IT Technologies in Care of Adherence to GDP Procedures
Good Distribution Practices (GPD) provide very rigorous requirements for people responsible for logistics in pharmaceutical companies.
Maintaining right temperature and humidity in warehouses and shipping vehicles, stability and reliability of supply chain or inventory management are just a part of processes, where every error or accidental mistake could lead to serious legal consequences and, more importantly, cause health risks. Due to these reasons pharmaceutical goods manufacturers and logistics operators increasingly decide to invest in advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) and mobile solutions that allow monitoring of drugs storage and shipment on every stage of the process.
Safe and Cost Effective Storage
Warehouse management systems and mobile solutions connect all the processes related to flow of goods through a warehouse. In case of consignment warehouses they are responsible not only for effective and timely collection of medicines batches and preparing adequate documentation to this extent but also for 24h monitoring of appropriate temperature and humidity of rooms and handling of identification labels and expiry dates. How does a drugs supply chain coordinated by WMS look like then? The first stage is the receipt of goods into a warehouse, including product identification and registering complex data into the system, batch check and automatic choice of storage localization. This last part is especially important due to storage conditions required by the pharmaceutical law for different kinds of medicines. When defining storage localization the system also takes into account optimal warehouse space usage and forklift truck routing, allowing companies to generate significant savings in the area of operational processes.
Continuous inventory monitoring guarantees that stock levels indicated by the system are consistent with the real levels. This allows to eliminate situations where there is shortage of life-saving drugs, which could cause serious social and legal consequences. Additionally warehouse manager has access to a dashboard showing current operations and inventory levels. These data allow for easy and effective prevention of delays and immediate reaction to critical situations, such as temperature change or goods damage. Product traceability system, providing information about product history, including its components, becomes invaluable when a defect is detected in a particular medicine batch and it is required to withdraw it from sale.
An important aspect of warehouse management system in a company's IT structure is its impact on work efficiency increase and planning specific tasks based on current needs. Tasks are determined by a program prioritizing individual orders – in the first order employees will receive tasks related to handling of shipments with closest deadlines. Another factor analyzed during task allocation is current employee localization. Employees are given tasks in the zones closest to them. One example of such warehouse management solution is Astro WMS by Consafe Logistics, allowing warehouse partitioning into time and functional zones, thus simplifying routing optimization, partitioning of inventory levels and order picking. It allows to allocate tasks based not only on task priority but also on routes of forklift trucks. This way pharmaceutical companies not only can be sure that orders will be picked and delivered to wholesalers and pharmacies in timely manner, but also can notice increased work efficiency and better sales results and also growing number of satisfied customers.
Loading Under Control
Good Distribution Practices define strict requirements for loading and shipment of pharmaceutical goods. Besides protection from damage and contamination of products and providing optimal temperature, logistics operator has to take care for identification of the product and its consigner and consignee. In operations managed by WMS solution complete orders are verified in the shipping zone and data are sent also to ERP or CRM system. In case of Astro WMS it's also possible to use functions for weight calculation and cubing during order picking and choose appropriate boxes filling level. Software is also responsible for preparation of shipping documents and printing identification labels.
Mobile Shipment Protection
Whereas in warehouse pharmaceutical goods storage is continuously monitored, shipment of drugs by vehicles in case of traditional solutions doesn't allow for delivery tracking and alerting about exceeded temperature limits. The only exception are vehicles equipped with mobile solutions automating many operations related to medicines distribution. An example of such mobile solution responsible for maintaining appropriate shipping conditions is ControlTransport developed by Consafe Logistics. This solution allows for integration with temperature monitoring systems in vehicles shipping containers with medicines. All deviations are communicated by special alert in the terminal version of application or directly to the shipping agent. Such solution allows full control of shipping conditions and ensures to the end user that goods were stored in appropriate conditions. The impact of system mobility on higher shipping quality proves itself also in managing emergency situations. In case of irregularities related to shipping medicines batch (e.g. vehicle failure) shipping agent is immediately notified of the problem. Contact with employee allows immediate interventional action and effective prevention of delay in order shipment.
Mobile solutions ensure also that drugs will be delivered to the right recipient and facilitate order registration required by the pharmaceutical law. Shipment can be delivered only to the person defined in the shipment documents. The recipient signs electronically on the terminal screen and immediately receives printed invoice and shipping agent receives Proof of Delivery.
Benefits of mobile tools being used by logistics operator are also valued by owners of pharmacies and wholesalers because online access to an application showing order status allows them to more accurately notify patients about drugs availability and even more versatile inventory management.