Best Practices

Boost Your 2023 With These Pharmacy POS Tips!

Start your pharmacy off on the right foot this year with these 3 point-of-sale inventory and reporting tips.

There’s never a bad time to start working toward your goals. No silly rules like “don’t wear white after Labor Day” that state you can’t resolve to do something new or better between the months of March and November.

But, there’s something about the start of a new year that seems to say, "While there’s no wrong time to reach for new heights, this might be the right time." A clean slate and a brand new foundation to build on.

Last week, we shared some ways that pharmacies can support customers in their New Year's resolution journeys. This week, it’s all about the things that can help pharmacies start off the year on the right foot.

Here are our top 3 tips.

Accurate & Up-to-Date Pricing

Does the price on your shelf or on the product match the price in your point-of-sale system? Are you keeping pricing up-to-date in both places, one place, or not at all? Pricing that isn’t correct or isn’t kept up-to-date can result in lower profit margins, upset customers and bad data - which means inaccurate reporting.

There are several best practices that can help you avoid the pitfalls of flawed pricing strategies in your pharmacy:

  • Separate pricing & receiving. Before pharmacy point-of-sale was commonplace for pharmacies, pricing and receiving were always completed in tandem. You’d take the item, put the included item sticker on the product, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat - until the tote was empty. If you had extra stickers, you’d know you were shorted a product. Today, many pharmacies run pricing and receiving in this exact same way, only with the added step of scanning the item to make sure that the price in the POS system matches the new item sticker. This process is not ideal. It’s time consuming, fraught with opportunity for pricing inaccuracies, and just plain unnecessary. In most cases, order inaccuracies are few and far between, meaning the process to manually receive is costing you time and money. This is why we generally recommend automating receiving and separating price updates.

  • Label shelves, not products. It’s time consuming to individually sticker products, and even more time consuming to update those individual labels. Instead, as price updates come in from your wholesaler, your labels can be automatically queued to print. Plus, with the right POS system you can print only the labels for the products you carry. When you’re ready to update prices, it’s as easy as putting one new label over the old one on the shelf.

  • Update your prices in batch or real time. If you have a small front end (meaning when you process a price update file, you’re talking about 100 or fewer items), real time may make sense. Just know that there would be a pricing discrepancy between the time you process the update and the time all the labels are out on the shelves. Our best practice and recommendation for larger front ends is batch processing. When you process the price update file, you select a date and time for the new prices to take effect. This allows you to schedule time for shelf labels to be put out and optimize your staff schedule.

Precise Inventory Counts 

If you want to understand your product movement, identify problem areas, and optimally use automated ordering processes, you need accurate counts on what’s in your inventory. Keeping accurate counts might seem like a big ask. Luckily, an active inventory counting and recovery process makes this much more feasible. There are several components to inventory counting and recovery processes, but from a high level, you divide your store into sections. Depending on size, these can be aisles, departments, 4-foot sections; whatever works best for you. Then, on a rotating schedule, you count the products in that section using inventory management tools, while completing some other recovery-based activities. This will help you identify shrinkage, manage out-of-stocks, and keep your store clean and organized. For more on active recovery and inventory counting, you can check out this article.

Abundant Reporting

There are many benefits to accurate pricing as well as accurate inventory. Perhaps the most important one is the information about your pharmacy that accurate data provides. Accurate data means accurate reporting, and accurate reporting means actionable intelligence about your pharmacy business. You’ll be able to see what products aren’t selling, what products have a lower-than-optimal margin, what products are offering a worthwhile return on investment, and which products are simply taking up space on your floor. And that’s just the tip of the data iceberg. Make sure you know what data you can get from your point-of-sale system and make time to regularly review that data on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Some reports may even be optimal if viewed quarterly.

Here are some end-of-year reporting tips to get you started.

If you’re looking for more inventory management ideas, you can also check out our playlist full of great how-to videos.

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