PHARMACY AUTOMATION & PROCESS OPTIMIZATION SOLUTIONS
A company built on the mantra “understand the problem,” Innovation lives up to the name each day in its inventing and selling state-of-the-art pharmacy automation products and professional services to clients worldwide – and all from their various locations in Johnson City.
Founded in 1972 by the late Harry Boyer, a former Singer-Link pioneer, Innovation began as an engineering, technical services and manufacturing company whose team collaborated to invent and create new solutions for distinguished clients in a variety of U.S. industries.
In 1995, after two decades of providing R&D, engineering/technical services and OEM manufacturing to clients, the company began focusing solely on pharmacy automation.
Since then, Innovation has become one of the leading providers of cutting-edge high volume pharmacy automation systems in the country.
“We’re the only company completely focused on high volume pharmacy automation” said Tim Limer, vice president of program management for Innovation.
Limer has been with Innovation since August 1997. Sandy Cole, the company’s financial controller, joined that same year a few months later.
“There were around 27 or 28 people when I started,” said Cole.
Sandy Cole came to Broome County from Southern Pennsylvania and found work at Innovation shortly after the move.
Limer, on the other hand, originally from a small town in Northern Michigan, moved here to work for IBM in Owego. He spent 13 years there before joining Innovation’s growing team.
“My friend came to work at Innovation and gave me a call telling me to check it out. He was the first software engineer Harry Boyer hired – I was the second. We’re both still here,” said Limer.
This is typical for a career at Innovation, where the “retention rate is extremely high,” according to Limer and Cole.
“The average span of a worker’s time here is between ten and fifteen years,” said Cole, whose twenty-first anniversary with the company is this November.
The overall staff at Innovation is made up of over 160 people, ranging from those who’ve been there (almost) from inception, as well as at least a dozen Binghamton University alumni.
“We’ve had a program with the Watson School of Engineering for 15 years,” said Limer.
“If you walk in here at any point during the school year, we’ll have 6 or 8 graduate students working.” Limer added that BU students don’t just get “stuff the envelope” kind of jobs either.
“We have serious, real-world engineering problems they come in and help us solve for a variety of industries.”
Innovation’s top-of-the-line products and Pharmacy Intelligence solutions are utilized daily by pharmacy customers all over the map – literally.
You can find Innovation’s products in local pharmacies and hospitals, like The Pharmacy or United Health Services, and utilized by a range of healthcare facilities, companies and groups beyond Broome’s borders, such as Publix, Giant Eagle, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital and various Indian Health Services sites, to name a few.
Two of Innovation’s biggest clients, however, are the U.S. Air Force and most recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Since 2000, we’ve served the Air Force. We’re in every air force base in the world and we recently began work with the VA at the Charleston Consolidated Mail Out Pharmacy (CMOP). The VA has seven pharmacies that do hundreds of thousands of prescriptions a day. They were looking to replace the high volume system in Charleston and we recently won that contract,” said Limer.
Innovation has a variety of complex, refined products within their broad PharmASSIST product line, ranging from workflow management systems, like the PharmASSIST Symphony software – made up of four million lines of code – to their PharmASSIST High Volume Solutions, an integrated and completely configurable collection of high-volume pharmacy technologies that scale with customers’ growth and needs.
Innovation is defined by these customer-specific systems they design and implement across industry segments.
“We approach each customer in the same way. We listen closely to their goals, requirements, and growth path, and we tailor the system to address each of those. That’s kind of unique in our industry and I think it’s a legacy of Harry.”
The expert team at Innovation is committed to living up to Boyer’s legacy, as well as his mantra, “Understand the problem,” which infuses meaning into everything they do – particularly their dedication to research and development.
“We never stop innovating. We’re constantly doing R&D. Harry used to tell us, “Your strong suit and your weak suit are the same suit.” Doing R&D all the time can be a drag on the corporation, but it’s so important. You have to stay ahead of the technology,” said Limer.
Innovation’s R&D Department and Help Desk are located in their Columbia Drive location. The company’s original location on Field Street is where they manufacture the dispensers and retail robots, while the Azon Road location serves as the facility where they assemble and conduct factory acceptance tests.
In line with their connection to Binghamton University, Innovation also has a space in the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator where they carry out advanced professional services.
Though they faced 8-feet of flooding in their Field Street location in 2011, the Innovation team pushed through and have kept the business based in Broome County, remaining as committed to positively impacting this area as their founder was.
“Harry told me once that his goal for the company was to replace IBM as the major employer in the area. We’re trying hard to make that a reality,” Tim Limer said.
Within the last 6 months, Innovation has hired 50 new employees, with “20 more to go,” according to Cole.
“We’re up to 160 people total. It’s really fascinating. It’s such a new set of problems to have, but everyone brings their own set of talents to the table and we need them all to do what we do,” began Limer.
“We save people’s lives. We do everything we can to design products that prevent harm to patients receiving prescriptions from our systems. And at the end of the day, if it has been a really hard day, we can still sit down and think, ‘Ya know, somewhere in the United States, we prevented a medication error right here.’ That’s the key. That’s why we do what we do.”
Innovation is part of why #Broomeisgood and the #MadeinBroome program.