Efficient warehouse & inventory management to reduce risk of compliance violations: Harish K Jain

Efficient warehouse and inventory management are crucial for the pharmaceutical industry. Data-driven decision making, cost efficiency, improved product availability, regulatory compliance, minimized risk of stock-outs, effective management of warehouses and inventory have innumerable benefits, said Harish K Jain, director, Embiotic Labs, national president, Federation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs (FOPE).

Particularly in this post Covid phase, the industry needs to adapt to market changes. It is here we see an agile inventory management system enabling companies to respond quickly to sudden spikes in demand for medicines due to disease outbreaks or other emergencies, he added.

While addressing an AKCDA event in Kochi recently, Jain said that it is high time for Indian pharma to eye for opportunities to optimize operations, reduce bottlenecks, and enhance efficiency. This is where a well-organized supply chain comes into play.

To achieve these benefits, pharmaceutical companies can implement modern warehouse management systems (WMS) and inventory management software. These technologies offer features like real-time tracking, demand forecasting, automated reorder points, batch management, serialization, and integration with other enterprise systems.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of efficient warehouse and inventory management in the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Many companies are investing in upgrading their systems to meet the evolving demands of the market, said Jain.

There is optimization of warehouse usage, minimization of waste due to expired or obsolete products, and optimal storage space utilization. This leads to cost savings for companies as with adequate inventory management including holding buffer stocks, hygienic-temperature-controlled storage will only allow total adherence to good distribution practices (GDP) and good storage practices (GSP) along with First-In First-Out (FIFO) to reduce expiry products in circulation, he said.

Speaking to Pharmabiz a few hours before the event, Jain said, “The glaring developments of India’s adulterated cough syrups in the international markets have taken a serious blow on the image of Indian pharma. This is where we need to look at leading companies like Cipla which according to reports devised a blockchain ledger based workflow management to trace and track across its depots and stockists after it discontinued its association with distributors.

Proper inventory management ensures that essential medicines are always available. Effective inventory management can help track and manage products in accordance with regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of compliance violations. There is minimised risk of stock-outs providing better visibility into stock levels and reorder points. Streamlining warehouse operations and inventory management can lead to quicker order processing and reduced lead times, improving the overall efficiency of the supply chain, he said.

When pharmacies and healthcare providers can consistently access the medicines they see improved patient care and increased customer satisfaction. To this end, we are seeing that modern inventory management systems provide real-time data and analytics, enabling companies to make informed decisions about procurement and distribution. All these will only help Indian pharma to handle critical inventory situations, emergency supplies and tackle the bane of expired & damaged drugs, said Jain.

From a retailers perspective too, product availability and delivery timelines are critical. They too need best price offers, extended payment facilities, flawless invoice details, better handling of expired-damaged drug handling and have access to trained human resources, he noted.

It is here Jain who is also the president of the Karnataka Drugs and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association said that there is need for state level leadership to create co-operative type dedicated pharma interstate & inter district logistics.

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