Pharmacie Familia revamps its logistics with IDdelivery® from Simac PHI DATA

As part of the digitization of its drug delivery process to its pharmacies, Pharmacie Familia decided to optimize the quality of its services. Thanks to Simac PHI DATA’s IDdelivery® solution, Pharmacie Familia saves time and significantly reduces the risk of errors. What’s more, various expansions will become possible in the future. 

Pharmacie Familia: integrated cooperative drug distributor

Pharmacie Familia is part of the EPC Group cooperative (650 employees) and manages 98 pharmacies in all the Walloon provinces. These pharmacies are supplied from its own logistics site in Ciney, in the heart of the Namur province. Pharmaceutical products are stored in a 4,600 square-meter warehouse specially designed for the activity carried out there. With its in-house management of both pharmacies and distribution, Pharmacie Familia is the second largest integrated pharmaceutical distributor in Wallonia.

Pharmacies are supplied every night from the central warehouse. Until recently, much of the administration of deliveries was carried out manually: drivers would go to the warehouse, note down on a sheet the number of bins they were delivering to each pharmacy, and then make their rounds. On their return to the logistics center, this information had to be re-encoded in the administration tool. To avoid encoding errors and to harmonize the entire process, the cooperative decided to digitize the management of deliveries.   


User-friendliness as a priority

“The criteria set out in the market study were clear,” says Bernard Devriendt, Logistics Transformation Manager at Pharmacie Familia. “We wanted a simple system that was both user-friendly and easy to implement. We were looking for a standalone system, not a complex system. User-friendliness was really the key word, both for our IT department and for our drivers.”

Following a market analysis, Pharmacie Familia turned to Simac PHI DATA, which offered its IDdelivery® solution combined with Android mobile terminals, specially designed to address the logistical criteria required. IDdelivery® can be used as a stand-alone solution, while also supporting the dynamic exchange of XML files with other applications, notably the cooperative’s ERP. “From the very first demos, I was convinced of the user-friendliness of the solution presented by Simac PHI DATA”, explained Devriendt. “I know that IDdelivery® offers many more possibilities than those we currently use,” he continued, “but I wanted to keep the product as easy as possible in the first instance.” The fact that the solution was already being used by a Pharmacie Familia colleague in the north of the country was also a factor, as was Simac PHI DATA’s resolute ‘solution-oriented’ approach. “I like working with medium-sized companies like Simac PHI DATA. In the case of large suppliers, you often have very little clout and therefore receive very little attention. But, at Simac PHI DATA, I’ve found a structure whose DNA matches our own.”

Pharmacie Familia and Simac PHI DATA co-created the entire project. “I focused mainly on the functional aspect,” explained Devriendt. “As for the rest, the collaboration between our IT department and the Simac PHI DATA developers responsible for adapting IDdelivery® to our needs went smoothly.”  

Bak scannen

Quality improvement

From Pharmacie Familia’s ERP, an XML file is generated each evening, listing the volume of orders to be dispatched to each pharmacy. These orders are sorted on the basis of the routes taken by the six drivers. This XML file is then fed into IDdelivery®. A barcode is affixed to each bin destined for a pharmacy, which the drivers scan with the IDdelivery® app on their mobile terminal as they leave the central warehouse. This barcode is then scanned again when the containers are delivered to the pharmacy. The terminal also enables them to log various incidents, such as when not all bins can be loaded onto the van, when a liquid medicine has spilled into a bin, or when the driver is unable to access a pharmacy. Each morning, via the web portal, Devriendt can check all deliveries made during the previous night and consult any incidents, then act in real time to resolve them. “These incidents are transmitted via the mobile terminal. To record incidents proactively, drivers can also use the mobile terminal to take photos.”     

The terminals themselves are managed via the Soti MobiControl Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, which Simac PHI DATA also deployed for Pharmacie Familia. The terminal used has the same functionalities as a smartphone, while the MDM makes it possible to specify which applications drivers can and cannot use. During commissioning, the terminals were first tested by a volunteer driver, who then trained his colleagues. “Operating the terminals is very intuitive, and anyone capable of using a smartphone needs no time to adapt,” insists Devriendt. “The terminals have been well received by the drivers. They know that the error rate is considerably reduced, and that there is always a record of everything they do. They also see it as an improvement in the quality of their work, even if they are perhaps a little less happy to know that they can be more easily controlled. For me too, as head of logistics, the introduction of IDdelivery® has been a huge step forward. I can now save a lot of time and more easily supervise what may have gone wrong during deliveries, or which driver forgot to scan a bin, for example.”

Genuine partnership   

Pharmacie Familia is particularly satisfied with the solution delivered by Simac PHI DATA. Since deploying IDdelivery® in 2021, Devriendt has hardly had to worry about it. “We press a button in the evening and everything happens automatically. We hardly need any support. If I ever had to call Simac PHI DATA support, I’d have a hard time finding a phone number,” smiles Devriendt. “During the actual implementation phase, we obviously had more contacts, as the collaboration was closer. I can only praise the relationship with Simac PHI DATA and the way in which both technical and sales staff were involved in the overall thinking process. They’re more than just a supplier, they’re a true partner.  

Devriendt is also considering further expansion possibilities, as many of IDdelivery®’s functionalities remain untapped for the time being. “At present, IDdelivery® is fed by XML files from our ERP but, in a while, we’ll also start recording returns from our pharmacies and transferring them to our other systems. But first we need to adapt these systems to this new context.”  

“I like working with medium-sized companies like Simac PHI DATA. In the case of large suppliers, you often have very little clout and therefore receive very little attention. But, at Simac PHI DATA, I’ve found a structure whose DNA matches our own.”

Bernard Devriendt, Logistics Transformation Manager

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