The pharmaceutical industry is booming. Scientific and technological advances are driving pharmaceutical innovation like never before. But what does this mean for you? It means there are more opportunities than ever for those looking to break out and start their own pharmaceutical distribution business.
Pharmaceutical distribution companies can most easily be described as the middleman between the drug manufacturing company and the retail pharmacy or end user. This industry is recession proof, making it an incredibly advantageous venture for any savvy entrepreneur. But it can be difficult to understand exactly how to start a pharmaceutical distribution company, navigating details right down to which pharmaceutical conveyors to use. That’s why we’ve put together a condensed, easy-to-understand guide for starting a safe pharmaceutical distribution business that can be successful long-term.
How to Start a Pharmaceutical Distribution Company
There are many steps and considerations involved when starting a pharmaceutical distribution company. The following is a brief overview:
- Hire a business consultant and determine your niche
- Create a successful business plan
- Research competitors
- Determine company structure
- Choose the right equipment
- Establish roles
- Conduct SWOT analysis
- Verify license requirements
- Establish your brand
Step 1: Stack The Deck In Your Favor
This is the first stage in planning your pharmaceutical distribution system and thus is twofold. This is when you build the true foundation of your company, which means having the right person (or people) in your corner and the right business in place.
- Start by hiring an experienced business consultant who fully understands the pharmaceutical industry. This person will be responsible for examining your overall business concept and determining if it would survive and thrive as it should.
- The second part is to thoroughly evaluate your business options. There are three routes you can take when starting your pharmaceutical distribution company:
- Begin a pharmaceutical business with a manufacturing unit
- Market medicines under your new brand name
- Team up with an established drug manufacturer
Keep in mind that whichever option you go with will fully depend on your overall budget and business goals.
Step 2: Create A Successful Business Plan
Once you’ve settled on the type of pharmaceutical distribution company you’re going to start, you need to create a business plan. While you can’t guarantee that it’s going to be a successful plan, you can set your business up in a smart way to better your chances of success.
Research Potential Competitors
Research is a key step in the process of setting up your business. Knowing your competitors will give you a good idea of where and why they excel — and what they could improve upon. By studying their business model, you’ll be better equipped to come up with something even better.
Identify Upfront Expenses
Crunch the numbers and determine the total investment that will be required to start a pharmaceutical distribution company. This includes deciding whether steps like manufacturing, trials or pharmaceutical distribution will happen in-house or will be outsourced. Plan out everything that will be needed, including (but not limited to):
- A production facility
- An office space or building
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water, Wi-Fi, etc.)
- Lab equipment
- Office supplies
- Employee wages
- Pharmaceutical industry conveyors
- Pharmaceutical conveyor belts
Choose the Right Equipment
As mentioned above, choosing the right equipment is vital to running a reputable pharmaceutical distribution company. That includes any manufacturing and packaging equipment, including the appropriate conveyor belts for pharmaceuticals.
The best pharmaceutical conveyors will not only help ensure safety but also enhance efficiency. For example, you can eliminate potential tracking issues with the Span Tech EZSpan Belt Conveyor system and sort and merge with ease with the High Speed Switch.
You’ll also need to ensure your equipment doesn’t damage your product. The MiniLink chain conveyor system was specially designed to move small, delicate pills or packaging with care. These and all of Span Tech’s conveyors were thoughtfully designed and can be fully customized to alleviate potential manufacturing risks while improving overall workflows.
Establish Roles And Responsibilities
Running a pharmaceutical distribution company is not something that can be done with just a handful of people. You’ll need a full staff of qualified, knowledgeable and enthusiastic employees who have the same vision for the company as you do. This needs to be factored into your business plan and your total investment. Some roles that are vital to starting your business include:
- A chief executive officer
- A human resources manager and/or department
- An inventory manager
- A purchasing manager
- A customer service executive and/or team
- An accountant or accounting department
- Various marketing and sales executives
- Floor manager(s)
- Floor employees
- Security guard(s)
- Truck driver(s)
It takes a lot of people to run a company. But by having the right team in place, you’ll alleviate a lot of the stress that can come with starting your own business.
Conduct SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is where you take a hard look at your business plan’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In addition to completing a SWOT analysis of your own pharmaceutical distribution company, make sure to do one for each of your major competitors as well. This will give you a great overview and comparison of the market and where and how you fit into it.
Verify License Requirements
It’s vital when starting out that you research and acquire all necessary licenses for your city and state. The pharmaceutical distribution requirements will depend on your type of business but, in general, pharmaceutical startups are considered limited liability corporations. To find full listings of required licenses and permits, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website, the regional SBSA office and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.
Step 3: Establish Your Brand
Once you’ve started your company, it’s time to take the proper steps to promote it by establishing a brand. Breaking into the pharmaceutical distribution industry and getting your products in front of the medical community can feel like a Herculean task. But by doing your research and investing in advertising and marketing, you’ll be one step closer to building a successful company. Advertising and marketing companies can help you create everything you need to get your name out there:
- A logo
- A brand image
- A company mission
- A website
- A marketing campaign
If you have the budget for it, a PR agency or a designated marketing communications team can also be invaluable to your business in the long term.
Understand that building your pharmaceutical distribution business will take a lot of time, money and work. But by taking the right steps, hiring the right team and using the right equipment, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful company.
Start Your Company Off Right With Span Tech Pharmaceutical Conveyors
Span Tech’s proven pharmaceutical conveyors and components are used to safely transport medication, small vials, bottles, vial pucks, blister packs, tubes, bags, small cartons and more. Browse our entire selection of pharmaceutical conveyors and solutions to build your company for success. Have a question or need more information? Contact our customer service team today. Whatever your needs may be, we can help design a custom pharmaceutical distribution system that can help make your business a success.