Northern Pharmacy Chain Expands Through MexicoWed, 05/08/2019 - 10:30
Q: When Farmacias Benavides turned 100, it established the goal of launching 100 locations per year. What is the status of this plan?
A: We are on track. Our focus is on markets where we are already present but lack the necessary coverage, mainly in the central region of Mexico. After 100 years, our clients recognize our expertise in the sector. Over that time, we have cultivated our connection with our clients through the training our employees undergo. The most important factor for pharmacy is that its clients feel safe with the service provided by our employees. Pharmacy customers also value product availability and the industry invests heavily to maintain large inventories so prescriptions can be filled.
Q: How are you using technology to improve the efficiency of your distribution center, Centro de Eficiencia Logística?
A: Our Centro de Eficiencia Logística in Monterrey functions as a spearhead for our distribution strategy. This single center has sufficient capacity to address our expansion needs for the next few years. We are planning to install a new warehouse management system to improve our distribution capabilities and to plan for future demand. This system will also permit efficient distribution to future pharmacies. Our logistics chain has 12 cross-docking centers distributed throughout the country that allow us to reach places like Tijuana, Mexicali, Puerto Vallarta and Veracruz.
Farmacias Benavides has also invested in the consolidation of its drug distribution network through the implementation of processes that help predict demand. This allows us to guarantee the supply of the necessary products, especially during seasons of high demand.
Q: What role will online platforms play in Farmacias Benavides’ future?
A: Farmacias Benavides itself does not have an online sales platform but we do have a call center that clients can contact and from which they can receive products to their homes. We have a strong presence on social networks, including Facebook, where we have over 445,000 followers. We have over 9,000 followers on Twitter and 12,000 on Instagram. Furthermore, we have a platform that allows us to interact with clients of our loyalty program Beneficio Inteligente (Smart Benefit). This platform allows us to interact with millions of clients and offer them several promotions based on their buying profile. Our parent, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), fills one prescription from a mobile device every second. Beyond digital, Walgreens has a track record of innovation, trust and care along with deep roots in the community.
WBA has pioneered newsworthy healthcare innovations, mostly in the US but also elsewhere. For example, Boots in the UK has a service called “Medisure,” which provides patients who have complex therapy needs with pre-packed medicines delivered to their pharmacy or home. We have pioneered online pharmacy delivery services in Norway with “Farmaka” and in the Netherlands with “SPITS.” These services include pre-pack and unit dose dispensing. From a customer point of view, Farmacias Benavides uses a mix of digital platforms to interact with patients and customers and our website lets Loyalty Program members check their balance, transactions and discounts.
Q: How did the presence of doctors at the point of sale improve Farmacias Benavides market penetration?
A: Our pharmacy doctors are pillars of our business goal, which is to provide clients and patients integral solutions for their health and well-being. These doctors give patients the opportunity to acquire fast, trustworthy and easy-toaccess care. We have built a network of 620 doctor’s offices with more than 900 certified doctors who are prepared to treat any primary medical need. We offer general attention, weight and birth-control monitoring, blood pressure and glucose tests, injections and verification of health certificates and we keep an electronic record of all the patients we receive. The clinics provide only primary attention so if a patient needs a more specialized service they are channeled to the proper specialist