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Five Key Tips to Improve Inventory Management

tips to improve pharmacy inventory management

Inventory is your independent pharmacy’s biggest overhead, and an unmanaged inventory can severely hurt your profits and bottom line.  There are several ways you can effectively manage inventory and your pharmacy software can help. 

Know What’s on Your Shelves

Many pharmacy owners think they have a handle on their inventory, but often find outdated or slow-moving items buried in the back.  Of course rotating inventory helps, but by using your pharmacy software and point of sale system to track inventory electronically, it makes it easier to manage exactly what’s on your shelves.  A quick inventory report from your pharmacy software or point of sale system is easy and provides additional detailed information.

Adjust Your Reorder Points, Manually or Automatically

Using a perpetual inventory helps save time in your independent pharmacy by automatically adding items to a purchase order when they fall below your minimums, however, these reorder points need to be reviewed and adjusted from time to time as demand fluctuates either by customer use or seasonally.  As generic drugs become available, the demand for brand name medications becomes less and less, making it important to adjust your reorder levels on these items in particular.  Additionally, certain drugs have a higher demand during certain seasons, making it important to lower reorder levels once that rush has passed.  We never want to have swells in inventory and using the inventory management tools within your pharmacy software system will help make sure this doesn’t happen.  Datascan’s pharmacy software can watch over historic trends and help to auto adjust reorder points. 

Special Order High Priced Drugs

Many independent pharmacies have wholesale contracts that offer same day or next day deliveries.  High priced medications should never be sitting on your shelf unless you have multiple patients routinely taking these items.  Instead, coordinate with your patient’s for their refills.  Through our “ready to refill” queues, reports, and notifications in our pharmacy management software, you can easily contact your patient prior to them running out of meds.  Give yourself enough time to order the item when it’s due instead of stocking it and sitting on tens of thousands of dollars of unnecessary inventory. 

Stock Your Big Sellers and Fast Movers

It’s important in both your pharmacy department and frontend to stock “hot ticket” items.  Patients and customers can’t purchase what you don’t have, so making sure to stock popular drugs and OTC items will keep your customers coming back.  When it comes to over the counter items, pharmacy owners should note that variety is important, but you do not have to overdo it.  Stocking a few different types of allergy meds, analgesics, antacids, etc. is plenty—you don’t have to carry every single option, but give your customers choices.  Using the inventory tools in your Datascan Winpharm pharmacy and point of sale software will give you a more in-depth look at how items are trending—giving you plenty of time to return slow movers.

Products Should Never Expire on Your Shelves

By maintaining certain “days’ supply” of inventory you help lower your risk of items expiring on your shelves.   Ideally only stocking about a weeks’ worth items will make sure that nothing sits stale and goes out of date.  Using your pharmacy system and point of sale to generate inventory reports like usage reports, and current quantities on hand will make it easy to see which items should be returned and also which items need to have their perpetual inventory quantities adjusted.  Making sure you understand your wholesaler return policies is important—while some vendors issue partial credit for out of dates, many do not.  Make sure to continuously check lower trafficked areas such as your refrigerator or any under counter drawers you’re storing items in. 

To learn more about how Datascan can help optimize your independent pharmacy’s inventory, reach out to our support for training or if you’re not already a part of the Datascan family, speak with our sales team to see how you can join our team!