While complete product identification and traceability is a relatively modern concept within supply chain control and management, it has become a strategic consideration for companies that wish to meet food and pharmaceutical safety, legislative or economic imperatives.
Although not yet a legislative requirement in South Africa, serialisation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of effective product identification and traceability. Zetes South Africa, a leading provider of supply chain, identification and mobility solutions, is showcasing the company’s expertise in the field of serialisation at Propak Africa 2013.
A manufacturer’s ability to affix unique random codes to individual packages, to show a lot number, expiry date, product and serialisation codes via Datamatrix and also secure checkout at point of sale, eliminates risk, improves traceability, combats counterfeiting and ensures regulatory compliance.
“Serialisation is the first and a very important step in the product identification and traceability process,” comments Karin Parker, Senior Executive – Marketing for Zetes South Africa. “The process, however, involves several more steps, including product validation and verification, primary labelling and data aggregation, followed by secondary and pallet identification.”
Effective product ID and traceability systems are being used within various industries as they improve the management of risks related to product safety and guarantee the authenticity of the product through provision of reliable information. Ultimately, product quality throughout the supply chain is enhanced.
Serialisation in the European pharmaceutical industry
Action by the FDA (Food & Drugs Administration) in the United States, the EMA (European Medicines Agency) in Europe, and GS1 has resulted in a strong trend among industrialists to turn towards a unit processing rather than batch processing solution. The benefit of each product having its own identity makes it possible to track the product from its origin through the supply chain into the hands of the consumer.
While serialisation is being implemented in various forms internationally, the entire European pharmaceutical industry is the first to implement legislation around the mandatory serialisation of pharmaceutical products.
“The case for serialisation and therefore reliable traceability within the pharmaceutical industry extends beyond regulatory compliance,” comments Alex Driesen, MD for Zetes South Africa. “It addresses the issue of drug counterfeiting and hence public health and safety.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), one of the largest bio-pharmaceutical producers in the world, produces 400 million boxes of medicine at its production sites in France. In order to comply with French legislation, which requires every pharmaceutical product distributed on the French market to be marked with a Datamatrix code, BMS partnered with Zetes in the design, production and installation of 25 machines for the purposes of serialisation.
The machines were constructed in line with BMS’ strict requirements with regards to marking, labelling, sealing, quality control and performance. At a rate of 400 containers per minute per packaging line, the machines installed enable BMS to fully control the quality of identified products.
Supply chain execution solutions from Zetes at Propak Africa 2013
Zetes will also use Propak Africa 2013 to highlight additional packaging line solutions it offers.
Manufacturing success depends on numerous factors, and knowledge of all activity in the production line is key. The collection of data that reveals what has taken place at any stage of the process uses Image ID to log all relevant information.
Promotional labelling campaigns are an effective way of improving ID and Zetes can offer a solution that places marketing and brand ID within the reach of the manufacturing environment. In doing this, Zetes is able to take the burden off the customer in the physical application of a promotional labelling campaign.
The recently launched MD3000e is a unique labelling device in that it is 38% smaller than a typical Print & Apply machine. It gives users all the standard functionality expected of a Zetes print and apply solution, including high-speed labelling at item, box, bag and tray level. Furthermore, the MD3000e contributes to reduced manufacturing costs through 68% lower operational energy consumption.
“Product safety throughout the supply chain is a global imperative and while the packaging line is only one aspect of this process, it plays a vital role in achieving the requisite safety standards,” concludes Driesen.
Visit Zetes in Hall 7 at stand 7C5 at Propak 2013. For more information on Zetes’ serialisation, product identification and traceability solutions, visit www.zetes.co.za.