If the last year has illustrated anything for us, it’s that the global supply chain is more vulnerable than we previously realized. From gaming consoles to fashion trends to pantry staples, we’ve seen product shortages across every market space.
This is why order-picking accuracy is more important than ever — especially in the pharmaceutical market. While product shortages and inaccurate orders happen in every market, when it comes to the drug supply chain, it can be a life-or-death issue.
So, what can you do to reduce picking errors and increase your overall accuracy? Turning to proven automation strategies is one of the best options around.
While order accuracy might seem straight forward, there are many little challenges that can disrupt the flow of product through your facility. Let’s examine what challenges drug producers and suppliers might face regarding order fulfillment.
Picking Errors: To err is human. But on company time, picking errors can have disastrous effects on your reputation, as well as your customers.
Product Recalls: Recalling medicine once it has left your facility and entered customer hands is difficult. A product recall can also lead to a product shortage, which could impact your order fulfillment.
Security: Some drugs are heavily regulated, which means your security needs to be up to par – as well as the handling of these items.
Product Hoarding: While hoarding is rare with controlled substances, the general public might make hoard over-the-counter products at any moment. Just look at the Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020.
Regulations: The FDA Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) should be in full effect by 2023. Meeting the requirements can put stress on your process if you haven’t yet started.
While each company we talk to has different needs, think pharmaceutical manufacturer vs. pharmaceutical wholesaler or even retailer, the following products have been vital to many in the pharmaceutical industry achieve a higher accuracy rate.
With the right warehouse management software (WMS), you can capture live information to help you craft a better workflow for your operation. By analyzing your historical data, you can find bottlenecks in your process flow while also increasing your picking accuracy with our WAMAS® Vision software module.
Piece picking robots with integrated scan functionality provide precise identification and verification of products as required by the DSCSA. Paired with the WAMAS® Vision software module, these robots guarantee safe and error-free identification of individual pieces.
Pairing the A-Frame with the Product Verifier offers efficient product picking and detection compliant with the DSCSA guidelines. This system can read up to 8,000 units per hour, scanning batch numbers, expiry dates, and serial numbers.
The Order Verifier can identify, count, check, verify, and document manually handled orders or any shape and size. Able to verify up to 3,000 items per hour, this system is a valuable asset to any operation.
These are just some of the solutions that SSI SCHAEFER offers, which can be worked into an existing facility or a new build, depending on your overall need.
The DSCSA establishes rules for an electronic, interconnected system that can identify and trace prescription drugs through the supply chain within the U.S. The law requires dispensers, manufacturers, and retailers to be able to exchange information about the prescription drugs they carry. This includes who handled the materials, as well as every sale made in the U.S. market.
While this went into effect in 2013, the FDA is phasing in tracing requirements through 2023.
In some ways, the DSCSA is an expansion on processes currently in use by many companies. For those companies, they might not even need to change any of their major processes.
The biggest change so far are authorized trading partners and reporting requirements. Under the DSCSA, pharmaceutical trading partners must be registered with the FDA – this includes manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and repackagers. For wholesalers and third-party logistics providers with valid state or federal licensure, their reporting will be considered compliant.
These changes are taking place over a decade – but time waits for no one. You still have time to get fully compliant before the deadline arrives.
With the right combination of automation and software, you build higher accuracy directly into your operation. While accurate order fulfillment is important in every industry, it matters even more when you’re in the pharmaceutical industry. What also matters is putting your trust in partners that understand how important accurate order fulfillment is to your bottom line.
Learn more about how you can prepare for the DSCSA with this free best practice guide download.