Is Your Vendor’s Inadequate Support Hurting Your Serialization Project’s Success?

By Andre Caprio | Posted on December 22, 2023

Is Your Vendor’s Inadequate Support Hurting Your Serialization Project’s Success?

As the industry progresses in its journey to Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) compliance, most pharmaceutical manufacturers and brand owners have taken initial steps to comply with the law. However, many companies find the support from their pharma serialization providers inadequate, undermining their project’s success. 

Customer support remains one of the most important aspects of any software implementation. With the complexity of DSCSA serialization and its government-mandated deadlines, exceptional support is crucial to a successful project. Without excellent support, the project will struggle. The following areas have been particularly problematic for some serialization vendors, especially when it comes to supporting small and medium-sized companies.

Quick Resolution of Problems

Quickly resolving issues is necessary to run a business effectively. Nevertheless, many small and mid-sized companies need faster resolution from their vendors to problems within their serialization systems, such as failed files. Often, companies report that vendors are dragging their feet, and it takes two weeks for them to resolve issues. While a failed file from EPCIS or a lot-level ASN is not unusual, if it is not addressed quickly it can result in the inability to sell medicine and disrupt business.  

Some companies are up charging for support services or providing premium support only to their large customers, leaving small companies with less than stellar support. High-level customer service should be encountered throughout your entire project, not just during the initial honeymoon stage with your vendor. Increasingly elongated ETAs to resolve technical issues are a red flag that you are not a priority to your vendor.

Promptly Connecting to New Partners 

New partnerships are ubiquitous in the pharmaceutical world. Promptly connecting to new partners is required for tracking and tracing drugs. Long delays for partner connections, such as new downstream partners, cause DSCSA compliance to stall. Some companies are experiencing six-month delays in connecting with their new partners for required data transmittal and have been charged additional costs for these connections. Ensuring service agreements include all the compliance requirements for connecting with all partners, including downstream partners, is a must.

Seamless Partner Integration 

With so many entities in pharma, partners may be using the same serialization partners.  Connecting to a new partner already using the same service provider should be seamless without technical hurdles. There should be no extra costs or delays in connecting to partners; these connections should be prioritized. Nonetheless, some larger vendors are unable to connect their own company partners in a timely manner, which is creating compliance delay across the industry.

Providing Customers Easy Access to Their Data

While the service provider hosts serialization data, all of the data created in your system is owned by the customer. Therefore, the customer should be able to access it at any time easily, for whatever reason, without additional fees. Accessing the data should be simple, fast, and free, whether for internal purposes such as an audit, integration with another system, or moving to another serialization service provider. Often, that is not the case with some serialization providers; they make it difficult, if not impossible, for customers to get their data in a usable format.  

Proper support from your serialization vendor is necessary to ensure DSCSA compliance success. Seek out a serialization provider that can cater to you and prioritize your issues and requests.

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