‘We have complete trust in the relationship with USoft’
Famous for its modesty, powerful in pharmaceutical data. This is what characterizes Farminform, one of the many organizations that have been relied on USoft’s products for years. Farminform, established in Gouda (NL), provides high-quality market information for the pharmaceutical supply chain and associated healthcare providers. Farminform originally started with a punch card system and now excels its business operations with a critical USoft application.
‘A deal is a deal., it’s as simple as that’. That is how Léon Walenbergh describes the relationship with the USoft professionals. ‘‘One of our characteristics is that we are very robust and reliable. Farminform is rated by its customers solely on the quality it provides. This requires optimal technological support, and we can fully rely on what USoft built for us, many years ago.”
Independent analyses of medicine sales
With more than 45 years of experience, Farminform is a collective that reports the use of medicines. This is done through automatic collecting, processing and publishing of market information. The foundation was laid by 11 parties in the pharmaceutical industry in 1971 – with the use of punch card systems. The initiators needed an independent centre that carried out analyses of medicine sales. Walenbergh: “we simply count boxes. Every month we multiply these numbers by the official purchase prices set by the pharmacists. We cannot list net prices as that would allow competitors to coordinate marketing behavior. For example, the Dutch Authority for Consumer and Market (ACM) buys our information in order to get better insights into the development of expensive medicines and to be able to do their own analyses.”
Farminform has now become a data provider for more than sixty stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry. As almost all Dutch wholesalers share and purchase market information, Farminform is able to list the sale of medicines for almost the entire Dutch market, including a large proportion of non-prescription medicines.
USoft provided the best solutions
When Farminform set its sights on service innovation in 2011, USoft came into the picture as their ideal technology partner. ‘In fact, we didn’t want to change much from what we were already doing,’ says Martijn van Bloois, data analyst at Farminform. ‘As our customers rely on us to deliver exactly the same every month, there was no need to change the format of our product. This means that our subscribers have been receiving all the relevant data in their own systems relatively easily for many years so they can use this for their own analyses.
However, this left us with the most important question: how can we improve the structure of our databases in order to make fewer mistakes? We could also do with some flexibility. In the past it was more like one-way traffic, now the market is more diffuse. So we had an idea: if we are going to build a new system, we had to consider future forms of distribution that function side by side. For instance, so-called “politheken”, nationally operating pharmacies within hospitals, did not exist in the past. You just went to the pharmacy on the corner of the street. At the time Farminform did not have the technical ability to differentiate. USoft provided the best solutions to accomplish this.’
Photo caption: Léon Walenbergh – Management Farminform
Moving flexibly into the future
The process of building a database that complied with the new requirements, was intensive, positive and very effective, Léon Walenbergh recalls. One of the main reasons to bring USoft on board was the Rules Engine: ‘The collection of data contains all kinds of dependencies that are related to the market and the distribution method. All these business rules are included in the USoft Rules Engine. The power of the USoft platform is that you can enter and change all important conditions separately. This provides the flexibility that is required to move into the future with confidence.’’
Feedback and getting to the core
According to Leon Walenbergh, USoft stands out above the rest in terms of professionalism. This mainly concerns the way in which USoft approaches the route of innovation and futureproofing. Martijn van Bloois: ‘USoft is great at providing feedback and getting to the core of our business needs. What I mean is: where are we at this moment, what is the status, what is the progress and which issues still need to be sorted? The exchange of information between USoft and Farminform has always been very clear. We always knew exactly which milestones we had reached in the process. Together we were in good control which made it more pleasant. In general, software projects are difficult to estimate in terms of money and time, but with USoft this has never been an issue.’
With around two million database records per month, it is important not to make any mistakes. By using the business rules in the USoft platform, Farminform can now structurally solve the problems that were made in the past. While before participants in the collective previously made occasional mistakes in sales reports, these can now be intercepted and corrected immediately, thanks to the business rules in the USoft platform. All the processes are now also fully controlled from the USoft platform. Walenbergh: ‘Every month we receive around one hundred files per mail or FTP. These must be imported into our computer system. All actions such as control and error resolution that used to be performed separately, are now all integrated into the Rules Engine of USoft.’’
Walenbergh and his team are still impressed by the interaction between Farminform and USoft. ‘What was built in 2011 and 2012, still works well today. The adjustments to the platform that are implemented from time to time, always run smoothly. Therefore, we always have complete trust in the relationship with USoft.’
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