Walk down any commercial street in any town throughout Brazil and you won’t have to look far to find a pharmacy. Perhaps it is because Brazilians are especially health-conscious (and have a leaning towards self-medication); perhaps it is because of strict controls on the sale of medicines through supermarkets and other outlets common in other countries. Whatever the reason, there are some 72,000 pharmacies in Brazil, or one for every 2,600 people.
Panarello, a nationwide distributor of medicine based in the central city of Goiânia, sells its goods to about half of them. That is an enormously complex operation. Pharmacies stock a huge variety of medicine – between 8,000 and 9,000, even in small outlets – so they tend to have just one or two packs of each medicine in stock at any time. That means they depend on speedy delivery of new stock to keep their customers happy. “It’s very important to be the first distributor your customers turn to,” says Sthenyo Amadei, responsible for Panarello’s introduction of IBS Integrator in its customer supply system. “A customer will typically fill 95% of an order with one distributor and go to others for the rest. Everybody wants that first order.”
Before turning to IBS, Panarello primarily used a call center to contact its customers and fill orders, together with a software system for electronic sales that Amadei says caused a huge amount of headaches. “Connections between our system and our customers’ systems would fail and we wouldn’t know sometimes if an order had been received in full. There were all kinds of problems processing the information.” IBS Integrator has “radically changed the quality of the integration of our systems with those of our customers,” he says. “As soon as we receive an order we send back a reply saying which parts of it we can fill. This has to be immediate and totally reliable.”
A real strength of IBS Integrator, and an excellent application for generating greater efficiency and revenue, is connecting web-based systems. Before installing the software, about 35 percent of Panarello’s business was conducted electronically. That share has risen to 50 percent and the target is to reach 65 percent by the end of this year. “We are already saving about $70,000 (28,000 euros) a month thanks to the new system,” he says. Once the year-end target is reached, savings will be $100,000 (40,000 euros) a month, he adds.
Amadei says he has already recommended IBS Integrator to other businesses – in fact, on the day we spoke to him; he was expecting a visit from the local operation of Honda, the Japanese carmaker, to see how IBS Integrator works. He’s just not telling other pharmaceutical distributors about it.
The future looks bright
In the future Panarello plans to introduce IBS Pharma software which will cover its entire sales and logistics operations. IBS Pharma, is the IT solution that pharmaceutical wholesalers and distributors need to automate processes, reduce costs and deliver reliable services safely. The solution is designed and developed with specific functionality for pharmaceutical distribution, including fully automated order creation, fast order entry with phonetically corrected item searching, customer call plans, automated returns, optimized picking and interfaces to automatic pickers. IBS Pharma focuses on crucial pharmaceutical day-to-day business to ensure streamlined process flows and fast, accurate information.