As Day Lewis celebrated 40 years of trading at its 20th annual conference, the company announced another impressive set of results and goals. Chief executive Kirit Patel talked passionately about the past and the future in equal measure.
His key message is that the company is performing well. “We have been in the Sunday Times Top Track 250 for the last five years. This year we broke through the top 100 and I am extremely proud that we are now the 90th most profitable mid-cap company.”
The company added 41 pharmacies to its growing total during 2015, and as a result has expanded its business performance by 10 per cent, the same growth rate achieved each year since 2008. And Mr Patel signaled that Day Lewis plans to continue growing at a similar pace. “I have no doubt that we will be past 300 pharmacies by this time next year – we are well on target for 400 by 2020,” he said. The company is in the processes of refinancing, he said, to give “the fire power to go and acquire more pharmacies”.
The company reports that, for the fourth year running, it has had market beating like for like items growth and total items growth of 20 per cent, which it puts down to ‘a very strong leadership focus on developing our business’, in addition to the new pharmacies. The company says it has built particularly strong local relationships with GP practices, which has helped to maximise the potential of electronic prescribing.
This is a business performance that Mr Patel is extremely proud of, particularly when put in context of the company story over 40 years that includes buying his first two pharmacies in 1975, to surviving the recession in the early 1990s, incurring massive debts as a result of NHS clawbacks in 2007, and on to today’s success.
While a strong succession team, of family members and other directors, plays an increasing role, Mr Patel is not about to step down as CEO, he says. In fact, he’s got a clear eye on the future.
Day Lewis plans to ‘heavily’ invest in digital technology. The pharmacy market is changing and Mr Patel shared his forward-looking vision of a “clinical, digital and remote” pharmacy future. “At Day Lewis we have decided to be innovative and embrace technology. We will build our technology around the pharmacy team.”
Robotics will also soon be installed in the company’s centralised dispensing unit. With other UK wholesalers and multiples also starting to trial new dispensing models, this will put Day Lewis firmly in the game.
Day Lewis head of pharmacy, Tim Rendell, explained the company’s approach to a meeting of suppliers at the conference. “Our plan to deliver this is to embrace the opportunity that EPS brings, to prepare our pharmacies to be ready for the centralised dispensing unit, to develop collaborative working with GP surgeries and finally to make our dispensing process less transactional and more caring by making sure that every contact counts.”
Making every contact count was the theme of the company’s annual conference. “For NHS Items, our strategy is to offer the best patient experience and grow market share through a safe and efficient dispensing operation, building relationships with local healthcare professionals,” he commented.
The team has summary care record access in their sights. “Day Lewis pharmacists are currently the only ones who have undergone training to allow them to access patient records – a major step towards improving the safety and quality of patient care in pharmacy,” announced Mr Patel.
The company passionately preserves its commitment to family values and its work to make the company a caring and rewarding place for employees to work.
Last year Day Lewis ran a pilot with 10 support pharmacists and will now be recruiting a further 30 to act as second support pharmacists. A ‘substantial’ budget has also been allocated to train pre-registration pharmacists. “Our target for next year is a 100 per cent pass rate,” says Mr Patel. The launch of a Day Lewis Foundation Academy to 25 support newly qualified pharmacists each year in their first 1,000 days around clinical and leadership skills development was also announced.
If that was not enough, as long supporters of the Investors in People programme, Day Lewis has now set its sights on the top accolade achievable through the scheme – Platinum.
“To demonstrate our ongoing commitment to our people we intend to go from gold Investors in People to a Platinum accreditation. I know of no other business, let alone pharmacy to have achieved Platinum,” commented Mr Patel.
Day Lewis shows that growth is possible in pharmacy