Here’s Why Every Pharmacy Should Be Using EDI to Order Inventory

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Think about how you typically place an order for drugs. You decide what you need so you reach out to a supplier to find out if they have the item in stock, or you hop onto several different supplier websites to compare prices. Once you find what you want, you initiate the process of actually buying it. At worst, you send them the purchase order, then the supplier sends you an invoice, you pay, and only then does the vendor start to arrange for your order to be sent to you. At best, you order online instead of making a purchase over the phone or through fax.

Any way you do it, the process is a time-consuming hassle. There’s a better, more modern way to do your pharmacy ordering. By taking advantage of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) integration, you can reduce costs and improve your pharmacy workflow to make ordering less of a hassle.

What is EDI?

Through EDI, your system and your vendor’s system can talk directly to each other.

The process allows for seamless, accurate communication that reduces red tape and gets the products you need on the way to you more quickly.

With EDI, you use your own pharmacy system to make purchases instead of going to the vendor’s website. You can find the item you need in your system, pull up the price file, and then make the purchase without ever having to make a phone call or even opening a new program on your computer.

The order is automatically submitted to your supplier’s system, which gets the ball rolling on shipping the order as soon as possible. The transaction is nearly instantaneous, reducing the back and forth of purchase orders and invoices.

Without EDI, you may search for an NDC on a supplier’s website and if it doesn’t come up, you have to put in additional legwork of searching with the name of the product and sift through different sizes and strengths to find the exact item that you need.

Why you need EDI-integrated ordering

On the surface, using EDI ordering might not feel too different than ordering drugs through your vendor’s website. But the advantages of EDI add up to a more efficient and pleasant ordering experience.

Saves you time

Using EDI ordering saves you time on multiple fronts. Not only does it make the actual process of ordering much quicker — no more web surfing, wondering if your fax went through, or sending an order through the phone— but it also improves turnaround times for your order.

Because the transaction is immediate, when your supplier gets a product order through an EDI system, they can start working on it right away instead of going through the hassle of creating and sending an invoice to you first.

You can be confident that your order was received and stop refreshing your email for a confirmation message.

Increases efficiency

The more times you go back and forth with a vendor while trying to place an order, the more likely it is that errors will occur.

With EDI, you no longer have to worry about data entry errors resulting in the wrong shipment or important details getting lost in translation. With more accurate data about your shipments, you can make better-informed decisions around your pharmacy on a daily basis.

And remember, your time is worth money, too. When you switch to an EDI system, you will save money by not having to create purchase orders or process invoices. Instead, you can focus on more important tasks like patient counseling or making improvements that can make your pharmacy more profitable.

Simplifies inventory management

When you tie together EDI integration with your pharmacy software’s inventory management features, you can have a more accurate idea of what your inventory actually is at any point in time.

With EDI, when new inventory arrives from your supplier, that information is automatically accounted for in your system. You will always have an accurate idea of what you have in stock without having to input that information on your own.

The improved transaction time also allows you to reduce your holding costs because you can keep your order sizes to a minimum without ever worrying that you’ll run out of the item before you can order and receive a replacement. This means you only have drugs on your shelves that you actually need.

You can also automate your purchases with EDI so that when products start to run low, they’re automatically reordered to get to the pharmacy before you run out.

Decreases paper trail

In the pharmacy business, you have to keep a lot of paper copies around — you probably have file cabinets full of records of patient signatures, DEA Form 222s, criminal background checks, and more.

But with EDI, you’ll have fewer sheets of paper floating around your store. All records are kept tidy in your pharmacy management system so you don’t have to spend time rooting around to find some long-lost invoice.

Not to mention you won’t have to deal with printing any order forms, tracking down postage, and mailing out the order.

If you’re environmentally conscious, EDI can help you keep paper usage to a minimum and make your business greener.

Get EDI by using BuyLine

Take advantage of all the perks EDI has to offer by switching to BuyLine.

BuyLine is a secondary supplier from PBA Health that not only offers EDI-integrated ordering but also has advantages like next-day shipping with no fees and no contracts.

The easy, intuitive ordering is just the beginning with BuyLine. With pharmaceuticals from an NABP-accredited warehouse, BuyLine has a full line of brands, generics, OTCs, and controls with the lowest list prices on the secondary market. Plus, you’ll get up to 10% in cash rebates on generic products and up to WAC -4% on all brand items.

A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.


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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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