Malaysia’s Alpro Pharmacy digitalises inventory management

Malaysia’s Alpro Pharmacy digitalises inventory management

In collaboration with Zebra Technologies.

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Malaysia's leading prescription pharmacy group – Alpro Pharmacy has selected Zebra Technologies to digitalise its inventory management system.

Prior to this, the company was manually noting down inventory movements, which was a time-consuming exercise.

After the implementation of a successful proof-of-concept, Alpro Pharmacy is now using Zebra’s TC21 mobile computers and Zebra RFD40 Sleds – an RFID (radio frequency identification) solution, at distribution centres and stores to support an increasing number of physical stores and its e-commerce sales.

Founded in 2002, Alpro provides healthcare and pharmacy services through more than 230 outlets across Malaysia.

Explaining why the company needed a digitalised inventory management system, Alpro Pharmacy’s e-commerce director, Yinchen Lee, told iTnews Asia that over the past few years, the firm saw a surge of more than 400 percent in online orders, while the footfall in physical stores has more than doubled.

This had placed the manual inventory process under "immense pressure", Lee said.

With Zebra Technologies, the business capacity has increased by an estimated five-fold, and the e-commerce division has achieved an 80 percent increase in operational efficiency for order fulfilment, Lee added.

The average number of daily e-commerce orders has surged from 300 to over a thousand, he said.

Additionally, the use of TC21 mobile computers within the system enabled the company’s outlets to receive notifications of orders and seamlessly facilitate order fulfilment.

"We are able to fulfil customers’ orders within a timeframe of two hours, freeing up time to provide pharmacy consultations rather than dedicating time to the tedious task of product picking and packing", Lee said.

Integrated with ERP

The handheld TC21 units are used to manage all stock movement, from receiving goods at the distribution centre to pick goods for store and online orders, Lee said.

He added that this is integrated with the firm’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to offer visibility of inventory movements and location and volume accuracy.

More than 50 trips of delivery from the central warehouse to the outlets happen every day.

“We needed to increase product visibility and ensure accuracy when loading crates onto delivery trucks and verifying their receipt at each store,” said Lee.

With RFID technology, the team can track the movement of orders from the warehouse to each store to replenish stock, providing better visibility into supply chains.

“It takes a quick swipe of the crates and captures and reflects the necessary information, ensuring that we are sending the right boxes or products to the right outlets,” Lee said.

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