What Requirements Should You Consider Before Starting Your Pharmaceutical Company?
Logistics is understudied, which is an old adage, but it is true. The technicalities of delivering things from point A to point B are often overlooked by businesses, the general public, and even regulators. Many pages of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations for Food and Drugs are dedicated to drug application and licensing, as well as rules for documentation, manufacturing, and labeling. It offers only one advice regarding warehouse layout, stating that pharmaceutical warehouses should operate on a first-in, first-out basis to avoid medications expiring in storage.
Pharmaceutical companies and their logistics managers are mainly left to their own devices when it comes to constructing pharmaceutical warehousing and creating storage and retrieval processes. It is their responsibility to follow industry best practices while handling medications and to create warehouses that properly store and deliver drugs. Unfortunately, logistics managers are frequently forced to make do with outdated infrastructure and equipment. However, there are compelling reasons to ensure that the design, automation, and equipment used in your pharmaceutical warehouse are carefully selected and current.
Layout of an Effective Pharmaceutical Warehouse
A warehouse’s layout is crucial to its smooth operation. Pharmaceutical companies confront special issues when designing warehouse or distribution center layouts due to the nature of their products. Pharmaceuticals are vulnerable to temperature fluctuations as well as external contamination by bacteria or chemicals. Even illumination can affect medications in some situations. Pharmaceuticals must also be stored in a fashion that facilitates the adoption of a first-in, first-out method while also protecting these vital and costly medicines from theft and intentional contamination. Because of these special requirements, numerous variables must be considered while constructing a warehouse for pharmaceutical storage.
A through warehouse is the more efficient of the two warehouse layouts for a warehouse that deals with pharmaceuticals.
Warehouse workflow patterns can be divided into two categories. Incoming pharmaceutical inventories are directed into one side of the warehouse and out the other, whereas a circular or “U-shape” warehouse plan allows traffic to flow around the storage areas in the center, with input and output through the same entrance/exit. High-demand items are stored nearest to the loading dock in both layouts, whereas lower-demand items are positioned further away from the loading docks. High-demand commodities are positioned along the shortest path between the entrance and exit in a “through” warehouse, whereas lower-demand items are put close to outer walls. High-demand commodities are kept close to the loading bays in a “U-pattern” warehouse, whereas things with lower demand are kept farther away from the doors. The items with the lowest demand are put towards the back wall. Each of these layouts has its own set of benefits and drawbacks:
Advantages of a Warehouse:
- Linear Design: Because products only travel in one way, ensuring a first-in/first-out delivery timetable is easier.
- Multiple Channels: Warehouse throughput can be simply divided into multiple channels that all flow in one direction, reducing the chances of picking the incorrect item.
- Different lines of throughput can be designated as temperature-controlled zones or cold storage regions without overlapping.
Advantages of Circular Warehouses:
- Combined Trips: Because a forklift will be returning to the same area, it can be dispatched to put away a load and retrieve items in a single trip.
- Cross-Docking: Products that arrive on the loading dock can be shipped out right away without having to be stowed away or for a fork truck to make a special trip in the case of an urgent order.
- Enhanced Space Control: Because the warehouse has just one entry and exit, security over the product, as well as the internal temperature and atmosphere, can be readily managed.
A through warehouse is the more efficient of the two warehouse layouts for a warehouse that deals with pharmaceuticals. The design incorporates the requirement for first-in/first-out shipment, and the linear product flow facilitates organization and correct selecting. Through-type warehouses, on the other hand, are uncommon. They require access roads at both the warehouse’s input and exit ends, despite the fact that most warehouses only have one entry point. However, regardless of the exterior shape, some storage and retrieval procedures can result in linear throughput inside the warehouse.
Equipment and automation help meet pharmaceutical warehouse requirements.
Pallet racks are one technique to improve the efficiency of your warehouse layout. Pallet racks increase the amount of product that can be stored in your warehouse by increasing cube utilization. Pharmaceutical warehouses can eliminate aisles entirely by combining these racks with a pallet mole, sometimes known as a pallet shuttle. This is a low-cost, simple form of automation that functions purely in a linear fashion.
The first load placed in the racks is the first load decided to ship out in a pallet mole system.
Pallet moles are simple devices that lift pallets from beneath and run them down a row in a rack to the next available slot. It then returns to the input point after depositing the pallet there. The first load placed in the racks is the first load decided to ship out in a pallet mole system. This means that, regardless of the outward arrangement, pharmaceutical warehouses that use pallet moles have effectively established a “through” warehouse. Many of the advantages of the two basic warehouse layouts are combined in this system, which includes:
- Discrete Channels: Each pallet rack row can be utilized for a specific medicament, enabling for a multichannel warehouse with minimum cross-purpose activity.
- Temperature Zones: Each temperature zone can have a pallet rack and shuttle system, allowing for maximum volume and efficient linear flow across the warehouse.
In a U-shaped configuration, a forklift can be specified to input product into the storage system on one side and pick product on the other side.
Because linear movement is limited to storage and retrieval zones and the warehouse still has a single loading and unloading point, enhanced warehouse security and the ability to cross-dock can be maintained in this configuration. A pallet rack with pallet mole setup combines the best of both warehouse layouts in this way.
Plastic’s dependability is essential for keeping automation running without interruptions or product damage.
It does, however, have one significant flaw. If something goes wrong deep within the racks, removing every merchandise from the affected channels, clearing the problem, and replacing the items can be costly and time-consuming. To put it another way, getting the most out of supply chain automation requires only using high-quality, dependable equipment.
As a result, warehouse automation necessitates the usage of plastic pallets. Plastic shipping platforms, unlike wood, have uniform weights, dimensions, and strength. Plastic’s dependability is essential for keeping automation running without interruptions or product damage. Plastic pallets can also be cleaned and sanitized before use, preventing infection of medications and the supply chain equipment that handles them, such as racks and pallet moles. Pharmaceutical businesses may select the majority of storage needs, but with plastic pallets, they can raise the bar even higher.