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Pharmaceutical laboratories build on EDI to automate order receiving from suppliers

23/04/2018

Pharmaceutical Laboratories EDI

The pharmaceutical industry in Central America is growing strongly, driven by the establishment of major global laboratories which see the potential of countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to take the sector forward.

The healthcare industry handles large data volumes and has different product demand times, which is why Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) technology is an important step in the right direction in the processing of information related to drugs, stock management, and patients. EDI solutions enhance the competitiveness of businesses that use this technology and have become a very valuable tool for the pharma sector to establish efficient commercial communications and logistics that prioritize safety and immediacy above all else.

In terms of industry suppliers, EDI technology helps them integrate a great diversity of customers of different characteristics and sizes (wholesalers, hospitals, pharmacies) and manage a critical and extensive amount of product information (prices, features, compositions, packaging types, etc.).

The challenge facing suppliers is how to centralize B2B relations to make them fluid, automated, and high-performing, regardless of the technological development of their customers, which include companies lacking in EDI solutions. All of this with the goal of effectively covering consumer demand.

The incorporation of retail trading partners like pharmacies and pharma wholesalers in these types of EDI solutions is becoming increasingly essential and there are dedicated solutions that can take the benefits of EDI and e-invoicing to these players. How does EDI help labs and pharma firms step up to the challenge?

Order automation in the healthcare sector

To improve in-house and outsourced processes, healthcare businesses adopt EDI workflows that enable them to automate and manage all their information seamlessly and error-free. By using EDI, all supply chain stakeholders can speak the same language and transmit information over secure and instant platforms connected directly to their ERPs.

One of the most common unmet needs of pharmaceutical labs is to manage inventory reports and have updated order information to boost product rotation efficiency.

To deliver on that need, EDICOM provides labs with an online customer portal dedicated to optimizing relations between healthcare industry commercial partners.

The Customer Web Portal enables the interchange of two types of sales messages: PRICAT, the price list for the company's items, and the ORDER or procurement message. How does it work?

The portal works by publishing product catalogs with detailed information on the medications for sale.

Labs and wholesalers that act as suppliers can keep their product catalogs permanently up to date on prices, product features, logistics details, references, and more, and offer them to customers in real time.

With this information available online, customers can log in and select products and the purchase orders will be automatically generated using data entry forms. The purchase orders are sent electronically from the portal to the laboratories’ in-house management systems.

Similarly, it could be wholesalers who group together all the orders from different pharmacies to create a single purchase order in the portal to send to the lab.

Both parties come out ahead:

  • The labs get instant and integrated order information in their systems and can cut supply times.
  • The pharmacies access constantly updated online catalogs and can submit product requests quickly and securely.

Advantages of working with EDI technology

EDI technology automates the generation, consignment, and logging of any electronic transaction, interacting with any ERP so that orders, shipping notices, e-invoices, etc., are processed with no human intervention. This integration potential makes EDI messages the best option for optimizing most administrative and management processes.

Benefits deriving from the use of EDI include:

  • Integrating communications with the company’s in-house IT systems.
  • Automatic and unassisted processing of commercial transactions.
  • Optimization of the company’s administrative, logistics, and management processes.
  • Reduction in merchandise receiving and delivery times.
  • Increase in communication security and confidentiality.
  • Cost reduction by computerizing all of the company’s communication processes.

Supply management with CRP FLOW

A further advantage of having a technology partner specializing in EDI solutions adapted to the particulars of your sector is that your company will have its present and future needs satisfied because the scalability of the proposed solutions allows you to adapt to new customers and their different characteristics, business volume, context, and more. As the number of partners (customers, suppliers, logistics operators, etc.) and EDI messages exchanged grows, so too do the benefits obtained.

EDICOM has developed different tools which use EDI to make a direct and positive impact on pharmaceutical firm efficiency, e.g., the continuous restocking system called Vendor Management Inventory. This is an app that harnesses advanced mathematical models to process data for estimating a distributor’s supply requirements based on records such as:

  • Sales logs, intakes, stock-outs, shrinkage...
  • Existence of promotions that can indicate demand peaks at certain times
  • Timeframe records to estimate expected rises or falls in demand for seasonality reasons
  • Product expiration
  • Transport capacity
  • Archiving capacity at destination

Heavyweight global pharma labs operating in Central America trust in EDICOM’s expertise as a leading technology provider for the interchange of commercial information in an electronic format.

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