As a result of major advancements in both policy and technology over several decades, international trade and foreign investment have become central to overall economic growth. Governments have successfully negotiated international agreements that are responsible for reducing many long-standing barriers to trade and foreign investment, ultimately promoting the flow of goods and services between nations. Due to the elimination of many different barriers to trade and investment, large corporations have established foreign factories as well as production and marketing activities with foreign partners, essentially creating a true borderless economy. In addition to foreign policies, emerging technologies have also played a key role in the globalization of the world’s economy by making it easier than ever to communicate with people across the world. Specifically, advancements in information technologies have provided many with access to a variety of tools for gathering information to help identify and pursue various economic opportunities. Consequently, globalization has made it attractive for businesses to establish importing and exporting operations. Exporting represents a major component of the overall health of a nation’s economy, where countries are rich with unique skills and resources. Importing is also important as domestic businesses often look internationally for resources that are either a) not readily available domestically or b) inexpensive elsewhere, that will help to drive down their cost of goods sold and increase profit margins.
As you can imagine, the pharmaceutical industry is characterized by many regulations and an abundance of meticulous standards that must be met by suppliers and distributors. As an increasing number of products enter the marketplace, the need for tight control measures becomes more prevalent in order to ensure public health and safety. The onus now lies with the suppliers and distributors to meet (perhaps exceed) the standards in place. However, despite these standards certain circumstances have arisen where products have needed to be recalled in the interest of public health. Some of the most prominent drug recalls in terms of scale and magnitude include:
(1) Fenfluramine/Phentermine (Fen-Phen) – developed by Wyeth-Ayerest Labs was recalled in 1997 after 24 years on the market. Fen-Phen was a popular weight loss drug taken by approximately 6.5 million people to help combat obesity. After many users began experiencing heart disease and other related illnesses, the FDA set a recall in motion. The result was roughly $14 billion in damages paid to victims.
(2) Cerivastatin (Baycol) – developed by Bayer and was prescribed to patients as a treatment for high cholesterol and was later linked to a severe muscle disorder. It was recalled in 2001, after roughly 4 years in the market. Damages paid to victims totaled roughly $1.2 billion. Read the rest of this entry »
Choosing to upgrade and implement new distribution ERP software is a huge decision that affects many areas of a company. Not only does it provide the opportunity to improve technologies and increase automation, but it also provides a chance to evaluate processes and streamline activities across all departments. This is why the software search and evaluation process should be as extensive as the implementation process itself, in order to reap all the benefits from an upgrade.
Although most software vendors have unique sales processes for working with prospective customers, almost all will include a demonstration stage at some point. To best evaluate your options, consider only participating in demos when you have narrowed the search down to 2-3 vendors. Trying to evaluate too many can result in information overload, in which no decision is made at all. To best prepare for the software evaluation process, and specifically how to make demos worthwhile, we have outlined some tips below.
Make 80% of Your Decision Before the Demo
Going into a demo, you should already have a good idea as to whether or not the software can meet all your needs, with the demo acting as final clarification. Most of your time should be spent consulting with vendors on your specific business requirements and current processes, prior to even scheduling a demo. Aside from reviewing specific features, a demo should be the final piece of the puzzle that reiterates and showcases what you already know – although software UI is an important factor to consider, it should not trump a system’s ability to meet your needs, and a vendor that understands your business and can help you achieve your goals.
As a pharmaceutical company, the products you sell are controlled under a number of pieces of legislation, and it is imperative to abide by these rules in your distribution processes. The best way to manage all aspects of your company’s operations is to implement proper ERP software designed for pharmaceutical distribution companies. In addition to the standard inventory and accounting functionality found in most ERP systems, a solution designed for pharmaceutical distribution will also include more sophisticated product tracking and management functionality to help ensure that you’re adhering to regulations. Controls can also be set up, like system alerts based on user defined settings, and strong reporting to show that you have been compliant.
● Lot Tracking ● DEA & State License Expiry Management
● NDC # Association of Product ● Customer SKU Classification
● Revision Control ● Pedigree Management
Traditional distribution processes usually include product moving from a manufacturer, to a wholesaler or distributor, to a retailer, and finally to an end consumer. Sometimes, manufacturers, wholesalers or distributors will also be certified to drop ship product. In the case of a retailer, drop shipping refers to a service offered by another member of the supply chain (let’s say manufacturer in this case), whereby the retailer takes customer orders and shipment information, and transfers these to the manufacturer right away. The manufacturer in turn will then ship product directly to the end consumer, so the retailer does not actually hold much physical inventory on hand. This same process applies to wholesale or distribution companies who purchase from other distribution or manufacturing companies that drop ship as well.
This is commonly found in the eCommerce arena, and specifically with Amazon. Although Amazon holds a lot of their own inventory they also generate drop shipping of product by other distributors, wholesalers and manufacturers. As the end consumer ordering product from Amazon, you pay on their website and receive emails from them with your order information, so you would never know that the product was not being sourced from their warehouse unless they specifically mention this.
ERP software is designed to streamline all aspects of a company’s operations – this includes inventory, accounting, contact management, order entry and processing, warehouse management and everything in-between. As a wholesale distribution company this allows you to process and ship more orders with fewer people, ultimately achieving the goal of any company; increasing sales while reducing costs. However, any successful company will know that it takes more than efficient processes to grow sales; it also involves managing customer relationships and keeping customers happy. The customer is King, and proper ERP software can provide you with tools to better engage your customers while making their lives easier as well.
An ERP system with an integrated Customer Relationship Management component allows you to keep track of all of your vendor, prospect and customer information in one central database. A strong CRM system lets you input customer data, log field changes and sales rep information, set follow-up dates, maintain a record of verbal and email communication, specify primary contact information and link to any outstanding invoices or quotes. Using a CRM will help your company stay organized and keep customers satisfied, ensuring that any information about customers and prospects is easily accessible with action items clearly displayed.
You can achieve improved productivity in your distribution business’ warehouse through a variety of activities, ranging from automating order entry processes to providing training for staff. By definition, productivity describes the input to output ratio on a final product, so warehouse oriented businesses are always looking for ways to better manage those inputs while still producing quality outputs. With the help of distribution software, here are three ways this can be done:
1. Optimize picking/packing processes
As a distribution business, it is very important to optimize the basic picking and packing processes in your warehouse. Saving time and reducing errors here presents a huge opportunity to increase productivity. Consider investing in distribution ERP software with barcode scanning functionality to streamline the receiving, picking, packing, and shipping process. A great alternative to a heavy, expensive, traditional barcode scanning machine is a mobile application that runs on iOS devices. This technology streamlines many processes in the warehouse including the ability to itemize products that need to be picked, mapping out how employees should go through the warehouse most efficiently. Pickers and packers can also quickly scan and look up inventory items at the source to retrieve information about the product such as descriptions, pricing and images and in the case of an empty shelf if the item is somewhere in overstock, on backorder or available at other locations. Using this kind of mobile barcode scanning application for handheld picking and receiving is a great alternative to traditional scanners, and will help eliminate the errors and time constraints of performing these tasks manually with pen and paper.