providers will continue to consider flexibility, variability and
the interaction between capturing data and efficiently producing it as human actionable information on a product. Few
companies have the luxury of selecting solutions for just one
process. Many high volume producers also operate in the
high-mix, volume SKU segment. Down the line, we definitely
see the presence of color playing a larger role in packaging
and labeling operations. Many customers are also looking to
incorporate private branding elements onto their labels as
they facilitate prescription packages further downstream.
Can you tell us about an implementation of your technolo-
gies in a pharmaceutical environment?
Epson’s printing solutions have been in use with compounding pharmacists for years, specifically with prescription and product labeling applications. Pharmacists rely
on our color labeling technologies when dispensing pharmaceuticals in bottles, IV or syringe form, labeling them to
reflect specific patient requirements or for inventory in small
batches. As our printers have become faster and more robust, we are beginning to supply the repackaging community.
A smaller repackager relies on our label printer for shorter
product runs. This provides them with the flexibility to
produce complete serialized labels in short time frames then
run their product applicator immediately after. ■
PHARMACEUTICAL PROCESSING | SEPTEMBER 2014 41 ■
qualifiers include: How is my business organized? Do I operate
long, continuous packaging runs? Can I consume a conventional printed quantity in a finite period of time? For example,
15,000 to 20,000 labels is the range typically associated with
economic conventional label printing. With sufficient volume
stemming from multiple sources of business, many converters
will consider a smaller scale of 10,000 pieces or less, but this is
not considered ideal and may incur a premium. Depending on
where a company falls in the supply chain, cost containment in
packaging and labeling operations may fall on this issue.
For purchasers ordering smaller quantities more frequently,
there are separate issues to consider, namely scalability. Can
I predict how much inventory to produce at one time to be
shipped within a define period of time? This high-mix, low
volume application of product can complicate inventory management and shipping. Companies in this segment have multiple stock keeping units in their catalog and in the process of
product fulfillment or distribution, may mix and match hundreds to thousands of distinct items on a weekly basis.
As with finished goods inventory, every label in the store
room is cash on the shelf and, if used predictably, results
in productive cash management. Conversely, the challenge
arises when companies must house that “cash” for an indefinite period of time. We have encountered companies
housing anywhere from 25 to 50% worth of obsolete label
stock in their inventory. To this point, companies should be
asking, “what proportion of my stock is outdated, obsolete
or requires color? How much cash does this represent?”
Ultimately, this falls as a costly expense to any business.
Print quality and durability are also key factors that contribute to label performance, and if undervalued can result
in inaccurate product tracking data. Pharmaceutical companies should consider whether labels can retain readability
and integrity with water spray, immersion, harsh chemicals,
abrasion, etc. Durability is essential when considering the
impact degradation can have on barcode information.
What can providers of these technologies do to make imple-
mentation and compliance easier, quicker and less costly?
Providers must be ready with tools to help manage the impending complexity and variability these requirements will create for their supply chain operations. Serialization will add label
complexity to everyone’s operations, including managing various barcodes, lot/identification numbers, dosage instructions
and color elements. As technological providers, it is also important to consider how interconnected everything is. Whether
IT infrastructure or on-demand labeling, technologies must be
flexible enough to interact with the various obligations manufacturers and distributors face throughout the supply chain.
Between market pressures for more branding and shifting regulations this operational flexibility will be paramount.
What will be the future of these technologies?
In many ways, this will depend on how the FDA builds
out its guiding standards for implementation. Technological
The Marchesini Group has never stopped improving research, development, monitoring and
testing new solutions: leadership comes only through studying with the same passion and
determination of beginners. Because we strongly believe that growing up doesn’t mean
getting older, but means to innovate and know ho w to renovate: that’s the way to grow younger.
MARCHESINI GROUP USA
43 Fairfield Place, West Caldwell, NJ 07006
Tel 973 575 7445
2-5 NOVEMBER 2014