Pharma Logistics: the advantages of automation and the Copan Case

Warehouse automation as the right solution for the needs of pharmaceutical companies, capable of ensuring just-in-time, accurate and efficient logistics. This was the topic addressed by the Ferretto Group during the webinar "La Supply Chain del Pharma - The Pharma Supply Chain" webinar organized by the Logistica Efficiente portal ( In addition to illustrating the concrete benefits offered by automatic storage systems, and in particular by vertical storage systems, Gabriele Ferretto, Vertical Sales Specialist of the Group, also described the solution developed for Copan Wasp S.r.l. with the installation of three Vertimag storage systems.

The Pharma Supply Chain: A booming market
According to estimates by consulting firm Grand View Research, the global market for pharmaceutical logistics, after reaching a turnover of more than 75 billion euros in 2018, will continue to grow at a fast pace until 2028. Despite the Covid crisis, the size of the global pharmaceutical logistics market was estimated at $73.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% from 2021 to 2028.

The characteristics of logistics in the pharmaceutical sector

Pharma logistics is related to the storage and distribution of medicines, active ingredients, and organic products, from the supplier to the final point of sale: public pharmacies, hospital pharmacies or even e-commerce stores.
The main needs of the sector are: 

  • maximum logistical traceability and inventory control
  • accuracy of quality control
  • temperature-controlled storage and special transport of products
  • increasingly shorter order fulfilment and shipping times.

New strategies to ensure cost-effectiveness
In the pharmaceutical sector, the supply chain plays a more and more important role in optimizing costs, performance and quality. In this context, delays can be a very serious problem and production planning plays a strategic role.
For this reason, companies are continually facing critical challenges:

  • increase productivity
  • improve the preservation of products
  • enhance inventory management
  • improve the order fulfilment process.

The strategic role of automation
Speed, accuracy and proper preservation of products have become paramount needs of the end customers in the pharmaceutical sector. This leads to increasingly just-in-time logistics, in which automated storage and handling solutions can play a key role. Automation guarantees flexibility, accuracy and efficiency in the storage of products, in the management of stock, and in the preparation and shipment of orders.

The characteristics of logistics in the pharmaceutical sector
The advantages of Vertimag

The advantages of Vertimag

The above requirements are met, for example, by the Vertical Lift Module Vertimag, the ideal solution for storing and managing material of any shape, weight, and size.
In addition to maximizing the use of the vertical space and reducing the footprint down to 1/10 compared to traditional racking systems, with the Vertimag storage system pharma companies can:

  • improve inventory management;
  • speed up order fulfillment;
  • ensure the proper storage of products;
  • reduce errors;
  • carry out any warehouse-related operation safely and ergonomically.

The Copan Group case study: new logistical requirements in view of growth prospects

Copan Wasp S.r.l. is a manufacturer of automation equipment for microbiology laboratories and is part of the Copan Group, a leader in the production of swabs and sample transportation and storage systems. The company decided to revise its logistics structure by expanding its hub in Brescia and investing in automatic solutions for the storage of its products, with some specific objectives:

  • reorganize and optimize the available storage space
  • improve production-servicing activities
  • improve the traceability and management of stock while minimizing errors
  • support the company’s growth prospects.

With Vertimag, logistics is faster, smarter, and more accurate
The Ferretto Group responded to Copan's needs by designing and building 3 new-generation Vertimag vertical storage systems with a footprint of just 44 square meters and a storage capacity of 418 square meters. The machines, designed in accordance with local anti-seismic regulations, made it possible to reorganize the stored goods in an orderly and traceable manner, as well as make handling faster and safer. With concrete benefits:

  • improved traceability and highly efficient materials management processes;
  • increased storage capacity;
  • greater efficiency in space management;
  • full customer satisfaction thanks to a product which is also consistent with the company's growth expectations.
The Copan Group case study: new logistical requirements in view of growth prospects
The project in detail

The project in detail

Solution 1:

  • 2 Vertimag 84XL seismic-resistant vertical automatic storage systems for the management of the components necessary for automation applications for microbiology laboratories;
  • Ergo-Tech picking bays, which ensure excellent ergonomics during picking and placing activities;
  • Management software interconnected to the company’s ERP system in accordance with Industry 4.0 standards.

Solution 2: 

  • Vertimag 84XL seismic-resistant vertical automatic storage system for the management of microbiological samples;
  • Single internal bay, which ensures good ergonomics, reliability, and safety for both goods and operators;
  • Management software interconnected to the company’s ERP system in accordance with Industry 4.0 standards.

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