As the health crisis continues, so does our series of articles on how P2P automation and record management platforms can help businesses withstand the market’s fluctuations. We hope these articles can offer you a way to keep both your employees safe and your business intact. In our previous episode we’ve tackled the multiple issues the retail industry is facing right now. In this one, we will talk about an industry on which the crisis had a similar effect, although its problems are a bit more specific. Whether producers or distributers, companies from the pharma industry have been burdened by exceptionally high demand and inefficient process management that made the road from storage to patient far more difficult than ever.
While a few companies managed to make a profit from their involvement in finding a Covid-19 cure or vaccine, the truth is that most producers and distributers in pharma found themselves overwhelmed by the reality of the pandemics. And, unfortunately, the same went for private healthcare providers whose supply chains were dependent on the aforementioned pharma companies. In fact, a Forbes article from last year warned that the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is not recession proof and is dependent on its relationship with government authorities and producers. This proved to be true, as many companies asked for government subsidies during the current crisis.
Unlike retailers, whose predictions were overthrown by a large number of customers buying a large number of items from a restricted number of categories, pharma companies found themselves in front of a flood of people who bought, well… just about everything! The few employees behind pharmacy counters were faced by customers who not only desired sanitary products such as face masks, gloves, or hand sanitizer, but also by those who wanted any type of drug they thought would run out of stock. Everything from Vitamin C and aspirin to specialized medicine flew off the shelves until, as predicted, many pharmacies did run out of stock. Even more, not all clients were ‘’regulars’’. Some were government agencies or affiliated hospitals and healthcare units whose purchasing patterns weren’t anticipated earlier on. This, unfortunately, also made the price of drugs to go up, even that of common ones such as paracetamol.
Moreso, unlike retail, drug stores never really had any touchless processing systems in place, nor did they invest that heavily in their online presence. Why would they? Pharmacies have always been a face to face business, where the seller also acted as a direct advisor and where nobody wanted to buy large quantities of medicine. The same goes for private healthcare providers, whose main source of revenue has always been based on direct consultantion, not online check-ups. Sure, online pharmaceutical providers have always existed but, because of the restrictive prescription system, many of these providers focused on over-the-counter drugs and cosmectic products. Even retailers with significant experience in this field had to extend their delivery dates to accomodate the general situation.
These issues have been tackled multiple times in the media, with some countries installing electronic prescriptions systems, while others thinking of temporarily banning paper prescriptions and any costs related to them. The third main problem is that, just like some retailers, pharmaceutical companies and certain healthcare providers are considered essential services, so they can’t just reduce their activity overnight. Patients are depending on it.
The truth is that, unlike with the retail market, the pharma and healthcare market is probably not going to go back to normal after the safety measures will be relaxed. The demand will still be high and stock management will still be difficult for a while, as fear and anxiety will unfortunately dominate the public domain for a while. To better understand these issues, we’ve split them in a few actionable directions we shall discuss below. It’s worth noting that many of these issues existed in the past and that the recent crisis only made them more visible, as offline customers dwindled and large online orders became the new normal.
At this point, more than half of global business leaders think that the market reconstruction period will last well into 2021, while 72% of them declared their companies were already undergoing strong transformations, in order to permanently adapt to the new landscape.
As a company that builds business ecosystem automation solutions, we help companies digitalize business processes both within and among their network of partners (buyers, suppliers, financial institutions). We work with companies in the retail, automotive, professional services, logistics, healthcare, pharma companies, and utilities verticals and serve over 3500 clients and more than 25 000 users. Our solutions take away the hassle of paperwork and manual operations, giving managers and employees alike full control over their time and finances. Our vision is that all companies, irrespective of size, will work with one another, 100% digitally, paperless and in real-time. So, why not give our consultants a call?