Accelerating Order Processing at Holtung

Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesaler deploys IMI solution to improve customer fulfillment

Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesaler deploys IMI solution to improve customer fulfillment

Mt. Laurel, NJ — February 11, 2004 — Holtung AS, the third largest Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesaler, has gone live with a Web-enabled ordering solution from Industri-Matematik International (IMI) as part of an initiative to offer Internet-based ordering capabilities and manage the high-volume order spikes it receives each day.

IMI's Order system replaced a legacy system. Since going live recently with Order, Holtung has noted as much as an 80 percent performance increase on such functions as product search and order processing, according to IMI.

Completed on time and under budget, the implementation cycle from contract signing to project go-live was seven months, including modifications and delivery of an IMI Web portal solution to support over 400 pharmacy customers.

"We now have a solution that fully supports our pharmacy customers in efficiently completing their day-to-day work," said Britta Nielsen, IT Manager at Holtung. "Our performance tests show that our pharmacy customers now spend only 20 seconds to upload an order with 300 to 400 order lines, instead of it taking 150 seconds, as before."

The Holtung solution is highly automated, with 98 to 99 percent of incoming order lines placed through customer portals where pharmacies enter their own orders. With the portals, customers also have access to a range of Web self-service features that provide visibility to real-time supply chain constraints, such as available-to-promise (ATP), pricing and promotion, current customer credit status, and open orders and invoices.

IMI said that Order also enables Holtung to be fully integrated with its trading partners. Suppliers can access the Holtung data warehouse, which is fed with data from Order. Holtung can electronically send statistical and purchase data directly to its suppliers. These capabilities have freed up the Holtung customer service center, so they only deal with exceptions and deviations.

"Holtung wanted both flexibility and improved control in processing its critical business transactions, and IMI Order has allowed them to build the infrastructure and support required for a long-term initiative, whilst achieving immediate business benefits," said Bob Fedorciow, IMI's vice president of EMEA field operations. "The new IMI Web order system enables Holtung to keep pace with the many requirements demanded by customers and suppliers. It is a key competitive edge helping Holtung deliver top-level customer satisfaction."

Norwegian law requires that pharmaceutical wholesalers must carry all approved drugs and have the ability to deliver both prescription and non-prescription products within 24 hours to any pharmacy in Norway. This requirement, given the country's geography, presents a challenge. Holtung manages distribution from one central warehouse south of Oslo, providing next-day order delivery to customers.

Holtung stocks more than 10,000 pharmaceutical products with an additional 4,000 healthcare products available to customers. Its customers include 120 pharmacies, 200 institutions and 80 healthcare retailers. Holtung is part of Alliance UniChem Plc, which is one of the largest Pan-European pharmaceutical wholesalers, with operations also in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.