Don’t Dismiss These Not-So-Obvious Pharmaceutical Distribution Software Features

Ilmie Sham Ku

When pharmaceutical distributors search for new software, there are a few common features that are at the top of their checklist. These features include inventory management, lot tracking/traceability, EDI integration and frequently landed cost functionality. These features all work together to automate processes and increase transparency to help achieve various pharmaceutical industry compliance requirements set by the FDA/ISO.  However, it's time for pharmaceutical distributors to expect more from a software solution. A good pharmaceutical distribution software will have additional, market expanding and process automating functionality to not only make day-to-day tasks easier but to also play a critical part in growing the company's bottom line. A good pharmaceutical distribution software will be able to grow with the company and be a long-term fixture in the business.

An all-in-one solution like Blue Link ERP offers additional functionality on top of pharmaceutical specific components that help to advance all parts of your pharmaceutical distribution business.

(1) Robust Accounting

Aside from the lengthy list of compliance and regulatory requirements, pharmaceutical distributors have the same needs as any other business owner. Accounting is the language of any business. All businesses need to have accurate and up-to-date financial information to make informed decisions. Blue Link's accounting functionality is tightly integrated with its inventory management, order entry and processing and warehouse management functionality for greater accuracy and visibility of finances.

Specific functionality includes:

  • Accounts Receivable/Payable
  • Bank Management
  • General Ledger
  • Advanced Landed Cost Tracking
  • Multi-Company/Multi-Currency
  • Financial Report Writer
  • Advanced Accounting Features

(2) Secure B2B Order Portal

Blue Link provides a fully integrated B2B eCommerce Online Order Portal known as Web.Venture, for use by both customers and sales reps. The webstore can be completely customized to include company graphics, colors, and information and is integrated in real-time with Blue Link’s back-end ERP. Customers are able to log-in to the site, browse inventory with customer-specific pricing, place orders online, track order status, print transaction reports (T3s) and more.

The great thing about the order portal being integrated with Blue Link is that all your online order information is stored in one central hub. You don't have to re-key information into the system or update the website every time a transaction is made. Sales Reps can also access up-to-date inventory information on multiple devices and enter orders for their customers from anywhere they have an internet connection.

(3) Controlled Substance Order System [CSOS]

CSOS allows distributors, pharmacies and manufacturers to transmit Schedule II (CII) orders electronically. This DEA approved legal process is based on regulations that allow CII items to be ordered electronically, assuming certain criteria have been met. CSOS is built into Blue Link’s B2B Online Order Portal.

Benefits include:

  • Fast and easy data transfer between ERP and CSOS
  • Less expensive than having two separate systems to manage
  • Less time consuming as there is no need to switch back and forth between multiple applications
  • One vendor to handle all your pharmaceutical software and support needs such as set-up, training and implementation

(4) Trxade Integration

Blue Link integrates with Trxade allowing for data to be electronically passed between Blue Link and the Trxade platform. Founded by an independent pharmacist in 2010, the Trxade platform offers true price transparency to its over 7,500 Pharmacy members with industry-leading cost comparison tools and advanced search features that put Pharmacies in control of their Rx purchases like never before. They are the leading pharmaceutical e-commerce marketplace featuring 30+ pedigree and VAWD compliant wholesaler's prices competing in real-time like Amazon and eBay.

The Trxade platform is a huge competitive advantage for those looking to widen their market. Integrating Trxade with pharmaceutical distribution software like Blue Link, allows the flow of information such as sales orders and customer shipping/payment information directly from Trxade to Blue Link which means data is only entered once.

(5) Contact Management

Like with any business, maintaining a good relationship with customers is key to improving retention...this is where having Contact Management tools comes into play. Contact Management is a broad term that can refer to tracking of customer/vendor information and communication as well as tracking sales opportunities (leads and prospects). Blue Link does both contact management as well as advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as part of our integrated inventory and accounting system. Some of the benefits of this type of functionality are that users are able to create user-defined steps and processes according to the business' workflow. Companies are able to manage Marketing lists, integrate with MS office including emailing via Outlook and more.

Pharmaceutical distribution sales teams are able to track leads and prospects through a comprehensive sales cycle to help ensure they don’t allow any leads to ‘slip through the cracks’. Having a centralized location of customer information such as meeting dates, archived emails, and other notes allow the sales team to maintain a strong relationship with potential clients. Having this information stored in one access point through an all-in-one solution allows for comprehensive views of information related to customers across all business departments. Information includes order history, shipping addresses, email communications etc.

This information can benefit other departments as well.  For example, if your accounting department needs to know a billing address of a customer, or perhaps the sales and marketing team wants to call and check in on how things are going, all the information needed is easily accessible.

(6) Electronic Document Management - DocuWare

The integration between Blue Link and DocuWare- an electronic document management system - allows users to quickly store, index, search, display, download, retrieve, edit and integrate documents and create automated workflows to help your business operate in a paperless environment. Benefits include:

  • Users can view pictures of documents that require specific programs to open.  For example, DocuWare will store CAD files as an image so that users without the CAD program can still view an image of the document from their own computer or phone.
  • Users can create workflows within DocuWare so that documents automatically get sent to the right employees based on document type.
    • Workflows can be used in creating an approval process whereby multiple users interact with a document before it gets sent to Blue Link with the document automatically being sent to the appropriate person throughout each stage of the workflow.
    • Workflows can be used to create automatic email responses and alerts based on document status.
  • Users can “clip” and “staple” documents together so that they get stored as 1 file – such as multiple expense receipts.
  • Intelligent indexing will learn how to index new and similar documents without manual help.

Here's a quick video to see Docuware in action and be sure to download our resource below to ensure you're implementing the proper technology and following the correct processes to be compliant in the pharmaceutical industry!