Efficiency is a highly sought-after virtue in the business world, irrespective of industry or function or stream of business. Pharmacy raises no voice against this fact, either.
However straightforward pharmacy operations may look like, running this business comprises several tasks and an effective coordination among them is essential and crucial in becoming productive. However, as a fact, many pharmacies do not even keep this on priority, think about improving their operations or/and maintain a sustainable business model. The reason is that they already have so much to handle and adding more and considerations, which will not generate revenue, will only increase their workload.
In this scenarios, how can they work towards setting up an efficient, productive and sustainable model? This blog presents a few key ideas that can aid pharmacies in saving operational costs, streamlining workflows and achieving higher productivity.
- Establish and circulate standard operating procedures.
It is almost an unsaid rule for all the employees to have a common understanding on standard operating procedures, what the role and responsibilities are for each employee, and where each of them fits in the complete team picture. Compared to larger teams where the employees have more specific and fundamental guidelines, a small team may have bigger responsibilities to handle such as filling prescriptions, patient counseling etc. and this role can further change depending upon the work volume. Having a defined guidebook will help in streamlining the workflow. It is advisable to review the operating procedures at least once a year.
- Measure and evaluate your current work process.
Only what can be measured can be managed and improved. That is why managing the existing operations provides critical insights to pharmacies into where they stand vis-à-vis industry standards and their peer groups. Pharmacies should start by identifying what it is that they want to measure and improve. It is recommended the appraisal go beyond dispensing accuracy and cost and includes employee productivity as well. Analyzing the script measure per hour is a good example. This way they can infuse more accountability into the employees, eliminate waste in the process, and attain a comprehensive efficiency in future.
- Manage your inventory.
Inventory management is the key area requiring focus to achieve a higher level of store productivity. It is all about having the right medicine in the store at the right time and avoiding unnecessary costs by storing too much or the drugs getting expired. Not only does an efficient inventory management help you save space and operational costs in your pharmacy but also minimize the clutter that may prove inconvenient or irritative to your employees and customers.
- Optimize the physical workflow in store.
The state of physical workflow in your store deserves serious attention from you. It is important that your employees have all the tools at their desk which they require to do their job. Unnecessary frequent travel within the store can result in more waiting time, frustrated customers and loss of productivity. To avoid this, try to bring the work closer to the staff members instead of them taking hundreds of steps each for each piece of work. Try this and you will witness a positive change in the workflow from day one.
- Consider automation of tasks.
You can consider automation to take multiple time-consuming activities in your pharmacy off the plate of your employees so that they can invest more time in patient care and customer services. Technological intervention can be a valuable assistance to the pharmacists and technician as it can help in managing inventory, freeing up space and even filling up prescriptions. While automation can save you a lot of operational expenses and finetune your pharmacy operations, they come at a cost, especially the required initial capital. If you are ready for this investment at present, you can focus on refining the current work process for the beginning.
- Employee suggestions are valuable.
Your employees are engaged in some pharmacy store operations day in and day out. They observe a lot of activities, challenges, areas of improvement etc. They can be the best source of fresh ideas to achieve efficiency. Connect with them frequently and encourage them to record and share their observations and suggestions with the entire team. Besides, you can also organize brainstorming session periodically or at a need-based frequency so form a pool of ideas.
Centralization is key to achieving operational economies.
This makes even more sense for someone operating multiple pharmacies in different locations. They can consider centralizing certain task at a specific location. Technology can be a real help here. Solutions like cloud can help you with centralizing activities at one pharmacy so that all other pharmacies have the visibility of those activities and related updates.
Clearly, running a pharmacy means overseeing and managing a wide range of tasks. Using the tips listed above, you can approach and perform all the tasks efficiently and streamline your pharmacy activities. These tips can enable you to establish a smart and efficient workflow and help you make the most of your operations.