Engaging with Customers and Suppliers
Engaging with Customers
The Alfresa Group strives to ensure a stable and safe supply of products and services and to provide appropriate information so that all customers can use pharmaceuticals with peace of mind. The Group also works to practice appropriate business transactions in a spirit of fair and transparent competition in order to earn trust and maintain good relationships with customers.
Ensuring a Stable Supply of Pharmaceuticals
Quality Management in the Distribution of Ethical Pharmaceuticals
The Group implements thorough quality management methods in the distribution process of pharmaceuticals in order to deliver drugs without any errors to the healthcare facilities where they are needed. All pharmaceuticals are kept at separate locations according to their characteristics and stored with the appropriate temperature controls. The Group also uses state-of-the-art logistics facilities to prevent shipping errors and ensure delivery. The Group implements PDCA cycles for process improvement at its distribution centers and other facilities. This makes the product shipment process even more efficient and accurate and maintains product quality. The Group also ensures each product’s traceability using a lot number management system.
Advanced Temperature-Controlled Logistics
Some pharmaceuticals such as specialty drugs (biopharmaceuticals and antibody drugs, etc.) require stricter temperature controls. As pharmaceutical qualities are lost unless a specific temperature is maintained not only during storage but also during transport, particularly rigorous temperature control is needed.The Alfresa Group ensures cold delivery over long periods of time for all temperature zones ranging from normal through to cold and frozen temperatures down to -20°C with the use of special chiller boxes that have excellent thermal insulation and airtight functions and alf-GDP-Shipper, a high-performance coolant that can maintain a constant temperature over long periods of time. The Group also ensures transportation quality by monitoring and recording temperature data inside the special chiller boxes at certain intervals during transport.
Complying with International Quality Control Standards
The Group’s Manufacturing business complies with diverse laws and regulations and international codes in order to ensure stable manufacture of high-quality pharmaceuticals, diagnostic reagents and medical devices. These include Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP, a standard for manufacturing and quality management for pharmaceuticals, etc.), ISO 9001 and ISO 13485, the Quality Management Standard (QMS) Ordinance for medical devices (an ordinance on standards for manufacturing and quality management for medical devices, etc.), and CE marking (a mark indicating that a product complies with EU safety standards). The Group also implements thorough quality management for the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that it manufactures and sells as well as the products it manufactures on consignment from other pharmaceutical companies. Alfresa Medical Service Corporation, which supplies SPD* services that integrate management of processes from purchasing through distribution and consumption for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies within medical institutions with a view to rationalization and streamlining, has obtained ISO 9001 certification. The corporation strives to improve and upgrade its service quality in various ways, such as holding regular meetings with customers.
- Supply, processing and distribution
Obtaining Certifications for International Quality Control Standards
(International standard with specifications for product and service quality management systems)
|Alfresa Pharma Corporation’s Chiba Plant
Alfresa Medical Service Corporation
(International standard with specifications for medical device quality management systems)
|Alfresa Pharma Corporation’s Chiba Plant,
Okayama Pharmaceutical Plant and Ibaraki Research Center
Quality Assurance Systems in the Manufacturing Business
Each Group company in the Manufacturing business has established systems for assuring its products’ reliability across the product lifecycle—from research and development through production, sales and post-marketing.
■Product Reliability Assurance System [Alfresa Pharma Corporation]
Group companies implement thorough management of safety and quality. Product recalls for pharmaceuticals and other products are handled appropriately, for instance, by publishing information on the corporate website.
Initiatives to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Responsible Marketing Promotion
The Group provides information through medical representatives (MRs), marketing specialists (MSs), and dispensing pharmacies to ensure that pharmaceuticals and medical devices are used properly. The Group acts in accordance with the Group’s principles in promotion activities, ensuring compliance and working from a highly ethical perspective. In the Ethical pharmaceuticals wholesaling business, the Group serves as a bridge connecting customers with suppliers by providing customers with the latest information on the healthcare system and hearing from customers about the efficacy and side effects of pharmaceuticals. This information is provided as feedback to suppliers and thereby helps to contribute to better healthcare.
The Alfresa Group supports customers on the medical frontline in diverse ways, including provision of the latest information on medical care and pharmaceutical products in addition to IT and management support and inventory management.
In terms of IT support, the Group has many systems equipped with functions that streamline inventory, order receipt and issuance, and provision of a range of information to meet the diverse needs of customers.
Examples of IT System Support Provided
- Ethical Pharmaceuticals Wholesaling Business
Web service for providing comprehensive service to medical institutions, including provision of medical care information and medical service management information, and online ordering function
Web service for providing information on pharmaceutical products
- Self-Medication Products Wholesaling Business
Web service for providing online ordering function and information on various products, sales promotion, and marketing information
Providing a Vaccine Scheduling System [Alfresa Corporation]
The Group developed a vaccine scheduling system that can calculate, manage and share complex vaccine schedules, and it is operated by Vaccine SAFE Co., established in 2014. Using this system, parents with infants and young children can check the available vaccines and the timing of vaccinations, allowing them to avoid forgetting to book appointments and missing vaccinations. Medical institutions can manage the administration process for vaccination bookings and ordering of vaccines more efficiently while eliminating unnecessary or non-urgent vaccine inventory.
SPD Business in Vietnam [Alfresa Medical Service Corporation]
The Group has built up a track record for its SPD business in Japan. In 2016, a project to spread and promote an SPD system in Vietnam was designated for promotion under the Collaboration Program with the Private Sector for Disseminating Japanese Technology for the Social and Economic Development of Developing Countries by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The corporation has concluded a business consignment agreement with JICA, under which it will be working to introduce Japan’s unique SPD system in Vietnam.
Exhibiting at Various Events and Holding In-house Events
The Alfresa Group exhibits at events and holds in-house events for medical care providers, wholesalers, drugstores, etc. This creates valuable opportunities to host many visitors and let them know about the Group’s product lineups and services.
The events are important forums that allow direct interaction with customers. By exhibiting at events and holding in-house events, the Group strives to make its relationships with customers even stronger and add value for the Group.
Appropriate Management of Customer Information and Education
Alfresa Holdings Corporation provides training sessions on information security regularly once a year for all employees, including fixed-term and temporary employees, so that they can learn about countermeasures and precautions to take, referring to recent cases of information leaks, and thereby seeks to ensure appropriate information management.
Working toward an Integrated Community Care System
Japan’s healthcare provision system is currently transitioning from a “hospital-based” model to a “community-based” model. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has announced a vison calling for local governments to take the lead in creating an integrated community care system responsive to regional characteristics. Each integrated system is to provide not only medical care and nursing care but also housing, preventive care, and living support services.
Under the integrated community care system, many facilities and professionals will be involved with local residents and patients, including hospitals, clinics, nursing care facilities, dispensing pharmacies, care managers, and home-visit nurses and so forth. The Group will utilize the existing relationships it has built with various professionals over the past several decades to strengthen its activities as a local coordinator linking them. In particular, the Group is calling on dispensing pharmacies and pharmacists to get actively involved in their local integrated community care system as they will play an important role in assisting local residents to maintain and increase their own health in the future.
Engaging with Suppliers
The Alfresa Group treats all of the suppliers it engages in business with as partners in realizing the Group’s principles and aims to work together with them to adapt to both changing times and emerging demands from society. This is precisely why the entire Group also works hard to ensure the practice of fair transactions and competition.
Alfresa Group’s Supply Chains
The Alfresa Group has developed different supply chains for each business to procure diverse raw materials and products appropriately.
Communicating with Suppliers
To ensure our suppliers understand the direction of the Group’s business strategies more deeply and work to help achieve management goals, Group companies hold regular meetings with their suppliers to update them about sales policies and business conditions. Group companies also hold financial results briefing sessions and other events for suppliers in order to ensure smooth communication with them.
In-House Education for Fair Procurement
The Alfresa Group Compliance Handbook sets out a prohibition on abusing any position of advantage in consignment of business, and raises awareness about complying, as a parent enterprise, with the obligations stipulated under the Act against Delay in Payment of Subcontract Proceeds, etc. to Subcontractors, and about not engaging in prohibited conduct.