Powering the Life Science Industry with an Intelligent Warehouse Management System (WMS)

The life science industry, in recent times, is akin to a compass, guiding us through the fog-filled pandemic seas. As of August 30th 2021, around 5.29 billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world. Even though herd immunity targets for many countries are still some ways down the road, the direction and speed of production, warehousing and distribution of vaccines have been astounding.

How did the life science industry, particularly the companies (vaccines) cleared by their regional regulatory agency, manage this? Ironically, the answer to this question is also the glaring need for a large chunk of trailing companies within the industry. Proper digitization, process visibility, operational responsiveness, and regulatory control. We previously spoke about how Crave InfoTech’s Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) – cMaintenance, helps companies enhance their asset lifecycle and production output, and also about how it helps them achieve total regulatory compliance.

Now, we will talk about how Crave InfoTech’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) – cWarehouse, can:

  • boost regulatory compliance for storage and distribution,
  • increase total orders shipped on time,
  • increase total resource and capacity utilization (workforce, equipment, and facilities),
  • optimize all warehouse tasks and seamlessly integrate with logistics management systems,
  • reduce overall fulfilment costs while improving productivity and efficiency within the warehouse.

Total warehouse management efficiency at lower costs with cWarehouse

Crave InfoTech’s cWarehouse is built on robust SAP systems. This end-to-end WMS leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to meticulously plan and execute all warehouse related tasks.

This starts from complete visibility of all inventory and their locations across the layout of the warehouse. An average warehouse in the US is the size of 4 football fields. Finding a package or crate here, amidst thousands of similar items, is like finding a needle in a haystack.

So, how will a unique and critical spare part be picked in time to fulfil an immediate Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) order?

Crave InfoTech has further partnered with Here Maps and Zebra Technologies to provide its clients with a proper end-to-end Extended Warehouse Management System (EWMS). This helps marry the Functional Location (FLOC) with the bin-level spatiotemporal location of an item. Spatiotemporal is the position of the item in space (bin, box, crate, pallet, etc.), and time (tracking of the item as it moves).

Such intelligence and automation are enabled through RFID and geo-location tagging. The same tech further synchronizes yard and transport management with WMS. The pickers are directed to the exact location on their handheld system (with SAP Fiori based UI for ease of use) along with the preferred route to take to get there. So, total picking time falls drastically.

All tasks are sequenced as per service level agreement (SLA) level priorities (delivery time, state, quality, destination, etc.) So, the underlying intelligence of the system aligns all warehouse tasks as per the delivery sequence, eventually boosting the total orders fulfilled on time.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) story for WMS

All floor assets like forklifts (manual or automated) are connected via a networking system with the WMS. On a busy day, there could be 100 forklifts darting in different directions in a warehouse. When all of these assets are connected, they can align their movement to improve their utilization and efficiency – while securing the safety of the workforce, inventory, and equipment.

Furthermore, the system can assign a task to the forklift (operator) in real-time to cut down empty run (without load). All packages can be picked and prepared for loading while being in sync with the yard management system for fast loading and shipping.

The managers can have a real-time report of all inventory. They can even arrange the sorting and picking processes to eliminate apparent bottlenecks (enabling FIFO or LIFO, etc.). This real-time analysis and responsiveness help align all production and distribution for the MedTech products, spare parts, medicines, vaccines, etc.

Regulatory compliance within WMS for life science industry

The storage and distribution of life sciences products are quite unique. Pfizer’s vaccine, Comirnaty (approved by the Food and Drug Administration – FDA – on 23rd August 2021), is stored at -80°C to -60°C. The Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are stored at -25°C to -15°C and 2°C to 8°C respectively.

Similarly, other items like essential drugs and materials need special handling within the warehouse under controlled conditions. All this comes under the regulatory framework of the local authorities. Companies must comply with them to not avoid citations but also to maintain the quality of their inventory.

cWarehouse helps life science companies to build in this compliance throughout their processes. Every aspect, including picking or loading, is tracked in real-time with complete process visibility. It’s important to keep track of every warehouse item, including critical spare materials and raw materials (to be delivered for production and maintenance). All warehouse tasks, records and processes are encrypted for their intended usage and are, hence, secure.

This digitization and built-in intelligence of cWarehouse enables life science companies to become fully compliant from the point of initial deployment continuing in perpetuity.

Future of warehouse management within the life science industry

In the coming years, the responsiveness experienced from the life science industry would become the norm. All companies will have no option but to push their warehousing processes through evolution. Crave InfoTech’s cWarehouse, here, would be the industry-backed and premiere choice for an end-to-end WMS. Then why wait until then? Just reach out to us ahead of time.