Delivery date predictions are undermined by inaccurate data and this can threaten the reliability of supply. By collecting data from pharma packaging operations using radiofrequency identification (RFID) and feeding the information into predictive models researchers hope to improve projections.
“Our results confirm that advanced tracking technologies in combination with effective scheduling procedures show a significant potential for improving productivity”, Dario Pacciarelli and Andrea D’Ariano wrote in the Journal of Medical Systems.
Pacciarelli and D’Ariano propose using RFID tags to collect information on the processing, removal and setup times of each operation in a pharma packaging unit. Companies can use this data to make more informed delivery date predictions and in turn improve the reliability of drug supply.
“There is a lot of interest in exploring the potential of RFID. In my view, companies are now learning this potential. My feeling is that they need a deeper knowledge of RFID strengths, weaknesses and opportunities before adoption”, Pacciarelli told in-PharmaTechnologist.
Pacciarelli has discussed the system with pharma companies but adoption is dependent on its return on investment. In the research paper Pacciarelli and D’Ariano attempt to quantify this, although not in financial terms, by predicting productivity gains.
By including fewer data errors in the sample information the researchers predicted the benefits of using RFID. A certain algorithm, advanced tabu search, benefited from the cleaner data and led to high single-digit percentage productivity improvements.
“We show that even this limited application of RFID technology may deserve a significant value for the pharmaceutical companies. In order to fully exploit this potential, it is however necessary to use the more reliable data in combination with effective scheduling procedures”, the researchers wrote.