“Our staff work more productively now that they are with customers and not in the storage room”

Published 17th of September 2015

The medicine storage area of Kontulankaari Pharmacy in Finland is located on the second floor of the building. In the beginning of the year, one pharmacy technician would spend the entire working day there and respond to a pharmacist’s medicine order by dropping the medicine via pneumatic mail down to the first floor. During quiet times, being in the storage room was boring.

Last March, the technician was able to come down to the pharmacy to join the rest of the staff when the monotonous medicine dispensing task was handed over to Iso-Fixu.

April was truly a month of new beginnings in Kontulankaari Pharmacy as four major changes were celebrated during that month. New Head of Pharmacy Tuuli Koski came to the pharmacy in the beginning of March and launched a major facility renovation and automatized the medicine storage system. In addition, Kontulankaari Pharmacy became part of the Avainapteekki chain.

“When I received my pharmacy license, I knew immediately that I would get a robot, because I am a tech freak who likes to try out the latest technology”, says Koski with a smile.

“I wanted to get rid of the pneumatic mail, which was an unpleasant, old-fashioned system. It not only forced one employee to stay upstairs the whole day, but also took up a lot of space and was dirty and dusty due to static electricity. When retrieving medicines, the picker would also make human errors, which the robot does not make.”

Productive work for staff

Today, the pharmacy technician spends only a couple hours each day on storage tasks. The technician empties the crates that arrive from the wholesaler onto Fixu’s input belt, monitors storing and places the products that do not fit into Fixu elsewhere.

“Our staff work more productively now that they are with customers and not in the storage room”, says Koski.

The pharmaceutical staff have accepted the Iso-Fixu medicine storage system well, although initially they were terrified.

“There were many new things to take in: a new head of pharmacy, a renovation, and a robot on top of everything else.

Now everyone agrees that Fixu is easy to use.

The software is very logical and simple and even I learned how to use it quickly even though I did not have time to attend the commissioning training provided by NewIcon.”

The training session managed to win over the last skeptical employees. One of the pharmacy technicians was also appointed to be in charge of the robot and be thoroughly familiar with Fixu. The technician finds the solution to any problems that may occur.

“The training provided us with, for example, instructions on how to respond to operating failures, but thankfully there has been no need for them. I have been positively surprised at how well Fixu has worked. For instance, I assumed that it would drop things on the floor all the time. There has been very little of that”, says Koski admiringly.

Commissioning done rapidly

The most positive surprise was the commissioning stage, which was faster than Koski had anticipated. She had been prepared to spend her Easter holidays at the pharmacy and feed medicine packages into the storage shelves of Iso-Fixu from morning until late at night.

“The ease and speed of commissioning was a surprise even for me, although I am an optimist and often believe that things will just happen in a jiffy. Everything went so well that we did not need to close the pharmacy for a single day.”

“Of course, work was made easier by the fact that our head dispenser had made thorough preparations in advance and planned the commissioning stage carefully. The medicines had been taken from the old storage area and arranged into temporary facilities so wisely that they were easy to feed into the new storage facility. In addition, our dispenser had grouped the medicines according to the expiry dates so that we could feed them into Fixu in separate groups”, Koski explains.

Read more:

Pharmacy automation in pharmacies

More information

Head of Pharmacy Tuuli Koski
Staff of 12.5 (1 head dispenser, 7.5 pharmacists, 2 pharmaceutical technicians and 2 pharmaceutical workers. In addition, the subsidiary pharmacy in Pihlajisto has one pharmacist and one pharmaceutical worker.)
Prescriptions: about 90 000.
Installation of Iso-Fixu in March 2015


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