How ERP Solutions Help the Retail Pharmacy Sector Gain Valuable Business Insights

By Lionel de Oliveira, Sales Manager South Africa, Seidor Africa

The pharmaceutical industry is faced with a multitude of challenges, including a rapidly changing landscape, competitive pressures, and the supply chain challenges wrought by the global COVID-19 outbreak. With a COVID-19 vaccine likely to be available in early 2021, we can expect even more pressure on the distribution chain.

Besides the key need of having a solution which is designed specifically for pharmacies, other needs of this sector are an integrated approach to centralised management of pharmacy outlets; interoperability between systems; real-time financial solutions; optimal revenue generation and collection; and integrated financial reporting.

What does the retail pharmacy sector need?
It is all about improving the efficiency of business operations, increasing employee productivity, and responding more easily to market demands. This can be achieved only by integrating business functions of finance, and customer relationship management.

Why ERP?

From a stock point of view, pharmacy businesses are disadvantaged by not having solutions in place that provide a single overview of what is in store. This is because pharmacies often purchase from one system and sell from another; without systems integration there is no way of knowing what is on the shelves. When it comes to items like syringes, for example, which are purchased in bulk but often sold individually, the challenges can be even more arduous.

Integration with financial systems is a key requirement. Without that, it is difficult to assess the financial health of a pharmacy during a specific period. This makes it impossible for management to understand its profitability and financial stability, and to make decisions about the business’s future.

That’s where Enterprise Resource Planning technology (ERP) comes into play. By taking advantage of the processes of SAP Business One, Seidor Africa’s development team has successfully designed solutions for pharmaceutical sector customers that enable critical functionality, including automatic stock reconciliation, real-time access to information, the ability to capture batch numbers and expiry dates which are vital to the industry, together with full integration, automation and absolute traceability.

Cost-effective solutions that are secure and meet specific needs
Built on SAP Business One, these solutions are cloud-based, ensuring that they are secure and cost-effective, and freeing up customers from having to maintain servers, back-ups, and infrastructure.

Among the most significant benefits of these solutions, which are developed in line with each customer’s discrete needs, are that they offer comprehensive point-of-sale (PoS) capabilities. The solution also provides automated alerts for lot expiring and minimum inventory levels, keeps inventories at optimum levels and avoids out of stock scenarios.

Efficient business operations in pharmacies

By automating business practices with a workflow engine, processes are streamlined, reducing costs, enabling more efficient business performance, empowering employees with information, and improving profitability, even in a slow economy.