Italian Pharmaceutical Group Unifarm Manages Replenishment Orders of Customer Pharmacies with RELEX

Sep 11, 2018 3 min

Unifarm S.p.A., a pharmaceutical products wholesaler which supplies 1900 pharmacies across Northern Italy and Sardinia, has implemented and fully rolled out RELEX’s system to improve the pharmacies’ inventory turnover and further increase the level of service they offer their customers. Unifarm is pioneering an innovative vendor managed inventory (VMI) service named SARA (Advanced Automatic Replenishment System, Sistema Avanzato di Riordino Automatico in Italian). It will be the first wholesaler on the Italian pharmaceutical market able to manage the inventory and replenishment of its products for a growing number of pharmacies.

Unifarm first piloted another well-known vendor’s solution but, after a thorough search, finally selected RELEX because it can handle Unifarm’s entire supply chain, from ordering from its suppliers to replenishing its customer pharmacies, in an advanced way. Another important factor in Unifarm’s decision was the flexibility of RELEX’s end-to-end solution.

Unifarm wanted to improve its supply chain performance and ability to adapt its automatic replenishment VMI service to the needs of individual pharmacies; for instance, one pharmacy might prioritize assortment and another availability. Unifarm also liked the fact that the system can perform highly complex forecasting calculations in near-real time, which makes it easier to ensure high service levels both to pharmacies and from pharmacies to the final consumer.

“Unifarm needed an agile system that we could configure to our specific needs,” said Unifarm CEO. “RELEX not only offered us incredible flexibility to tailor and finetune the level of service to our customers, but also the tools and ability to run the system ourselves.”

The VMI element of the project, SARA, has already been completed. Currently 170 independent pharmacies are using the solution, and a growing number of pharmacies are being brought onto the system every month.

Given the success of the VMI solution with Unifarm’s independent pharmacies, Unifarm and RELEX have signed an agreement to offer—throughout the national territory—an automated replenishment software as a service to Italian groups of pharmacies and pharmaceutical wholesalers not purchasing from Unifarm. With this initiative, Unifarm has become the first pharmaceutical wholesaler to offer specific solutions and assistance to raise the level of service in the Italian pharmacy sector.

“Unifarm has an excellent reputation in the Italian pharmaceutical market. It is considered the forerunner of innovation as it’s so focused on continually improve its already very high level of service,” says RELEX Italy Country Director Jarno Martikainen. “Unifarm’s team has been really easy to communicate with, they’re extremely keen to find new and better ways of doing things and they run a very impressive, finely honed operation.”

Meanwhile, the integrated supply chain phase has begun with the forecasting and replenishment of Unifarm DCs, which handle around 41,000 SKUs and see some €600 million worth of stock pass through them each year. RELEX’s solution roll out is in progress for the DC located in Genova and will start for the remaining DCs, based in Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Sardinia, in the Fall.

About Unifarm
Unifarm is a healthcare company founded in 1970. The company supplies 1900 pharmacies across the Italian regions of Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Liguria and Sardinia. Unifarm`s goal is to improve the well-being of people and focus on promoting good and healthy life choices as a part of their customers daily life.

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