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“The system automatically and dynamically calculates how much inventory is required for all of our pharmacy locations.”

Rene Vollebregt

Supply Manager | Mediq


Centralised inventory planning enables Mediq Pharmacies to provide better care

Pharmaceutical supplier, Mediq, has implemented a new planning concept to optimise replenishment of their 250 strong chain of pharmacies across the Netherlands, 27 of which are franchises.

Through utilising Slimstock’s inventory optimisation software, Slim4, their pharmacists no longer have to place replenishment orders themselves. Instead, the inventory is now managed centrally. As a result, the pharmacists can focus all of their time on patient care while the on-shelf availability of drugs and medical devices increased and overall stock levels fell by 20%.

The goal of every pharmacist is to provide the best possible level of care and ensure that patients have access to the right medicines and medical devices. In order to enhance their replenishment processes, Mediq implemented a new concept for planning. Whereas, in the past, the pharmacists were responsible for placing replenishment orders, the inventory is now managed centrally. Through utilising Slimstock’s inventory optimisation software, Slim4, the forecasting and replenishment processes are now fully optimised.

Optimised product lifecycles

Jeroen van Eijk, operations support manager explains: “For all of our pharmacy locations, the system calculates exactly how much inventory they should hold, taking into account the preference policy of the insurance companies.” The preference policy of insurance companies determines which brands will be reimbursed and which will not: something which can change over time.

“In the past, if a particular drug was no longer reimbursed, our systems would continue to generate purchase orders and it would take a while before the assortment settings and re-order parameters were adjusted accordingly. With Slim4, articles can be switched to non-stocked immediately. Furthermore, the historical demand data for that particular article can also be used to forecast the demand of the new, preferred brand. This means the alternative article can be introduced with the right inventory levels straight away.”

Higher service levels, less inventory

Thanks to Slim4, Mediq can be more responsive to market changes. Today, only drugs that are in demand are stocked and items that are no longer reimbursed are proactively phased out. “By rationalising our product range, we have decreased the number of SKU’s by 10%. If you look at the entire supply chain, including our central wholesale warehouse, inventory levels have fallen by 20% while the service level has simultaneously increased by around 3-4%,” states Van Eijk.

More importantly however, this process improvement means that the pharmacists at Mediq no longer have to manage their replenishment processes by themselves meaning pharmacy employees can dedicate more time to their patients. Furthermore, the pharmacies are now better positioned to ensure that the right medication is available.

All with just four planners

With Slim4, the planning process itself is now far more efficient. “Previously, all 250 pharmacies had to place their orders and set the system parameters all by themselves. Now we do the same amount of work with just four centralised planners. “As central planners are better able to forecast future demand, they can ensure that the right supply chain decisions are made. For example, if a particular article is in short supply, planners can now transfer the entire replenishment process to another brand or product quickly and efficiently.

“By refining our product range, we are better positioned to manage purchasing contracts and thus we can take full advantage of the purchasing conditions.” Consequently, Mediq not only keeps its inventory in good health but also its margins.

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