Delivery Mates Press Release
Delivery Mates supplies delivery drivers, vehicles and delivery management software along with service and maintenance for what it calls “the complete final mile solution”. At this year’s Pharmacy Show it will be demonstrating its new Pharmacy Mates delivery app, which allows its drivers – or a pharmacy’s own delivery person – to use the QR codes on batches of prescriptions to access patients’ addresses and plan out the most efficient routes for multiple deliveries.
Leonard Fraser, group sales director at Delivery Mates, says: “We’ve been trading for just over five years now, starting off with delivering car parts from factoring organisations to garages on a JIT basis, and most recently as a delivery partner to Just Eat as well as Amazon’s Prime Now service.
“A couple of years ago we went to the Pharmacy Show, where it was really apparent that not only were many of the smaller chains and independent pharmacies struggling with the delivery side of things, but probably fewer than 1% of all the pharmacies in England were using a managed delivery system at all.
“We thought this was something we could definitely help with, and about nine months ago we teamed up with Lloydspharmacy to trial our Pharmacy Mate app. The app scans the QR code on a patient’s prescription and imports just the address from that, links it to Google maps and plans the most efficient route for the driver’s delivery round in real time on the day. It can also tell if the customer needs to provide ID and a signature for controlled drugs, or if the item is something that can be left at the address (with the customer’s advance permission), in which case the app can also take a picture of the item location. All data is wiped from the app at the end of day, so no patient details are held on file, in accordance with GDPR.”
Mr Fraser says the trial with Lloyds has been a success, and Pharmacy Mate is also being used by online retailer Pharmacy To My Door. The app is now being rolled out, free of charge, to smaller chains to try out for a limited period. They can choose whether to use just the app itself – free of charge for a limited period, and £28.99 a month afterwards – with their own driver, or buy into Delivery Mate’s full service delivery options.
If used with in the right way, Mr Fraser believes properly managed delivery services will be “the next game changer” for small independents and pharmacy chains, but only if they address certain challenges. “I think the smaller pharmacies are not making the most of add-on sales”, he says. “They’ve got a captive audience of customers with regular prescriptions who may well need other things at the same time as these are being delivered. This could turn their business from breaking even to a substantial earning opportunity. The ace up their sleeves is that the small and medium-sized businesses can be more agile. Amazon is already working with a pharmacy chain in the US and as soon as they arrive over here and buy a pharmacy, pharmacy as we know it in this country is going to be finished. In order to compete in this day and age you have to try something new, and optimising delivery services is a good place to start. As with so many business decisions the question is not ‘can I afford to do it?’ but ‘can I afford not to?’.