Solve the track/trace puzzle with quality control

Track and trace hubbub--about upcoming mandate deadlines, RFID versus 2D barcode technology, and exhortations from our government's executive branch to an otherwise occupied Congress--truly detracts from the problem at hand: getting a functional system in place.

A national track and trace system needs to be thought through, certainly, but it doesn't have to come out of the box perfect. And such a system may or may not be as technically difficult as is often portrayed.

Simon Ellis of IDC Manufacturing Insights says in SearchManufacturingERP that at least some of the technology is already available, though it may not fit the common track-and-trace picture.

Some companies believe that a quality control operation can be set up to both prevent recalls and track them, says the practice director for supply chain strategies. He's talking about manufacturing in general, but many of the tools he describes are being fortified with pharma-specific functionality.

Big-name vendors of enterprise resource planning software and supply chain management software provide "some form of traceability," according to the article. Oracle, for one, includes a pre-built module for serialization and tracking in its Application Integration Architecture 3.1, released in February.

Ellis' view is in line with that of supply chain solutions provider Global Healthcare Exchange. GHX is leading a cross-industry project currently in its second phase, which involves the building of a healthcare track and trace prototype.

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