Accenture releases results of RFID test program

Accenture releases results of RFID test program

George Koroneos

After two months of testing and a year of designing, Accenture (Chicago, IL, www.accenture.com) has released the results of its radio frequency identification (RFID) prototype program targeting the pharmaceutical supply chain. Working with nine companies, including Pfizer, CVS Pharmacy, and Johnson & Johnson, Accenture tracked nearly 13,500 pharmaceutical packages using Manhattan Associates’ middleware; Marries tags, readers and antennas; and Dell servers. “Accenture worked with pharmaceutical companies In pull together a proof of concept implementation of the use of RFID throughout the supply chain,” says Greg Gilbert, director of RFID solutions at Manhattan Associates (Atlanta, GA, www.manh.com).

The program involved the tracking of 10 real products through 15 locations. Manufacturers were required to verily, readability of the tags before applying them to the products, and then track them through the supply chain. According to a report released by Accenture, the project team was able to read 98.6% of the case tags. When units were inside a case, the team was able to read 96.8% of the unit tags.”

Several different scenarios were run, including recalls and product security. Accenture also worked with the Food and Drug Administration’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force to learn more about how RFID can be used to snag counterfeit and gray-market drugs before they get to the street.

“We demonstrated that you can indeed create all RFID-enabled supply chain, and [build] a sate and secure environment in terms of track and trace of product at the item level–from the manufacturer to point of dispensing,” says Jaime Hintlian, a partner in Accenture’s health and life sciences practice.

Accenture concluded that even though the project reached all its stated objectives, “full-scale implementation on an industry wide basis will be more complex than many believe, requiring more time than anticipated to refine issues unique to the pharmaceutical industry.”

A second series of tests will begin early next year to gauge the business value of RFID within the pharmaceutical supply chain.

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