Most major pharmaceutical manufacturers provide free samples to health care professionals as part of their regular field sales activities. In the U.S, samples distribution is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be reconciled at least once a year. This topic describes how to manage and maintain an electronic inventory of samples and promotional items using Oracle CRM On Demand Samples Management. Administrators can set up and maintain a sample inventory, and monitor samples delivery, transfers, receipts, discrepancies, adjustments, and inventory counts. End users use samples management in Oracle CRM On Demand to track an electronic inventory of samples stock, create sample transfers, acknowledge receipt of sample transfers, and adjust inventory balances for reconciliation purposes.
Samples management in Oracle CRM On Demand allows samples administrators and sales representatives to measure and monitor sample drops at every level of the organization. For more information about the differences between samples administrator and end-user tasks, see the following topics.
Scenario for Managing Samples
This topic provides one example showing the process performed by a samples administrator and the sales representatives (end users) who distribute samples to health care professionals. Your company might follow a different process according to its business requirements.
A pharmaceutical company has new products to bring to market. To set up a samples inventory, the samples administrator adds the products to the database, associates any lot numbers, allocates samples to the sales representatives, and transfers samples to the managers and sales representatives in the field. The sales representatives then visit the doctors in their territories and drop the new samples. After a month goes by, each sales representative is required by headquarters to reconcile his or her inventory. The sales representative first provides a final count of each inventory record and a new inventory period begins. The sales representative realizes that there are some discrepancies in the inventory when running the reconciliation. After making the necessary adjustments, the sales representative performs a successful reconciliation and marks the inventory as Completed and Reconciled.
In this scenario, samples administrators are responsible for their company's samples inventory and making sure it complies with regulatory rules and guidelines. In this role, they take responsibility for establishing a master samples inventory and then transferring samples to each end user. When end users receive a shipment, they submit a receipt or acknowledgement of the inventory. Oracle CRM On Demand automatically enters the received samples into their inventory counts.
In this scenario, the sales representative, the sales representative's manager, and the samples administrator can monitor discrepancies between shipped quantities and received quantities.
Samples administrators require administrative responsibilities in samples management in Oracle CRM On Demand to carry out the following tasks:
- Define samples as products and add them to the Oracle CRM On Demand database. For more information about setting up products for your company, see Content Management.
- If your organization uses lot numbers to track samples, then define lot numbers and associate lot numbers with sample products. For more information, see Sample Lots.
- Set up an inventory of samples. Each record in the sample inventory provides information to the sales representative about the product that has been categorized as qualifying for sample drop processing. For more information, see Sample Inventory.
- Set up allocations and allocate samples to sales representatives. The allocation record determines the period of time within which sample products are provided for the sales representative to distribute to clinics, hospitals, or physician contacts when executing a sample drop call. The allocation record also defines the limits associated with the sample (for example, the maximum quantity that is allowed to be dropped during one call). For more information, see Allocations.
- Set up an inventory period, which is the defined period within which the movement of samples or promotional items can be tracked. Administrators and sales representatives perform all initial counts, interim audit counts, final audit counts, reporting, and reconciliations within the inventory period. For more information, see Inventory Period.
- Transfer samples to end users in the field. For more information, see Creating a Samples Transfer.
- Monitor samples activities. Activities to monitor include sample drops, sample transfers between employees and headquarters, user inventory counts, and inventory adjustments. For more information, see Monitoring Sample Activities.
- Store electronic signatures. Electronic signatures are captured in Oracle CRM On Demand and are stored in the Oracle CRM On Demand database. For more information about signatures, see Checking Electronic Signatures.
The end users are the sales representatives who distribute samples to health care professionals, and they carry out the following tasks:
- Acknowledge receipt of sample inventory (that is, of sample transfers). For more information, see Acknowledging Receipt of the Sample Inventory.
- Transfer samples to other end users or back to headquarters. Sales representatives can exchange samples among themselves and return samples (for example, samples that have expired) to headquarters. For more information, see Creating a Samples Transfer.
- Drop samples during sales visits to customers. For more information, see Dropping Samples During a Sales Call.
- Perform interim inventory counts as required. For more information, see Requesting an Interim Inventory Count.
- Close out inventory periods as required. For more information, see Closing Out an Inventory Period.
- Account for any discrepancies in inventory records by performing inventory adjustments and submitting other transactions. For more information, see Adjusting Sample Transactions, Creating Lost and Found Sample Transactions, Viewing Disbursement Transactions.
- Reconcile the inventory as required. For more information, see Process of Reconciling the Inventory.
Requirements for Managing Samples
The following requirements apply to administrators and end users:
- Administrators. Before you can manage samples in Oracle CRM On Demand, administrators must first define the products. For more information about setting up products for your company, see Content Management.
- End users. Before end-users can drop samples, they must have an associated allocation record for the samples, and they must acknowledge receipt of the samples. For more information about allocations and acknowledgements, see Allocations and Acknowledging Receipt of the Sample Inventory.
Before you begin. Review your user roles:
- To perform all administrator procedures, your user role must be assigned administrative responsibilities, must include the Enable Basic Samples Operations privilege, the Enable Samples Adjustment privilege, and (if required) the Signature privilege.
- To perform all end-user procedures, your user role must include the Enable Basic Samples Operations privilege and the Enable Samples Adjustment privilege.