Marcos Camilo Pascual Cruz
Director General
Asesoria en Farmacias
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Expert Contributor

Traditional Pharmacies Need to Join the Digital Transformation

By Marcos Pascual | Thu, 09/01/2022 - 09:00

The accelerated technological change caused by the pandemic has forced companies to adopt new solutions to remain ahead of the curve, with simple processes and solutions that are within reach of their customers.

At Asesoria en Farmacias, we continually seek solutions we can share with our associates to help them with their continuous improvement. To that end, now is the time to evaluate the development and implementation of a point of sale specialized in pharmacies. Here are some aspects that should be considered.

Ideal technological characteristics: Omnichannel technology should be available on any device with different operating systems and adaptable to any e-commerce platform. It should include sales, inventories, cost analysis and basic reports. Additionally, the system via the internet should facilitate other elements, such as version updates, support, system maintenance and remote information consultation.

Functionality: The needs of the pharmacy and the changes or new purchasing trends among consumers caused by COVID-19 has forced pharmacies to sell and buy online, which is why today the shopping cart has become a tool and a concept that continues to advance. We must think of inexpensive solutions that are different from those that pharmacy corporations or large chains generally offer and facilitate access to the cloud for traditional pharmacies, thus lowering the investment in technology, facilitating and strengthening the pharmacy sector.

Advantage: Overall, technology pushes the community pharmacy onto the path of administrative and commercial competitiveness; for example, having access to your business from anywhere on the planet regardless of distance and being able to review in real time your pharmacy’s operation.

Benefits and savings that translate into money: Large global consultancies recommend the balanced parameters of single-digit spending on technology compared to the operating cost of companies. In our sector, this means no more than 4 percent. Any higher and it will become a burden that immediately affects the flow of the pharmacy and if it is lower, it undoubtedly will delay business growth, which is why we recommend a healthy balance.

It is estimated that traditional pharmacies that enter the digital sales market could see income growth of 5 percent on average, although some businesses significantly exceed that percentage.

Fiscal issues: Medicine buyers who require reimbursements or payments from their health insurance require a billing service from their preferred pharmacy, either online or at the time of purchase. In turn, the entire network of pharmacies requires the administrative tool to provide them with agile reports for accounting. RP developers have focused on giving their customers the ease of generating this information as a fundamental process because this is their business focus but they are neglecting the basic needs of the pharmacy. In short, the best balance is to understand the demands of the point of sale and integrate them into the learning curve of systems in general

Human resources: A very high percentage of traditional pharmacies are family businesses that hire their workforce under the concept of a trusted employee, where the employee does not necessarily have sufficient experience in dispensing medications, putting a great responsibility on the employer to provide training and develop the employee’s skills, which takes time before allowing them to go to the counter. This is a great opportunity for experts in the field to implement solutions that are tailored to the requirements of this service sector. Expert advisers are the answer.

Continuous innovation: It is necessary to remember that this process of continuous innovation allows us to make constant improvements that generate value for our business and our client. At pharmacies, the system that brings together several elements that today only respond to a part of the ecosystem will be successful. Having said that, we must include the digital trend that is already helping private health professionals: digital prescriptions and the electronic medical record, elements that together with telemedicine are adding value to pharmacies, especially those that have an attached doctor’s office.

The traditional pharmacy network in Mexico continues to grow, with more points of sale opening throughout the country. It is our mission at www.asesoriaenfarmacias.com to provide our clients with the technological tools that will take them to the next level in managing their business.