The pharmaceutical industry is seeing a significant shift toward automation. Because of this, more is expected from the industry than ever before; safety, supply chain visibility, productivity and cost-effectiveness are all factors leading to more and more facilities adopting new technological solutions.
One aspect where the industry can benefit from automation is inventory and temperature monitoring. Pharmacy fridges already need to adhere to strict guidelines so that temperature can be accurately determined, but can inventory and temperature monitoring be more effectively carried out?
Pharmaceutical Technology spoke to specialist refrigerator company Ethicheck, to find out what products they’re using to help the NHS, GPs and pharmacists stay at the top of their game. The latest product from the UK-based company is the MATOS® RFID Pharmaceutical Refrigerator range. The fridges are equipped with real-time inventory and temperature monitoring features to provide live inventory status, including what products are stored in the cabinet, as well as expiry and re-order level information for each product via the company’s MATOS® Monitoring cloud platform.
Using RFID tags to monitor inventory instead of labour-intensive duties such as scanning individual product barcodes eliminates the risk of human error or theft, as well as being more productive for the workforce.
According to Denish Pashuwala, Ethicheck’s business development manager: “RFID tagging allows easy access to real-time inventory information. So we are able to exactly track where the products are stored, distributed or replenished. If you are running low on stock, the system gives you the notification in order to reorder as soon as possible, so you’re not waiting for an actual stock take to take place in order to know that you need to order more of. This leaves no room for error or even foul play.”
In addition to making operations more efficient by eliminating the need for unnecessary manual stock takes, a key benefit is visibility. Automated 24/7 inventory monitoring ensures that products are monitored across the entire supply chain and that stock is untampered with from the point of manufacture. Ethicheck’s MATOS® RFID Pharmaceutical Refrigerator range provides full alert history, so users can access who has responded and what actions were taken. These measures against counterfeiting are essential for protecting manufacturers and customers alike.
Being more productive also means that facilities will be more profitable. Automated stock rotation means waste is reduced, recalls are more easily managed, real-time alerts mean than issues can be addressed immediately, and the workforce can work more efficiently.
“An important aspect is the time saved, including man-hours for reordering stock and scanning inventory, all of those related tasks. There’s no time spent hunting down stock or information,” explains Alastair Comrie, Ethicheck’s product developer.
Ethicheck counts amongst its most loyal customers the British National Health Service and top pharmacists and private hospitals worldwide. The introduction of the MATOS® RFID Pharmaceutical Refrigeration line could very well see the company’s market share boom, particularly during the post-COVID-19 era, when companies need to see quantifiable benefits from new product purchases.