Pharmacy Assistant

Digitization in the Pharma Industry: An Overview for Those in Pharmacy Assistant Training

August 12, 2022

If you are considering becoming a pharmacy assistant, you may be shocked to know that almost half of all drug products in Canada have had a shortage at some point within the last 5 years. 

Although the pharmaceutical industry itself is quite advanced in its application of technology, the same has not been true for the digitization of its operations. Growing challenges such as globalization and supply chain complexities are pushing the pharmaceutical industry towards accepting and adapting to the use of modern digital technology to solve these issues. 

Digitization will improve all four stages of industrial operations, which consist of planning, sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing. The greatest impact this has on pharmacies and their customers will be the consistent supply of the medicines they need. Keep reading to learn more about the digitization of pharmaceutical operations.

The Digitalization of Pharmaceutical Planning

The pharmaceutical industry has seen improvements in its planning capabilities through the introduction of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. However, even with these systems in place, there is no true visibility across networks and supply chain partners due to data incompatibility, disconnected systems, and other challenges. You may encounter the effects of this after your pharmacy assistant training when faced with drug shortages.

Digitization of planning would allow various supply chain partners to virtually communicate with one another in real-time regardless of what type of ERP system they use. The use of cloud platforms and data analytics applications would allow for collaborative planning between manufacturers, suppliers, and customers such as pharmacies and hospitals. With a digital supply chain, there could be instant monitoring of every data parameter throughout every aspect of the network. Digital applications would also allow for inventory management and optimization and even automatic replenishment throughout the entire chain globally. These innovations would significantly decrease the likelihood of drug shortages.

Digitization will lead to fewer drug shortages, positively impacting you after pharmacy assistant training.

The Digitization of Pharmaceutical Sourcing 

Through the digitization of sourcing, changes will be made to the way companies run internally and how they interact with their suppliers. New technology allows for procurement processes to be done automatically, including ordering, approval of purchases, the creation of invoices, and more. In addition, cloud-based technology can also provide up-to-date analytics on spending that can give insights into all sourcing-related activities with user-friendly dashboards that allow for improved sourcing decisions. 

The Digitization of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

The technological boom has created the potential for smarter and more decentralized production. ‘Smart’ digitized pharmaceutical factories can optimize manufacturing through real-time analytics, predictive maintenance, bottleneck identification, and sensor-enabled automation. With the use of digitized production, pharmaceutical companies can improve their Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), not only reducing machine downtime but increasing throughput quality. After completing your pharmacy assistant course, you’ll be exposed to the many new technologies on the horizon affecting medicine. Within the manufacturing realm, this includes the use of robotics and AI, continuous manufacturing, and 3D printing. 

Working for a pharmaceutical manufacturer is one of many career choices after taking our pharmacy assistant courses.

The Digitization of Pharmaceutical Distribution 

Technological innovations in distribution are already emerging, specifically the use of Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Tag readers allow for zero human involvement in finding the desired product, packaging it, and preparing it for distribution. Distribution processes can further advance with RFID-tagged pill boxes in hospital and pharmacy cabinets that can automatically replenish drug stocks as needed. As technology advances, inventory processes at manufacturing warehouses can be optimized with the use of RFID tags and scanning drones, which again would only decrease the likelihood of nationwide shortages. 

How This Will Affect You After Pharmacy Assistant Training

The digitization of the pharmaceutical industry will allow for virtually connected and increasingly efficient operations systems that will solve many of the issues that lead to drug shortages around the world. As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll be able to provide your customers with the medicine they need when they need it. 

At Medix College, we offer short-term, comprehensive courses paired with hands-on training within a real-life healthcare setting. In addition, our career support services will equip you with the tools you need to enter the workforce immediately after graduation allowing you to confidently start your new career helping others. 


Are you interested in getting your pharmacy assistant diploma in Ontario?

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