In recent years, the pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sector has adopted a new approach to sales, focusing on multi-channel, and, in particular, online sales. This is the result of a change that is taking place globally and which has been even accelerated in part by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
In Italy, the online sale of medications was introduced following Legislative Decree no. 17 of February 19, 2014, which implemented European Directive 2011/62/EU. The online sale of medications in Italy is governed by stringent regulations and only includes the trade of medicines without a prescription such as over-the-counter medications, supplements, cosmetics and creams, para-pharmaceutical and homoeopathic products, medical and orthopaedic products (the online sale of the latter requires the manufacturer’s confirmation that the product can be sold without a prescription). The situation is different in other European countries, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, where it is possible to sell any type of medication online, without the limits and distinctions applied by other countries.
The logistics and warehouse management of pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical products has therefore become increasingly important. It is worth mentioning that for example, in Italy, online pharmacies or pharmacies that operate as an intermediate distributor cannot resort to third party suppliers or wholesalers for the shipment of the products purchased by the customers and, therefore, can only ship what is physically present in their warehouse. Numerous companies in the pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sector have therefore adopted solutions for warehouse logistics that facilitate the management of their goods, especially of those which can be sold in the e-commerce distribution channel.
The advantages of automated storage systems in the pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sector
The main logistical needs in the pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sector are to make the most of the storage space available and ensure the proper preservation of products. Modula has developed innovative solutions, able to meet both these needs. Modula’s storage systems can be grouped into specific categories:
- Modula Lift vertical storage systems
the tray-based automatic vertical storage system was introduced on the market over 30 years ago and with thousands of installations globally. This is a solution that is now a consolidated standard for automated storage of both finished and semi-finished products.
- Controlled temperature and humidity automatic storage systems – Modula Climate Control is the Modula Lift storage system that ensures smooth operation in a temperature range between +2°C and +25°C (±1°C) and controlled relative humidity ≥5%.
- Low humidity storage systems – Modula Dry is the automatic vertical storage system with controlled relative humidity ≥ 5%.
- Storage systems for cleanrooms – Modula Clean Room is the storage system designed for cleanrooms (compliant with ISO 14644 standards, and able to meet class 7 and 8 requirements) that can be used without affecting the room class, preventing contamination of the stored material.
The new lines of Modula automatic vertical storage systems for the pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sector offer a series of competitive advantages designed to meet the most common needs of the end-user, in particular:
- quick and ergonomic access to the items for all operators;
- optimization of the picking times for order preparation;
- reduction of the footprint needed for storage and exploitation of the vertical space with high-density storage;
- temperature and humidity control;
Vertical automatic storage systems for e-commerce (and more) in the pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sector: Some examples
Solimè, a manufacturer of herbal products, optimizes production processes thanks to Modula automatic storage systems
Solimè is an Italian company (based in the province of Reggio Emilia) that has been producing natural herbal products since 1975. In 2012 Solimè entered the online sales channel with the opening of an e-commerce company.
Solimè’s new need was to automate its warehouse to ensure fast and accurate preparation of orders. The Modula vertical storage solutions met Solimè’s needs enabling the storage of both finished (about 350 different products) and semi-finished products.
Solimè chose three Modula Lift ML50Ds, optimizing warehouse organization and putting the vertical space available to good use since this is one of the main advantages provided by these systems:
- 1 Modula storage system is used for the storage of raw materials (extracts, herbs), essential for the production of supplements, cosmetics and personal care products;
- 2 Modula storage systems are used for the storage of finished products (large, small, packaged) ready for distribution to end customers.
The positive impact of Modula’s solutions has enabled Solimè to drastically reduce order preparation time: today the company can prepare 100 orders (including micro-orders) in a record time of 1 workday, while 3 workdays were necessary before the purchase of the 3 Modula storage systems.