Hanmi’s products are dispersed amongst hundreds of pharmacies throughout South Korea. Prior to their adoption of RFID it was difficult for the manufacturer to have much visibility over store inventory levels at any given time. In order to know when products needed to be replenished, Hanmi had to rely on manual, labor-intensive stock taking at each pharmacy, a process which was neither frequent nor 100% accurate. Hanmi needed more accurate, real time stock level information to improve circulation throughout their supply chain and chose RFID for the solution.
RFID not only solves Hanmi’s circulation challenges, it meets government mandates and improves health safety throughout the country. In South Korea, the pharmaceutical industry struggles with the illegal production and sale of counterfeit and substandard drugs. Because the country is only able to recover around 20% of these illicit pharmaceutical products, the Korean government recommended RFID to combat this growing and dangerous problem, mandating that 50% of all pharmaceutical products be RFID tagged by 2015.
As one of the country’s leading pharmaceutical providers, Hanmi needed to integrate RFID technology into its complex assortment of products, while maintaining the high speed and performance level of its packaging line systems. Item level tagging throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain, which would call for over 60 million RFID tags annually, had never been tried at this scale before. In order to implement the intricate application, Hanmi needed to find RFID tags that would function on all 500 types of its products, which are packaged in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Hanmi also had to consider the internal contents of the products, some of which include liquid and metal, substances that typically negatively affect RFID system performance. Hanmi selected LS Industrial Systems (LSIS), the leading Korean RFID solution provider, and Impinj’s UHF RFID technology for the solution.