Smart Asset Solution in a Complex Life Science Supply Chain

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1 Smart Asset Solution in a Complex Life Science Supply Chain Sterilizable UHF RFID RFID tags that can survive radiation, especially for sterilization purposes, have been in demand for many years. While the rest of the world enjoys the efficiency, accuracy and cost benefits that come with RFID deployments, life sciences and healthcare, among others that sterilize their products using gamma or e- beam radiation or autoclave, have not been able to incorporate RFID into their manufacturing process. Until now, the technology has not existed to produce tags that can survive the sterilization process. Tego has solved the engineering challenges involved with creating radiation resistant RFID tags and have a line of passive UHF tags that can successfully be used in sterilization applications. Additionally, Tego s high- memory tags provide benefits beyond those of a traditional RFID installation. As an example of how RFID is benefitting companies in life sciences and healthcare, Tego is currently working with a large provider that uses gamma and e- beam sterilization in it's workflow. Their product is processed and stored in bottles, which have now been retrofitted with Tego s passive UHF tags. Due to the nature of the product, the bottles are kept in a deep freeze for up to 60 days before final processing and delivery. A running inventory of over 20 million units, along with other business needs, create several problems to be solved. Traceability, Visibility and Recall The first problem is that of cradle- to- grave traceability. The bottles must be traced in the event manufacturing problems trigger recalls. The contents of the bottles need to be traceable in a similar fashion, but each has a unique component so the contents of each bottle must be traceable to the item level. The problem comes down to this: they have 20 million bottles stored in several giant freezers. At some point they may become aware that there is a problem with one particular bottle. They need to find and extract that one bottle with a high level of efficiency and without disrupting their entire business operation. This daunting problem is currently solved with an elaborate barcode system. Individual bottles, cases and pallets all have multiple barcode labels. The barcode labels are manually scanned at a large number of checkpoints. Software is used to track the history and current location of each bottle, case and pallet. But the barcode reading process is labor intensive and susceptible

2 to reading errors due to the harsh environment. Ice sometimes permanently damages the barcode labels resulting in the loss of high value product. Smart Assets Solution in Life Sciences This company also has the added challenge that segments of their internal process are spread across several hundred locations worldwide. A secure company- wide networked database of inventory does not currently exist. So part of the challenge is to create an improved workflow without relying on a huge, decade- long IT database project. The far more efficient Tego solution for this application includes three pieces. The first piece is the radiation- resistant RFID tag applied to each bottle. The tags need to store unique identifying numbers for each bottle, as well as separate information about the contents. This means it is not enough for the tags to simply be functional after gamma sterilization; the data stored on the tag must also remain intact after sterilization. Tego solves this technology problem by using a special type of non- volatile memory in its RFID tags. No other tag in the world uses this type of memory, and no other tag can survive gamma radiation. The availability of these tags is the first step in an RFID deployment for this medical application. The next piece of the solution is the high- memory capability of the Tego tags. This refers to the amount of memory available on the tag. Standard tags include memory for an identification number and nothing more. Furthermore, that ID number can only be read; it cannot be written or updated. Tego tags also carry a read- only identification number, but they additionally carry a large amount of free memory, that can be written to at any time. By using this free space to add information about the contents of a bottle as it is discovered means that information can be retrieved directly from a bottle in the future, without having to access some networked database. The final piece of the Tego solution is a software application that gets installed on each RFID reader in the system. TegoView is an off- the- shelf software application originally developed for aerospace. For this medical application Tego has leveraged the class- leading excellence and stability of TegoView and has provided a custom front- end to enhance the overall productivity of the RFID system. TegoView optimizes the reader- tag interface allowing for easy access to tag memory by the user.

3 Financial and Operational ROI With the full RFID system now deployed, the company is seeing significant benefits. Many are improvements over their old barcode system, and many are new enhancements to their business that were not previously possible. Improvements in workflow efficiency come from a number of places in this application. Previously, barcode labels were applied after the bottle- manufacturing step. This has been replaced with the more automated step of building in and encoding the RFID tags as part of bottle production. In the past, information about the bottle contents required printing and applying several barcode labels. This step has now been removed entirely. Now, as new data about the bottle contents is created, it is added to the existing RFID tag in logbook fashion. A much more significant work reduction comes from the scanning process. A barcode system that is used to keep track of asset location relies on frequent scanning, and with assets such as these, that means manual intervention by work crews. Since tracking is necessary down to the individual bottle, that meant at some locations pallets had to be broken down and cases opened so that workers could manually scan bottles one at a time. Using RFID, it is now possible to read all the bottles inside a case without opening the lid. This has resulted in a measurable improvement of a factor of 20. Not 20%, but a reduction to one twentieth of the original effort. A shipment that used to take eight hours to process can now be received in roughly 30 minutes. Smart Assets Solution More Flexible and Less Costly than Enterprise Software Other than the problems presented by gamma sterilization, a previous roadblock to an RFID deployment has been the presumed need for a centralized database. A corporate- wide, networked software environment was seen as too costly and time consuming, and so the search for a shorter- term solution continued. That problem has now been solved by using the Tego high- memory tags. Instead of collecting information at each location throughout the supply chain, and attempting to build a costly corporate network for sharing the data, collected information is now stored directly on the tag. Each location maintains a local database, which is a much smaller and more secure solution. As bottles are scanned, location information is updated in the local database. As new information is generated, it is added directly to the

4 bottle. When bottles are inspected, either by quality assurance personnel or by government agencies, all that is needed is to read the RFID tag and the entire history of the bottle and contents is instantly available. With the RFID system in place, the company is starting to explore new benefits made possible by the tags and their high memory. Unlike barcodes, reading and writing to RFID tags can be done with interrogators in fixed locations, thus storing and collecting data with no labor cost incurred. Useful process metrics have already led to workflow improvements in the production environment with many more to come. The company is interested in monitoring the amount of time a bottle is out of the freezer, and this can now be done in an automated fashion by writing timestamps to the RFID tags using readers that are mounted at the freezer entry and exit points. Tego s Innovative Solution in Life Sciences In summary, Tego has brought to market the world s only passive UHF RFID tags that can survive sterilization levels of radiation as well as autoclave environments with no loss of data. This breakthrough technology is bringing the benefits of RFID to new industries such as life sciences and healthcare. As demonstrated here, the benefits come in many forms, including dramatic increases in process efficiencies and reduced production costs. With the addition of Tego s high- memory technology, these benefits are all available without deploying a costly, networked database. About Tego, Inc. Founded in 2005, Tego, Inc. is the leading provider of RF enables smart asset solutions including tags, system software and chip design. Tego products take RFID beyond ID: tags with TegoChip inside support high memory applications in the most extreme environments, storing and sharing information free of immediate network dependence. Across all industries and vertical markets, Tego solutions address demand for improved asset tracking and management, performance management, regulatory compliance and supply chain management. Tego, Inc. is based in Waltham, MA. For more information, visit

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