Should Be An Interesting Webinar on Equipment Management

Certainly the main speaker’s book title is interesting and provocative enough!  Intelleflex partner E-ISG is hosting a webinar featuring Al Hardy, the author of “Covering Your Asset by Exposing the Butt-Ugly Truth” at 12 p.m EST on Wednesday, November 14.  (You can register for the webinar by clicking here.)  E-ISG offers a variety of innovative solutions for tracking and managing equipment and other assets.

Author and industry expert Al Hardy will be featured on the E-ISG webinar

On this webinar, Mr. Hardy will discuss:

What are the key mistakes in each stage of the asset management life cycle?

  • Lease vs. buy
  • Compliance and data capture for maintaining asset
  • Why asset utilization information is important
  • Value assessment when disposing assets

Why do organizations make these mistakes?

  • Why do companies fail to maintain physical and fiscal visibility to their assets?
  • Do companies have the information to maintain their equipment?
  • Do companies track how equipment is utilized
  • Do companies know the cost of disposal?

How to define the requirements for a solution?

  • How to get buy-ins?
  • How to write RFPs?

Given the continued focus on business process improvement and the ability to properly and effectively manage equipment and assets to maximize utilization and reduce loss, this webinar should provide a great opportunity to get valuable insights from an industry expert with 22 years of experience in asset management and maintenance for the healthcare industry.

I hope you’re able to join the webinar.
Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

PMA: How Do I Know My Produce is Delivered Fresh?

At the annual Produce Marketing Association convention here in Anaheim, there are acres of fresh produce companies and many of them are coming by the Intelleflex booth (#3185) asking how they can be sure that their produce is delivered fresh and has been properly handled throughout the cold chain.  Fortunately, Intelleflex’ Harry Kuo has the answer.

Harry answers the question: How can I improve Delivered Freshness?

Pallet-level temperature monitoring does the trick, enabling improved routing using FEFO inventory, reducing shrink and providing a complete traceability record as well.  Growers, packers, shippers and retailers can all benefit from pallet-level temperature monitoring.  If you’re at PMA, come by the Intelleflex booth and ask us to show you how it works and how you can improve your cold chain operations.
Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Cold Chain ≠ Arrested Development

Netflix gave me an idea when they announced they were resurrecting one of my favorite TV shows.  As I had the pleasure of speaking at an Expeditors International seminar last week about temperature monitoring in the health care cold chain, I decided to tie the theme of my presentation to the soon to be continuing perils of the Bluth Family so well chronicled in the show “Arrested Development”.  The foundation for my presentation was that the cold chain of tomorrow is a very different one from today.  There are a number of changes that are dramatically impacting the industry including:

  • The increasing number of off-patent drugs
  • Increase in the volume and value of biologics
  • The shift to using 3PLs
  • Increasing climate instability making summer/winter packaging riskier
  • The disappearance of wide body aircraft on domestic flights limiting use of active refrigerated containers
  • ePedigree, serialization and inference
  • RFID proven safe for biologics

The impact of these changes will require healthcare manufacturers (both for biologics and even medical equipment) to rethink their cold chains. Even when routes are validated and procedures are in place, what can you do to ensure that temperature sensitive products are safe for use when delivered?  To quote a famous American president:

Trust but Verify

Yes.  Trust but verify.  It’s one thing to trust your supply chain but it’s equally critical to verify that the products have been properly handled as they move from manufacturer to the customer.  ISO Class 3 RFID provides this capability.  Because it can be read through containers without opening or unpacking (helping to document authenticity) and provides a complete temperature and way point history, Class 3 RFID tags (like XC3 Technology) make it easier to implement a solution that helps manufacturers and 3PLs to manage – not just monitor – their cold chains.

The health care and pharma cold chain should utilize new technologies to address new cold chain dynamics.  Doing so will prevent “Arrested Development” for the cold chain and, to quote one of the show’s characters, prevent you from “making a huge mistake”.

To view the presentation on SlideShare, please click here.
Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Measuring Concussions: What the NFL can Learn from the Military Using RFID Sensors

Recently Marc Gunther, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote a post titled “The Point After: Why I’m Done with the NFL” in which he details why he can no longer watch or support football.  To him, it’s simply too inherently violent.  His biggest concern is the risk associated with concussions…and it’s not just the NFL he’s worried about but college, high school and Pop Warner too when young kids, their brains still in development, can suffer permanent brain damage due to traumatic head injuries and high-speed impacts.

I’m not intending to make a value judgment about football here.  I still watch the NFL and root hard for my 49ers.  But, I see and acknowledge Gunther’s point.  Fortunately, some yardage gains are being made.

After years of doing apparently little, the NFL has now (publicly) realized this is a problem – at least in terms of public relations –  if not in terms of potential liability from the players’ association.  Last month the NFL announced it was donating $30 million to the National Institutes of Health for research, potentially including research related to concussions.  They’re running commercials during the game (featuring Tom Brady) to promote their investment in this.

The Army Uses Sensors in Helmets…so can the NFL

Injuries due to concussive force also impact the military – big time.  Instead of hits from linebackers, there’s brain injuries related to bombs and other devices that explode in the vicinity of our troops that lead to concussions.  And, like the tough NFL players, our proud and determined soldiers don’t want to be pulled off the field.  Fortunately, the military is taking this very seriously.  They’re investing in helmet-based RFID sensors and now, according to Stars and Stripes, the Army is working with the NFL to test  sensors in football helmets, and any information gathered will be shared with doctors, engineers and the military. The goal is to prevent concussions — or at least minimize the severity — and reduce the stigma of seeking treatment for head injuries.The Army has been putting blast sensors in helmets since 2007, and will use 45,000 of them to monitor head injuries suffered by bomb blasts in Afghanistan.  BAE Systems, provider of the helmets, reported on July 9, 2012 that the Army is continuing to order the helmet sensors.

Hopefully, for the sake of all of the soldiers as well as the men and boys that  play football, forward progress can be made.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

FSMA: Threat or Opportunity

I’ve long been a proponent that the Food Safety Modernization Act is an opportunity for the industry, not a threat.  Katie Beissel, Global Industry Manager – Food and Beverage, GE Intelligent Platforms agrees.  In her article titled Planning for FSMA Compliance  posted on Manufacturing.net she writes:

FSMA and other regulations should be viewed as an opportunity for food manufacturers to adopt a more holistic approach to solving food quality and safety concerns. One of the many benefits of FSMA compliance will be increased visualization and control over the manufacturing processes and supply chain. This ability reaches far beyond compliance and can benefit many different aspects of food manufacturing by increasing productivity, improving lean manufacturing processes and developing automated control systems.

An Opportunity to Make Your Customers Happier

She encourages the industry to gain clarity on the new regulations and understand how they impact food safety, risk prevention and reporting and recommends that “Producers must have in-depth visualization of the entire supply chain with the ability to quickly identify and mitigate problems before or just after they occur.”

Accomplishing this requires better data about what is happening in the supply chain from harvest or manufacture through to the retailer. Knowing the condition and history of the product from field or factory to fork is essential and traditional monitoring techniques are quite simply lacking the chops to proactively address FSMA requirements – simply put, they’re inadequate, slow and cumbersome.

Beissel cites what I consider three “abilities” to focus on:

  • The ability to recall products from the market faster. The emphasis is on speed and accuracy of the notification of the FDA of a recall, which means manufacturers need to be able to quickly diagnose and act upon problems anywhere in the supply chain. Producers must, at a minimum, understand the size of the recall, what happened, where the product was produced and what steps to take.
  • The ability to prevent bad quality product from reaching the public. In line with the ability to recall products faster, food manufacturers are now required to follow current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) and use hazard analysis and critical control point processes (HACCP) when developing their food quality safety programs. These new requirements are an attempt to prevent bad quality products from reaching the public and must be readily available for FDA inspection and review at any time.
  • The ability to keep key quality records longer. Key quality data is now required to be kept on record for two years, allowing the FDA to review more of the process issues and the producers’ reactions to them. Previously, these key quality records were only required to be on file for 90 days.

Pallet-level temperature data loggers provide these abilities.  Data about the harvest, manufacture and condition of products can be collected and stored directly on the tag with the product as it moves through the supply chain.  Data can also seamlessly be shared via the cloud to speed recalls. Actionable data about the product’s condition can help prevent bad quality and reduce spoilage.  Data on the tags – and more importantly shared in the cloud or stored in ERP systems – makes it easier to store and access the data.

Sounds like a great opportunity to improve food quality and safety, address regulations and even improve profitability and customer satisfaction.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing