Smart stock

Taking the pharmacy stock management to the next level


Pharmacy Chains in the EEMEA Region are growing rapidly. These are in the range of 150+ pharmacy outlets or so called PoS (Point of Sale). Thousands of prescriptions are being dispensed daily, and stock management is a major issue for the Pharmacy Chains, the PoS´  and the patients. 


In the coming decade Pharmacy Chains would be dealing with more and more principal companies like MSD, with a lot of products coming into the market. Therefore, the ability to manage and control this increasing number of products is critical for them. MSD believes that Pharmacy Chains will be willing to partner with companies that would support them in increasing their operational efficiency with regards to Stock Management. 


Although Pharmacy Chains have Inventory Management Systems there are a lot of challenges in terms of keeping the right level of stock of the different products, and making it available in their outlets in the right quantity at the right time. These challenges include having enough space in Central Stores, and employing enough field force to manage the increasing levels of stock. 


It is relevant to indicate that MSD operates through country distributors which are the ones responsible for the delivery of MSD products to the Pharmacy Chains Central Stores. As a result, the products go from MSD Plants to the designated Distributor in each country, who distributes them to the Pharmacy Chains. Distributors may serve other laboratories apart from MSD. 


To get the stock and consumption of its products MSD currently does one to one interactions via Sales Reps either physically or by phone. This approach is slow, with limited portfolio coverage and quickly becomes outdated due to stock movements. The main challenge is that the Chains have no benefit or advantage to share their internal data with suppliers like MSD. Besides, there are issues with the limited time when visiting the Pharmacy Chain, the lack of proper automation and the complexity of the Pharmacy Chain network. It does not help that Inventory Management Systems are not very sophisticated in many cases. 


Apart from the chain level, MSD has also challenges regarding the proper stocking of MSD products at the different PoS. MSD has teams of Pharmacy Reps that regularly visit the PoS. At these locations there are challenges in getting the stock data and consumption of MSD products mainly due to the limited duration of these visits. Moreover, the coverage of all PoS is challenging for MSD as a result of the growing number of outlets and the limited number of Pharmacy Reps. 


The ultimate motivation is to make sure that MSD products are always available at PoS.  


As a first step, MSD is looking for solutions or approaches that optimize the proper stocking of MSD products at the central warehouse of Pharmacy Chains. 


Solutions that support the proper stoking of MSD products at each PoS pharmacy of the chain are also of interest. 

Expected outputs

MSD is not looking for another Inventory Management System, but for a new channel to proactively communicate relevant information about stock issues.  


The solution should motivate the Pharmacy Chain and/or the PoS to ensure the right stock levels of MSD products in their premises.  


The proposal should be: 

  • Motivating for the adoption by the majority of Pharmacy chains and/or PoS 
  • Easy to implement, use and maintain.  
  • Compatible with existing Inventory Management Systems 
  • Cost-effective 

Please refer to the rules for further information on permissible solutions