Medical device and Orthopedic implant tracking using RFID on SAP
Large medical device companies use a short term consigned inventory model to support scheduled surgeries. Surgical cases are scheduled
by field service and sales representatives and products are shipped out for these scheduled cases. Orthopedic implants are high value products that need to be tracked individually using some serialization mechanism and scheme. Companies like Zimmer
and Stryker have implemented RFID to serialize and uniquely track their orthopedic implants in the Asia Pac region since 2005 for warehouse operations. There are multiple layers in an RFID technology stack from a software, hardware and systems integration standpoint and the challenge arises in developing a scalable enterprise wide solution.
SAP has been a leader in the enterprise software market for Auto-Id products with its Auto-Id Infrastructure (SAP AII) system. For SAP customers SAP AII is a natural choice to provide a platform for RFID based solutions. SAP AII provides standard support for an RFID enabled business process for shipping and receiving along with the following:
- Repository for EPC and RFID data
- Conversion of contextual RFID information into business process related events
- Numbering schemes and number management
- Flexible integration with SAP ECC and device controllers
Besides its numerous features SAP AII does have some limitations when used directly to support the short term consigned inventory required by orthopedic and medical device companies out of the box. Additionally using RFID to pick and verify orders requires the right RFID equipment and software solution. SAP offers a powerful and flexible platform for configuration and development that can be implemented and customized to suit the business process for medical device and orthopedic implant distributors.
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