Not all pharmacy inventory management best practices need to completely turn your business upside down.
When pharmacies think about improving inventory management, some are resistant to the change. Most pharmacy owners already have a pharmacy inventory control method that works for them and don’t like the idea of completely rethinking that system.
While it’s true that most pharmacy inventory management systems could benefit from a complete audit, that isn’t always viable for your business. Luckily, there are still relatively simple improvements you can make to your inventory management.
Here are 5 pharmacy inventory management best practices to help improve your pharmacy:
Reduce Overall Pharmacy Inventory
Pharmacy inventory is expensive. In fact, it’s the largest cost your pharmacy will have. This cost is often increased by storage costs and waste when pharmaceuticals expire. You can limit these costs by limiting the inventory you keep on hand. This will make some pharmacists nervous that they will be caught by surprise or a sudden demand and end up losing business. Reducing pharmacy inventory does require you to have a better idea of your demands, adjust for seasonal changes and keep tabs on new generics that may change demand, but the benefits are definitely worth it.
Proactive Pharmacy Inventory Management
One of the best ways to keep pharmacy inventory and overall inventory costs low is to practice proactive pharmacy inventory management. By understanding what your demands are you can optimize how and when you place orders. Just-in-time inventory management may be simple, but it will cost you in overnight shipping fees and other fulfillment costs. By placing fewer orders, you can reduce fulfillment costs and make your ordering process more efficient. This also allows you to better take advantage of overstock and short-dated Rx.
Establish Policy for Receiving Inventory
Another good pharmacy inventory management best practice deals with how your pharmacy receives and adds new items to your inventory. This is the first step towards maintaining a pharmacy inventory management system and it’s often where there are the most inefficiencies. Put together a clear set of procedures that anyone who receives inventory knows to follow so all inventory is scanned and stocked correctly.
Manage the Will-call Bin
One of the areas pharmacies can lose money is in their will-call bin. Patients place an order and then take days or even weeks to pick up their prescription. If they fail to pick up their order, you’re left with the expired medications which you could have sold a week ago. A good pharmacy inventory management best practice is to stay on your will-call bin by keeping in touch with clients to make sure they are aware their prescription is ready and verify they plan to pick it up.
Use Pharmacy Inventory Software
Using pharmacy inventory software doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change your inventory management system. You can find software that fits your system and use it to keep yourself organized and streamline the process. Inventory management software also allows you to predict trends and be more proactive with your ordering, which can help with the other pharmacy inventory management best practices mentioned above.
Want even more tips for improving your pharmacy inventory management? Check out our 2017 Buyer’s Guide for Pharmacy Owners.