FMD without scanning …

              … simplifies your customer’s life

Introduction

For FMD purposes, medicine packs have to be verified and/or decommissioned at several stages in the supply chain. Currently, this is mostly done by manually scanning each individual pack, creating additional workload, time and cost.

The supplier can facilitate the operations of this additional work by pre-scanning every pack before shipment and creating an Aggregated Code. The Aggregated Code will then be transferred to the customer at the same time with the physical shipment.

By choosing to provide aggregation, suppliers recognize the importance of such service to be offered to their customers. This additional service can influence the supplier’s position in the market, increase market share by gaining new customers and strengthening their offer to current customers.

How Aggregation works

Step 1: A supplier pre-scans packs of a particular delivery and puts them in a box. The box will receive a code to be identified later.

Step 2: The customer receives the box, scans the outer code and downloads all related records. The records are used for the mandatory FMD check.

Step 1: Generation of Aggregations

A supplier pre-scans packs of a particular delivery and puts them in a box. The box will receive a code to be identified later. 

At the supplier’s premises, every aggregation process starts with scanning an Aggregation Code. Each 2D matrix code printed on medicine packs that is scanned afterwards, will be pooled into this unique Aggregation Code. This Aggregation Code is subsequently used to identify every constituent pack code within the pooled data set. In this example on the right side, eight pack codes are condensed under a unique 14-digit Aggregation Code K!E9j-I9S4TVI. In reality, an aggregation can contain the details of several hundred packs, and not necessarily all from of the same product. Only this Aggregation Code is needed to be transferred from the supplier to the customer.

read more on uniqueness of Aggregation Codes

It is more than important to use unique codes for aggregation. If by mistake a code is used two times by different users, all 2D codes pooled two times under the falsely same Aggregation Code will be joined together. Out of this reason it is strictly not allowed to use simple forms of aggregation codes. For instance an invoice number may be unique within the book keeping of one customer, but if another customer uses the same kind of number, the uniqueness is not longer guaranteed. Mixes of 2D codes may be the result. Out of this reason Aggregation Codes only are allowed to use after double checking with medAspis operations department. To be absolutely sure to have unique Aggregation Codes, medAspis heavily recommends to use the pre-printed medAspis aggregation Codes (see an example right). This Aggregation Code is written in a human readable and a machine readable way (bar code).

Preparing an aggregation scanner

As a very first step a standard hand held device needs to be set up as an aggregation scanner.

Please register the aggregation scanner in the device handling section of the settings menu in the medAspis Control Panel. We recommend to give the scanner a name to underline the aggregation functionality not to have any misunderstanding in the future.

After registration of the device, the medAspis administration has to upgrade the aggregation function to the scanner. Without this upgrade the scanner will not work as an aggregation scanner!

After upgrading the device it still is an FMD scanner with full FMD functionality. All scans of 2D codes will be FMD checked, like verify or decommission.

 

registration of a new scanner, in this cases named “aggregation scanner”

Using pre-created Aggregation Codes

medAspis delivers unique Aggregation codes free of charge to use for customers. We highly recommend using these standard medApsis Aggregation Codes. The benefit of these codes are:

  1. Guaranteed unique
  2. easy to scan, even if you only have an old fashioned linear bar code scanner
  3. human-readable and easy to type in case not having a scanner at hand

The Aggregation Codes are delivered as a pdf file. To print the stickers on adhesive stickers, please use standard paper format prepared to 9 x 3 sticker of the individual sticker size of 7cm x 3,2cm. Please don’t hesitate to ask for new Aggregation Codes. Thousands of codes can be created and send by e-mail in no time.

adhesive paper with Aggregation Code (9×3 pieces)

Generation of Aggregations in detail

As a first step of the process the operator has to take an Aggregation Code sticker from the sticker paper and places it on the shipment unit to work on. This Aggregation code needs to be scanned with the handheld device when it asks for the Aggregation Code (see picture 1 on the right side).

Afterwards all 2D codes from the medicine packs has to be scanned until all the quantity for the shipment is ready. Every scanned 2D code will be FMD verified immediately AND pooled to the Aggregation Code scanned before.  start to scan the 2D codes from the packs.

When finished, the complete button is to be pushed, followed by a confirmation button (see picture 2 and 3).

The full aggregation information (Aggregated Code plus full set of pack codes) is automatically uploaded to the medAspis Hub.

Beside of this standard process to generate an aggregation, several other process flows can be implemented, if there is a better fit for the individual work flows. So Aggregation Codes can be printed individually on (any kind and size of) stickers on demand, other Aggregation Codes can be uses (as long as they are globally unique) oder Aggregation Codes can be printed on delivery notes or invoices or can be e-mailed, as this is done in the German Warenbegleitende Datenlieferung” where the full list of 2D codes containing a delivery are sent in parallel to a shipment.

Read an Aggregation Code and start to scan

after scanning push “complete”

and then “confirm”

Workflow of Aggregations

All aggregations can be controlled and maintained in the medAspis Control Panel in the action Delivery List of the main menu. Here all aggregations are visible, sorted by the date of creation. The aggregations are shown with their number of contained packs (quantity), the date of creation and their status. The philosophy of aggregation management follows the shared work flow in a warehouse, where an operator creates an aggregation and a manager at the Control Panel decides if and when to publish (to EXPORT) to customers. All these operations are controlled in the medApsis Control Panel and can be seen on the status of an individual aggregation:

OPEN the operator has opened an aggregation to work on. This work is in progress and not finished yet.
COMPLETE an aggregation has been completed
EXPORT    completed aggregations can be exported to be visible for customers. Only marked as EXPORTed aggregations can be further worked on at customers side. Aggregations can be exported by marking them with the tick in front of the row and using the “ready to export” button on top of the delivery list. 
IMPORTED   The status of an aggregation is changed to IMPORTED, if the customer has used the aggregation to download and import data sets. 
VERIFIED   If the data sets are used for FMD, the status changes to VERIFIED.

 

Overview of all aggregations in the Control Panel

Detailed view of the status and all contained packs (or other aggregations – see later in the tutorial)

Step 2: Extraction of Aggregations

The customer receives the box, scans the outer code and downloads automatically all related records. The records are used for the mandatory FMD check.

Data Extraction from the Aggregated Codes

The aggregation service will be accepted by customers only if receiving of data sets is easy to manage and simple to integrate into daily operations. medAspis offers three different ways for the customer to process the Aggregated Codes on receipt:

1. Integration into own ERP system

Via an IT interface data sets can be downloaded directly into the customers system, triggered by the Aggregation Code. This data transfer is password secured. The customer downloads the data set contained in the Aggregation Code with just one line of code.

For example: https://aggr.medaspis.org/get/K!E9j-I9S4TVI

The customer’s IT department will integrate this command into the existing ERP system to automate the process. medAspis will provide the necessary IT documentation to implement this process. Once the data sets are in the customer’s system, they can use their own connectivity to the NMVS system to verify or decommission the pack codes.

On request other access method is available, e.g. SOAP.

2. Extracting with medAspis Control Panel

The medAspis Control Panel is a web panel to download and verify/decommission the offered Aggregation Codes for customers who already have an own provider to connect to the NMVS. Customers have to register in medAspis Control Panel a second time to their NMVS. The general registration process is described in the FMD tutorial. After registration the Control Panel opens in the Delivery List view. On top of this page there is a form field named “Import Aggregate”. Here the Aggregation Code of the specific shipment needs to be filled in. The data entry may come  from the Aggregated Code found on the shipment (carton box, container, pallet) via a standard linear bar code scanner connected to the PC or by typing the Aggregation Code manually into this form field. Once completed, all the data sets are downloaded into the portal.

After the aggregation is in the system it can be verified or decommissioned in one go. The tick in front of the specific row need to be clicked (one or more) and the VERIFY button at the top of the page starts the FMD process.

Main view on Aggregation Import View

Detailed view on an aggregation, Status and contained 2D codes are visible 

3. Integration into the customer’s medAspis system

If the customer uses the medAspis FMD system, the integration of aggregation is simple. The customer scans the aggregated code on the shipment or delivery document and all data is automatically downloaded and verified or decommissioned in one step. All data is shown in the system as if the customer has scanned the individual packs themselves.