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Wholesale Distribution Industry Outlook: Traceability

The first blog in this Wholesale Distribution Industry Outlook blog series covered the topic of Operational Mobility.  Today, let’s look at the topic of traceability, and specifically how it is impacting healthcare and food distribution. 

Traceability has and continues to be a hot topic across the many industries that wholesale distributors serve with food and healthcare among those facing the most scrutiny. By receiving warehousing and distributing manufacturers’ products to retailers, wholesale distributors play a key role in the manufacturers’ ability to trace their products.

HEALTHCARE

With the rise in prescription counterfeiting, regulations will soon call for wholesale distributors to validate authentication of prescription drugs. Starting in 2015, some wholesale distributors will need capabilities to maintain transaction information for all previous transfers of ownership, as well as maintain and share data on products as they move throughout their segment of the supply chain. With the new regulations calling for unit level serialization, the volume of data that will be required for compliance will be immense. Although several years away, wholesale distributors should start working with their pharmaceutical clients to align processes and technology efforts.

FOOD

Food safety and traceability are very popular topics among consumers today, and many food companies are focusing efforts to trace their food from farm to table. A number of wholesale distributors have already been approached by food manufacturers requesting support of traceability initiatives. Most frequently, wholesale distributors are being asked to change their labeling, such that downstream retailers can continue the products’ traceability. Distributors are also being asked to capture key supply chain information, such as receiving, manufacturing, and distribution, and to provide this information back to the food company that is ultimately responsible for the products. If not already engaged in the process, wholesale distributors should proactively gather requirements from their key food manufacturers to try to consolidate requirements and a build a single solution that will, as best as possible, meet all their customers’ needs.

LOOKING AHEAD

• Have you proactively connected with your manufacturers to understand their current and future traceability needs?
• How can your solution scale to meet future traceability regulations and customer needs?
• How can you leverage this traceability data to improve operations?

Our next topic in this Wholesale Distribution series will address the continually expanding business model of the industry.

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