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Becoming Familiar with CureSync modules

Curesync modules are formed in a way that easily describes the tasks required in both the initial phases and the maintenance phases. Those sections, marked as “Plan” are dedicated to business users. Business users may easily adjust the system, if proper authorization is granted, for example, defining new schemes for serial number generation, or maintaining vocabularies and attributes, creating new printing labels, or extending EPCIS vocabulary. 

The “Control” section represents the high-level list of views, in either tabular or tree form, where system users can monitor activities, such as the Printing dashboard, Warehouses, etc.  

Finally, “Execute” represents the execution of tasks, e.g. sending EPCIS event to an external party, or retrieving Serial numbers from an external source.  

Figure 6 details the high level functions of CureSync. 

Random number Generation

The Random number Generation component creates and stores serial numbers, either randomized by a randomization algorithm, or sequential, with sequential steps. 

This component may be shared between tenants inside the same instance, allowing all tenants to use the same component to generate serials, avoiding duplications inside the organization. There is also a setting which allows a tenant to produce serials using its own component, independent from other components.  

If a tenant has an independent random number generation component, then the propagation of serials from parent organization to lower levels will be performed using the Serial Trader component, as it is with external organizations.  

Algorithms for generation may be added or updated, and can be changed over time. All random number generation algorithms will store serials into the warehouse. 

Serial Trader 

This component defines the Serial number templates, tracking of warehouse levels of serial numbers and the exchange of serial numbers with external parties (import and export of serial numbers).  

It consists of the following high level functions: 

  • Serial Number management – responsible for template definition (syntax) of generated serial numbers and tracking of the available Serial number levels into the Serials warehouse. 
  • Import/Export Serials – is able to generate XML structure to obtain serials from an external source (Agency or MAH) or provide serial numbers to external manufacturing parties. Also, Import/Export Serials should obtain Serials from parent organizations, if required. 

Product Catalogue 

Many large companies have heterogeneous ERP systems, with several sources for retrieving product information. To centralize information exchange, including Product identification (as GTIN or IFA PZN or other, according to legislation and other relevant attributes) and send XML structure to a Central Agency, a Centralized Product Catalogue should be created. Moreover, many companies can’t integrate or replicate their current product information with GS1 GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network), or similar catalogues available elsewhere. 

To simplify this process, CureSync has a flexible module for centralizing product specific data, where information can be made in alignment with EPCIS standard and GDSN requirements.  

Product Catalogue consists of following services 

  • Product management – products could be grouped in hierarchies, where each hierarchical level can inherit the product vocabulary, and be extended using further vocabularies which includes level-specific attributes.  
  • Aggregation Data Management – The hierarchical structure of aggregation data, could be assigned to a Product. This means that a product can have a predefined aggregation scheme which will be used as default unless it is changed during the process execution. This is especially important when a product is made as a bundle of other products. 
  • Import-Export product Catalogue – Data that will form the product catalogue could have its origin in ERP or other Enterprise systems, but changes may occur in either or both systems. Also, the system allows import/export from GDSN, so that the company can easily transfer product specific data if needed. 

Track and Trace Broker 

This component manages the aggregation and deaggregation of the products. Products at the item level, with its specific Product Identification number (GTIN, IFA PPN, Self-defined, etc.) are bundled into bigger packages. Bundling options may be several, e.g. packaging could be of 12 or 6 bottles of pills on first level, and then this can be further bundled. Each aggregation level should have separate Product number (e.g. GTIN), but if the manufacturer prefers not to define products with the standard GS1 principle, the system has to assign the product identification internally. However, some aggregation bundles can consist of different types of products, e.g. 6 pieces of one, and 6 pieces of different type of product, which is important when the system is used as distributor system. 

The Track and Trace Broker consists of following services: 

  • Aggregation schemas – enables creation of aggregation schemas – templating. This function enables the creation of unlimited numbers of schemas for aggregation, and the assignment of schemas to products. 
  • Aggregation management – performs all aggregation functions, from identifying the product, verifying packaging options, to the formation of the SSCC number to be printed on the packaging. Enables insertion of the items into the aggregated product. The total quantity for aggregation may or may not be known, and the service will listen for an External device to submit item serials for aggregation, but also should push aggregation triggers to external devices. 
  • Deaggregation management – performs deaggregation action on the package, returning items in the package and change the status to deaggregated. 

Supply Chain Bus 

The main purpose of this component is to exchange data with internal and external EPCIS based systems, national agencies, distributors, etc. The component receives and triggers EPCIS events, converts EPCIS to other forms, e.g. EDI, and updates the EPCIS data.  

It consists of following services: 

  • EPCIS Proxy – this recognizes the EPCIS location (internal or external) and prevents the direct connection by internal parties to the EPCIS layer in order to retrieve data. Additionally, it enables predefinition of the Trading subjects. However, other subjects are allowed to report to EPCIS (in order to update current location of the items, as may be required by some regulations) and the service automatically adds subjects to the EPCIS.  
  • EPCIS Translator – although EPCIS is commonly regarded as a standard, there are some minor adaptations between different agencies as well as requirements for communication using EDI instead of EPCIS. Thus, the standard EPCIS structure may have to be adapted for: 
    • SFDA – Chinese national drug agency standard, which requires the party to obtain logistic and item numbers from a Central Database 
    • US DSCSA  
    • EU EMVS 
    • Brazil ANVISA agency standard for data exchange  
    • MOH Turkey standard 
    • EDI 

Translator Layer is a set of predefined schemes that are used to adapt to any standard. It uses the Integration layer to meet current, but also upcoming legislative requirements. 

Job Scheduler 

In serialization scenarios, Work Orders, coming from External systems or manually entered, are routed to production lines. There can be many production lines, often not all at the same location. Thus, theoretically, one work order could be split into smaller parts, e.g. production of 10,000 pieces may be divided between 3 production lines, each with their own distribution. Moreover in this example, production will most likely not start at the same time on all production lines. Also, it may be necessary to cancel production on one line, and complete the production on another other line (e.g. in the case of a malfunction of the production line). 

The Job Scheduler thus is used to distribute production workload between different lines,  determine when serial numbers should be ready, cancel production on one line, and move to another or plan some lag in time, so that serial numbers may, if internet connection is not reliable be downloaded to printer or line server. 

For this purpose, the Job scheduler component should make use of templating, where the following attributes should be taken into consideration: 

  • Point of print – this can be an actual printer, but it can also be separate facility running a different CureSync instance or tenant. The Work order can come with a predefined printer or production line, floor or facility. Or, manual entry may be required if data is missing. Also, it must be possible to distribute the workload to several printing points, cancel printing, or to transfer any remaining quantity to a different location. 
  • Schedule – adjustment of exact deadlines when serial numbers are required by printers or line servers 
  • Assignment of other templates based on a work order – this enables the component to use data from the work order (product, territory/market, etc) what labeling will be used, structure of serial numbers, what type of logistic, etc.
  • Other than the printer, an aggregation station can be used, and those tasks are also scheduled using the same principle. 

Task Forwarder 

Complex organizations may use several tenants to streamline their production. Some tenants may simply pass part or whole production details to other tenants, or even other instances – e.g. subsidiary company, CMO, etc. In these cases, the parent company and subsidiary may have different market authorizations, and licensing may be non-exclusive. To move a production order (meaning an order for printers to print and verify labels) to a physical printer, sometimes a hierarchy will be formed, where the Task Forwarder will simply route a request to lower levels of the organization, where further data will be added as needed. If the requestor is not aware of the actual printers and workload distribution, the Task Forwarder will route the production order to the Scheduler, who will define the next routing, until the actual print and verify equipment is reached and order processed.  

A return message should be returned to the initial requestor, however at the tenant level, operators and users can interrupt the process and perform the tasks (through Job Scheduler). 

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