The everyday role of e-commerce in retail, wholesale, and fashion industries, becomes also more important for pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies with the growth of online pharmacies. Increased consumer health awareness, coupled with self-medication trends, is leading to higher online demand for over-the-counter products and beauty and care orders.
Online ordering of prescription drugs brings additional complexity because of zero-error tolerance. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic caused an enormous surge in online drug demand.
The importance of e-commerce in different parts of the world varies. In Europe, for example, e-commerce is playing a more significant industry role. Moving forward, a holistic interaction among manufacturers, wholesalers, brick and mortar, and online businesses will lead to greater efficiencies and product fulfillment.
The expectation is that online pharmacies will deliver their products fast, cost-effectively, and safely to their end customers. A smoothly coordinated supply chain and a tailor-made logistics solution for online business are the keys to success. Flexibility and modularity are decisive to react to new trends and technologies. In e-commerce, the order structure also places higher demands on material handling. To meet demand requires effective solutions that accommodate large order volumes with small order sizes simultaneously—and for a diverse range of products.
The new normal of e-commerce means increasing expectations for next-day or same-day delivery, coupled with the highest-quality standards. A singular logistics strategy is essential to meet customer demands, as well as the high legal requirements of tracking and tracing associated with zero-error tolerance. SSI SCHAEFER has made patient safety its top priority and provides a comprehensive solution portfolio for this purpose.
Increased shipping volume of over 35 million parcels per year, zero-error tolerance, and 24/7 operations—these are the requirements that Shop Apotheke Europe, one of continental Europe’s leading online pharmacies, would like to achieve.
Together with SSI SCHAEFER, they developed a future-oriented and highly automated solution. In addition to an automated small parts warehouse (ASPW), they deployed the high-performance shuttle system SSI Cuby as an order buffer. Shuttle vehicles supply the storage locations with up to 800 double cycles per aisle per hour.
Part of the innovative overall solution are also A-Frames, which enable fast processing of complex orders through automatic order picking, even during peak loads. Furthermore, they equipped the logistics center with Put to Light workstations and work stations for single-order sorting and compiling bulk orders. The logistics software WAMAS® coordinates the material flow. The new, customized e-commerce distribution center in Sevenum, Netherlands, will begin operations at the beginning of 2021.