In this latest real-time insight from Warman-Freed, Perrigo's learning pharmacy, general manager Farah Ali says that it turns out that sometimes a straightforward, practical and cost-effective solution is all that’s needed to make a big impact.
I can’t believe it’s nearly mid-year already. The year is flying by. Our new electronic point of sale/patient medication record (EPOS/PMR) system is due to be installed at the end of the month, so we need to prioritise some of our key business needs in advance of the inevitable, albeit temporary, disruption. Top of my list is to review the workflow within the dispensary and the flow of customers through the store.
Involving the team in both elements of the exercise will be essential as they conduct most of the customer interactions and can offer the greatest insight into their journeys through the pharmacy. They are also best placed to suggest potential improvements to the workflow through the dispensary to ensure it’s supporting best practice and operating as efficiently as possible.
I have the managers’ support to consult the team, which is great, but I also want to get a feel myself for what is happening. I’ve planned to spend a number of short slots on the shop floor at different times of the day over the next week or so, so I can see first-hand what the customer and staff experience is like, and whether it supports effective interactions between them. Once we have collated all the insight we can sit down together to review it.
It has been an interesting few weeks, and the feedback and observations have been extremely insightful. I want to spend some time with my managers to work through it all in more detail and determine which factors are within our control to change.
Our 2015 refit improved customer flow to key areas within the pharmacy, especially to medicines, perfumes and skincare. However, we struggled to direct people to hand in scripts and wait at the pharmacy counter rather than head straight to the dispensary where there is a prescriptions sign. Visible from the front of the pharmacy and high street, the sign was designed to highlight the service, but it’s clearly confusing customers so is something we need to address.
Having gone through all the feedback in more detail, I am relieved that there aren’t as many adjustments to be made as perhaps I first thought. That said, I have made a few changes to the workflow within the dispensary to ensure we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. Now it’s up to the pharmacy manager to work with the team to ensure that the changes made are the right ones, and we set a time for review a few weeks ahead. We have also placed a simple, inexpensive sign next to the lit-up dispensary signage directing customers to the right counter to hand in prescriptions. Hopefully this will do the trick.
The small refinements we made to the workflow and customer journey have been in place for a few weeks now. I am pleased to report that our new sign, although small, is successfully re-directing customers to the pharmacy counter to hand in their prescriptions. Operational processes within the dispensary are also much improved and the team is generally feeling a lot happier, leaving them with more capacity to take on the EPOS/PMR system change.