A pharmacy’s service path determines where to place the robot
Feeding medicine packages into the robot and having them delivered to the personnel must be as efficient as possible. The easiest spot for the robot in a corner is not necessarily the smartest one.
“The system should be placed near the customer service desk, which will make retrieving a medicine package quick. A new development that was revealed by our surveys is that nowadays, pharmacies rarely want a conveyor from the storage to the counter like they did a few years ago. Pharmacists want to get up to retrieve a package from behind them, so they can break up the constant sedentary work,” says CEO of VMP-Interior Oy Veli-Matti Paulasaari.
VMP-Interior Oy has renovated hundreds of Finnish pharmacies over 25 years. According to Paulasaari, the automation trend has given a breath of fresh air to the pharmacies’ operation and visual aspect.
“The robot is a modern device, so the future-oriented mindset is reflected on the facility design as well,” knows Paulasaari.
Another trend in the pharmacy industry that has been noticed by VMP-Interior is the relocation of pharmacies into supermarkets. What is new is that the pharmacies often move into supermarket facilities that are smaller, yet the customer facilities are up to 2–4 times larger.
“The new business facilities are usually packed very tightly in the back. A new, four metres high medicine storage robot will also help with the sense of space. The need for floor space and acquiring a robot often go hand in hand,” knows Paulasaari.
VMP-Interior and NewIcon have collaborated on several pharmacy renovations, one of the latest of which was at the Kemijärvi pharmacy, established in 1908. The use of space was optimised to the fullest there as well, with priority given to the service path.
“At first we wondered where we could fit the robot, but then we discovered a compact space solution. The medicine packages can be unloaded into the storage almost directly from the back door. In other words, there is almost a direct delivery from the back door to the customer service counter,” says Paulasaari with a laugh.
VMP-Interior is a company from Rauma specialising in designing and implementing solutions for pharmacies, medicine facilities and sales premises
The article was originally published in the Icon News magazine in 2016.
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