Inventory Management And Control In A Pharmaceutical Company

The pharmaceutical industry is a very important one in the industrial world because of its major role in sustaining a healthy nation. Within the industry, there are various firms or companies engaging in one form of trade or the other. While some specialize on research and development in respect to drugs or medicine for curing one existing or new infection or disease, some are into manufacturing drugs and others are into prescribing drugs, marketing drugs and the likes. This scene, as if it were stage drama, is been watched, assessed and controlled by reputation organizations, associations, bodies, commissions and special committee to ensure that things do not go beyond normal.

As an experienced store/warehouse manager and later as logistics and warehouse manager, I have always desired to put some things together for future individual who may eventual find themselves working in such firm as pharmaceutical company. Many find it difficult to work as one and those who had actually worked as one had lots of difficulty times such as lost which could not be accountable for and they have to pay for, lots of query to answer on why drugs expired without knowing, damages, supplying wrong strength or SKU for another, lost in transit if saddled with a bit of logistics responsibilities and so on.

As soon as I got on the job, I rolled out what I want to achieve which every store manager is expected to do if he must achieve success on the job. Take a look at mine.

The store/warehouse is committed to:

i. serving you better via prompt delivery or dispatch of stocks,
ii. enhancing effective communication,
iii. handling your complaints with courtesy, absolute care and prompt response,
iv. proper and accurate documentation(s) for effectiveness and efficiency, and
v. due process for in-coming, out-going and out-sourcing of stocks.

This is mine and you need something similar to this, not exactly. It all depends on your organization and what you want to do or achieve. Inventory management and control thus is a very vital knowledge at a store or warehouse manager must have in order to perform well on the job.

Practically, inventory management is all about ensuring that everything about your stock is well planned and organized such that there is easy flow of stock within and outside the firm. This means that you must have enough stocks to satisfy all orders and ensure that customers continue to have stocks at all time. It is a complex things and quite challenging. However, some programs have helped in reducing the stress of using varieties of formulas in getting reorder level, maximum and minimum stock level, warning level, annual demand, etc. This is about INVENTORY OR STOCK CONTROL.

In managing you stocks in a pharmaceutical company, you must learn first how to keep proper records. You must be very versatile in this and like figures especially when you handle over 100 different types of drugs and some have different strengths e.g. 10mg, 25mg, 50mg, 100mg, 500mg, 1g, 4000iu, 10000iu, 20000iu, etc. Some of the documents you must have and make use of are:

DELIVERY NOTE (DN): This records all drugs and materials leaving the store to the customers, REPs, office workers and donations to institutions. It must have Date, Particular (for drug name, expiry date, batch number and strength), packaging details (e.g. bottles, vial, PC, etc), Name and Address of the consignee, serial number, signature space for the store manager and the receiver. It could be duplicated in pink or be in triplicate.

GOODS RETURN FORM (GRF): It records all goods return and in good condition.

GOOD RECEIVE NOTE (GRN): It records all imported stocks as they enter the store i.e. stocks imported from manufacturer and being received into the store or stocks received from the production department into the store and ready to be issued out.

PRODUCT REQUSITION NOTE (PRN): It records all requests for order placement forwarded to the purchasing manager or procurement department when stocks reach reorder level. It should specify which stock needs to be replenished and the quantity to be ordered (though the procurement manager may know the right quantity to procure within the financial constraint of the organization).

WAYBILL: This is a store document that accompanies stocks being moved out of the organization which must be presented when stopped on the way either by the organization’s security men or force on the way to the customer’s warehouse or store.

BIN CARD: This is a document showing daily incoming and outgoing of stocks in and out of the store or warehouse. It must show the consignee’s name and address, batch number, expiry date, quantity, signature and the balance (on continuous basis). FIFO should be strictly applied so as to avoid loss due to expiration of drugs.

INVENTORY SOFTWARE: Inventory management and control software could be installed on the office system for daily posting and accurate report as generated by the tested and tried program. Good ones include inflow inventory program, Chronos eStock Card, Inventoria Manager Stock etc.

In managing stock or inventory in a pharmaceutical company, the following must be put into consideration:

1. The stocks expiry date must be checked and documented. It must be written on the bin card.
MANAGEMENT ACTION: Ensure that there is proper surveillance on the expiry date of each drug to avoid loss due to expiration.

2. The Batch number must be noted and document as their may be many batches of the same class of drug
MANAGEMENT ACTION: FEFO (First Expiry, First Out) should be used here. The first expiring batch should go out first.

3. The temperature must be well noted and likewise the storage conditions. Some of such instructions are: store between 2oC and 5oC, store between 15oC and 25oC, protect from sunlight, keep in deep freezer, etc. Adhere to these instructions.
MANAGEMENT ACTION: The temperature should be properly monitored to avoid damaged due to over/under temperature.

Others include:

4. Stocks should not be jam-packed in the stock. There should be enough space and the store should be well organized to allow for easily location and free movement.

5. Computer data should exist for all stocks in the store which will be updated daily or almost immediately as the stocks are going out or coming in to enable the manager to know quantity left for each stock at a glance on the system in case of urgent demand.

6. Cleanliness is part of proper management of the warehouse.

7. Proper documentation and record updating is also necessary here from source document to Bin Card.

The stock control strategy is also necessary for effective and efficient management of the warehouse. Lots of software now exists to remove difficulties in this area. In controlling the warehouse stocks, the control measure/software/program should be able to determine the following upon which right decision should/could be taken:


The manual method of stock control is fast fading out though some organizations still make use of it. However, daily check is needed to ensure efficiency. Computers these days have helped to save such time because alert props up when stocks need to be reorder, below minimum level, when over stock, etc.

In all, stock management and control is an important aspect of warehouse manager’s responsibility which must handled effectively and efficient if he/she must stay on the job since all what is demanded from him or her is this function. Therefore, the warehouse manager must endeavour to keep abreast of development via training and development in the form of further schooling, workshops, seminars, internet research, etc.