Today, the effective management of the supply chain is gaining significance. It ensures a free movement of goods and services from the manufacturer to the final purchaser. Similarly, the Vehicle Routing Problem and the advance route optimization, are popular terms. Both in the context of streamlining the processes linked to transportation, distribution and logistics.

Transport management system for pharma sector

The pharmaceutical market in Poland, particularly pharmacies, is one of the sectors where supply logistics plays a vital role. It ensures the constant availability of drugs. This affects the variety of product range. Additionally,  as a result, increases the competitiveness of pharmacies and helps improve patients’ health. Considering the extensive range of products used in treatment and the dynamic consumption rate, it is impossible to complete all orders only from goods on hand.

Therefore, the customers order necessary items via few channels. Either from goods on hand, external supplies at the wholesaler’s or directly from the manufacturer. Hence, a skillful management of supplies is crucial.


Drugs supply

It is assumed that, on average, drugs are supplied 1 to 3 times a day. It is difficult to define a specific delivery time. Also, due to the temporary demand for a given drug, ongoing orders can be made a few times a day.


Typical problems affecting the pharmaceutical industry include:

  • the limited frequency of the vehicle traffic from the wholesaler in a given day
  • the logistical minimum (minimum amount order, so that it arrives with the next supply)
  • limits on the supply of medicinal products
  • irregular hours of deliveries (different drivers from the same wholesaler cover the same route in a different way)


Changes in drug distribution

What is more, the e-commerce model became popular on the pharmaceutical market. Therefore, it was necessary to introduce changes in the process of drug distribution. The reason for the changes was the traditional approach to the set routes. The problem was lack of flexibility. In addition, there is a proof of an inefficiency from the perspective of the drug distributors. Above all, a drop in margins from drug sales made companies look for savings in the process of drug transportation.

Short delivery time has become a common expectation of pharmacies. This has led to the emergence of problems with routing. Additionally, setting delivery schedules for distributors became an issue.


Route optimization and improvement of transport management

In order to optimize delivery times and achieve a dynamic reaction in real time to the ongoing influx of orders, routes should be designed based on current variables determined by incoming orders. Because so, the VRP optimization algorithms offer a solution.


Why VRP?

The implementation of advanced IT solutions that apply the VRP algorithms is possible thanks to companies such as E-mapa. It has got many years of experience in conducting and implementing projects in this area.

It’s worth mentioning that VRP solutions for transportation and route optimization for the pharmaceutical industry allow for finding the best combination of routes for a number of points, including various times of receipt and delivery for a fleet comprised of one type of vehicles (a homogenous fleet) or diversified vehicles (a heterogenous fleet), both for one and numerous depots.

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