Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Run out of pain killers again?

30.09.2008
Research scientists at SINTEF have developed a control dashboard for the pharmaceuticals industry. This enables all pharmacies, wholesalers and manufacturers to check where products are in the supply chain, availability, what stocks the neighbouring pharmacy has and the future prognoses.

When a packet of pills is scanned at the pharmacy checkout today, information is simultaneously transferred to the wholesaler about the remaining stocks on the shelves, which in turn results in a stock order. Several Norwegian pharmacies have such automatic supply systems, and it takes only 24 hours before out of stock products are back on the pharmacy shelves.

Automatic for the entire industry
“For a pharmaceutical manufacturer on the other hand, in the worst case it can take three months before they are able to supply products that are out of stock,” says Heidi Dreyer at SINTEF Technology and Society. “For essential medicines, such as with the bird flu and severe influenza epidemics, there can be advantages in cutting this time down.”

“And time is money,” adds her colleague Torbjørn Netland. “The pharmaceutical companies themselves will profit by being better able to supply products faster.”

When the research scientists commenced the AUTOMED project three years ago, they wanted to incorporate this demand and develop a system where automatic product supplies could apply to the entire pharmaceutical industry, including the pharmaceutical manufacturers. The project was commissioned by pharmaceutical wholesaler Holtung AS, which wanted a closer collaboration with customers and suppliers in the supply chain.

The new control dashboard has been developed in collaboration with Oracle Norway, while the three-year AUTOMED project is funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Backdrop
In recent years, strong deregulation and commercialisation has led to a substantial increase in the number of pharmacies in Norway. Today, small pharmacies, such as Apotek1, Vitus Apotek and Alliance, are located in most shopping malls. The ownership is dominated by three international corporations with head offices in Germany and Great Britain.

The more actors that have entered the playing field, the harder it is to have an overview of products and availability. The partitions between the various actors have also become tight – and this has not invited collaboration.

Control dashboard
With the new dashboard developed by SINTEF and Oracle, everything that occurs in the line between manufacturer, wholesaler and pharmacy becomes visible.

The images and information appearing on the computer screen depend on who the user is. While a pharmacy employee in Trondheim will see availability at their own and neighbouring pharmacies, a wholesaler like Holtung can search by counties, select a pharmacy and see what orders have been placed with the manufacturer and what are expected to be the best and worst sellers next year.

“You can see the current demand,” says Dreyer. “If a health worker comes to the pharmacy and wants to buy 20 packets of nitro glycerine and the pharmacy only has 10 packets, an order currently needs to be placed with the wholesaler. With a control dashboard, it’s easy to see that the neighbouring pharmacy has stocks of the product and the customer can get it far quicker.”

Raising service and operation
The Director of Logistics at Holtung AS, John-Erik Tønnessen, believes the new flow of information will provide a better basis for decision-making as well as improved customer service.

“We service 140 pharmacies throughout Norway, and it’s all about having the right products available at any given time,” says Tønnessen. “By supplying information down the supply chain about product availability and how the products are moving, we can improve customer service levels as well as operation.”

“This will work particularly well at the rear of the chain. With information about what the true demand is at any given time, pharmaceutical manufacturers won’t need to have huge inventories. If the turnover of one type of medicine suddenly increases, the manufacturer can quickly make the necessary readjustments.”

Trust
Even though the new control tool will increase the collaboration between the independent actors and could provide greater efficiency and profits for all parties, the industry is in no real hurry.

“This is an industry with traditionally strong actors who are afraid to give away more information than they get in return,” says Netland. “Trust needs to be established before a tool like this can start being used.”

Tønnessen adds in conclusion: “It remains to be seen what the real effects are and to convince the surrounding companies about the benefits. But we will continue working to make cases and test out the system to document the effect and demonstrate savings.”

Aase Dragland | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sintef.com

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Seeing the next dimension of computer chips
11.10.2017 | Osaka University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>