California distributor/contract packager goes live with IBM serialization solution

May 5, 2009
Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - May 2009,

Golden State Medical isn’t waiting until 2015 for item-level serialization

The IBM InfoSphere Traceability Server (renamed last fall from a Websphere product) is up and running at Golden State Medical Supply (GSMS; Camarillo, CA), where it has been installed on a packaging line used by the company to package a wide range of pharmaceuticals. GSMS provides two services, especially to smaller branded and generics manufacturers: to repackage their bulk products and to distribute them nationally. “One way or another, serialization and authentication is coming,” says Jim Stroud, president, in referring to the postponements that e-pedigree programs have had, in California and nationally, in the past year. “We decided to get together and make this happen.”

Golden State employs 2D barcodes on the labels it attaches to prescription bottles, and then an RFID tag at the case level. Cases are read as they leave the production line (tags and readers from Alien Technologies are being used). The current capacity is 600,000 bottles/month, says Stroud, and the company is planning to enlarge that as it grows.

The IBM Traceability solution records tag and barcode data, and makes it available to queries or reports following the EPCIS standard of the GS1 organization. A separate IBM application, E-Pedigree, can produce pedigree reports where necessary. Golden State is in the process of building out the rest of its IT infrastructure (including an ERP system for overall business management) and once those parts are in place, it will be able to use the packaging serialization data for business optimization goals.

Jennifer McGuinn, marketing manager at IBM, says that the project demonstrates three goals: that manufacturers are moving forward with serialization projects to secure their supply chains; that EPCIS-compliant IT systems can be used by Small Pharma and not just Big Pharma; and that there is business value to be obtained from use of EPCIS serial data in logistics and trading-partner applications.