Weeks after official COVID-19 lockdowns began in Europe and the US, we’re beginning to better understand the needs of companies in essential industries.
The pharmaceutical sector, for one, is struggling to keep up with global demand for emergency medical supplies and products related (and unrelated) to the virus. They’re also facing supply chain issues and shortages due to the crisis.
At the same time, like other essential industries, they’re putting procedures in place to keep their workers safe during and following COVID-19 lockdowns.
The digitization of the pharmaceutical sector following COVID-19
The more complex, multi-located supply chain of the pharmaceutical industry has seen more of a challenge in crossing that frontier. But with pharmaceutical production struggling to keep up with demand, the time to go digital is now.
Within the workplace, cloud-based software solutions to vet and manage people on the premises have now become less of an option, and more of an essential need. Below are 5 ways pharmaceutical companies could benefit from a visitor management system (VMS) during the current crisis and beyond.
5 ways pharmaceutical companies benefit from visitor management software
1. Sharing site-specific regulations and guidelines before allowing employees and visitors on the premises.
Before essential workers or important visitors arrive on site, pharmaceutical companies can use a visitor management system to vet these individuals for possible health risks.
Through an invitation email, attach health guidelines or other necessary agreements and ensure that these are signed by your visitor before granting access to your site. You can also include step-by-step instructions on what to do once individuals arrive on site, such as where to go for a temperature check.
2. Putting a touchless guest experience in place.
It’s now increasingly important to limit human contact with hardware, such as sign in sheets or touch screens at front desk kiosks, to reduce the spread of the virus. Create a touchless check-in experience for essential employees and visitors by sending them visitor pass: a unique QR code in an invitation email.
If your visitor management software is integrated with access control systems, visitors can scan this QR code directly from their mobile devices to enter turnstiles, doorways, and other types of access control. With this code, they will only be able to access authorized areas of the building, during the certain period of time allotted.
Front desk kiosks, or iPads, can also be temporarily removed to limit surface contact. With the desktop version of your VMS dashboard, for example, front desk staff can enter visitor information directly into the logbook (while remaining a safe distance from those entering the building).
3. Asking key questions upon employee or visitor arrival via a kiosk or desktop dashboard.
Using your front desk kiosk or desktop version of your visitor management system, ask visitors key questions upon arrival to vet them for potential risks. Questions can cover recent travel history or contact with infected individuals, for example, to help you determine whether employees and visitors should enter the building.
Using Proxyclick, some pharmaceutical companies have opted to remove their receptionist from the front desk, instead using kiosks to ask key questions to visitors. They are taking advantage of the ability to create a custom flow in the app. If visitors answer “yes” to any high-risk questions, they will be denied access to the premises via an on-screen message.
Remember: If your company opts to ask sensitive health-related questions, be sure to abide by your local or national health data privacy regulations. You can also start by implementing automatic data deletion of this information from your VMS after a given number of days.
4. Ensuring only authorized guests and employees are on the premises at a given time.
Security is of the utmost concern for pharmaceutical companies looking to protect their products, such as in-demand face masks. To combat this, set up a watchlist in your VMS to make sure that no unwanted or threatening individuals step foot on your site.
As mentioned earlier, with unique QR codes, you can boost security on the premises by only allowing guests access to certain areas at specified times of the day.
5. Taking advantage of a flexible, cloud-based solution.
A cloud-based visitor management solution allows for necessary changes to be implemented in real-time. For example, if new questions must be asked upon guest or employee arrival to a premises per a country or region’s regulations, managers can implement these questions (even remotely) with a few clicks.
Visitor management systems: the future of the pharmaceutical sector
The case for the pharmaceutical industry to fully cross that digital threshold is now stronger than ever.
As the experienced biotech CEO Mahesh Karande, who managed a pharmaceutical company in the midst of three crises, notes on what he’s learned:
“Straightforward solutions that go directly to the problems experienced by those most affected by the crisis will do the most to help keep staff safe and maintain business continuity. Practical, simple solutions are most likely to be effective and remembered.” - Mahesh Karande, Stat, April 2020
Moving forward, pharmaceutical companies will continue to compensate for COVID-19 market disruptions by increasing manufacturing in less impacted markets. With this comes the need to abide by regional and national crisis regulations in the workplace.
During this outbreak and possible future crises, procedures put in place today might very well be changed tomorrow. Having flexible, cloud-based solutions will therefore become absolutely necessary to maintain business continuity.
This starts with the front desk. Essential industry companies will require an efficient way to manage who is setting foot on a premises and when, to continue keeping their employees, visitors, assets, and products safe.