Running an independent pharmacy has always been difficult, but these days, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the major chain brands. Small business owners shouldn’t assume that means the only option is to throw in the towel. There are plenty of ways to improve efficiency and keep up with the competition. Read on to find out about just a few of the many simple changes that can make all the difference when it comes to workflow optimization and efficiency.
These days, automation isn’t a novelty. It’s a necessity. Most pharmacies have already adopted some of the essential tools of the trade such as specialized business intelligence and point-of-sale software, but that’s not enough to keep up with the competition. Embracing newer and more specialized automated tools such as Medication Packaging Systems can help small-town pharmacies keep up by reducing opportunities for human error and streamlining the workflow. It also gives pharmacists and other staff members more time to spend with each customer, which is just what people want when they turn to small businesses instead of large chains.
Productive pharmacy teams are able to provide fast order fulfillment and low refill times. More often than not, productivity issues aren’t stemming from employee laziness or any other kind of moral failing but from organizational issues. The first step to take is to start tracking essential metrics like refill and order fulfillment times. Once business owners or pharmacy managers have identified bottlenecks in the system, they can make adjustments as needed to ensure that the entire staff has what it requires to succeed. In some cases, that might mean adjusting the schedule. In others, it could require hiring additional technicians to help pharmacists avoid burnout.
Invest in Employees
Tracking important metrics doesn’t just provide managers with the information required to adjust schedules and determine when to hire new staff. It can also help astute business owners determine what skills each technician already has and which of them could be further polished. Investing in employees means honing in on areas that could use improvement and providing the staff with opportunities for ongoing education.
Find Ways to Save on Medications
Prescription medications are typically the most expensive class of items sold in a modern pharmacy, so improving buying efficiency can make a big difference when it comes to cutting costs. Even pharmacies with highly efficient workflows can benefit from saving money on prescription drug costs.
Here are a few ways to meet that goal:
- Lock in low costs by signing long-term buying contracts.
- Secure access to newly released generics that cost less than brand-name drugs.
- Use tiered discount programs wisely by targeting incentive levels.
- Analyze the backorder reports and request credits for all undelivered medications.
- Keep Up With the Competition
The only way for small, mom-and-pop pharmacies to keep up with the corporate competition in today’s environment is to start adopting the same tools and techniques used by larger businesses. The tips above constitute affordable ways to streamline workflows, improve efficiency, and increase a pharmacy’s bottom line, so start implementing them as soon as possible.