The day started just like any other, an uphill battle against pharmacy budget cuts.
But we’re boasting twenty percent script growth over budget.
Let me say this another way: corporate only gives us enough tech payroll to meet script budget, not exceed it.
As any responsible business owner, I schedule to this budget, knowing I will probably need to flex up.
That’s because no one truly knows what the real time demand will be.
And I know better than to blindly follow a silly paper budget.
The last 2 years have averaged 20% script growth from prior years.
We have grown 30% in the last 6 months.
I never expected this much growth.
Luckily, my proactive hiring enabled me to weather through this storm.
Eight technicians on the payroll roster allows me to get through dry spells and surges.
It’s crazy to think how much my job has changed from 5 years ago.
My first year as a Pharmacy Manager, I was worried and focused on things like missing promise times and customer surveys.
I was worried about billing insurance correctly and taking in the wrong narcotics.
My thinking was all operational and so narrow-minded.
Fast forward to the present, and much of my job focus can be summed up by one word: talent.
My job is all about finding, hiring, developing, and retaining the best human resources.
Twenty percent growth that is unaccounted for in payroll budgets feels like hell from an operational standpoint.
In these dire straits, the profit and loss is my best friend.
Today, I can see the script growth converting to top-line sales, so I strategically overspend payroll to match the growth as close as possible.
My technicians understand that the paper schedule becomes obsolete as we continue to grow day by day.
They remain flexible, coming in early and staying late.
I am so grateful for their enthusiasm and adaptability.
Flexible scheduling is a manager’s secret weapon for crushing script budgets while making payroll budgets.
Others that want hours come in as needed to lighten the burden of sales compensation.
Spend Money To Make Money
It’s just the beginning of the second quarter, and it already feels crazy like flu season.
What will Q4 look like at this rate?
Easing this slight feeling of dread becomes my number one priority.
If I don’t match the growth with able-bodied talent, how can I convert scripts to dollars?
By not scheduling enough, I could be losing potential profit.
What most pharmacists don’t understand is that margin conversion is everything.
You can fill X prescriptions with Y technician hours all you want.
But if you don’t have high conversion, or margin %, then you are just another hamster on a wheel.
The Manager’s Burden
And there’s only one way to convert scripts to margin on a large scale.
My job now is all about building protocols and developing the people on my team.
In between verifying, counseling, and doctor calls, I am watching my team with scrupulous eyes.
I listen for opportunities to coach, mentor, and teach.
All different methods for building the ultimate high-performing team.
Technicians that can convert foot traffic to scripts to dollars.
Technicians that act like operational experts so I can focus on more important things.
Reviewing resumes, calling leads, and screening candidates for interviews.
Making schedules, filling open shifts at other stores: it’s not just busy work.
I am finding training outlets for my new techs.
On the job experience is gold.
You might be thinking, “How do you have time to do all this?”
The answer: You get back what you put in.
Invest time into your team day in and day out, and you will see a return.
Why I Love Retail Pharmacy
This is what I love about my job.
Retail pharmacy is a people profession.
And not just on a patient level interaction.
The fuel for my fire is being able to build corporate beasts in my pharmacy training grounds.
Every single day, I forge new skills in my direct reports so they can positively influence the world around them.
In return, my pharmacy business runs like a well-oiled healthcare engine.
Every patient gets a full counsel and positive health outcomes.
Pharmacists take their lunches and sharpen their minds.
Technicians take their paid 15 minute breaks and mentally recover.
Upper management only visits to give praise and give our team full autonomy.
What more could a Corporate Retail Pharmacist ask for?
All this is only possible because of talent, talent, and more talent.