BERGEN-BRUNSWIG WILL OPEN FULLY AUTOMATED 213,000 SQ. FT. CENTER
BERGEN-BRUNSWIG WILL OPEN FULLY AUTOMATED 213,000 SQ. FT. CENTER that "consolidates the operations of three smaller and less efficient distribution centers," Bergen Exec VP Dwight Steffensen announced at the Sept. 11-13 meeting of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers. The completely automated regional distribution facility will open next month in Corona, Calif. "We believe it will be the most technologically advanced facility in the industry," Steffensen stated. "An automated picking system will store and dispense more than 2,500 of the fastest moving prescription and OTC products," accounting for nearly 50% of the products that will be handled by the facility, he said. "The Corona facility represents an investment of $25 mil.," Steffensen noted. He pointed out that $5 mil. was invested solely in the plant's automated system. However, Bergen expects the investment to reap savings in the long term, he indicated. Both an automated regional center in Valencia, California and the Corona facility "are designed to handle an annual sales volume in excess of $1 bil. at an expense level of less than 2%," he said. F. Dohmen President Erwin Dohmen also highlighted efforts by his company to automate distribution. Dohmen noted that his company is a privately owned, regional distribution company that purchases from 1,000 vendors and sells to 7,800 customers. The wholesaler serves a Midwest area measuring 500 miles from north to south, from Lake Superior to Chicago, and 200 miles wide, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. Despite its relatively small size, the 132 year-old firm "is committed to a totally paperless system through business application of electronic data interchange," Dohmen said. The company "operates without manual intervention," he said, noting that "99% of our customer orders are received electronically" and "85% of our inventory, as measured in dollar volume, is ordered electronically from our manufacturers." Dohmen added that the firm has "tested electronic invoices with quite a few suppliers and [is] currently testing our internal programs" for digitalized invoice data and for updates of inventory internal records through electronic funds transfer.
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