The requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act are fairly strict. Companies that will be best able to handle these new regulations are those that use data capture in order to register where a product's raw materials are coming from and who shipped them. The unique device identification rule is fairly similar, and will affect companies that produce medical equipment. Healthcare Packaging, an industry news source, recently compared these two rules and found that those that produce a manifold number of health products, including both medical devices and pharmaceuticals, will be able to use similar technology to handle both requirements.
"There are differences in the data transfer and management between the two which will determine complexity of software and IT systems," Tim Kearns, national account manager for Videojet, a company that produces products for the medical industry among others, said to Healthcare Packaging. "Yet, looking at the code itself, we can highlight the important aspects of each, shared or distinct."
Businesses that have data collection software will be in a better position to handle the rules as they come into effect over the following years. Having a mobile data capture solution will be even better, as workers can then use barcode scanners to tag items as soon as they come into the factories. Supply chain managers can then utilize mobile enterprise applications in order to study the information as soon as it comes in, using their tablets or other devices.
The actual requirements involve putting relevant product identifiers on the finished package, along with automatic identification and data capture codes. To generate the data and be able to track finished products along with their ingredients, companies will need to be able to source the products. This means recording the raw materials manufacturers through to the carriers moving the products into the factories. It also means recording the finished goods as they move from the factories to the warehouses where the products are then sold to local retailers.
All of this will require a great deal of information, and the best way to capture the data will be with a simple method that those in the manufacturing industry will quickly be able to adapt to the many different purposes the government requires. This means barcodes and scanners, followed by databases that store the relevant information along with the names of all the carriers, manufacturers, factories and warehouses that followed in the wake of the products before they arrive in stores. This information must be kept for seven years in order to ensure that any recalls can happen quickly and effectively even a after the items have been in stores.
Those in the industry already know that the world of supply chains has become very complex. According to Securing Industry, a supply chain site, pharmaceutical logistics have expanded in the same way that every industry has grown. There are 150 different countries that ship raw materials to the U.S., and now the government will require its medical companies to record this information and keep it handy in case of recalls. Since many supply chain experts don't even know who their carriers are, it will become increasingly important to have sufficient tracking through the use of mobile devices that can tag shipments as soon as they arrive on the factory floor. This way nothing can slip through the cracks.
Companies that do this will have the additional advantage of knowing where all of their products have come from, so they can figure out the best strategy for hiring carriers specific to different factories and parts of the U.S. Hiring the right suppliers will also become easier as data capture becomes emphasized even more than it already is now in the industry.
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