Pharmacies in Africa struggle with access to finance, but inventory management really bothers them. NSHow do pharmaceutical retailers know how much stock they need? How do they know which products to stock at a given time? How do they know which products are not selling?
Currently, there is not enough data to answer these questions. Cash gets tied up; have more or less products than is required at a particular time. If it’s the former, they run the risk of selling expired products. If it’s the latter, patients can’t get what they need.
Field Intelligence is digitizing this supply-chain process to help African pharmacies make better sales. The company, which started in 2015, was government-focused and sought to address the challenges facing the public health supply chain in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Co-founder and CEO Michael Moreland said he observed that independent pharmacies in Abuja faced similar challenges to state-owned ones. After creating a SaaS platform for the government to manage complex and large-scale drug delivery, the company decided to branch out into the private sector.
In trying to solve that supply-chain problem, field intelligence shifted from with strictness Being a Software Company to Be a Drug Distributor Using Technology to Re-imagine How the Value Chain Works.
Field Intelligence launched Shelf Life in 2017 as a standalone product to handle this transition. Till now, he had operations in Abuja, Lagos and Nairobi. Product Purpose To solve the inventory problem in Africa’s $65 billion pharmaceutical market. Today, the company announced its expansion to 11 cities in Nigeria and Kenya. The seven cities in Nigeria include Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Rivers. In Kenya, it is Eldoret, Kisumi, Mombasa and Naivasha. The expansion will be based on Field Intelligence’s over 700 existing pharmacies, which have served over 1.4 million patients so far.
Shelf life takes the burden and risk of inventory from pharmacies. It manages forecasting, quality assurance, fulfillment and inventory management through a subscription service. Pharmacies sell shelf-life-supplied goods on consignment through a pay-as-you-sale program, avoiding expiration risk and obtaining a cheaper alternative to working capital finance. The company claims that this model allowed pharmacies to grow at an average CAGR of 25%.
“We launched Shelf Life in 2017 to allow pharmacies to outsource their supply chain to us. And this Actually Just now grew a lot commotion From there,” Moreland said. “And as we built, we expanded to Lagos and finally to Nairobi to see if it would work in that context in East Africa, and he did. Since then we haven’t looked back. The future of business lies in the private pharmacy market.”
Field Intelligence concluded its first round of external capital in March last year, a $3.6 million Series A. Wealth was raised for expansion, but the pandemic halted that plan. Field Intelligence went back to work by the end of Q4 2020 and sowed the early seeds of what has grown up to this moment.
The importance of data in conducting field intelligence
The expansion comes a year after the company experienced rapid sales and shelf life subscription subscriptions. Sales increased by 47% in Nigeria and 65% in Kenya, with over 586,950 products sold in 63 different product categories.
By using data to optimize forecasts and identify irregularities in the market, field intelligence meets the demands of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. But how does it get gross this data?
“We see it as a math problem. And it starts with being Actually Great data on what’s selling in different locations and in different seasons, in a wide formulary of products,” said the CEO.
When field intelligence introduces shelf life to a pharmacy, it takes over its supply chain and inventory management processes. The company has fulfillment partners to manage the pharmacy’s stock count, inventory management, and merchandising.
Data about stock position and volatility at the retail level comes from a wide range of locations.. Thus, the company can create a proprietary dataset that shows pharmacies in real-time, providing insight into demand.. In addition, field intelligence provides visibility and control of pharmaceutical procurement and inventory management. This eliminates frequent over- and understocking; Pharmacies may change products or prices based on available information.
Fulfillment Partners operates an asset-light model, which Moreland said allowed the company to “build a scalable and intelligent delivery service that operates lean but still creates great value for patients and retailers.” does.”
“All I can say is that the level of our value chain as this tech-enabled distributor, no one works at this level of the supply chain in so many cities,” he said.
Shelf life is currently is being used In over 700 pharmacies in Nigeria and Kenya. the company says Nigeria has over 4,500 registered pharmacies and over 15,000 drug stores; While there are 6,000 registered pharmacies in Kenya. So there is a considerable market share to capture. By next year, field intelligence plans to exceed 2,000 shelf life pharmacies and drugstores. By 2025, the company is targeting 12,000 pharmacies and drugstores.
Moreland said the company 5x . has grown According to Recurring revenue, adding that Shelf Life has sold more drugs and served more patients in the last three months than in its first three years of business.
While Field Intelligence is looking to tackle inventory management with shelf life, Moreland believes the company is also solving a financial problem as effectively as it does with traditional financing by reducing the cost of running a pharmacy. Provides a choice of options.
“One of the big value propositions for us is that because we are selling on merchandise, we free up a lot of working capital for the retailer.. So in the market, we are Roughly speaking Seen as a financial services provider and alternative finance to our pharmacies. And in my point of view That’s a big part of our story because when you compare the cost of joining shelf life to access equivalent Microfinance or traditional banks, even the amount of working capital from concessional lenders, we can be 60 to 80% cheaper with more value-added services,” he said.