the right partner and platform, you will get everything you need: compliance, simplified integrations, and the building blocks for a platform that can set your business up for future enhancements and better business insights.
3. Simplify the Parameters and Focus on Quality
When evaluating options, think about what really matters over the long run. Partner readiness and experience can lower total cost of ownership and increase quality of data, so check history, tenure, references, and samples of their work.
Ask your potential serialization provider to shed light on their expertise and ability to identify the production line and partner capacity insights throughout your supply chain. Ask about product paths and duration to 3PL providers as well, as these all can impact costs over time.
For example, with precise track-and-trace data, we can now understand the exact number of salable units produced on any given day, within a specific range of hours and on any production line. Insights can also be generated for dwell time or the time it takes to get items through a location, allowing for greater decision-making on how quickly product moves through the internal supply chain, and helping identify possible bottlenecks in the process.
A serialization platform can help you understand item loss disbursement due to quality issues and general process inefficiencies to focus on reducing these problems directly in your supply chain and partner network.
Moreover, integrating track and trace allows you to determine product paths and duration to 3PL, providers or wholesalers, even directly to consumers with one integrated platform that prioritizes insights over basic connections. You want a partner that understands these connection points and can advise you through the process of applying them to your business.
Pinpointing exact costs and implementation timelines can be complicated with partners that are less transparent. With regulation deadlines looming, look for the serialization software partner that will provide openness and the flexibility to meet your exact requirements for both the tools and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Value is in the (Data) Details
Choosing a serialization platform partner isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be difficult. Look for partners that offer a fast and efficient deployment strategy now, as well as a foundation that supports future data-driven business improvements. Compliance and connectivity are vital in the near term, but your serialization partner should also help you access insights beyond the connections that offer value in the long term and improve TCO.