Real Time Monitoring for Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

SAN MATEO, CA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DHL, the world's leading express delivery and logistics company, in partnership with Microlise and AeroScout, has developed a dynamic new system for the pharmaceutical industry which enables the real-time monitoring of product shipment temperatures throughout an extended supply chain using RFID sensors.

DHL, Microlise and AeroScout partnered with a Leading Healthcare Company to develop a system that will help customers better meet temperature compliance regulations set within the pharmaceutical industry. With this system, full real-time visibility of the location and temperature of the pharmaceutical shipments throughout the supply chain has been made possible, through a web browser linked to the Microlise Transport Management Centre (TMC) software. The TMC enables real time tracking of the vehicle position along with the temperature indication from the Wi-Fi-based AeroScout Active RFID tags which are used to monitor the shipments.

The system has been installed inside trailers from Mueller Transporte, a Vienna-based company that specializes in Temperature Controlled transportation and is used to transport BioScience products, which need to be stored at between 2 and 8 °C. The first lane to test the system is from Belgium to DHL's 3PL Warehouse in Sweden.

RFID Wi-Fi temperature sensor tags from AeroScout are attached to shipments inside the load compartment. These tags continuously monitor and transmit the load's temperature to a Wi-Fi reader connected to the Microlise Tracking Unit installed in the vehicle. This unit sends temperature and vehicle location data, using a GPS device that transmits data via GPRS to a central server provided by Microlise, which hosts the TMC.

During the journey, the system monitors the temperature of the shipment against customer defined business rules and if the shipment undergoes a change in temperature an alert message (SMS/e-mail) is automatically generated so that the appropriate action can be taken.

An added advantage of using the AeroScout RFID Wi-Fi tags is that the shipment / pallet location and temperature can continue to be monitored within the Distribution Centre even after delivery using the existing standard Wi-Fi access points.

Jeroens Martens, RFID Program Leader at DHL Exel Supply Chain said, "The pharmaceutical industry is facing more regulation than ever before and our customers are increasingly required to track their shipments to ensure that they have been transported under the correct conditions. Our real time system allows customers to easily monitor temperature-sensitive shipments and will help them meet the stringent requirements demanded of this sector."

The Healthcare Company's Supply Chain Director commented, "There is a real need to maintain visibility and control of our products and shipments throughout the transport, transit and storage cycles. Real time knowledge of location and condition is essential. Present and future regulatory requirements to monitor and report temperature stability during transit and storage will only be met through the use of these integrated technologies and we feel confident that this new system will allow us to achieve these objectives in an effective and economic manner."

Lee Nixon, RFID Product Manager for Microlise added, "Microlise Fleet & Distribution is well proven technology which has delivered significant efficiencies and cost savings in a wide variety of distribution companies. The integration of the unique AeroScout RFID Wi-Fi tags allows cost effective real-time shipment temperature monitoring that can be easily extended to encompass the end-to-end supply chain."

Gabi Daniely, VP of Marketing and Product Strategy at AeroScout said, "The flexibility of the Wi-Fi-based solution empowers DHL to track location, temperature and other data in a single elegant model to enhance business operations. This shows the dedication from AeroScout and its partners to deliver superior healthcare solutions, whether in the hospital setting or the global supply chain."

Last week, DHL won the RFID Journal Award 2007 at the 'RFID Journal LIVE: Putting RFID to Work' congress in Orlando, Florida. The award-winning RFID application, developed by DHL Innovation Centre in cooperation with two partners, was nominated in the category of "Best Use of RFID in a Service". The pilot project, 'temperature-monitored pharmaceutical logistics with RFID', was conducted by the DHL Innovation Centre. The pilot project offers a promising service to the pharmaceutical industry and other sectors searching for a solution for sensitive temperature-controlled transports.

About DHL
At DHL, Customer Service is back in shipping. Our mission is to provide the most flexible, personable and enjoyable experience in the shipping industry for our customers.

DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, specializing in providing innovative and customized solutions from a single source. DHL offers expertise in express, air and ocean freight, overland transport, and contract logistic solutions as well as international mail services, combined with worldwide coverage and an in-depth understanding of local markets. DHL's international network links more than 225 countries and territories worldwide with over 300,000 employees dedicated to providing fast and reliable services that exceed customers' expectations.

Founded in San Francisco in 1969, DHL is a Deutsche Post World Net brand. For more information on DHL, please visit DHL's Web site.

About Microlise
Microlise is a privately owned, UK-based company, established in 1982. Microlise develops and integrates technology solutions for the logistics and physical supply chain industries using key software, hardware, communication and auto identification technologies developed in-house and from market leading suppliers. Microlise solutions include: Opus WMS - sophisticated warehouse management and automation control software, Microlise Fleet & Distribution - for managing goods in transit and the assets used to transport them, Microlise RFID Systems - Integration of RFID technology within supply chain and logistics applications, Opus Voice - Hands-free, eyes-free voice activated technology for all stock transactions and movements within the warehouse. See the company's Web site for further information.

About AeroScout
AeroScout is the leader in Active RFID asset tracking and location solutions over standard Wi-Fi networks. Its enterprise visibility solutions accurately locate and monitor assets and people in both indoor and outdoor environments to improve business processes. The company has over 200 customers in the healthcare, manufacturing and logistics industries including Boeing and more than 25 of the world's leading hospitals. Founded in 1999, AeroScout is headquartered in San Mateo with offices in Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit the Web site.

Suggested Articles

Annual growth of 15% is expected for next decade according to Future Market Insights

New tech relies on time-of-flight sensor tech used in HoloLens combined with CMOS

Edge computing has been around for a while, but the intelligent edge? Ah, come on!