Pharmacy Services Case Study

Case Study – 

A Pharmacy Story

Without control, losses get ugly. Customers get frustrated at having clicked, but not collected.

Profits decline. Result… Misery! 

So imagine the horror of one leading retailer, whose grocery SKU count accuracy was always better than 99.75% correct, to discover that their pharmaceutical department Masterfile (if you could call it one) was only 65% accurate!


Everybody in retail knows how important it is to have accurate stock.

How could it be that a department specialising in high value, prescription and controlled drugs could have so little control on what was actually on their shelves? If a doctor behaved like this, they would be struck off!

At WIS the emphasis is on building long-term partnerships with our clients. We don’t just drop in, count and forget about it. We continuously improve the processes and systems used on any count, always striving to be better tomorrow than we are today. We believe that if you are not prepared to put in extra effort and support, then there is no point accepting the business in the first place.

Unfortunately, the previous count company clearly had a different strategy. Not so much “effort and support,” as “cruise and collect!” Not realising the extent of the problems, the client simply wanted a financial value of stock three times a year for audit purposes. And that’s what they got! No detail. Nothing that could be of use in any other part of the business. Just a final value to keep the accounts department happy. That is so last century!

We had previously worked very successfully for this essential retailer. Their grocery Masterfile was maintained to better than 99%, in that 99% of everything we scan is recognised and returns a valid SKU. However, we had not been given the opportunity to count pharmaceuticals before. This was principally due to the claims of the incumbent stock count company that pharmacy counting had to be undertaken by people with experience and knowledge of pharmaceutical products and that counts undertaken by those unfamiliar with the “Black Book” of pharmacy would not be able to correctly identify stock.

When we were finally given the chance to count the pharmacy stock, we could not believe what we found… The problems started when we asked the client for their stock Masterfile. The client had not been given one! That begged the question, how was the previous company recording stock? Where were their counts and to what did they compare them? We were told by the client that the incumbents had been using “manuals” to supposedly input “not on files,” but no one knew where these manuals came from or what was being input from them.

 We quickly came to the conclusion that either the stock amounts had been guessed or not counted at all…

The Benefits of Using WIS

Accuracy – They benefit from our attention to detail, audit trail and customised process. Our WISard™ data collection terminal has built-in alerts to assist WIS International auditors in providing accurate results and helps to eliminate common count errors.

Trained Workforce –Trained, direct employees provide the inventory expertise facilitating a smooth and accurate count. The use of R.F. technology provides real time insight into an inventory’s progress.

Project Management Expertise – Successful Physical Inventory takes planning to succeed. With over sixty years of project management expertise we take care of all the details to ensure flawless execution of the inventory

Technology – Technology is an important component of an accurate stock count. WIS International provide  the latest bespoke developed equipment and software to ensure the utmost data integrity.

Count Assurance – Utilising the latest tools and the vast array of data available to interrogate, data dashboards have been developed that enable a real time view not just the progress of the count, but also after the event in depth analysis of key performances buy store, count manager, counter, sku and category. Absolute count assurance is guaranteed, total transparency.

Example generic dashboard

The Service

On our first sweep of the £5,000,000 of stock we found 3,300 lines not on file. That means the Masterfile was only 65% complete. Remember, just a few feet across the store stock was being counted to 99.75% using a Masterfile that was 99% correct or better! It was unbelievable. We set about rectifying the situation…

First of all, we took all of the physical counts that we had made and entered them on a Masterfile. Where items were not clearly labelled, we liaised with the customer’s supplier to get the correct description.

We did not give our count staff any discretion to look up the item or use their judgement. The experts decided. As a result, we were able to correctly identify every line. Each item was touched and counted. All counts at WIS are paperless. We created a custom-built dashboard so that the client could see, live, how their count was progressing.

WIS also audits its own counters to guarantee greater count accuracy. The client told us that this had never been done before and that the closest the incumbent came to checking their work was to ask obliquely if the client was happy with the count!

It took two hours a day for a whole month to correct the Masterfile. However, it was worth the effort. Several count cycles in and we were down to just 14 lines not on file – a bit different from the 3,300 we inherited!

The new process has brought the client’s pharmaceutical stock control into the 21st century. And because both a Masterfile and accurate stock levels are now available to the organisation, stock profile and customer service offerings are being optimised bringing better stock availability, happy customers and increased profits.

What did the pharmacist say?

“Great job/fast work/minimal disruption.”

“Completed quickly with minimum fuss or disruption.“

“Professional count completed quickly and efficiently.”

“Job completed without disturbing our pharmacy. Good  job!“

“Very efficient service that worked around our busy pharmacy with minimal disturbance.”

“They were very pleasant and efficient. They caused minimal disruption in the pharmacy considering Covid-19. Keep up the good work!“


One last thing…

On the back of the above success, we landed another pharmacy contract with one of the largest pharmacy retailers in the UK. 

We won it from the same incumbent as the grocery retailer above. And when we got there, guess what? No Masterfile. Major stock discrepancies. Total carnage!

However, the retailer had been told that pharmaceutical stock could only be accurately counted by a person with experience and knowledge of pharmaceuticals. And the retailer was only interested in a financial value of total stock for accounting purposes…

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