If you were selling medical supplies and equipment in 2021, you know the challenges that persist in such a customer centric market. As of lately, it seems like a lot of logistic decisions are being made by sales or customer service, leaving supply chain managers with a new challenge of adopting requirements put on by a new customer and/or the ever-changing regulatory landscape. With these changes comes the need for a WMS that truly works for you. Whether you are looking to upgrade your WMS or even look to add one, it is important to keep the below challenges in mind while in the design phase.
Lot/Expiration Tracked Blankets
Sometimes customers require everything you ship to them be lot tracked, even if it a blanket that physically can’t expire. In the health care industry First Expiration First Out (FEFO) means everything, even at the cost of most efficient picking or creating an extra replenishment task. FEFO needs to be considered in all situations from large freight orders to small parcel. Not violating FEFO in the returns process is another important challenge managers face especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Most WMS’s cannot account for this and require custom extensions to help bridge the gap. It is important you design your WMS with FEFO in mind, even if the product does not expire.
Customer Dating Requirements
In this industry, some customers require specifically dated product, for example a customer will not except any SKU’s that expire in less than 24 months. To accomplish this challenge, you must get clever with allocation rules and replenishment. This may require you to duplicate each rule for each monthly requirement set in place by customer service or or sales. While time consuming, it is important you get the customer exactly what they need when they need it. This can result in inefficient picking, extra replenishment work or even breaking FEF. Therefore, it is crucial to have a WMS that can handle customer requirements like this and still stop inventory from expiring in storage. This is just another thing a supply chain manager needs to keep in mind while designing their WMS.
If you are a supplier in this industry there is a good chance you are dealing with controlled substances or pharmaceuticals. Along with the physical storage requirements of a cage and safe, you are probably also dealing with WMS design elements to ensure DEA compliance. This can include separate work profiles for both cycle counting and picking work. This is done to ensure there is highly restricted access to only employees with a DEA license. Controlled substances aren’t the only challenging product in the health care industry. Per the Prescription Drug Marketing Act’s pharmaceutical products require pedigree information to be transported with the product. This can be done electronically or physically but this is just another challenge supply chain managers must account for. If your WMS doesn’t store this information, it might be time to upgrade. This is one of many obstacles that exists with supplying life saving drugs.
Are you still using excel to run your supply chain? Is your WMS holding back your operation? Don’t sweat it, Bricz can help! Reach out today to one of our subject matter experts at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you realize your supply chain potential.
Contributor: Phillip Renslow, Supply Chain Consultant at Bricz