Pharmacies must understand the strengths and weaknesses of their distribution networks so that they can optimize operations and be ready for disruptions.
Academics shed light last year on the responsibilities pharmaceutical warehouses and urged operators to fulfill their responsibility of curing supply chain disruptions and improving network design.
South African researchers found that 36% of the respondents said it was often because there were no medicines at the warehouse that delays in moving stock to hospitals. A further 32% of respondents stated that staff shortages at the warehouse were the problem. Only a small percentage of late medicine requests were responsible for delays.
The study involved hospital staff concerned about the stock received from the warehouse. Some stock was damaged or had a break in the cold-chain storage requirements.
The efficiency of a warehouse plays a key role in the success of medicine distribution.
Factors to Consider
Location: The location of warehousing relative to the nearest airport, seaport, and main roads.
Equipment: Can the equipment be used to meet your requirements and store your products at the temperature you require?
Third party logistics: “If there are several logistics service providers, it is likely that you will have higher fixed costs.”
Licenses If products are stored outside of the EU: you will need to have a variety of licenses, including those for GMP and pharmaceutical GDP.
Regulatory Landscape “Regulations can be very country-specific. There is EU legislation, and there are different regulations within each country. There are often very different legal policies depending on the location of the warehouse.
“We spend a lot of time in advance deciding if the facility we choose has the ability to meet all the regulatory requirements.”
Warehouse temperatures must be monitored and controlled in order to ensure good warehousing practices and distribution. Temperature maps should be done on warehouses to assess risk areas and determine temperature distribution.
If temperatures rise beyond the product label’s storage requirements, it is important to take appropriate action.
It is important to choose the right facility. The cold chain storage path has been chosen in an area that is completely secluded with a loading dock of 2 – 8 °C. This ensures that we don’t break the cold chains.
You must ensure that the truck is unloaded in an ambient area. It’s much easier to unload a truck from a receiving dock that is 2degc-8degc. This allows the receiver truck to be covered with a curtain so the workers can complete their jobs without being under pressure.
It all boils down to the processes that enable traceability. There are many quality processes that go behind the data we receive. If we see excursions, we can take stability data into account and make appropriate measures based upon the extent of the excursion.
Warehouse management system
Warehouse management systems should be used by pharmaceutical and biologic companies to ensure stock availability and inventory optimization. These systems can reduce human error and provide real-time information about storage restrictions, guidelines for temperature and humidity. Algorithms are available to minimize the chance of incorrect shipment and maximize the use of medicines’ expiry times.
The hospital warehouse personnel should keep track of the orders and log where the patient treatments are packaged.
The study suggested that pharmaceutical warehouse staff be trained in the gravity of stock management, tracking and practices. Any failures should be recorded. To quickly retrieve information, electronic stock-sheets and stock registers should be used. Manual stock-cards can only be used in an emergency.
Vifor Pharma has a transport protocol that allows you to note down serial numbers, origin and destination of the shipment, as well as the number of the loggers. Technology can also be an enabler for efficiency. You can protect the shipment from direct sunlight exposure during storage.
Fully automated warehouses are becoming more popular among pharmaceutical companies to meet their strict requirements and solve their internal operational problems. Warehouse automation gives real-time visibility into quality control and eliminates the need to have human contact with the substances being manufactured. This reduces contamination risks and increases employee safety.
The warehouse execution system and automated storage and retrieval systems increase productivity by automating product movement in and out of warehouses. A robot developed by a French company is capable of climbing warehouse racks to pick up 400 orders per hour.
This automated equipment allows manufacturers to create new drugs in a shorter time frame while still adhering to strict regulations.
Fully automated warehouses can slow down processes if the technology is not working properly. In extreme cases, whole systems could have to be stopped.
Check out pharmaceutical warehousing here.