The size of a pharmacy fulfillment solution by iA is just one aspect of the decisions iA is prepared to explore with our customers. Pharmacy fulfillment design also needs to meet the immediate and long-term requirements and business objectives of iA customers. Fortunately, the blueprint for most any pharmacy solution from iA is the same. With that said, I have yet to see two solutions that were identical!
When it comes to designing the solution, it is important to take a regimented approach to defining requirements and proving out the solution before implementation. This is an important aspect of working with iA that our customers value – they can design and model a solution all before they buy. And since pharmacy fulfillment usually requires capital investment, this enables our customers to work across their team to build the business case.
One of the first steps to take in the design phase is for iA to work with our customers to take a step back and examine what they want to accomplish, and how any and all requirements map to their business goals. For example, during this phase, some of the scenarios iA may examine include:
- Consolidation: If consolidating inventory is a goal, iA works with our customers to design a pharmacy fulfillment solution that creates an efficient way to go about it. Some of the questions we’ll talk through with our customers to inform consolidation may include: What does inventory look like for day one, at week three, or in six months? What are the implications for consolidation in terms of a central fulfillment location as well as for the retail pharmacy setting? How is inventory ordered and how does the solution ensure it can scale? Finally, how will inventory be tracked and reconciled?
- Patient Choice: iA will talk with our customers about patient choice during the design phase. For example, two options we may examine are 90-day supply or incorporating iA’s Therapy Management Solutions. If improved patient choice is envisioned, we’ll also work with our customers to help them examine how they plan to onboard their patients. This aspect of onboarding planning also involves ensuring that it aligns with a customer’s go-live strategy and timeline.
- Evolving the Pharmacy Fulfillment Environment: Another important aspect of the design phase is to examine introducing new capabilities and growth strategies across a pharmacy fulfillment environment. Questions we’ll review during this aspect of the design process include: Does a customer plan to have extra capacity for growth or incorporate white label opportunities? If so, what are the types of work and or processes that could impact growth? And what about scale? Will growth involve an increase in something like unit of use or mail order, which generally means larger order sizes? Understanding a customer’s vision for how their pharmacy fulfillment solution can evolve and grow ensures that iA works in partnership to plan for a solution that is designed for today and is also ready for the future.
At iA, as a best practice, we also incorporate data into design in order to look at an iA customer’s current workload. We use the data to also extrapolate and project so that any of our designs are also prepared for the future. Across the pharmacy fulfillment landscape, our experience has shown us that most systems can handle variability when it comes to demand. But at iA, we’re committed to working with our customers to use their data to ensure that relevant factors that can cause a significant shift in demand are analyzed – all before they make a large capital investment.
Simulation is an important companion process during this phase of design planning. Simulation allows iA to work with our customers to visualize different models for a variety of pharmacy fulfillment solutions. When simulation is combined with transactional data, iA can work with a customer to validate the flow of their system. Again, before they begin putting any hardware together on site.
Once an iA pharmacy fulfillment solution is validated and iA has worked with a customer to ensure that it works under a variety of scenarios, the final step is to build the plan that informs ramping up and addresses risk mitigation. This is especially important if a customer is implementing a pharmacy fulfillment solution from iA for the first time.
iA has also found that an important best practice is to ensure that there is engagement across the entire enterprise of our customers. Purchasing, IT, engineering, and facility management, are just a few of the departments iA would want to engage during the design phase. Engagement across an enterprise is critical to the success of any pharmacy fulfillment strategy. iA is committed to having everyone involved early and on an ongoing basis so they understand the importance of the design phases and decisions a customer’s team needs to collectively make every step of the way.
At iA, we’re passionate about ensuring the overall success for every customer. And we have a shared motivation in that when we work together to realize the full potential of pharmacy fulfillment, we can move pharmacists out front so that they can practice at the level they were trained for. We welcome the chance to work with you to design, model and build a pharmacy fulfillment solution tailored for your enterprise and that works to unleash the full potential of your pharmacy.