Back in January of 2013 I wrote an important essay called “Data Ownership In The Track And Trace Cloud” which analyzed a potential future where members of the pharma supply chain would need to deposit and maintain track and trace data in a centralized or semi-centralized data repository in the “cloud”. As the title implies, my main focus was on who would own that data, which was, and continues to be, a hot topic.
But now, five years on, things are getting less “potential” and more real. Continue reading Data Ownership In The Track And Trace Cloud, Reprised And Updated
Those of you who are paying close attention to the presidential election campaigns in the United States late last week were treated to a news story that may be a preview of stories that will be written at some point after 2023. The story is about the potential game-changing impact of technology on business when competitors are forced to share a data repository. That is, when private data that would be considered strategically valuable, in some way, if a competitor were to gain access to it, is held by an independent third-party.
In this case, Continue reading What The DNC Data Breach Means To The Future Of Traceability Data Repositories
Who will own the data that supply chain trading partners store in some future cloud-based, semi-centralized Network Centric ePedigree (NCeP) data repository? I met one potential future repository service provider who seemed to think that they would own that data. Imagine their excitement. All the data about where drugs go throughout the supply chain! Think of the value they could mine from that.
Well, that’s never going to happen because companies in the supply chain won’t sign up for handing over all of their supply chain data to some third-party just so they can comply with regulations, especially when there exists an alternative approach that would allow them to avoid using a third-party and still comply (by using DPMS). And regulatory agencies are Continue reading Data Ownership In The Track & Trace Cloud
Who owns supply chain visibility data? Does the manufacturer of a product retain any rights to track that product after it enters the supply chain? What if the product is a pharmaceutical and it is found to have a life-threatening defect? Should technology or standards availability play any role in answering these questions?
These kinds of questions come up occasionally in discussions of track and trace systems design when people talk about the future of “full supply chain visibility” and how easy recalls will be executed because of it. The implication is that the manufacturer of a drug will be able to perform a targeted recall because they will be able to see exactly where their product is in the supply chain.
But one could easily make the argument that it is no longer “their product” once it enters the supply chain. True, they invented, manufactured and labeled it, and in a recall situation we all have a strong desire for them to get it back quickly and efficiently, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that they don’t own it anymore. And if they don’t own the product anymore then they don’t automatically own the knowledge of where it is either.
I’m not a lawyer but it seems to me that once a product is sold the seller gives up all rights to that product. The buyer can do whatever they want to with it, within the law of course. Recalls that are necessary for reasons that might be life-threatening are special and supply chain members should do everything they can to find and return any item that is involved in a recall. But is it necessary for the manufacturer to have instant access to the location of all of the affected product?
Serialization and track and trace will allow all supply chain participants to know a lot more than they do today about the location of recalled items just using the data that they clearly own. Compared with today, an individual company will know very quickly if they have ever received, shipped or currently have in stock the recalled units. If they currently have them in stock they will be able to place an immediate hold on those items to prevent them from being shipped to a customer until they have been collected and returned. If they have previously shipped the items to a customer they will know exactly which customers were involved and which unit went where. But that’s it. The knowledge of what their customers might have done with those products once they receive them is not owned by the seller. Continue reading Who owns supply chain visibility data?