Serialization mandates highlight need for expertise

If you're not among the 50 percent of the industry to have fully serialized at least one product line to the item level by the end of 2011 projected by IDC, it's time to get moving. Most regional legislation has target implementation dates of 2015 (e.g., California) and earlier.

And some mandates, like California's, have already received generous deadline extensions. More such gifts are unlikely. Growing attention to counterfeiting worldwide, at the highest levels of government, will only serve to hold your feet to the fire.

Mandate deadlines, technology choices and the scope of initiative make it easy to lose sight of a very important factor in serialization projects: Expertise. "Demand for qualified staffing will be huge," writes Hans Bijl in Next Generation Pharmaceutical. He's a business development manager at Siemens Industrial Automation Competence Centre Life Science in Belgium. So he wants you to know of Siemens's qualifications as a tech partner.

Regardless of whether you rely on a partner or grow your own technical expertise, there's no denying his point. He says the expertise has to be not just available but present in each region during roll-out for the effort to succeed.

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