The Keys To Efficient Pharma Warehousing Solutions

The period 2020/2021 proved to be a learning curve for international pharmaceutical manufacturers as supply chain and logistical setbacks affected industry growth. This fact, coupled to changing regulatory and compliance requirements, Brexit and patent cliffs means that conditions for the safe distribution of medical drugs and devices as a vital part of the supply chain will continue to become more complex.

The pharma sector is marked by rapid product introductions and the drive to optimise secure storage footprints while managing compliance. This places an extremely high demand on logistical processes and warehouse automation. Stringent legal obligations, coupled with the need for maximum safety and hygiene when handling sensitive products and safe storage, means that during the critical planning phase, engineers and architects must understand the complexities of juggling demand, within the controlled environment required by the pharma industry. With prescription drug abuse estimated to be one of the fastest growing dependency disorders, it is vital that controlled substances, including opioids are stored in a secure and accredited warehouse facility.

Temperature & Traceability

Most drugs used during the manufacture of scheduled or over the counter medication products are sensitive to temperature changes. For example, the efficacy of drugs such as insulin reduces under prolonged heat exposure and these items must be stored in an environment with ideal temperature and humidity levels.

As different drugs have vastly different temperature requirements, it is necessary to have multiple climate-controlled compartments within the warehouse. Total traceability is another essential factor – especially when it comes to checking and monitoring expiry dates. It is essential that the warehouse design should include a designated stock segregation area in which usable, recalled, expired, or returned stock can be sorted and safely disposed of.

Hygienic & Sterile Environment

A clean and protected environment within a storage facility is mandatory for pharmaceutical warehouses, as dust and accumulated waste increases the risk of contamination. Ingression of pests and insects can also contaminate the contents within the warehouse. Insect control programmes, routine inspection and installation of air curtains at the entry and exit points of the storage facility can help keep pesky bugs out.

Handling time & temperature sensitive products

The handling, movement and storage of goods and components in the pharma supply chain, often referred to as intralogistics, play a fundamental role in monitoring and improving capacity. Successful cold chain handling of sensitive clinical supplies requires specialised services and ability. For time-sensitive products such as medicines, hygiene and stock visibility are crucial. Consequently, it is important to select a racking or shelving system that gives greater visibility and can be easily disinfected whenever needed. Intralogistics extends as far as transport vehicles, such as automated guided vehicles that offers feature added safety solutions, collision protection and vehicle stabilisers. These solutions work in conjunction with warehouse management systems to end driver error.

Digitise for smarter operations

In order to grow, pharma companies must unlock the benefits of transformation and transparency, while developing integrated supply chains to unlock operational efficiency. The key to running a streamlined pharma warehousing operation is digitisation, which can improve planning accuracy, manufacturing efficiency, productivity, inventory, and service levels.

One pharma company has managed to do this well by forming a strategic partnership group that liaises with all the business units to establish a clear view of partnerships across the organisation and thereby negotiate appropriate contracts. This enables the creation of an ecosystem of critical players, analytics providers, data providers, academic organisations and biotech’s that allow it to interface directly on behalf of the company. 1

In this highly regulated and competitive sector, the pharma industry is staying true to its reputation for resilience by reacting and considering agile and flexible strategies that could change all aspects of operation, but critically warehouse management.

Partnering with accredited warehouses will allow new entrants, and those looking to enter the UK healthcare market, to follow all regulatory and logistics requirements, while setting up new and faster routes to market. Clarity Pharma’s team of experts can assist you to understand how interconnected and transparent supply and logistics chains can benefit your operation. Contact the Clarity team if you require any information or assistance.