Over the years we have discussed this very important topic with many pharmacy owners and found 90% do not have a written contingency plan.
Despite this lack, they all acknowledge the need to be prepared for exceptional situations. And, one of the main reasons they say they don't have a written contingency plan is they find if difficult to determine a good starting point.
Pharmacy contingency planning, like life itself, is all about prioritizing. Because you only have so much time, energy and money to spend, you have to carefully pick and choose where it is spent. Contingency planning is the same; an effective plan addresses only the highest priorities.
There are three main areas to focus on when prioritizing your plan. The first is addressing how the work you and your key employees do will be replaced if need be. The second are physical risks to your pharmacy. The third is planning to protect key operations and for the replacement of essential service providers in the event they are unable to deliver what your busienss needs.
These three tips wil help you get started:
- Focus on Your Key Employees - You (the owner) are the most important employee in your pharmacy. Making sure you address the contingency of you not being able to work can be vital to the survival of the pharmacy if something unfortunate happens to you. After you, there may be a few employees vital to the success of the pharmacy. Being prepared to address them not being able to work for any reason, can help your pharmacy avoid a potential serious loss.
- Understand the Risks to the Pharmacy - The risks associated with independent community pharmacies have been discussed in great detail by many different people and entities that work in this market. However, the one thing that we don't see much are plans that address these risks. For example, I asked a pharmacy owner with a compounding lab if he was prepared for an event like the New England Compounding Center incident and the fallout that would result. He said he had thought about it but had never done anything to protect the profitability of his compounding pharmacy. My next question was "Are you prepared for the day when you can no longer make the money you are making in compounding (if that day should come)?"
- Know the Key Operations and Service Providers - Have you ever asked yourself, "What are the key functions and operations that must happen for my pharmacy to be successful?" If you couldn't do even one of these, the pharmacy could suffer greatly. For example, what happens if your computer system goes down for a day or two? What would your contingency plan be? Another example we have heard recently is phone lines not working for an extended period of time. All these are critical to your pharmacy functioning properly.
We recommend you start with you and the other key employees in the pharmacy. This is one of the ways you can more easily discover the risks and key operations associated with the pharmacy. Please keep in mind this will not be the easiest project you have ever done, so it is important to set realistic goals and deadlines for completing this project. However, when completed, most pharmacy owners tell us they sleep a lot better. Which is something we all could use more of!
Why do we do what we do?
Our vision and mission is to help community pharmacy transition through a life of pharmacy into a life of independence. In order to do this, we focus on protecting independently owned community pharmacies now and for future generations.
We use The Inspired Independence Process to help pharmacy owners achieve all their goals and dreams, inside, outside and after their life in pharmacy. In doing so, we are helping community pharmacies survive for many years to come.
When a pharmacist reaches out to us for information and help, we give them as much free value as possible. In addition to providing educational, self-assessment and strategic planning tools, we invite qualified pharmacists into our formal discovery process.
The first step of the process is completing The Inspired Goals Workshop. This complimentary and private 90-minute session enables us to deliver a free, detailed and personal Inspired Independence Blueprint. The blueprint provides a roadmap for achieving your goals and enables you to fully understand the value of joining The Inspired Independence Program.
If you wish to learn more about any aspect of our work, the free value we offer, or to be considered for The Inspired Goals Workshop, visit our web site at www.waypointus.com or call 843.873.4420 and ask for Ben or Matt Coakley.
At Waypoint Pharmacist Advisors, we take care of you!