Pharmacist Konstantinos Kakonikos writes for Pharmacy2020
I recently saw the following question at one of my accounts at the social media: “Two of my clients buy one drug package every month. How many pieces should I have in stock?” It may seem a simple question, especially for pharmacists, but in fact there is more than one answer.
Many pharmacists use the mathematical way for calculating the stock they keep. According to it, the answer depends on the time one pays his suppliers, the time he receives the insurance funds, the number of monthly deliveries etc.
But what if we try to approach the aforementioned question from a different point of view? Personally, I would like to approach the supply issue of a pharmacy as a risk analysis exercise. And since we’re talking about risk analysis, let’s look at its parameters:
- Client’s possibility of changing habits if the medicine is not in stock
- The competitors’ stock policy
- The cost of handling pending orders until delivery
- The relationship with the specific customer (e.g. is he stuck to a certain medicine or he could consider an alternative solution as well?)
Some of us may also want to calculate the cost of money as an alternative cost. If the risk is very low, one may have 1 piece maximum in stock. Otherwise, he can assess the risk and undertake the relevant storage costs.
Risk management can provide many benefits:
- Develop and further improve business relationships between the pharmacist and his suppliers
- Ensure seamless and uninterrupted supply of the pharmacy
- Reduce costs and improve the pharmacy’s efficiency
- Increase the patients’ and customers’ trust towards the pharmacy
- Reduce the waste.
However, for the successful implementation of a risk management policy, there are some prerequisites:
- In the beginning the pharmacist must avoid details and complex combinations
- He must carefully examine and evaluate the dangers by a possible failure of his analysis
- He must follow a certain circle several times, in order to get acquainted with its characteristics, to be able to manage it efficiently and, finally, to integrate it into his corporate culture.
Risk analysis gives answers of different quality regarding the pharmacy supply, because it is not based only on mathematical calculations. It includes parameters, such as risk identification, its description and assessment and, finally, its management.
Mainly, risk analysis has to be based on knowledge and experience, in order to produce positive results, as it covers vital areas of the pharmacy operation (cash flow, service, quantity, quality and delivery of the product at the right time).
This is a holistic approach that leads to better service and consolidation of the customers’ trust and helps the pharmacy to achieve its goals.