OpenText Exstream (formerly StreamServe) is so easy to integrate with different interfaces; it made it a lot easier for us to switch over to a new ERP system and continue providing the output needed
Walgreens challenges and opportunities
Patel, Marshall, and other AmerisourceBergen IT professionals read potential challenges and opportunities with the Walgreens partnership announcement. “We knew the Walgreens processing volume would push our existing system to its limit in terms of ability to handle volume and keep acceptable service level agreements,” Marshall explains.
Timing to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) can be a ‘ship or die’ matter in the pharmaceutical industry, for a distributor and its customers. “Our highly competitive market and the AmerisourceBergen business model demands that we deliver products and documents in a very timely manner, in most cases overnight to get the needed products to our customers,” explains Marshall. Furthermore, those products carry specific handling requirements from temperature to expiration deadlines, many with exceptionally low profit margins.
Handling the higher volume of drugs and documentation also presented opportunity for AmerisourceBergen to refine and update its delivery system.
New scalability, same reliability
AmerisourceBergen centralized and boosted Exstream throughput to adeptly handle ‘new and improved’ distribution demands, now exceeding hundreds of millions of documents per year. The solution even affords delivery of more than only required files, adding timely marketing communication customized to customer preferences and needs.
AmerisourceBergen worked closely with OpenText Professional Services to re-design and update its CCM installation. For close to 30 distribution centers, all data is now maintained within Exstream and in one centralized location. “That was the biggest gain,” Patel notes. “No matter the channel, documents can be printed and bundled together.”
More than 220 employees use an Enterprise Output Management Console integrated with Exstream to control output. All files are staged electronically, then automatically printed and sorted by route, stop, and customer into Driver Ready Packs, averaging 60 to 80 pages each. Following the Walgreens partnership, AmerisourceBergen produces an average of 20,000 Driver Ready Packs every day, consisting of more than 250,000 documents, usually within a three to four hour window. Via the portal and the OpenText™ Output Manager, users can change documents in packs, as needed, or reprint documents all within the short timeframe just before drivers run their routes.
In addition to printed document management, AmerisourceBergen relies on OpenText to fulfill communication preferences as defined by its customers. “It’s nice to have a system that enables us to follow customers’ preferences without a lot of re-work and changes,” Marshall says. To establish the scalable system, he and other IT team members reached out to OpenText Professional Services. “We were planning more than a standard upgrade, but a re-architecture of our solution,” Patel explains. “OpenText Professional Services team members were hands-on; we worked together to plan and implement a design that worked and helped us achieve our goals.”
Competitive advantage, revenue generation
With Exstream, AmerisourceBergen meets and exceeds distribution requirements for all business, including high volumes dedicated to Walgreens. “We have the power and performance needed to create, render and distribute a quarter million documents into customers’ hands by the next morning,” Marshall says. “That is where our most recent deployment of OpenText Exstream has been great for us.”
Such efficiency is a valued result in the low-margin, time-sensitive pharmaceutical distribution market. “When you talk about distribution, it’s all about efficiency,” Patel notes. Both Patel and Marshall consider Exstream to be a competitive advantage for AmerisourceBergen—technology that enables the distributor to get more from doing less, particularly as it relates to enterprise communication management. For example, since implementing Exstream, AmerisourceBergen achieved:
- Enhanced customer service with a vast reduction in documentrelated service calls and elimination of delivery errors
- Reduction of printers and related costs
- Improvement in document accuracy, timeliness and legibility
- Annual cost-savings in the millions due to improved operational efficiencies