Ready for pharmaceutical warehouse automation?

eOperator piece-picking robot arm

Order picking is among the most demanding processes in the pharmaceutical sector. Companies must manage an increasing volume of sensitive and small-sized products, shorter product cycles, and strict delivery deadlines. They are subject to rigorous controls and high-efficiency requirements to ensure the maximum accuracy and safety of products that cannot tolerate errors in order preparation.

This blog analyses the peculiarities and trends in pharmaceutical warehouse automation and the increasing demand for goods-to-person systems, like AutoStore, which enable high-density storage and high-speed picking.

A distinctive characteristic of the sector is the high number of high-rotation product references it handles, requiring specific technical solutions for order preparation and replenishment in the warehouse.

It’s also crucial to consider that pharmaceutical picking is influenced by contractual obligations with associates involving four daily product deliveries. This demands high productivity from distributors over an extended time frame.

Minimise errors with automated picking

If picking is done manually or semi-automatically, errors may occur, ultimately affecting the quality of customer service. Hence, picking automation is increasingly necessary to handle the growing volume of pharmaceutical product orders efficiently. It also offers greater flexibility to the pharmaceutical industry to adapt to inventory changes and customer needs.

Driven by online sales and the need to prepare small orders in record time, the pharmaceutical sector is gravitating towards automating its picking processes with goods-to-person automated storage and retrieval systems like AutoStore. AutoStore solutions enable high-density storage and high-speed picking, while the single-pick robot eOperator adds an extra layer of automation to picking processes. Both solutions help distributors minimise errors in order preparation, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

AutoStore combines the highest storage density in the market with highly efficient picking technologies. It can save up to 80% of storage space while increasing picking productivity by a factor of 10. It’s also the most adaptable pharmaceutical warehouse automation system for evolving businesses, as it can be expanded in terms of containers, picking stations, and robots without interrupting ongoing operations.

Greater picking efficiency for the pharmaceutical sector

Moreover, the pharmaceutical sector is increasingly interested in combining AutoStore technology with the eOperator single-pick robot. Developed by Element Logic to work in tandem with AutoStore, it uses machine learning technology to automatically find the best way to handle the selected item, thereby increasing order capacity, goods handling, and delivery speed. The picking robot eliminates repetitive tasks for workers and enhances picking efficiency.

In addition to these two solutions, companies in the sector recognise the potential of having warehouse software capable of optimising every movement, thereby increasing precision, productivity, and order processing capacity.

Future trends in pharmaceutical picking

Since the pandemic, the pharmaceutical e-commerce sector has experienced substantial growth. As omnichannel strategies gain ground, demands for individualised, smaller quantity orders and greater efficiency in warehouse space utilisation and operational cost reduction will continue to rise.

Automating picking represents a significant leap in efficiency and precision for the pharmaceutical sector. This will drive companies to accelerate their investments in pharmaceutical warehouse automation systems. This trend is not limited to large corporations; an increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises will adopt such technologies.

Another factor to consider is potential changes in drug distribution legislation. Such changes are already occurring in other markets, like the United States, and are bringing new players, such as major retail groups, into the pharmaceutical sector.

Innovation the key in pharmaceutical intralogistics

We understand that innovation is a crucial driver for optimising warehouse operations. Therefore, at Element Logic, we work on developing new solutions and continually seek fresh approaches in our product portfolio and services to adapt to the evolving sector and anticipate future needs.

For instance, we attach great importance to warehouse data, which has become a strategic asset for Element Logic in developing new storage solutions. Among our latest innovations is eLogiq, a cloud-based data platform that uses data from multiple sources to optimise warehouse operations in real-time.

Our long-term goal is to create a fully automated warehouse solution that optimises itself based on data.

Want to learn more about our warehouse automation solutions? Contact one of our experts today.


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