Case study

How Alliance Healthcare gained cold chain visibility and saved products stored in facilities across the UK

  • Industry: Pharmaceutical, surgical, medical, and healthcare
  • Company size: 1,000+
  • Location: Headquartered in United Kingdom, with operations throughout Europe
  • Controlant solutions used: Facility Monitoring

Alliance Healthcare wholesales, distributes, and retails pharmaceutical, surgical, medical, and healthcare products throughout Europe. The company supplies more than 110,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals from over 288 distribution centers in 11 countries

From its network of nationwide warehouses, Alliance Healthcare transacts with 2.2 million items per day, offering twice-daily and same-day deliveries to more than 16,000 delivery points across the UK alone. In addition to the wholesale of medicines and other healthcare-related products, Alliance Healthcare provides services to pharmaceutical manufacturers who are increasingly changing and adapting their approach to distribution, while at the same time outsourcing their non-core activities. These services include pre-wholesale and contract logistics, direct deliveries to pharmacies, and specialized medicine delivery, including related home healthcare products. Alliance Healthcare is part of the global Walgreens Boots Alliance andis the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise.

A challenge to connect siloed data

Each of Alliance Healthcare’s UK sites was responsible for deciding how to monitor temperature within their own warehouses. This lead to a fragmented overview of product quality and integrity as well as regulatory compliance within the supply chain. The fragmentation of data made it difficult to implement company-wide decisions to improve the processes in place and ultimately reduce product wastage.

In many instances, reporting and confirming compliance with good distribution practices (GDP) and good pharmacy practices (GPP) became a highly labor-intensive process.It often required considerable time and effort to audit from suppliers, customers, and regulatory bodies.

The company needed a way to simplify the audit process, gain better insights across all of their facilities, and streamline their logistics.

Visibility leading to waste prevention

To unify and harmonize the systems used within Alliance Healthcare across the UK and to simplify their processes related to reporting and auditing, the company sought to utilize Controlant’s facility monitoring solution. The solution consists of a central cloud-based software platform powered by condition monitoring loggers and gateways. The gateways send real-time temperature and humidity data to designated users, including alerts if conditions exceed pre-established boundaries, placing product at risk. The company started with an initial pilot to test Controlant’s capabilities before shifting to a full roll-out of the facility monitoring solution.

This resulted in a completely new method of temperature monitoring across all facilities. The implementation created a network effect of reduced waste across the board through the usage of real-time alarms and reporting as well as the ability to proactively respond to save at-risk products.

A solution to streamline logistics and foster growth

Temperature and humidity data measured from the IoT loggers and gateways is automatically sent to the Controlant cloud platform, making it possible for Alliance Healthcare’s quality team to actively monitor and analyze environmental data from warehouses across the country in a single system.

Since installation, the Controlant facility monitoring solution has, on numerous occasions, prevented product spoilage, including a complete container of insulin that would have needed replacement. The costs saved from interception were able to be invested elsewhere. In addition, the solution has significantly reduced the work involved in ensuring compliance. The company’s quality team can access custom reports with shipment data on demand.

Great feedback leads to a better product

Customer and user feedback is important to Controlant. The team has formed a facility monitoring steering committee, including users from Alliance Healthcare and Controlant’s development team to continually improve the facility monitoring solution. This initiative has resulted in continuous enhancements to the system and will continue to do so in the years to come.

“Controlant offers a ground-breaking, innovative solution to temperature monitoring, coupled with a development approach aimed at suiting the end user’s needs.” – David Thompson, Regional Compliance Manager, Walgreens Boots Alliance

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