The Price of Efficiency for Independent Pharmacies


Efficiency means doing things right, while effectiveness means doing the right things.

Efficiency is good. You want to be efficient at doing things you should be doing.

One of the biggest problems in the independent pharmacy industry is that people become all too efficient at doing the wrong things. Efficiency means doing things right, while effectiveness means doing the right things.

You want to make certain that you’re doing the right things. Let’s take a look at 1 simple example.

A Florida based pharmacy owner, after a succession of improvements, finally said, “I no longer want to fill traditional scripts. I’m only interested in compounding, and building my natural med business.” He had been efficient. He simply concluded that he was all too efficient at doing the wrong things. He wanted to activate the right things.

That’s how to win in the pharmacy business world today.

Far too often, independent pharmacy owners get caught in the enigma of budgets versus goals. Which one should prevail? Which one must prevail for success?

This paradox is based on the age-old question of efficiency versus effectiveness. Which one should rule the day?

When efficiency comes in conflict with effectiveness, effectiveness must prevail.

So it is with the budgets and goals. Budgets are important, and it is certainly imperative to remove the fat wherever it exists in the budgetary process. That is an accepted rule of thumb for any profitable pharmacy.

Nevertheless, if a pharmacy wishes to take advantage of opportunities and not just be fighting fires day-in and day-out, then the goals should reign supreme.

To do the opposite, that is, make budgets the ranking power, is to ensure that your high and lofty goals will never be achieved (except the goal of holding down expenses).

And so, in allowing budgets to dominate the thought process is to ensure that large amounts of cash flow will never be captured, and the business will never become wealthy. It will creep ahead inch-by-inch. Yes, eventually more money will be made. However, it will be miniscule compared to the money that could have been made had the goals been the dominate factor in this equation.

So the rule of thumb for creating a truly successful pharmacy, one that is decidedly financially rewarding to its owners and investors, is the one where major goals dominate budgets every day.

For the truly savvy pharmacy owner, major goals are indeed the basis of his thinking, day-in and day-out. And so, he organizes his daily work accordingly.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or

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