How do you add pharmaceutical serialization to your WMS, and how does it differ from retail serialization? 2D barcodes provide the advantage.
The major challenge of pharmaceutical serialization is the track-and-trace component that requires the WMS to know where each serial number is at all times for every pharmaceutical product. These products tend to be relatively small, and there may be thousands per pallet that need to be tracked.
“Having set this precedent with pharmaceutical serialization, it’s not crazy to think that future federal regulations could involve retail serialization.”
Seth Patin, President
To avoid slowing day-to-day operations at MD Logistics, while still keeping track of which serial numbers are associated with which inventory, Accelogix enabled MD to scan single barcodes for cases and pallets of pharmaceutical products. This, coupled with the ability to scan 2D barcodes on individual products to retrieve information, like the product’s serial number, expiration dates, and lot number in a single scan, allowed MD to trace pharmaceutical products at all levels and pull pertinent information at any time.
Pharmaceutical Serialization for Federal Compliance
The new FDA regulations aim to prevent contaminated drugs from making their way to consumers by implementing pharmaceutical serialization and track-and-trace protocols. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act is a federal response to the failure of state-level regulations to efficiently locate and quarantine contaminated pharmaceuticals.
Having set this precedent with pharmaceutical serialization, it’s not crazy to think that future federal regulations could involve retail serialization.
Serialization could easily be applied to businesses distributing cosmetic or household products that contain certain compounds. In MD Logistics’ case, their retail clients hold them to a high standard of operational excellence, and a degree of retail serialization was needed to keep up with the ever-changing nature of the retail supply chain.
Track and Trace Retail Serialization with a Single Barcode Scan
Some retail clients require the unique serial numbers for specific products to be captured and associated with the inventory being shipped out. On the outside of a case of these products, there is a label that has all the human readable serial numbers for that case, along with a small 1D barcode of each serial number. At the bottom of that label is a 2D barcode that contains all the serials for that case, but MD Logistics’ existing serial capture method only supported scanning 1D barcodes.
Instead of scanning each tiny 1D barcode, Accelogix helped enable pickers to capture every serial number in one scan of the 2D barcode. This decreased the margin of error for mis-scanning and increased productivity by reducing the number of scans.
The Advantage of Customizing WMS for 2D Barcodes
A 2D barcode can hold over 30 times more data than conventional 1D barcodes, consolidating the information of many 1D barcodes into one scan. 2D barcodes also tend to be easier to scan because they can be enlarged. When trying to generate a 1D barcode with the same amount of information, the barcode will become too long to effectively capture with a scanner.
Moving from 1D to 2D barcodes requires WMS modifications to allow new 2D scanners to communicate with existing systems. Customizing a WMS and upgrading scanners to leverage 2D barcodes has its short-term costs, but they are nominal compared to the long-term advantages 2D barcodes offer. See how collaborating with Accelogix for bulk retail and pharmaceutical serialization gave MD Logistics a competitive advantage in this case study.
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