In the medical field, adequate inventory tracking can make a huge difference. A lack of supply puts patients’ lives at risk. An overwhelming amount of prescription drugs on hand increases the odds of unused, expired products and directly affects the bottom line. Inventory tracking needs consistency.
Pharmaceutical inventory management
Keeping an accurate log of inventory is essential to a pharmaceutical company’s business operations and its year-over-year success. This includes checking shipping accuracy, order fulfillment, and whether or not a product was handled properly in transit. Pharmaceutical companies must also ensure that all products comply with both state and federal regulations. Failure to do so could lead to legal repercussions and possibly destroy the public’s perception of the company itself.
Inventory tracking balances supply and demand by:
- Barcode scanning – maintaining a physical inventory count and medication description of products on hand. Descriptions should detail important warnings, instructions, and side effects.
- Lot tracking – forward and backward traceability logs to help identify tainted products.
- Expiration date tracking – ensures patients are receiving active prescription drugs while reducing wasted inventory.
- Automated purchase orders – monitoring supply and demand to minimize product shortage.
Proper inventory management can lower costs, reduce labor hours, and provide a transparent view of business operations. It supports the efficiency of the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Account for supply chain disruptions
Pharmaceuticals represent 10% of annual healthcare expenditure in the U.S. with $1.25 trillion spent on prescription drugs in 2019. Inventory tracking is an essential and critical part of the healthcare industry. It’s responsible for minimizing the cost of holding inventory, managing procurement, and identifying pain points within the pharmaceutical supply chain. Evident in the years following the 2020 pandemic, inventory tracking can support a steady flow of products and offer sustainable contingency plans. Developing and managing pharmaceutical inventory levels includes basic stock as well as safety stock.
Basic stock refers to the amount of inventory needed to meet an average demand level.
Safety stock is the inventory kept to account for fluctuations in demand.