Success Story - uniPHARM Wholesale Drugs Ltd.

Project Details  

uniPHARM Wholesale Drugs Ltd.

B2B Order Entry


WebSmart ILE

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Web Orders system replaces old, unreliable process with real-time, intuitive solution

uniPHARM implemented a browser-based Web Orders system with the help of WebSmart and BCD Professional Services. The intuitive solution improved the organization's ability to service shareholders and customers (pharmacies). Previously, these orders were processed via an Electronic Order Book (EOB) package, which required each pharmacy to install this software on a local PC. Orders were transmitted via e-mail resulting in a variety of problems associated with such an old, unreliable system.

The Project Team felt WebSmart provided more flexibility to meet the existing and potentially changing Internet needs of our shareholders. In addition, BCD is a customer service oriented organization that is totally committed to developing web solutions specifically for IBM i users.

Stephen Mavety, Director Finance & Administration

Gallery - Click images to enlarge them

Challenge: Old, unreliable order processing system

uniPHARM recently implemented a major internal ERP package with the objective of improving the organization's ability to service shareholders and customers. Most of these customers are pharmacies that order pharmaceuticals and consumer products directly from uniPHARM. Previously, these orders were processed via an Electronic Order Book (EOB) package which had the following problems:

  • Each pharmacy had to install and configure this software on a local PC.
  • Orders were transmitted via e-mail resulting in a variety of problems associated with such an old, unreliable system.
  • This system did not provide uniPHARM's clients with real time data, validation, pricing or order confirmation.
  • It was unable to provide alternative products if requested brands were unavailable.

Solution: Browser-based solution with real-time data

uniPHARM recognized that the best solution would be a browser based application. This solution would remove dependence on third party proprietary client software running on each PC. It would also facilitate access to real time data, validation, pricing and order entry. After investigating several solutions, uniPHARM selected WebSmart as their tool of choice to build the application. They also contracted the services of the BCD consulting group to build the application.

The decision to purchase WebSmart and subsequently use the service of BCD was based in part on an initial prototype application. The group at uniPHARM were very excited to see just how much was developed in a mere 1.5 days by one of the WebSmart developers. uniPHARM's Information Technology Department were also very keen to work with the tool themselves. After the initial discussions and prototype, the decision on how to proceed was put to uniPHARM's board of directors which unanimously agreed that using WebSmart was the best approach.

Development Process

Before development began, uniPHARM surveyed the majority of its shareholders to determine business requirements and provided BCD with detailed business and technical specifications. "The uniPHARM IT Team and Project Office group did an excellent job of providing us with project specifications", says Kevin Cronin, development manager with BCD. "They created a story board of the general flow using PowerPoint. They also provided a spreadsheet that listed the corresponding data files and business rules that were to be applied for each page of the story board. We were able to run with it and start coding immediately!" The application includes integration with Catapult for sending price and shelving tickets to the shareholders. They receive these as a PDF file and are able to print them on their local printers. The application also shows product images, and automatically suggests alternative products when the requested item is not in stock.

Results: Customers embrace new system

Development of the project took two months. The overall acceptance of the project is evident by the number of orders that are put through daily. Concerns regarding change, as initially expressed by the shareholder customers, were soon set aside. Virtually all of the customers now embrace the new system. "Web Orders extends uniPHARM's internal business processes by providing shareholder members with the real time capabilities they defined. The Web Orders system was designed, built and implemented within three months due to the project management expertise provided by Steelnet Solutions, a leading provider of Business Process Management and Systems Implementation. The system has been well received and the overall response has been very positive as the vast majority of users find the site very intuitive. The immediate acceptance of Web Orders by our customers will shorten the time frame for the continuance of our current Electronic Order Book. This project has met the requirements of a successful implementation with the appropriate knowledge transfer such that future enhancements can be handled internally". (Stephen Mavety).

About UniPharm Wholesale Drugs

uniPHARM Wholesale Drugs is a cooperative organization, wholly owned by its shareholder customers. It is committed to satisfying the merchandizing, marketing and professional requirements of independent pharmacies by providing one-stop shopping for high quality pharmaceuticals and consumer products at the best possible prices.


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