Additional income and more hours for customer service at the Lielahti Pharmacy through automation of medicine verification

Published 23rd of October 2018

On 9 February 2019, the EU-wide medicine verification system will be launched. European pharmacies are now preparing to connect to the system. The Lielahti Pharmacy has a relaxed attitude towards the reform, as the Iso-Fixu automated dispensing system handles all of the new and time-consuming stages.

‘The Iso-Fixu automatically takes care of the new tasks: it reads the 2D identification code from prescription medicine packages and takes the information to the pharmacy system, from where it is taken to the European central database. If a falsified drug is noticed, the robot knows which shelf it is on. I wonder how manual pharmacies will ensure this. They will have lots of extra work,’ says pharmacy owner Kyösti Laitinen.

This feature is built into new Iso-Fixu automated dispensing systems, but since the one at the Lielahti Pharmacy is five years old, it requires software and device updates.

Within just a few weeks, the pharmacy owner noticed that the updates made the unloading of received goods into the system up to 20% faster.

The speed was increased by the new 2D barcode readers as well as the new computer vision system. Even code printed in small font sizes is read quickly and accurately.

‘Previously, unloading took until three or four on Tuesday afternoons, whereas now we are done by noon or two at the latest. Our employees can move to customer service, and our cosmetologists, for example, have time for more customers,’ Laitinen says.

Iso-Fixu brings 10% of the growth 

During the five years which the system has been in use, Laitinen has invested in other new features which have improved the operation of the system even further.

‘The multi-product channel feature, for example, freed up additional storage space. Previously, the less common product items, of which only a few packages were kept in storage, had to be located in separate channels, whereas now they can all be placed in one channel.’

‘Thanks to the multipicking option, the robot is now three times faster than before. Instead of one package, it can now collect several packages and deliver them all at once to the customer service point,’ Laitinen continues.

The speed of customer service, particularly at peak hours, has a great impact on the image of the pharmacy. The Lielahti Pharmacy has operated in the Prisma shopping centre in Tampere since 2013, which was also when Laitinen invested in the automated dispensing system. During these years, the number of customers with prescriptions has increased by 35%.

‘I believe that 80% of that growth is caused by a better location, 10% by the increasingly spacious facilities with a new look, and 10% by the image boost gained from the system. We have also only needed to add one customer service counter during these years, which I believe would be a larger number without the system,’ Laitinen says.

More information

LIELAHTI PHARMACY
Pharmacy owner: Kyösti Laitinen
Location: Tampere, Finland, Prisma shopping centre
Personnel: 25
Prescriptions: 206,000

THE ISO-FIXU AUTOMATED DISPENSING SYSTEM
Automated medicine package feeding unit
Installation: 12/2013