5 Ways WMS can Benefit the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
Warehouse management software is a must for every supply chain, but for some industries, it can provide additional benefits. Craig Powell, Managing Director of Balloon One, shares his insight into how warehouse management software can be used to optimize pharmaceutical logistics.
Every supply chain is dependent on effective warehouse management, but for the pharmaceutical industry, there are additionally complex challenges to be overcome. Fortunately, many of the unique issues that handling drugs and medical equipment present may be benefitted by the implementation of warehouse management software (WMS).
Below, I’ll take you through just some of the ways that WMS can benefit your pharmaceutical warehouse.
With WMS technology, it’s easier to process and securely transfer digital information so that transparency across the whole supply chain can be achieved. This is crucial for compliance with the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD). The FMD states that every pharmaceutical package must have a unique barcode, containing the batch number, expiry date, and a unique serial number. WMS can read these and keep track of this information, improving efficiency. This also ensures that SecurMed UK, the national medicine verification organization, can be informed when stock is received, moved, and picked for dispatch — again, in compliance with the FMD.
One of the most important elements of pharmaceutical supply is tracking drug expiry dates. WMS can keep dates and product locations to hand, along with other important digital information, to help optimize your first expired, first-out (FEFO) system of inventory management. Not only will this further ensure the goods you store and move are safer, but it can drastically decrease what slips through the cracks and needs to be thrown away once expired. This can help you keep to waste output targets and saves your clients money too, and fewer resources are wasted. It also helps ensure that stock spends as little time in transit and storage as possible, so efficiency is further improved.
According to the MHRA, almost one-third of critical and major deficiencies are due to improper storage temperatures (ABB). WMS can help you keep track of complicated storage information such as the need for temperature or climate-controlled warehousing, as well as contamination control. It can even alert you to urgent issues such as faulty fridges. All this can prevent medicines from spoiling, keeping wasted stock to a minimum, and accurate temperature control can help save energy while lowering heating and cooling costs too.
Eliminating security concerns
With data and information, such as stock levels, presented in a visual, easy-to-digest format, you can also far more effectively manage security issues such as theft. Digitizing processes such as vendor tracking and labeling can prevent both accidental and criminal mislabelling, reducing the risk of ‘salting’; monitoring motion-detection alarms and cameras can prevent tampering and criminal activity, and logging each step of your safe disposal practices can prove useful for meeting regulations — or if you come across any legal or environmental trouble.
WMS is designed to be customizable to suit all kinds of projects, so no matter what your needs are, you’ll likely find the technology or be able to personalize your software to better streamline your processes. For example, if you need tailored traceability and storage monitoring, or personalized picking and packing systems, don’t make do — research the options that are available to you. If you can’t find a solution for a particularly complex warehousing requirement, speak to your WMS provider about what packages, add-ons, and personalized services they can provide.
These are just some of the ways WMS is elevating the pharmaceutical supply chain. If your warehouse has complex requirements, you may be surprised by how easily you can streamline your processes with this technology.
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