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The Open Serialization Communication Standard (Open-SCS) Group, a collection of healthcare sector companies dedicated to standardizing packaging line serialization and aggregation data exchanges, reports steady progress in its goal of drafting a core set of industry-wide serialization standards.
The group gathered for a three-day meeting in 24-26 January 2017 at Antares Vision headquarters in Brescia, Italy.
The Open-SCS initiative came about in response to recognition that, although a plethora of serialization solutions already exists, an open communication standard independent of proprietary architectures and data exchange protocols could provide a significant advantage for all members of the supply chain challenged by pending serialization deadlines. Driven by leading serialization and technology solution vendors – including ACG Pharma Technologies, Adents, Advanco, Antares Vision, Arvato, Laetus, OCS, Omron, Optel Vision, Rockwell Automation, SAP, Systech, TraceLink, TradeTicity, Ulhmann Packaging Systems, Vantage Consulting Group, and Werum IT Solutions – the Open-SCS group also includes global pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Abbott, Pfizer, Roche and Teva.
The January meeting registered record attendance, with 18 companies joining the group of vendors and pharmaceutical companies, along with more than 60 delegates of the technical group and steering committees. Several guest companies were invited, with the hopes of expanding membership. At the session, the group built on the progress made at last September’s meeting, when connectivity between Level 3 (production plant/distribution center) and Level 4 (enterprise stage) was demonstrated for what the group has dubbed Use Case 1: Serial Number Provisioning.
The effort showed the potential for a common, interoperable standard for the exchange of serialization information from a site server to the enterprise layer, which helps lay the foundation for realization of the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) across the pharmaceutical ecosystem. At January’s meeting, the group refined the standard of Use Case 1, with seven vendors able to successfully demonstrate the proper communications for it.
Marcel de Grutter, Executive Director of the Open-SCS Group, happily shared the evaluation by a workshop attendee, who said, "This was the most effective and best led standardization working session I have ever attended. I was very impressed with the way problems were addressed and solutions proposed."
The committee reviewed and edited the draft of URS and FRS for Use Cases 1, 2, and 4, and made progress on specifications for Use Case 3 (Batch Master Data). Additionally, preliminary tests were conducted on Use Case 2 (Unused Serial Numbers Reporting) and Use Case 4 (Serialization Events Reporting).
"This meeting was a shining example of how competitors and partners can together deliver a standard specification for the good of the healthcare industry and its customers," said Charlie Gifford, technical director of the Open-SCS Group. "Accomplishments included making a decision to run a survey of vendors and users regarding the next steps needed to develop communication standards between Level 2 and Level 2A, and refining the strategy needed to ensure the widest diffusion and adoption of the standard."
"Standards are only meaningful only if they are widely adopted," said Adriano Fusco, marketing director of the Open-SCS Group and Director of Strategy and Development for Antares Vision, "and we are confident the model we defined and agreed to in this meeting will enjoy expedient and widespread adoption."
Companies seeking more information, or who wish to join the Open-SCS Group, can contact its marketing director, Adriano Fusco, at Adriano.firstname.lastname@example.org.