Printronix’s printers are vital components to PHOENIX Pharma GmbH & Co KG’s "Chain of Care.” This top German pharmaceutical company maintains its market lead by ensuring prompt and efficient deliveries of medicine and health products throughout the nation. Its leading edge performance is attributed to Printronix’s line matrix printers, which have a monthly output capacity of up to 150,000 sheets per printer. PHOENIX’s distribution centers maintain stocks of more than 100,000 different types of medicine and other health products, which are delivered throughout the day to thousands of pharmacies across Germany. Speed and dependability are at the forefront of operations in order to make sure every patient receives their medicine quickly. Maintaining Logistical Peak Performance for the Chain of Care PHOENIX credits its seamless nationwide delivery system to continuous enhancements of the company’s IT infrastructure within twenty distribution centers. With all-day availability to customers, the distribution process runs constantly at full speed. Orders are packaged and prepared for shipping three times a day. During these peak times, PHOENIX has optimized the logistics, IT and production processes to make sure orders arrive at the pharmacies on time. "The pharmaceutical wholesale market is not a classic Just-in-Time inventory model with the motto, ‘ordered today, delivered tomorrow,' but instead works within an extremely tight time window, from ordering through to delivery up to the arrival of the goods to the customer in a few hours,” said Andreas Schramm, director of technology services PHOENIX Pharma GmbH & Co KG. Mastering the e-Order
As a full-range retailer, PHOENIX is able to deliver products needed both frequently and on rare occasions. Sophisticated IT processes tightly control the inventory to streamline delivery for customers who need the products as soon as possible. The electronic ordering process between the pharmacy and PHOENIX is based on the pharmacies’ ERP-systems, which automatically create order recommendations when sold items are scanned. These orders are relayed to the distributors, who then give automatic feedback about the delivery date of the supplements. This highly specialized chain of logistics is vital especially for express and urgent deliveries. ”The advantage of this proven method is that the data is always collected from the wholesaler in real time and that the orders are placed as they are needed,” said Schramm. “Of course, the pharmacies also have the ability to place orders outside this system,” he continued. The Consignment
To find out how many containers per order must be sent, the volume of the supplement has to be determined and the pan size assessed. In the distribution center, many products move through a conveyance system to the transfer point where they shipped out. Delivery Notes and Invoices
The configured Printronix P7220 line matrix printers, located at the identification point in each distribution center, are responsible for producing the required delivery notes and invoices. Depending on the size and order volume of the center, several hundred thousand pieces are printed per month. Apart from the new P7220 printers at PHOENIX, there are also a number of previous printer models in use due to their high robustness over the past eight years. “The reliability and quality of our line matrix printers has convinced both PHOENIX’s in- house IT experts as well as local employees,” said Holger Steer, Director of Sales, Central & East Europe at Printronix. "We are delighted that for over a decade the German market leader in the pharmaceutical wholesale market has put their trust in the printing solutions from Printronix. PHOENIX is an excellent user for our high-performance printer, as the company stands for the highest availability and reliability," Holger added. The tendency for using Printronix line matrix printers in other countries in the DACH region as well as in France and Serbia are increasing due to the growing reputation for these robust printers. Proven Line Matrix Printers…Timelessly Popular
In the past, PHOENIX had worked with different printing systems. Its original steel band printers were replaced by the predecessors of today’s P7000. As part of the continuous enhancements, Printronix line matrix printers P70000C are now replacing laser printers. The PHOENIX vendor SA.S.S. Datentechnik installed a trial system five years ago at the company’s distribution center in Bad Kreuznach in order to prove line matrix printers were effectively able to replace laser printers. "When the new P7000C series with its ribbon cartridge technology were introduced, we installed three new printers because of the positive experiences we have had with the Printronix line matrix printers,” said Schramm. "The advantage of the cartridge technology compared to the previous package ribbon is that it can be easily replaced without making a mess."
The PHOENIX vendor SA.S.S. Datentechnik installed a trial system five years ago at the company’s distribution center in Bad Kreuznach in order to prove line matrix printers were effectively able to replace laser printers. “Line matrix printers were installed in parallel to the laser printers, which have a high volume output of print products,” said Gerd Como, sales director at the German-wide acting SA.SS Datentechnik AG from Gilching. “The result was overwhelming. Not only in the robustness and frugality did the Printronix workhorses score high marks, but also in the quality and ease of maintenance – not to mention the unbeatable price per page, which can be reduced even further by using the new ribbon cartridge.” “The low cost per page of the line matrix printers became quickly noticeable during high- volume print tasks. The break-even point for the whole application including the periph- eral devices was reached after just two and a half years,” said Schramm. P7220 – The Workhorse With a print speed of up to 2,000 lines per minute, a printing width of up to 345.4 mm, a maximum resolution of 180 dpi horizontally and 96 dpi vertically, the P7220 line matrix printers are quick, accurate and reliable. In the unlikely event that a printer should fail, an identically configured spare printer is connected to the network to ensure that such loss can be corrected in less than five minutes. The P7220, based on Hammerbank- Shuttlematrix printing technology, is a great alternative to many laser printer applications where operational costs increase exorbitantly with rising printing volume. “The P7220 is a true replacement for the costly and less robust laser and inkjet printers,” said Schramm. “From the cost perspective as well as reliability and print quality in warehouse conditions, the line matrix printers will always come out on top.” How Does The Data Get To The Printer? The high-performance Printronix printers have been integrated into PHOENIX’s overall network. A single ASCII data stream is able to be sent directly from the ERP-system to the individual printer. In the printer, this data stream is adjusted to the different require- ments of the individual distribution center. Different types of bar codes or OCR/B fonts are used for processing of the documents. “The consistent ASCII data stream provides PHOENIX several advantages. It is small and therefore does not load the wiring (network). The data stream of the ERP-system is ready-made for the printer,” said Thomas Zink, CTO at SA.S.S. Datentechnik AG. “This is important as distribution centers start printing almost simultaneously several times a day.” Cooperation For More Than A Decade Even before the presence of the PHOENIX distribution center in Fuerth, Printronix printers gained a strong reputation based on their power and reliability. The strong ties with SA.S.S. Datentechnik is a result of PHOENIX’s high satisfaction with Printronix printers. “We are very satisfied with the customer service, delivery and the very specific installation SA.SS Datentechnik provides us,” said Schramm. “The Printronix printers are ideal for our needs. Additionally, they are extremely powerful and reliable even in peak work times.” This is the reason why two new line matrix printers P7000C with ribbon cartridges were delivered to the distribution center in Oldenburg in March 2011. Another was delivered to Bielefeld in September 2011.