Once a pharmacy has built a customer base, they may find themselves struggling to keep up with orders. Balancing inventory needs may also become a problem. One way to improve both of those areas is to focus on workflow. Workflow is what happens from start to finish for a task, such as filling customer orders.
One: Measure Workflow
While many pharmacies track and measure employees for accuracy, there are not enough companies focusing on productivity. Measure current productivity, set a company baseline, and work with employees to make improvements. It may help to look into Pharmacy Automation Companies to improve both company and employee productivity.
Two: Keep Tabs on Inventory
A company owner should always be aware of how much inventory the pharmacy has on hand. Why is this? Having too much inventory can mean that stock is taking up too much space. This can also mean too much money is tied up—money that could be needed and used elsewhere.
Having too little stock means that a medication may not be on hand when needed. This can mean lost sales and unhappy customers. Make a list of the fastest-selling items and check their stock often. Consider using a perpetual inventory system as well to keep track of medications and merchandise.
Three: Minimize Staff Movement
If employees have to walk from one end of the building to another to fill an order and assist customers, they are likely wasting a lot of time traveling back and forth. Improve workflow by moving the work closer to the employee. When it comes to the workspace, think smaller instead of larger.
Consider creating pick stations for high-volume items that allow pharmacy technicians to quickly ﬁll prescriptions without needing to exit their workstation. Medications that sell most often should be placed closer to the worker, and the rarely sold medications farther away. This will save employee time when filling orders and improve workflow.
Four: Use Automation in the Pharmacy
Automation is where the money savings and workflow improvements come in for a pharmacy. These systems increase the productivity of the employees and can improve company sales. Automation can save pharmacies money, as the company can rely on automation instead of hiring additional employees.
Five: Listen to Employee Thoughts and Feedback
If employees have ideas on ways to improve workflow, listen to them. These are the people who do the job day in and day out, so they are the ones that would best know how to improve workflow processes. Ask questions, listen to employee answers, and make changes to processes when needed. Questions to ask employee should include:
- What issues are causing delays in the workflow?
- What items should be brought closer to employees to save travel time?
- What workflow bottlenecks are causing issues for pharmacy workflow?
- Where are opportunities to improve company processes?
By following the tips above, a pharmacy can provide better service to customers while improving workflow. Employees will work faster, inventory will be better managed, and workflow will improve. Employee happiness is likely to improve as well as the company is asking for employee feedback. As a bonus, customers will be able to get the medications they need right away instead of having to wait for the pharmacy to process prescriptions or order more stock.
Image Credits: Joshua Coleman