Pharmacy2U – Design of Automated Distribution Facilities

Pharmacy2UThe Pharmacy2U online pharmaceuticals business offers innovative services for delivering prescription drugs direct to customers’ homes. It has seen continued and rapid growth and this success has demanded considerable investment in fulfilment services including the need for warehouse automation.

The Logistics Business has worked with Pharmacy2U over several years to support this growth and investment.  Initially we modelled the business requirements to identify the future volumes, calculate the material flows around a proposed new operation and develop an outline concept for the internal layout of a new fulfilment facility.  We then followed this with the development of a requirements specification and Invitation To Tender (ITT) document, to be issued to selected manufacturers and integrators of automated warehouse equipment.

The concept required an integrated solution including bulk storage within standard static shelving and adjustable pallet racking with an integral carton-live storage out-feed, incorporating pick-by-light technology for fast-moving items.  Robotic picking was specified for slow/medium moving elements of the product range and automated carton erection and closure equipment was required prior to automated sortation into transit containers for despatch.  These various elements, together with a dispensing section and pharmacist’s inspection area had to be linked by conveyor systems managed by a Warehouse Control System, which was in turn interfaced with other business systems.

The Logistics Business created the ITT, issued it to selected suppliers and helped Pharmacy2U with the evaluation of responses, design development and the eventual selection of a preferred supplier.  The appointment then continued with assistance relating to contracts and the CDM requirements for the implementation phase.

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