Track and Trace (T&T) Systems Keeping Turkish Pharma Operations on Track
On January 1, 2012 Turkey became the first country in the world to implement comprehensive legislation on traceability for 100 percent of the medicines sold in its territory. Italian specialist Antares Vision has played a leading role in this transition, equipping more than 40 percent of Turkey’s pharma production lines.
The Turkish projects have included complete T&T equipment for more than 110 production lines, of which 80 were supplied in the second half of 2011. Antares Vision produced more than 300 standalone modules and installed over 1,000 inline cameras with the help of more than 50 field technicians.
This article describes how T&T systems were installed in the country’s largest manufacturing plant and the biggest distribution center. Both are owned by a major multinational pharma company which chose Antares Vision as a strategic partner for traceability.
The two projects were carried out in parallel and coordinated with each other. Their size and timing, as well as the results achieved, made them real benchmarks in the T&T market.
Complex Facilities Create Challenge
The production plant includes 24 lines for products in both solid and liquid form. Many of the lines have a high degree of automation, with bundlers, shrink wrappers, houses packers and even robotic palletizers. Alongside these, however, are lines that rely on manual handling to insert products into boxes and make up pallets.
Production typically takes place over two shifts, six days a week, yielding over 150 million sales units per year. The distribution center delivers over 200 million sales units per year. The average workload is 600 packing orders per day, but at peak periods the system must be able to manage up to 2,000 orders per day.
The introduction of the T&T regulation dramatically changed the packing procedures. Since all the items are different, the operators must now scan every product before placing it into a shipping case. Any latency in the response from the database would delay the packing and shipping operations and reduce the throughput of the entire plant.
As the various plants have grown up over time they have come to use a range of different software architectures. All these had to be interfaced so that the new T&T systems could acquire data on work orders and return serial numbers to be forwarded to the Ministry of Health.
Beside the dimension and complexity of the projects, another critical point was the very tight deadline. See next page …