apotal.de and KNAPP sealed the deal for a future-oriented B2C pharmacy solution that uses the new KNAPP-Store as the core technology. apotal.de is one of the pioneers in mail-order pharmacy in Germany, having their core competence in the mail order retail of medicines. Through the online portal customers receive not only their prescription medicines but also natural medicines and health products comfortably delivered right to their home.
By German standards, the assortment includes a relatively large share of prescription medi-cines, therefore apotal.de is confronted with strict regulations and highly complex order fulfilment. The company goal is to unite the service quality of a local apothecary with the ad-vantages of a shipper. Orders are taken by telephone, mail or fax, with an ever increasing number placed online.
“The greatest logistical challenge is consolidating the articles that are not in stock and must be directly obtained from the manufacturer into the overall order. At the moment, articles immediately available are pre-picked and the order is temporarily stored until the missing article is delivered. The correct allocation and the consolidation of the orders is carried out manually. Naturally, this is very time-consuming,” stated Peter Risz, Regional Sales Manager at KNAPP, in his analysis of the situation.
A solution focussed on cross-docking was needed. Orders from wholesale should be tempo-rarily stored as efficiently as possible, and when needed, quickly retrieved to complete the order for the end consumer. Here, KNAPP was able to offer a versatile new solution.
“The KNAPP-Store was essential to the project, along with the opportunities that this system offers,” explained Hennig Fichter, authorized representative of apotal.de. “The KNAPP-Store easily relieves the employees of many peripheral and complex processes that take place in the warehouse, such as cross-docking. Furthermore, in the KNAPP-Store, we can easily store more of the smallest quantities – C-articles, for example. The KNAPP-Store fills the gaps left by other processes that we previously handled manually. With the new system, we are equipped for the future whether we move towards stock goods or cross-docking.”
Lot and serial number tracking
The KNAPP-Store supports the new regulations for tracking lot and serial numbers that will become effective in 2017. By precisely monitoring article characteristics, articles with a specific lot or serial number, or with a specific date mark can be retrieved at the push of a button so they can be picked in due time.
Along with the KNAPP-Store, at apotal.de the high-performance SDA autopicker is used for processing fast-moving articles, which contributes to the efficient and safe processing of high order volumes. What makes this solution a special one is the combination of KNAPP-Store and SDA on one central belt conveyor. This way, the fastest and most expensive order lines can be processed using one system.
The solution is integrated into the overall scene of warehouse processes and is sufficiently flexible to handle any changes in the business model or in legal requirements. The integrated KiSoft WMS/WCS solution, realized as an overall package connected to the inventory control system and combined with the KNAPP-Store, is setting trends in pharmaceutical e-commerce.
Zero defect warehouse
In keeping with the zero defect principle, all processes in the warehouse are smart and soft-ware-guided. It starts at goods-in, where using the image recognition technology, iscan, all the articles are automatically measured and article information is recorded the system. Errors are therefore eliminated up front during storage into the KNAPP-Store.
With the new solution, apotal.de will be automatically picking 75 percent of their order lines. But even for those orders that are still processed in the conventional areas, the process-es also are guided using software. “We can guarantee that only the correct goods are stored for fully-automatic and manual warehouse processes. Error-free replenishment processes can also be ensured. These end-to-end software solutions with a direct connection to the inventory control system make it possible for us to realize the zero defect warehouse philosophy throughout all the warehouse processes. The goal is to correct any errors directly at the source, no matter where in the process they occur,” explained Bernd Stöger, Product Manager Software, about the advantages of the integrated software solution.
Henning Fichter concluded: “For us, this solution means a real plus in quality. This is even more important in a mail-order pharmacy than in pharmaceutical wholesale, since there, the pharmacy will notice an incorrect delivery and correct it. If the same error happens with us, the patient will receive the wrong medication, which can lead to serious consequences. As far as zero defect goes, naturally, it is tremendously important to us. For this reason, we are very interested in the solutions using the KiSoft Vision technologies. We have our systems already in preparation to optimize for 0-errors.”