Original Research

The adoption of ICT and robotic automation systems in the pharmaceutical industry

Kebashnee Moodley, Ross James
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 26, No 1 | a1744 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v26i1.1744 | © 2024 Kebashnee Moodley, Ross James | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 July 2023 | Published: 29 April 2024

About the author(s)

Kebashnee Moodley, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ross James, Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Technology, Eduvos, Midrand, South Africa


Background: South African pharmacies face challenges like cost reduction, inventory management, and employee efficiency. Balancing dispensing error rates and customer satisfaction, along with ensuring accurate medication dispensing, is also crucial. An effective solution to these challenges is adopting automatic robotic dispensing systems, which enhance stock inventory management, integrated systems, and accurate dispensing capabilities.

Objectives: The study delved into IT and robotic automation in South African pharmaceutical dispensing, assessing current methods and advocating for integrated IT and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems in retail and hospital pharmacies.

Method: The research used a quantitative approach to gather data from public and private hospital pharmacy employees, aiming to understand their requirements and expectations. It assessed the potential improvements that could result from adopting a new system.

Results: The study found that most government and private pharmacies in South Africa prefer automated dispensing systems to reduce errors, lower costs, improve customer service, and enhance inventory management. Benefits also included minimising medication errors, improving operational efficiency, and ensuring patient safety.

Conclusion: The study holds importance as it underscores the necessity of integrating Information Technology (IT) and Robotic Automation in the pharmaceutical sector to address prevailing issues. It identifies factors contributing to medication dispensing errors and demonstrates the potential of automated robotic systems in mitigating these errors.

Contribution: South Africa’s pharmaceutical sector must enhance efficiency and competitiveness by adopting integrated IT and Robotic Automation Systems. The study identified key factors for future implementation and emphasized the need for clear pre-implementation policies outlining functions and benefits.


information technology; automated storage and retrieval system; pharmaceutical dispensing industry; robotic system; South Africa

JEL Codes

O14: Industrialization • Manufacturing and Service Industries • Choice of Technology; Y40: Dissertations (unclassified)

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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