Cloud Computing Helps Automate Costly Manual Ordering Processes

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In a competitive market, multiple sales channels and effective business processes underpinning quality customer service is what makes companies stand out from rivals. UniPhar Group, one of Irelands largest drug distribution providers to the pharmacy sector, set itself the ambitious goal of meeting these targets from a single project.


  • 1. Uniphar Case Study Celtrino dispenses the right medicine for UniPhar Group Background In a competitive market, multiple sales channels and effective business processes underpinning quality customer service is what makes companies stand out from rivals. UniPhar Group, one of Irelands largest drug distribution providers to the pharmacy sector, set itself the ambitious goal of meeting these targets from a single project. The Challenge EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Tom McKenna, commercial director with UniPhar, outlines the situation: Like all of the existing pharmacy wholesalers, we Uniphar have traditional order capture mechanisms such as telesales Founded 1994 teams, and direct order entry [DOE]. While all dispensaries Owned and operated by pharmacists can send modem orders, this obliges staff to be using the Over 600 employees computer physically located in the dispensary, as opposed to using a PC connected to the internet. Its not really an Business situation Need to streamline procurement and integrated solution. increase sales UniPhar has some 1200 products in its portfolio and it Technical situation distributes to 500 key accounts in pharmacies around the Manual, telephone based ordering country. The large quantity of orders this involves means the Required greater visibility and control group could gain significant efficiencies in administration by of the performance of their value chain moving to an integrated, web-based ordering system. With the partners promised cost effectiveness and efficiencies to be gained Solution from doing so, the company set itself a target of growing sales Move to a cloud-based E-Portal on the and increasing margins for its customer base which would Celtrino platform provide an incentive for customers to generate more orders from UniPhar. Benefits Capture sales orders online Instantly publish product data and The Strategy targeted special offer promotions Customer service is an imperative in the competitive drug Customers resolve primary billing is- sues online distribution market. UniPhar recognised that customers would need a strong incentive to move to a new ordering system. It saw that pharmacy teams are getting smaller, while tasks like stock replenishment are not a value-added activity. Moving from a technically limited system to one that is available 24-7 would mean ordering doesnt have to take place during the working day, leaving pharmacy staff free to serve customers. We were wrestling with the concept of whether direct order entry which had served us well was fit for purpose in the century were in, McKenna explains. The promise of a web-based platform was the possibility of having a lot of data-rich features. It also allows greater flexibility to customers: now anyone with internet access can use our web platform to order medicines they could do so at 9 in the evening if they wish. The Solution Uniphar began evaluating options at the end of Q1 2010. To develop the system, UniPhar chose Celtrino, a specialist in business process and supply chain automation, as its implementation partner. The Dublin-based company has a 20-year history in helping organisations to reduce the cost and administration overhead asso- ciated by replacing paper-based processes with electronic systems. Celtrino provided the full development life cycle services to UniPhar, including requirements analysis, soft- ware design, implementation, system test, deployment management and ongoing system management. Pro- ject management and a close working relationship with UniPhar are the key components to each project. From initial spec to full implementation, McKenna estimates the process took 60 days, and by 1 September Link was live. Celtrino 2011 All rights reserved. t: +353 1 873 9900 e: Page 1 of 2
  • 2. Uniphar Case Study The Solution (cont.) The new online procurement service is aimed at being convenient for pharmacies to use, while offering deals to members in categories such as medicines comprising prescription, over-the-counter and generic health and beauty products and photo services. To become members, pharmacies must first register for the site, which they access with a username and password. Once on the site, they can see the latest deals on various product lines, information about prescription drugs, transfer orders and details of monthly special offers. Through the my link account section, pharmacy managers have full access to review recent orders, check invoices, credit notes and statements. These can be downloaded if they wish as PDF files. Celtrino developed Link so that all purchasing information is stored centrally. This way, the system can gather all of the necessary purchasing data to create tailored individual monthly reports for each registered member. This statement shows the savings made by the pharmacy from buying online via Link. The project is now into its second phase, which involves enhancing the system based on customer feedback. This phase will include features such as the ability to take orders for medicines that are not licensed in Ireland but which UniPhar will source for customers from other markets. A predictive search feature is also planned, which will also speed up the time needed for pharmacies to complete orders. The Results Since Link went live, 375 pharmacies have already moved over to using the Link online ordering system. Us- ers have seen their profit margins increase because UniPhar offers an incentive of discounts for ordering online through Link. Moreover, pharmacy staff time has been saved because online ordering is faster than DOE. Richard Collis, manager of Collis Pharmacy, on the North Circular Road in Dublin, says his staff find Link easy to use and because it is web-based, no training was necessary. Moreover, he says Link is more sophisticated than competing distributors systems so he uses it more than others. Two main benefits of Link are that it allows him to have tighter control of stock and to improve his cash flow since he can now order on demand. You order what you want, when you want. In order to get a bonus in the past, you would have to order volumes, he says. From my point of view its working and its working well. According to Tom McKenna, the Link system has achieved its aims, having led to increased sales for Uni- Phar and enhanced its reputation with customers. It will differentiate UniPhars offering and assist acquisi- tion of customers from competitors, he states. McKenna also pays tribute to the services of Celtrino as the technology partner on the initiative. Celtrino were very good: really enthusiastic and attentive. The best en- dorsement I can give is that were back using them again for other projects, he concludes. Celtrino Celtrino specialises in business process and supply chain document automation solutions. With over 20 years of successful trading under our belt, Celtrino has consistently delivered outstanding business value to a customer base of over 600 companies of all sizes, from sole traders to multinationals. As a pioneer in the provision of outsourced managed EDI services, Celtrino has long championed and delivered innovative reliable and feature rich on-demand supply chain solutions via the cloud. Celtrino Platform The Celtrino supply chain automation platform is purposely designed to scale to meet the huge volumes of inter-company B2B com- mercial transactions whilst providing the highest level of performance, reliability and business continuity through a fully redundant and secure architecture. The Celtrino B2B platform enables a suite of touchless services to be delivered via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) which offer a dramatically faster implementation process. Celtrino 2011 All rights reserved. t: +353 1 873 9900 e: Page 1 of 2