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Serialization and aggregation both rely on the use of unique numerical identifiers, but they are different in the scale. Serialization functions on the level of an individual packaged item. Aggregation takes those individual items and bundles them together into a single reference code. Aggregation functions on multiple levels – a group of individual items become a case, cases become a pallet, pallets become a full container, etc.
In most industries, aggregation is not a requirement. However, in the United States, pharmaceutical products must utilize both serialization and aggregation in order to meet the requirements for complete documentation of the chain of custody throughout the supply chain.
Aggregation's real strength comes in the distribution process. Being able to see precisely where each individual item is as it journeys through the supply chain is a crucial element of an effective tracking program, and aggregation makes that process easy. Aggregating codes together means that as long as a container remains properly sealed, a complete manifest can be easily obtained and recorded at any point.
Depending on your industry, you might be required to! Beyond that, aggregation delivers a security and peace of mind when it comes to the authenticity of your product at point of sale. Having a complete recorded chain of custody from the moment a product leaves your production facility can illuminate weak spots or leaks in the supply chain. Additionally, this can make executing a product recall much simpler.