Pharmaceutics: meeting industry challenges with a WMS

Published on 27 August 2019

Product Marketing Manager at Generix Group
Supply Chain

Pharmaceutics is one of the most demanding sectors with respect to logistics, both with regard to efficiency and reliability. The industry, however, must constantly adapt to new limitations in the fields of health, safety, and sales channels… This begs the question: how can the Supply Chain be optimized in a sector as regulated as the pharmaceutical industry? An excellent way is through use of a WMS solution.

Emerging issues in pharmaceutics

Faced with a worrying increase in the sale of counterfeit medicines, the European Union wished to strengthen security of the pharmaceutical product distribution circuit. According to directive 2011/62/UE of June 8, 2011, it has imposed the implementation of safety and traceability measures for all medicine issued by prescription.

Pharmaceutical product authentications were defined in a delegated regulation (2016/161/EU) instating a serialization principle for medicine that requires a medical prescription. This has been required in France since February 9, 2019. Ever since that time, medication boxes must include the following:

  • tamper-proof device that clearly shows whether or not the packaging has been opened

  • DataMatrix 2D marker including a unique identifier designed to guarantee pharmaceutical product origin.

By virtue of these obligations, the pharmaceutical industry has had to include package marking and serialization systems with its production and packaging processes.


Challenges to take up with regard to pharmaceutical logistics

The traceability and control of medicine temperature are the two biggest logistics challenges in the pharmaceutical industry.

To meet new requirements set by the European Union, the traceability of pharmaceutics must be holistic all along the Supply Chain.

With the development of biomedicines that are the product of life sciences, pharmaceutical product transport services must also meet stringent temperature requirements during delivery. Faced with these constraints and regulations, professionals specialized in pharmaceutical logistics have no choice but to adapt in order to preserve the integrity of said medicines.


What good is a WMS in the pharmaceutical industry?

WMSs help when addressing certain needs related to the supply of medicine in a multitude of contexts.

To meet the needs of pharmacies and parapharmacies, products must be available with an immediate turnaround. As such, it must be possible to quickly deliver to any sales location, sometimes fewer than four hours following product manufacture. A WMS solution can be used in nearly every possible Field Stock Location (FSL) scenario. In this case, a WMS would ensure product availability and a worthy response time.

An increasing number of hospital care services are requesting that their vendors manage every aspect of the logistics chain. According to the needs expressed, the vendor is responsible for the supply of pharmaceutics and must be able to manage and ensure the status of stock at any time.

In the home services sector, a new e-commerce offering is being developed. For patients, this means being able to order and receive parapharmaceutical products directly at home. This new service may also be managed by a WMS solution.