Thu, 29/03/2018 - 06:05
Current Issue 59
We Deliver Healthcare
United Pharmaceutical Distributors is striving to become the leading healthcare supply chain partner in Southern Africa, building upon many years of success within the industry
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Callam Waller
United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD) is the leading full-line pharmaceutical wholesaler operating in South Africa, delivering exceptional service to pharmacies, private hospitals and retail health stores alike.
For more than 40 years UPD has been thoroughly involved in the healthcare market, successfully providing the distribution capabilities for the larger Group’s integrated route into the continent’s healthcare market.
At present the Company’s aforementioned presence in the African healthcare market is strategically spread across five distribution centres, all of which are dedicated to exceptional service delivery.
Each of these distribution centres are managed and verified to international quality standards to ensure careful supply chain management, and this has inevitably led to UPD becoming the preferred supplier within the pharmaceutical retail pharmacy network.
“After many years of hard work and dedication within the industry, we are renowned for our delivery across the complete healthcare spectrum,” explains Vikash Singh, Managing Director at United Pharmaceutical Distributors. “We repeatedly deliver to doctors, independent pharmacies, wholesalers, hospitals and clinics, health shops, public sector healthcare facilities and veterinary facilities.”
It has and continues to be the Company’s aim to achieve the status as the leading supply chain partner operating in South Africa, sticking resolutely to its values of integrity through honesty and openness, understanding, discipline in its approach and an overall passion for the service it’s delivering to its customers.
What originally started as a small collection of individuals with a united vision, has now grown to exceptional levels within the industry.
“The Company was created on the belief that there was a need to provide a wholesaling function to pharmacies across South Africa,” continues Singh. “Since that point there was a lot of growth to achieve, which we have met through our tireless approach to the business and has led us to our current position as the leading wholesaler in the country.”
Now in its present state the Company is a fully-fledged pharmaceutical wholesaler, but it hasn’t settled there as Singh goes on to explain: “Over the years we have gone on to create separate divisions within the UPD family, for example UPD Speciality.
“That division of UPD enables us to distribute niche products such as oncology requirements; a key aspect to remember is that we operate in a business with low-margin for error and therefore we have worked hard to ensure there are no issues with our distribution.”
In order to ensure the low-margin for error is retained throughout all aspects of business, the Company continues to look into operational costs and ways to successfully make the business more efficient through automation and improvements across the distribution process.
Under the umbrella of UPD many successful business units have been established, a prime example being Link Pharmacy, which is now synonymous within the industry for making people feel better.
Link has been around for more than 30 years and during that time has developed from a handful of pharmacies, to a nationally recognised establishment that provides aid and guidance from highly-knowledgeable pharmacists.
“At present the chain has more than 180 locations spread across South Africa, making it readily accessible within the country,” adds Singh. “Similarly in terms of reach - by volume - UPD is the largest distributor in the South African private market, offering our customers a preferred supplier model.
“We are able to distribute throughout South Africa and utilise our excellent export services to African countries, with a strategy of investment and support in certain territories.”
The UPD Export division of the Company is comfortably able to meet with the requirements of all customer categories, with experience in wholesaling. Holding an impressive market share it is a true specialist in the country.
“We are proud to say that over a long period of time we have been able to retain our reputation as one of South Africa’s most dependable and professional suppliers of pharmaceuticals, repeatedly meeting our customers’ needs both promptly and in a professional manner,” states Singh, “developing and nurturing professional relationships with suppliers, while providing a customer-centric service”.
In order to reach the level of success that it has done since fruition, the Company has had to ensure that it has the right people behind it.
“Within our organisation we firmly believe that the business is only as good as the people that are working within it, and therefore having the right mindset is paramount to our success,” explains Singh. “The employees that we have working for us are of the right calibre in terms of attitude, while also having the right skills needed to succeed.
“We achieve this by ensuring that there is a high level of training within our organisation, and are incredibly active in offering coaching and employment progression opportunities that are attractive prospects for potential workers.”
Looking forward there are some key growth areas for both employment opportunities and market share that are driving the Company to aim for new heights.
“We are incentivised by the prospect of making our business more efficient and although we are already agile as a company, it is important that we grow to continue in our drive for value for our customers and shareholders,” concludes Singh. “We are incredibly passionate about ensuring that we deliver the best service for our customers at the best possible value, and this is something that we will continue on with moving forward.”