Why Your Pharmacy Should Decouple Pricing from Receiving

How many times do you touch your inventory during your receiving and pricing process? We think it should only be once. Read on to see why.

Before pharmacy point-of-sale was commonplace for pharmacies, pricing and receiving were always completed in tandem. When you received your totes full of products those totes also contained item stickers. Your receiving process was simple, but time consuming. 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.

With the right pharmacy point-of-sale solution, receiving should be easy, fast, and completely decoupled from the pricing process.

First, a note on receiving.

How many times do you touch a product after you receive it? Once to count it or sticker it, once to put it back on the shelf? Why not go straight from tote to shelf? When you undertake the process to count an order and double check it for accuracy (or sticker each item which we’ll get to shortly) you could be wasting time and resources. Every penny counts when it comes to the bottom line, but any pharmacy still manually receiving orders should review how many order inaccuracies they’ve had in the last 6 months to a year and how much those would have actually cost the pharmacy business if not caught. Now compare that to the time combined with hourly wages of the team member who does the receiving. Which costs more?

In most cases, we find that simplifying and automating the receiving process makes sense. Of course, there may be special use cases, like gift items, which still require a more manual approach. And every pharmacy is different. Just consider all the angles before continuing with the status quo.

Quality data matters.

We can’t impress the necessity of a good, clean, accurate database enough. High quality data about your pharmacy inventory makes all the difference and is an important qualifier as you explore decoupling pricing and receiving.

Label shelves, not products.

Shelf labels (vs. item stickers) are necessary to decouple pricing from receiving. And they are awesome for a bunch of other reasons. (Accuracy and time savings to name just a couple) As automated price updates from your wholesaler come in, shelf labels can be automatically queued to print. Print labels only for the products you carry in your pharmacy to make updating pricing on the shelves quick and easy. (This is why your data matters) This way, there’s no scanning of products to double check prices, re-stickering items with old prices or worrying about pricing at all during the receiving process.

Batching vs. real-time processing.

There are generally two options for how you process price updates. Which one you use comes down to making a decision about your pharmacy business, but we can offer some guidance.

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.

Yes, this does matter to your pharmacy.

Any pharmacy that carries front end product can benefit from decoupling pricing and receiving. Your processes may look different compared to another pharmacy because absolutely nothing is one size fits all. You may have multiple wholesalers running EDI with your point-of-sale system, some that generate a list your POS provider can help you import, and some that do require a bit of manual work.

No matter your situation, but you can still implement these strategies to save time and, in the end, money.

Give your pharmacy a boost.

If you’re looking for a deeper dive on separating processing and receiving check out this RMS deep dive video to see how it all works.  You can also contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation and learn about our special RMSBoost training program that’s focused on processes like this to help you improve profitability.

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