Central Fill Operation – Pharmaceutical Industry
|Chris Benevides – Author|
It has been an interesting decade for the pharmaceutical industry. Drug testing and approval requirements have increased. A shortage of pharmacists have caused labor from manufacturing, distribution and retail to become much more expensive. SKU proliferation has made an ever increasing and diverse customer base, who are a challenge to keep informed.
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As a result, the pharmaceutical industry has been looking for ways to decrease their operating costs, while at the same time be able to command absolute trace-ability of the drug lots and script handling across the supply chain. The industry has become quick to adopt new technological advances in the software and automation to combat these issues.
There are many automated solutions that can help streamline the pharmaceutical supply chain, yet recently there is one stand out. Central Fill Operations is one of the most interesting ideas, that has been receiving mass adoption in the industry. The idea behind Central Fill Operations is similar to an eCommerce platform for prescriptions.
A local pharmacy may have many distribution centers that have to send deliveries to pharmacies every few days. A Central Fill Operation utilizes advanced software and automation equipment to fill prescriptions right in the warehouse. Once the prescription is filled in the distribution center, it is then sent to the local pharmacy. Pharmacists can quickly check the prescriptions and make themselves more available for consultations allowing for a better customer experience.
Some benefits of the Central Fill Operation are:
- Accuracy: Automation equipment can scan, count, verify pill type and script label to ensure accurate delivery
- Speed: Automation equipment can fill thousands of prescriptions per hour. Local pharmacies can use less pharmacist, and/ or make pharmacists available to more customers enhancing the customer experience and loyalty
- Traceability: Scanners and cameras can keep accurate records of all scripts as they are filed, catch errors, and keep accountability at the source of filling
- Multi-channel: Filling the scripts in one location allows one process for both retail and eCom pharmaceutical orders keeping overhead down