No matter what industry you are in, you’ve probably noticed the increasing importance of supply chain visibility, the ability to look into the supply chain and see where products are and where they have been. Consumers are thinking more about it because they want to be sure that the foods they eat and the drugs they take are authentic. Distributors and logistics providers need visibility to ensure their best performance. Producers and processors, meanwhile, want to maintain consumer confidence and brand integrity.
Serialization is an essential aspect of visibility. If a company wants to be able to see what’s happening in the supply chain, it must be able to identify individual products as they move through it. While tracking batches or lots provides some visibility, the most accurate track and trace comes when we can uniquely identify each item. That’s serialization. It’s what will enable people to go to the market, scan a package of fish, and know when and where the fish was caught. Serialization is what will enable you to visit the pharmacy and see exactly where your medications come from.
For companies in the supply chain, serialization means the ability to do targeted recalls—to recall only the exact items affected by the recall and not an entire product line. Finding where across the supply chain counterfeits were introduced or where products were diverted is much easier when each item is identifiable.
IRIS’ serialization capabilities, including anti-counterfeiting features like randomization, are designed to simplify the process of adding serialization to the supply chain.
The process of serializing individual items generates tremendous volumes of data. Companies that once might have been tracking shipments consisting of a few pallets now need to track shipments containing hundreds of thousands of items. The resulting data can help companies learn more about their supply chains, and enable them to more efficiently respond to problems with their products. But, collecting all of this data isn’t useful unless it can be accessed quickly.
Companies need instant answers to questions like “where did that item come from?” or “who did we send contaminated product to?” And with consumer safety, profitability and brand reputation on the line, they need those answers within minutes rather than days.
IRIS is designed to provide robust performance even under heavy data loads.
About Art Kaufmann
Art Kaufmann serves as Chief Software Architect at Frequentz. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science from UCLA. Prior to Frequentz, Art was Senior Software Engineer for IBM’s Infosphere Traceability Server and Software Engineer for FileTek, a provider of large-scale storage virtualization, data management, and information governance solutions. Art also enjoyed a long tenure at Teradata, the world’s leading analytic data solutions company, where he was Senior Software Engineer. Art is an active member in the GS1 US Healthcare Secure Supply Chain Working Group and the GS1 EPCIS 1.1. Standards Maintenance Working Group.