Pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive, with stringent regulatory requirements, heavy investments in research and development, and regular changes in medical requirements and the impact of patent rights. Therefore, even minor inaccuracies in business processes and lack of flexibility may result in enormous costs and fines.

Process automation helps pharmaceutical companies mitigate the risk of errors and ensure compliance with quality standards. In addition, automation provides up-to-date, complete and reliable data on production, supplies, inventories, sales, competitors. 

This article will tell you what processes a pharmaceutical company can automate and its subsequent benefits. 

Reasons for Automation for a Pharmaceutical Company

Reasons for automation for a pharmaceutical company

Automation helps companies improve the quality and reliability of manufacturing processes, meet stringent statutory requirements, conduct clinical trials and develop formulations faster, improve marketing strategies and personalize advertising.

In pharmaceutical manufacturing, automation significantly reduces the probability of errors in complex processes. For example, a manual production report may contain errors in raw material or process data. This leads to wrong conclusions, loss of time and money searching for and correcting errors. An automated system prevents such inaccuracies and ensures reliability of analytics.

Business Processes Automated by Pharmaceutical Companies

Business processes automated by pharmaceutical companies

Merchandising and Sales

Proper display and sales management are as important for pharmaceutical companies as research, production or logistics, because each company competes for consumers. In order for the buyer to catch a sight of the product, it is necessary to understand where this product should be placed on the shelf, and what medicines, vitamins or POS materials should be arranged nearby. In addition, you need to make sure that the product is always not only in stock at the pharmacy, but also displayed on the shelf on time. 

Automation of sales analysis and display monitoring addresses these tasks. BI systems are able to quickly and comprehensively analyze all available data and visualize trends in demand and sales. This helps better understand people’s needs and tailor your marketing and sales strategies. 

For BI systems to perform analysis correctly, the input data must be effective and reliable. Automation of outlet audit and display analysis provides this data. For example, display monitoring using Goods Checker, a computer vision-powered IT solution, helps quickly check whether goods are displayed according to the planogram, whether price labels and POS materials are positioned correctly. In addition, Goods Checker generates analytics with the specified KPIs: shelf share for user brand and competitors’ brand, reasons for discrepancy between actual layout and the planogram, etc. 

This approach gives an understanding of the real situation on the shelves and the number of out-of-stock situations.

Logistics and Supply Chain

Pharmaceutical companies need timely and accurate information about the status, timing and location of products, and maintain strict records of deliveries to comply with regulatory requirements. Therefore, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to supervise all logistics processes. Inaccuracies in contract management and insufficient performance monitoring may result in supply chain disruptions and therefore increased costs. Automation helps build transparent and controlled logistics, accurately identify medicines and know where they are at any time. 

In addition, it is essential for companies to be able to forecast consumer demand in order to maintain a balance between production and inventory. After all, pharmaceutical products have a limited shelf life, so pharmaceutical companies must understand how much raw material they need to produce the required amount of medicine. 

Safety and Production

Manufacturing processes in the pharmaceutical industry are complex and highly demanding, as even minor deviations can have serious consequences for patient health. 

Automation helps to oversee, document and manage production processes by tracking each stage: from loading raw materials to finished products. Technologies make production and business processes transparent and integrated, help streamline them and minimize the probability of in-process errors.

In addition, automated systems help monitor the safety of employees at work. The systems keep track of the availability of personal protective equipment; monitor the indoor climate and other safety aspects. This helps reduce the risk of job-related accidents, ensure smooth production and avoid legal consequences. 

Research and Development

During research, personnel process enormous amounts of information. Often conventional analytics systems can no longer quickly cope with this flow of data. Artificial intelligence systems accelerate the analysis of large volumes of clinical, demographic, and laboratory data. Solutions using advanced statistical methods, machine learning and neural networks help identify important patterns and speed up the process of researching new drugs.

Automation makes it easier to conduct tests and experiments. It eliminates errors due to fatigue or inattention of employees, or the influence of external factors, which also speeds up the process and reduces costs. In addition, artificial intelligence processes and evaluates information about side effects from medication faster. Therefore, companies can quickly address undesired effects.

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    How Automation Helped Monitor Pharmacy Shelves and Improve Planograms

    How automation helped monitor pharmacy shelves

    Display Monitoring

    Drug manufacturer was faced with the need to monitor the display of goods in pharmacies in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Currently, medical representatives manually check the layout for compliance with the planogram, which is time-consuming and often leads to errors.

    To address this challenge our client chose the Goods Checker IT solution powered by computer vision. The mobile application allows the customer’s medical representatives to quickly compare the layout against the planogram and identify inconsistencies. Recognition accuracy is over 90%, and the time spent on pharmacy visit does not exceed five minutes.

    The Goods Checker web application immediately processes data from medical representatives’ visits and generates detailed analytics for customer managers. The application provides information on compliance with planograms in various regions and cities, shelf share, availability of POS materials and other important metrics.

    The pilot project proved the solution efficiency: recognition accuracy is above 90%; visit time is less than five minutes. The customer has already seen that medical representatives spend less time visiting the pharmacy, and managers quickly receive reports.   

    Planogram Improvement 

    A major chain of pharmacies in Eastern Europe has about 1,400 points of sale, where they sell from 1,000 to 1,500 types of medicines, dietary supplements and other items.

    To increase turnover and reduce the number of situations where goods are out of stock on the shelf, they decided to automate the creation of planograms and receive feedback on their compliance from employees in pharmacies. Analysis of such data will help identify bottlenecks in the preparation of layouts and planograms and streamline the process. 

    During the project, we created planograms for all pharmacies, configured the exchange of information with the accounting system and regular distribution of planograms for employees to complete tasks. 

    As a result, the pharmacy chain improved category management, visual presentation of products to customers and reduced the number of out-of-stock items.   

    Accuracy, Speed and Quality in All Business Processes are What Automation Gives to Business

    What automation give to a pharmacy business

    Prompt adaptation to changing market conditions is becoming a key factor in the successful operation of a pharmaceutical company. 

    BI systems, artificial intelligence and other technologies help improve business processes: make them faster, more transparent and integrated. All this becomes the basis for collecting complete, reliable and up-to-date data, from which managers extract valuable information for making strategic decisions and ensuring competitiveness in the market.

    Today, automation for pharmaceutical companies is the critical factor that helps improve the quality and safety of products and drive visibility against competitors. 

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