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U.S. Biologics Distributor Markets RFID Solution to Its Customers
FFF Enterprises believes its Verified Inventory Program-Consignment system can lower a hospital's costs by automating the inventorying and monitoring of blood products, vaccines and pharmaceuticals stored in cabinets located onsite.
When a customer adopts the VIPc system, FFF Enterprises works with that company to identify appropriate PAR levels, by determining which goods need to be stored within the cabinet and when they would need to be reordered. The resulting recommended-size cabinet is then brought to the customer and installed.
When FFF Enterprises prepares a shipment of biopharmaceuticals for a customer, a tag is applied to each product and its unique ID is linked to its description and expiration data in the Intelliguard system. The goods are then shipped to the customer, which receives the items and places them within the temperature-controlled cabinet. As soon as the products are placed on the shelf, the cabinet's reader identifies each item's RFID ID. Every cabinet requires an Ethernet, Wi-Fi or cellular connection to the server, and thus continually sends updates indicating its temperature, as well as the tags being read on its shelves. MEPS offers two types of cabinets—both temperature-controlled—one that chills products at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and another that keeps the items at an "ambient" temperature between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius (68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
For patients, Schmidt says, the solution provides the advantage of allowing hospitals to keep medications ready on an emergency basis, which could potentially save lives. What's more, he adds, FFF Enterprises can leverage the system should one of its customers have an emergency need for a specific product. With the VIPc system, he explains, FFF Enterprises can determine which nearby facilities have that product, and then deliver that item quickly to the required site—a feature that could also save lives.
Additionally, FFF Enterprises intends to share usage data with the manufacturers of the products it distributes, including how quickly they are being used for patients, and when they are not being utilized. For manufacturers, Schmidt notes, this would be of great value once a large number of customers began using the technology. He says he fully anticipates large-scale adoption of the solution by his customers, stating, "We have a grand vision with this technology. The interest level is palpable. I'd say the momentum off the announcement is very clear.... We're very excited about this program."
Schmidt declines to indicate the billing model, but does report that the cabinets would be owned by FFF Enterprises, and not leased or sold to users.
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