If you look up the word “investment” in the Cambridge Dictionary, you’ll find the definition listed as “the act of putting money or effort into something to make a profit or achieve a result”. Pretty simple right? You invest in something in the hopes of getting back. Of course, the definition applies to your more traditional financial investments. But when you stop to think about it for a second, the idea of investment also applies to the simplest acts in your daily life. (I invested time in washing all of the laundry so I would have clean clothes to wear.)
When you apply that kind of scope to the concept of making an investment, you start to see that there are returns you might not have thought of before for so many of the things we do. And yes, pretty much everything you put into your pharmacy is an investment – time, money and sleepless nights included. But which investments are the most important? And what should you expect to get out of specific investments?
Of course, one of the most major and impactful investments you can make is your pharmacy point-of-sale system. But contrary to popular belief, that’s not an investment that you make just once and continue to reap the rewards. There will be times that you’ll need to make changes and put a little more in to get a little more in return. Here are 3 often overlooked investments that every pharmacy owner or manager should consider, and just a few of the returns you can expect.
Training – Ongoing education and training is an important aspect of any business. And yes, it’s important to include your pharmacy technology in the scope of any training plan. Pharmacies experience turnover just like any other business. Your system may be updated with new features. And of course, bad habits become ingrained over time. These factors mean that many pharmacies may find themselves in a situation where staff isn’t performing as well as they could due to a lack of understanding the tools that are available to them. Having your pharmacy technology vendor’s conduct refresher training means that your pharmacy staff will have a full understanding of how your pharmacy is supposed to function, thus making your business more efficient and more profitable. Employees will also feel more confident and valued, meaning you have less costly turnover to deal with.
Up to date hardware – When it comes to technology, there are two major and completely different mindsets it seems. One that uses a piece of technology until it croaks, and then tries to have it repaired. And the other that has to have the latest and greatest all the time. No matter what type you are in your personal life, in your pharmacy, there’s a happy medium. Using those PC’s until they can’t be used any more saves you money on the surface, but if you look just a little deeper, it’s probably costing you quite a bit. Outdated hardware slows you down, both in processing time and in the time it takes you to constantly fix it. Plus, perception is reality as they say, so if your pharmacy technology looks outdated, customers are likely to perceive your pharmacy as being outdated. So keep your hardware on a regular refresh cycle. (At RMS, we recommend about every 3 years for your heavy use equipment like computers.) You’ll be stopping many problems before they start, saving yourself the time and stress of dealing with unexpected failures. You’re also showing your customers that you make ongoing investments in your pharmacy business to provide them with the best possible experience. (As a quick side note, there are a lot of hardware options out there today. Check out this article on choosing the right option for your pharmacy.)
Expanded functionality – Investing in expanding the functionality of your POS system is perhaps one of the easiest expenses to justify. If there’s a way to add functionality in your existing systems to help your growing pharmacy, then it just makes sense to expand from there rather than trying to start from scratch. At RMS, we offer many different flexible options so customers can use the functionality that they need today and have the option to add on functionality in the future. Just don’t forget to be constantly evaluating the options available to you (Quick tip: the RMS Blog is a great resource for keeping up to date on available features and how to use them in your pharmacy.)
Remember, everything you put into your pharmacy is an investment in one way or another. When it comes to the big investments, just make sure you’re partnering with the right companies to help you make the most out of every dollar and every minute.