The key ingredient in successful pharmaceutical fulfillment is order accuracy. Incorrect fulfillment of an e-commerce order is typically just a nuisance to the customer. In the pharmaceutical world, however, an incorrectly filled order can be a matter of life-and-death if a life-saving product is not delivered in time or the wrong product is shipped. Pharmaceutical fulfillment can include everything from generic unit storage on shelves and carton flow, refrigerated storage of products that must be maintained at a specific temperature, to secure storage areas where narcotics and other regulated or high-valued drugs are stored. There are various systemic checks and balances throughout the process to ensure order accuracy is maintained. All FDA regulations regarding serialization and traceability, as required by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), are met.
Manual Process for Pharmaceutical Facilities
A manual process is recommended with businesses just entering the marketplace, daily activity levels are low, acquiring capital dollars is difficult, picking is mainly at the bulk level, or there is uncertainty regarding future activity levels.
- Carton Flow Rack
- Autonomous Mobile Robots
Semi-Automated Process for Pharmaceutical Facilities
A semi-automated process is the next step in the progression from a manual process. As daily activity levels increase, more efficient methods are required to handle the increased throughput and service level requirements. The transition from manual to semi-automated involves the introduction of conveyors, packaging equipment, and a more advanced warehouse control system.
- Robots/Autonomous Mobile Robots
- Pick/Put to Light
- Pick Modules
Automated Process for Pharmaceutical Facilities
Automated processes are employed in fulfillment centers that have high daily volume demands consistently. They utilize many of the components of a semi-automated system but replace labor-intensive operations (such as picking) with highly efficient machines. Using goods-to-person technologies such as shuttles and autonomous robots; reduces order cycle times even further than a semi-automated solution but at a higher capital cost.
Autonomous Mobile Robot
Carton Flow Rack