More serialization consolidation as Optel buys Verify Brand

Canada’s Optel Group has bought traceability rival Verify Brand in the second M&A deal involving serialization companies this week.

The Quebec City-based company said the acquisition of Verify Brand would allow it to “not only complete its traceability offering and provide end-to-end solutions, but also expand its portfolio to cater to a wide range of diverse industries.”

The new deal comes shortly after pharma serialization specialist rfXcel bought Frequentz – which has built up a position in pharma and food traceability – and the two transactions lend weight to the view that a consolidation wave could be looming in the currently fragmented traceability market as companies seek to broaden their offerings and/or enter new industrial sectors.

In a statement, Optel said that the combined company would bring together its characterization and data-capturing solutions in industrial environments with Verify Brand’s “proven data management and analytics expertise,” including level 4 and 5 serialization capabilities.

Level 1 serialization covers devices such as cameras and printers, while level 2 adds the software that manages the systems on a packaging line and level 3 extrapolates those systems to site-level, with another layer of software to manage allocation of serial numbers, verification of data integrity and aggregation.

Levels 4 and 5 expand the capabilities still further, linking to the enterprise architecture and global network, respectively. At the top level the serialization capability can manage data transactions with other trading partners and regulators.

“With increased global regulations and consumer demand for greater transparency, brands need solutions that deliver true end-to-end supply chain visibility," said Verify Brand chief executive Michael Howe.

“Combining our mature, flexible serialization platform with Optel's track and trace capabilities will open up access to the data, analytics and reports that brands need to finally enable this level of visibility.

Optel said that it will now be able to deploy artificial intelligence developed for its automation technology to automatically analyse the big data that is generated throughout the supply chain, which ties into the ongoing drive towards digitization of manufacturing. In time, the hope is to achieve full connection of the supply chain from manufacturer through to the end-user - the patient or consumer.

Optel's primary business is in pharma, medical devices and healthcare, and while this has been a core focus for Verify Brand the Minneapolis-based company has also been developing projects in other industries including food and consumer goods, for example to allow consumers to authenticate products.

“Our plan is to optimise supply chains to increase our customers' performance while at the same time building a sustainable economy in the long term,” said Louis Roy, Optel’s president.

“This acquisition allows us to quickly attain a crucial part of that goal, which is to connect the supply chain.”

He said raising the level of control over the supply chain could – if deployed effectively – deliver a host of healthcare improvements, including making sure patients receive genuine, correct medicines; swiftly removing defective drugs and devices from the supply chain and reducing waste; and detecting pharmacovigilance signals or product diversion in real-time.

“Verify Brand has one of the only platforms that has millions of users – not manufacturers or distributors but end-users – already connected,” he said.

A video of the acquisition announcement event can be viewed below:

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