With a focus on safe and efficient distribution nationwide, Uniphar built a new distribution facility in Dublin’s Citywest Business campus and, working with integrator Pioneer Security, installed an IP-based video surveillance system from Tyco Security Products to assist in securing the facility.
Formed in 1994 by a merger of Allied Pharmaceutical Distributors and the United Pharmacists Co-op, Dublin, Ireland-based Uniphar Group is focused on the healthcare and pharmacy sectors, distributing products to meet the needs of community pharmacies, hospital pharmacies and veterinary surgeries across Ireland. The company has a workforce of more than 500, and operates wholesale depots in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Sligo, giving it the strongest wholesale depot structure in the Irish market.
Safety and security within the pharmaceutical industry is of paramount importance. Uniphar has a duty of care to the people of Ireland to ensure that the integrity and supply of its product through the correct channels is maintained at all times. Despite the presence of analogue security cameras, Uniphar felt that a complete review of its security strategy and hardware was due, and thus adopted the expertise of Dublin-based Pioneer Security.
To improve both internal controls as well to improve its overall security, the company wanted to install additional security measures at its €65m, 180,000 square foot warehouse in West Dublin. The state of the art temperature-controlled warehousing and office facility was designed and constructed to meet the specific needs of the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to the facility’s 52,000 square feet of office space, there is room for 10,000 pallets, 350 additional cold storage pallets and the country’s first ASRS (automated storage and retrieval system) catering for over 120,000 storage crates. These fully alarmed cold rooms are the largest in the country.
Among the unique features of the new warehouse facility is an A frame system for replenishing the fastest-moving stock by selecting it, dropping it onto a conveyor belt and quickly dispatching it to the appropriate transport unit. The warehouse also deploys “pick by light” technology that identifies items for stock pickers, who then can pick and drop those items into the correct shipper.
With all of this new technology deployed, another concern was the ability to fully track the process through which orders are created, picked and packed to further refine the logistics systems and comply with the necessary regulations and certifications that are required within the pharmaceutical industry.
Clients choosing to work with Uniphar often come to the new facility to see firsthand how the distribution system works and whether the company is providing adequate security and quality control. Some drugs, for instance, require special conditions such as placement in refrigerated boxes to ensure the temperature is controlled during the shipping process. Thus, Uniphar wanted to present a system that was efficient, secure and met the unique needs of every product.
“Uniphar has made significant investments into state of the art distribution and logistics technology that would allow our operations the ultimate in quality and efficiency,” said Wayne McGarry, Group Operations Manager Citywest. “We needed to ensure that we were getting those same qualities from our new IP CCTV system.”
Under its old system, Uniphar deployed nearly 100 analogue cameras, but the addition of more temperature-controlled warehouse space allowed the company to undertake an upgrade to an IP-based system.
With its new system from Tyco Security Products, designed and installed by Pioneer Security, Uniphar more than doubled the number of cameras throughout its facility. Selected for the site were upwards of 250 cameras, including Illustra IP mini domes, Illustra PTZ 625 domes, Illustra 610 bullets, Illustra 610 IR domes and Illustra 825 fisheye cameras.
Along with the cameras, Pioneer and Uniphar implemented the victor video management system from American Dynamics, a brand of Tyco Security Products. Using the victor unified client, the group operations and facilities managers at Uniphar are able to view, manage, and control recorded video from VideoEdge NVRs and VideoEdge Hybrid NVRs using Raid 5 for maximum hard drive reliability. The system was installed on a separate LAN so it doesn’t compete with bandwidth from other systems, nor is the information compromised.
Managers can now monitor via CCTV the entire ordering process. The surveillance system records the complete process in the warehouse from the time an order is taken from the chemist and entered into the system, throughout the movement of the empty transport unit through automated or manual item picking, to the final invoicing of the completed order.
“The Uniphar team required a surveillance system that could provide a comprehensive picture of their operations and easily demonstrate the integrity of the order fulfillment process,” said Eamon Reilly, Integrated Solutions Manager of Pioneer Security. “The victor platform provides that ability to view and manage all of their video in one place.”
Visitors to Uniphar’s facility can also easily see what is happening throughout the order picking process via 31 viewing monitors that are mounted at the warehouse entrance and through the facility.
Using victor, it is easy for those monitoring the system to share video between day and night shifts as well as monitor activity from multiple PCs. The system also provides forward compatibility, so it can accommodate further expansion whether through the addition of cameras, monitors or recorders.