How A Mid Sized Pharmaceutical Company Improved Productivity And Reduced Overall Fulfillment Costs

Topics: Marketing Fulfillment: Best Practices

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Online Ordering Improves Productivity And Cuts Costs For Mid-Size Pharmaceutical Company

Industry

Pharmaceutical manufacturing and sales

Challenge

Manual ordering through home office personnel was slow and inaccurate, provided no visibility into inventory levels and took time away from critical growth initiatives.

Solution

Iron Mountain’s GroupTrak online ordering and inventory management system.

Value

  • Client is now positioned for accelerated growth with fast, accurate fulfillment.
  • Client has the ability to quickly add materials for new brands.
  • Client can now easily incorporate new sales personnel into the system.

Client

The customer is a medium-size pharmaceutical company with a growing line of drugs, looking to expand by taking on more orphan drugs. Their operations include multiple sales forces with approximately 500 sales representatives.

Challenge

Growing a pharmaceutical business is challenging in and of itself, given the complex regulatory environment in which these companies operate. This client faced additional challenges due to their previous fulfillment vendor’s cumbersome manual ordering processes, lack of live data and sometimes inaccurate fulfillment.

The company’s Associate Director of Marketing Operations explains:

“We had a manual ordering system that didn’t allow our sales reps to order materials themselves. Instead, they emailed their requests to a home office team, which then entered the orders into a system that didn’t contain live data. We never knew what we had in stock or whether we were running out. We often learned, at the most inopportune times, that our inventory was miscounted or depleted.”

This round-about process took a lot of time, diverting staff resources from other important tasks. It also forced the company to reorder out-of-stock items on a rush basis, driving up print costs.

These problems multiplied as the company acquired new drugs and added new sales personnel. The client also experienced problems with inaccurate shipments and poor tracking capabilities.

Solution

This pharma client found the solutions they needed in Iron Mountain’s online ordering and inventory management system.

According to the company’s marketing officer, “The ordering portal solved our problems immediately. Reps can place their own orders as needed, 24 hours a day. The only time the home office intervenes is when an order exceeds the pre-set maximum quantity for a particular piece. When that happens, Iron Mountain’s system automatically generates an email to the home office, alerting the appropriate person that an exception has been requested. That person then approves or adjusts the quantity, allowing the order to be completed.”

“Ordering is much faster and more accurate, because reps see what they’re ordering using thumbnail pictures and descriptions, rather than just a stock number and title. The system also generates a tracking number that enables them to track their orders online. In the past, they had to ask the home office for a tracking number, which sometimes took days to get from our previous fulfillment company.”

“A huge benefit is the system’s ability to capture coding information on package inserts and other materials that may change over time, to ensure that our materials are always in compliance.”

-Associate Director,
Marketing Operations

The client was impressed with the speed and ease of implementing the new system. “Iron Mountain dispatched a customer service team to our location, to help us navigate the transition from our previous vendors. Home office staff received in-house training, and our sales reps were given a detailed user guide explaining the portal’s features. The process from implementation to execution and day-to-day operations has been easy and took away a lot of the stress we had with our old vendor.”

The customer says they can now:

  • Seamlessly add additional brands and sales force personnel.
  • Easily see inventory levels, run reports, restrict ordering permissions based on brands handled by individual sales reps.
  • Avoid out-of-stock situations and rush reprint charges.
  • Focus on growing the company’s product line.

“Working with iron mountain has been easy and enjoyable. We would absolutely recommend them to any of our peers.”

“Iron Mountain’s customer service has been amazing,” says the marketing officer. “They conduct quarterly business reviews with us, to help us keep an eye on inventory and ordering trends. That helps us manage costs for storage, shipping and postage and prevent over-ordering by individual reps or cost centers.”

“Another huge benefit is the system’s ability to capture coding information on package inserts (PIs) and other materials that may change over time, to ensure that our materials are always in compliance. We can even set the system to automatically remind us of review dates or to take a piece off view at a pre-set expiration date.”