Serialization Today, And Where It's Headed

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atlantic zeiser eric penne interphex interview

At Interphex, Todd and Todd interviewed Eric Penne, Director of Key Account, Track and Trace, Pharma, and Cosmetics with Atlantic Zeiser. The interview focuses on the solutions Atlantic Zeiser has put in place to fight diversion and protect pharma company supply chains. Penne highlights Zeiser’s contributions to serialization and predicts what’s to come in the future in terms of serialization. 

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Interview Transcription:

Todd S:            Good morning. This is Todd and Todd live in New York, Life Science Connect Radio on location direct from Interphex day two. We have an exciting guest up next, Todd Youngblood. We are off to a great start. This is going to be a great day.

Todd Y:            We are, and our education continues yet again.

Todd S:            I have to tell you...

Todd Y:            Every time you think you get your brained wrapped around an industry, some other guy sits down in this chair between us and makes us look like dummies.

Todd S:            That is not hard to do, but we are learning a lot of great stuff. Next up is a gentleman name Eric Penne. He is the Director of Key Account, Track and Trace, Pharma, and Cosmetics with Atlantic Zeiser. Eric, welcome to the show.

Eric:                 Thank you.

Todd S:            Thank you for joining us. We appreciate you carving out some time to join us. Before we get into a conversation take a few seconds and tell us a little about you and your background.

Eric:                 I have been working for 20 years. I joined Atlantic Zeiser 11 years ago as the Managing Director of Atlantic Zeiser France, and in June of 2011, the company put me in the position of Key Accounts for Cosmetics.

Todd S:            Okay, well, Atlantic Zeiser; tell us all about it. What do you do and how do you serve your market?

Eric:                 Atlantic Zeiser is a German based company with employment worldwide; the U.S., China, several companies in Europe and we are specializing in handling viable data for more than 60 years.

                        We have experience in security documents, [inaudible: 00:01:22] and so on. For four years now we have developed a new activity focusing on the cosmetic and the pharma industry.

Todd S:            Specifically in pharma and cosmetics what kind of problems are you solving for your customers?

Eric:                 In cosmetics for 10 years in France we have all of the top brands as our customers and we fought against diversion, which is a big issue for them so we manage data flow for them for taking all of their products along the supply chain to sales.

Todd S:            We have identified some of the problems. Talk about some of the solutions that you have begun to provide to your customers.

Eric:                 In fact, we supply software platform and hardware as well, like printing devices to print unique ID codes, which we link to the batch number to the product reference to the country where indicated, and this will make the aggregation along the production unique from the [inaudible: 00:02:29] to the pallet.

                        We will make the integration of all of this information into a database, for example; for pharma med tracker, we would be in communication with the ERP of the company. And this med tracker can do line management, site management or the price management. We can link several factories around the globe. We can link the database to any organization that we need in order to exchange data inquiries in real time.

Todd S:            That’s it?

Todd Y:            Come on! I am just listening to this laundry list of functions and I am trying to put myself in the position of a top executive in pharma or a cosmetic firm and trying to get my brain around just what kind of an impact that has on my company; on the performance in terms of efficiencies and in terms of the cost impact.

Eric:                 The cost impact we estimate that the diversion of market at about seven percent of the total in the world in cosmetic and pharma. Many for pharma is the rate cost of the patient, and if the patient has a problem taking the medicine from one group, even the medicine company can say two hours later that it was a fake product.

                        The major pharma companies would be damaged by the impact on the population. This is why they have to consider solutions to make sure that they are protecting their supply chain and that the security in fact that when somebody buys medicine from a shop they are sure to get a genuine product and not a fake product.

Todd S:            We are here at Interphex. What is Atlantic Zeiser showcasing at the event?

Eric:                 At Interphex, we are focusing on Med Tracker, the database software, because in all of the countries they are putting in place regulation for serialization, so it will come in 2016-17-or 18. The pharma company sells products worldwide; not only in the U.S. but in Korea; they sell in Europe, they have to comply with all of the regulations of those countries.

                        Today, Turkey has already implemented a serialization program. China has done it. Korea is going to do it very soon and Europe as well. The companies are starting to implement these solutions now for the time that they need to be compliant.

Todd Y:            Eric this may be a tough question but Atlantic Zeiser could legitimately be called a pioneer when it comes to serialization. What is it about the company that got you a step ahead of a lot of the rest of the industry in terms of serialization? It is an important topic now.

Eric:                 As we experience things like this we have to personalize passports, driving licenses, ID cards, and manage all of the data flow for that to make sure that the integrity of the data; we have very powerful software able to communicate with authorities and have very quick exchanges and verifications during the data flow, and we are a little ahead of the companies doing this kind of thing in pharma.

                        We are not really specialized in that kind of application. We are more specialized in verification with camera systems and the software step by step. In fact we are very good often on the line management because there are some weak points when you layer software and you have to communicate with the [inaudible: 00:06:02].

Todd S:            As you walk these hallowed halls of the center and roam the floor at Interphex there are a lot of organizations talking about serialization and track and trace. What makes you guys stand out?

Eric:                 I think that the good thing for us is we are not historically a supplier of the pharma industry. Often times people in pharma they ask who are you? Where are you coming from?

                        It takes a while for us to be known, but now we are starting to become quite efficient and we have made the first contracts with authorities in Brazil. We are in Europe with some big players who I hope very soon within one month.

                        I hope then, in pharma, as soon as you have some good references, the business will be much easier for us to convince pharma customers to go with it.

Todd S:            Eric, innovation in this industry is all around us. We are in a building just filled with all kinds of innovative technologies and ideas. Look into your crystal ball and tell us what will be coming at us in the next few years.

Eric:                 I think the besides serialization that we do with business like crush medical, we link the serialized number to a security feeder so that you know when you check a product if you don’t have the information from the clear code you can use the information from the security feeders which is embedded in the process and linked to the database.

                        I think that we could promote that in the pharma industry especially for countries where the regulation is not yet implemented and where the people can play with the product. I think that will be the next step in serialization; the security feeder embedded into the system.

Todd S:            Todd asked you to look forward a little bit but I want to ask you to look back. You have been a keen observer of the industry for about 20 years. What have been some of the more dramatic changes over that time and what gives you great optimism for where things can go in the future? Talk about some of the changes that you have seen.

Eric:                 I think that the good thing for us is globalization because globalization mixes in with all of the countries very easy. The countries are concerned with what they are buying or what they get. It is a big demand from the customer acquisition also to have the possibility to have safety when they buy something.

                        It is not only coming from the authority but it is also coming from the opinion because people want to buy products that they are sure are not bad for their health. It is a big thing in the food industry recently in Europe; the idea with people bringing bad products or a fake product and why can they buy a fake product from a shop, and so on?

                        There is a lot of pressure on the brands themselves to really make the decision to comply with this opinion of the consumer.

Todd Y:            We talked a bit about the counterfeiting, the fake products, as well as communications on a global scale. One thing that we haven’t touched on is that you do not want a recall but, in that kind of a situation, just talk about the impact of the technology that you are bringing to the market when that recall situation does pop up.

Eric:                 The impact is very efficient. I mean if you have a track and trace system will analyze a company production that you do and you follow exactly what you sell, you can be sure to keep your margin as it is. All of your marketing expenses will be protected from that and you can also ask the government to make the actions to protect your market.

                        If you do the job that you can prove your product is a genuine product, then the authorities can accept to do the job that they do, which is to check on the custom, the product, and so on.

                        If you don’t do anything with custom, they will say we cannot check your product, you are at fault and we cannot do anything for you. This is very often a benefit to the customer; when they do something they have a better relationship with the authorities.

Todd S:            Eric I hate to say it but we are about out of time. Before we let you go, how can people get in touch with you and learn more about Atlantic Zeiser?

Eric:                 They can contact us through the website. On the website they can connect to us and then we come back to them. They can call me any time or send me an email. I can leave the information with you.

Todd Y:            You are welcome to share it.

Todd S:            Share it right now.

Eric:                 My email is Eric.Penne@atlanticzeiser.com. My mobile phone number is 011-336-0351-8011.

Todd S:            Your phone will be off the hook so just be prepared for that. Eric Penne, Director of Key Accounts, Track and Trace, Pharma, and Cosmetics with Atlantic Zeiser. Eric it was a pleasure to have you. Thank you for stopping by and joining us.

Eric:                 Thank you. I was very pleased.

Todd S:            The pleasure was ours. That wraps this broadcast. On behalf of our guest Eric Penne, my co-host Todd Youngblood I am Todd Schnick with Life Science Connects live coverage of Interphex.