Managing Serialisation 5 – The Basics and Standards

Managing Serialisation 5 – The Basics and Standards

In the last article we talked about arguably the most complex of serialisation models, Track & Trace. In this article we will discuss some other aspects and the important topic of standards.

Reverse and Abnormal Process Flows

It should be noted that reverse product flows and abnormal events can add significant complexity to the design of the business processes and IT systems required to manage serialisation. In many implementation projects, the design and implementation of these business processes can take as much, if not more effort than the normal forward flow processes.

Product Coding Legislation

Product coding legislation requires manufacturers to apply machine readable codes to product packaging. These codes typically contain information pertaining to the product, batch and expiry information, but no unique identifiers. Whilst this is not serialisation in of itself, the solutions that must be implemented to meet these requirements can be significant building blocks for any future serialisation implementation if they are specified and selected appropriately.

Therefore, many organisations choose to manage the response to this product coding legislation together with serialisation to ensure the best long-term solutions are implemented.

The Need for Standards

It will be evident to you by now that serialisation requires many different stakeholders to receive, create, read, process and transmit information related to serialisation.

For this to be achievable within the scope of a particular piece of legislation, standards must be defined an adhered too.

Many would further argue that, in order to avoid unnecessary complexity and cost, these standards should be international. Organisations such as GS1 are working to achieve this goal.

This is one in a series of articles outlining the requirements of serialisation and related product coding legislation, discussing what needs to be done to address it and identifing some next steps to effectively manage the risk. Please help me improve the thinking by adding your comments and share this with others who may have a view.

To obtain an e-copy of our paper on the topic, go to or contact me directly at

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