Staying competitive as an independent pharmacy in today's business climate means staying sharp when it comes to everyday operation of your business. A key element of that is optimal efficiency in your pharmacy workflow process. However, it isn't always easy to spot mistakes and inefficiencies in that process when you're right in the thick of it every day. To help you recognize potential problems with how work gets done in your pharmacy, here are 4 common mistakes that can damage efficient pharmacy workflow.
Too Much Travel
Are you and your employees spending too much time running back and forth for supplies to get work done? This is one of the most common problems found in the typical pharmacy workflow, and one that can add significantly to the time it takes to process each prescription from start to finish. Seeing to it that all supplies needed for each work station are close at hand can curtail unnecessary travel, shaving a few minutes from the time each step of the dispensing process takes – and a few minutes saved on each step can really add up by the end of the day, increasing daily productivity and/or freeing more time for other tasks you may be struggling to accomplish now.
Out Of Date Work Stations
If your workstations haven't been updated lately, your dispensing process likely isn't as efficient as it could be. There have been a lot of improvements in workstation design, equipment and technology in recent years, and your competitors are using them to their advantage in terms of greater efficiency, accuracy and productivity. If you're not taking advantage of those industry innovations, you're selling your business short.
Disorganized Storage Areas & Inventory Practices
Too much time spent locating supplies is a common sticking point in pharmacy workflow, slowing the process dramatically. Your storage/inventory areas must be modern, well-designed and suited to the individual needs of your business for maximum efficiency, an intuitive system that makes finding exactly what you need when you need it a quick and easy process. Efficient, streamlined inventory practices, of course, are essential to making it so, avoiding unforeseen out-of-stock incidents that can cost you time, money, and customers, as well as costly product overstock/expiration issues. So, if you haven't updated your storage and/or inventory practices, equipment and technology lately, chances are your workflow isn't quite up to par.
Lack of Clear Pharmacy Workflow Policies
Perhaps the most common issue of all when it comes to workflow in the average independent community pharmacy is a lack of clear, well-defined workflow policies. In many smaller businesses – and larger ones too, for that matter – workflow patterns and systems have developed on the fly over the years, with business owners and employees working according to their own habits and preferences. While this can establish a workable system of getting things done, it is typically a lot less efficient than a system that is consciously designed for optimal flow and productivity.
These are just the broader problems that you may find as you begin to look into the efficiency of your pharmacy workflow system. While each one may not seem like a huge issue for workplace efficiency on its own, taken together, they can add up to a lot of lost time. Lost time equals lost productivity potential and lost profits – losses that you can avoid by investing a bit of time and money into streamlining the way work gets done in your pharmacy every day.