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  • Product Management Challenges in Pharma Retail

    Author : Invenzo Labs
    May 05 2021

For nearly a century, pharmaceutical companies have been manufacturing and delivering drugs and other products in batches. One of the main advantages of using batch processing is that it helps pharmaceutical companies adjust their drug production based on market demands. Also, the importance of this activity is that if there is any cause for concern with a drug, its complete production history should get traced back through the batch number. While batch processing is very important for pharma companies, it also adds complexity in distribution for distributors and retailers in the pharma industry.

To understand the reason, it is important to understand the nature of the pharma industry. Pharmaceuticals is a critical field where a single mistake could cause grave results. And because of this critical nature, pharma distributors and retailers need to have intricate knowledge of all the drugs and products. While retailers can handle product information, rate, quantity and other information with digital tools, the batch processing system adds another level of complexity. Since each product batch can have different price or quantity, retailers need to feed separate batches separately in order to maintain a clear product information system. While this time-consuming and complex method can help storefront retailers, it is challenging for digital retailers.

In today’s world, most of the companies are moving to enhance their digital presence. Pharma firms are not an exception as an increasing number of pharma retailers have gone digital in the last few years. Because of the batch handling and pricing, this digital transformation brings new complexities to pharmaceutical retailers. Some of them are as follows:

  • Digital retailers have to manage multiple distribution & sales channels, which increase the number of batches and the complexity of MRP handling of respective batches.
  • Today’s digital customers want all the product information at their fingertips. This expectation increases the pressure on digital retailers as they have to process each batch swiftly and render correct information of price and quantity.
  • Product portfolios need to be constantly updated to ensure that the latest information and price is displayed. This becomes much more complex with multiple batch scenarios. 
  • The pressure of instant product information updation increases the chances of product inconsistencies and redundancies in the digital format, which can decrease customer trust and brand reputation.
  • Order management and order fulfilment becomes much more challenging.

In the context of the above challenges, Pharma retail companies need a suitable product information management system that can help them handle multiple product batches and pricing. Product Information Management System (PIMS) is envisaged as a centralized platform to manage all product data and information required to enable, automate, and enforce best practices in product data, content integration and flow across multiple channels and or applications. PIMS will serve as a medium to cleanse or standardize of existing data & content or add /create new content to drive:

  • Standardize product information catalogue across all channel
  • Manage critical information triggering customer decision making process regarding purchases

Some of the advantages of using a PIMS are:

  • Intelligent MRP engine to render appropriate MRP for SKUs in channels
  • Centralized control and multi channel publishing
  • Enrichment to ensure product rendering is appropriate whilst maintaining integrity of data.
  • Devise engaging customer experiences by rendering a personalized set of product assortment.
  • The centralized product management will also help pharma companies improve their product visibility and inventory.

To conclude, handling pharma products brings its set of challenges and complexities for retailers. Having a good PIMS system will enable pharmaceutical retailers with a central System of Truth for all data pertaining to Product Management within a Multi-Channel business model. PIMS reduces related discrepancies and provides a uniform dataset for various systems ingesting or utilizing product data during the supply chain process.