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Cardinal Health Releases RFID Pilot Results

Cardinal Health Releases RFID Pilot Results in a recent news release. They report,

Test data shows promise and gaps of the technology that will affect widespread adoption across pharmaceutical industry

The aims of the RFID pilot program were as follows:

The pilot program tested whether ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification (RFID) tags could be applied, encoded and read at normal production speeds during packaging and distribution of pharmaceuticals. Verifying the authenticity of medications along each step of the distribution process adds an additional layer of security to lessen the chance of counterfeit pharmaceuticals entering the supply chain. It is also hoped that RFID data could improve efficiencies in the supply chain.

The results of the pilot program:

Overall data collected by Cardinal Health supports the theory that RFID technology using UHF as a single frequency at the unit, case and pallet levels is feasible for track and trace. However, several challenges remain before it can be adopted industry-wide. Some of those challenges include:

  • Technology and process improvements to achieve:
  • Case-level reads in excess of 99 percent at all case reading stations;
  • Unit-level read rates in excess of 99 percent when reading from tote containers at the distribution center and pharmacy locations;
  • Allowing unit-level “inference” to become acceptable practice in the normal distribution process at stages where unit-level read rates are unreliable, but case level reads approach 100 percent (*Three stages marked in chart above);
  • Barcode technology to be used as complementary and redundant technology to RFID;
  • Management of the cost impact to implement and sustain the technology;
  • Improved collaboration across the industry to identify opportunities to significantly improve efficiency.

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Category: RFID, Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain News


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November 2006