What Does Excellence Mean to Your Independent Pharmacy?
Approaching perfection is what excellence is all about.
Every pharmacy exists under the examination of performance for patients as well as for business.
Results are what count, but what kind of results? And to what degree do you want to achieve them?
As a pharmacist, leader, and entrepreneur, do you realize that everything you do can be improved upon? Approaching perfection is what excellence is all about.
For years, those devoted to quality concepts in business maintained that they had the answer to making businesses function better: Total Quality Management.
TQM targets 10% of defects. That isn’t good enough, especially for independent pharmacy owners. Many superior companies have already surpassed that goal, and so should you, especially in areas where you can exert decided influence or control over the outcome.
The desired specification for filling prescriptions, for instance, should always be zero defects. Thus, you establish a decided standard of excellence in one of the most critical parts of your business.
Some pundits maintain that all you have to do is create happy customers. Many small businesses do deliver superlative customer service, yet an abundant amount that I have consulted still have difficulties with paying their bills. They succeed in customer service performance but totally fail in economic performance, as measured by profits and cash flow.
Putting Excellence to Work
The pursuit of excellence in the creation of profits and cash flow should be fundamental, especially in this era of increasing dominance by third-party payers.
Specify what excellence means in each area. For instance, what constitutes excellence in terms of filling traditional prescriptions? And what about compounded ones? And how is excellence defined in terms of the service you render?
The following must be included as key areas where you identify standards of excellence:
- Organizational (including human resources)
- Marketing (including brand building)
Only when standards of excellence are applied to these and other key areas can you achieve total excellence for your pharmacy as a business.
Communicate your standards throughout your organization and you’ll see a major transformation in how your associates perform. Once you’ve established and communicated these standards to everyone in your pharmacy, you can commence creating the foundation for achieving discipline and morale. As a result, excellence becomes the foundation for building the spirit of the organization.
Excellence is a qualitative concept, but it can be numerically identified and specified in terms of zero defects. Only when you attach a number to a goal can you determine that it has been achieved.
Some examples of excellence in customer service include:
- Answer the phone by the third ring.
- Greet each person who comes through the door within 30 seconds.
- Return all phone calls the same day before ending your shift.
You can create additional standards for customer service in addition to other areas of your pharmacy business. For instance, don’t overlook determining a standard of excellence for profitability.
Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum, and excellence isn’t a statistical concept. After it has been achieved in a given area, its specifications should be reviewed with an eye towards upgrading, for this is truly the essence of excellence.
When excellence is achieved in all areas of your business, both your market share and profitability will increase dramatically. For that reason, the establishment of excellence is one of the most critical matters in which management must involve itself.
The constant pursuit and achievement of excellence enables your pharmacy to continue to prosper long after its competitors have fallen by the wayside. When you’re truly devoted to excellence and you pursue and achieve it in all areas, you become an eternally successful pharmacy.
The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or Lester@ThePharmacySage.com
Note to readers: The Pharmacy Sage will be conducting 2 entrepreneurship, leadership, and marketing workshops at the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Expo in Toronto, Canada, on June 14, 2016.