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Serialization is the marking of a product at the individual level with a unique identifying number. That number is recorded and uploaded to a centralized database where it can be checked at point of sale to establish the authenticity of the product. Track & Trace combines serialization with aggregation, establishing complete traceability of products as they move through the supply chain.
The software side of Track & Trace regulations require programs that possess specific capabilities. The software must be secure, it must be able to collect serialization data from each serialization point on the production line and it must be able to export that data in a format that can be added to a manufacturer's database. The manufacturer's database must in turn connect to other databases depending on regulations – it may connect to a corporate ERP system only, or it may be required to connect to the database of a government authority. From that location, the serialization data can be accessed by the various stakeholders in the process (delivery companies, warehouses, retailers).
Like the Track & Trace process itself, there are two parts to the integration process. The first, and more obvious, comes from adding the hardware to the production line. This may not involve anything more than rolling the hardware up to the production line and connecting it to a power source, or it could involve making a modification to existing equipment – for example, connecting cameras to a label printer in order to perform verification duties. The software integration is the more difficult task – the system needs to be able to communicate with the printer, the camera, and – of course – whatever database is assigning and recording serialization data.
Both PCE Line and PCE Site Manager software connect to Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases via Ethernet connection.