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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : November 2006
management management updates ESPITE being scientists and apply- ing scientific method and skills to their professional roles, too many phar- macists ignore this approach and rely on faith alone when it comes to managing their business, according to former Guild national president John Bronger. Mr Bronger, who was speaking at the recent Trapping the Health Dollar Con- ference in Sydney, told delegates: ‘Phar- macists are scientists but faith bridges a knowledge gap and this is a threat for pharmacy...If you can’t measure [your business] by metrics, you’re operating by faith alone.’ This theme of applying a methodical, systematic approach to managing the business of pharmacy was joined by the absolute need of understanding customers and ensuring pharmacy businesses were relevant to their needs. Mr Bronger was joined by other lead- ing retail pharmacy specialists, Hilary Forget faith: apply science D Kahn, Rhonda White, Bruce Annabel, Lisa Kroon and retail design specialists, Bob Angley and Neil Arrowsmith to pre- sent at the retail-focused conference. Mr Bronger said that so many think that pharmacy will adapt but too many don’t invest in training, technology and systems. He said the big thing that phar- macy has on its side is an ageing popula- tion, ‘but where is the emphasis on how to manage for change in order to manage for change and cater for these people?’ To do so required an ability to analyse the business from many perspectives— internal and external—and develop core competencies in order to quickly react to the changing needs of customers. ‘If you can’t analyse and measure it, you can’t change it,’ said Mr Bronger. Bruce Annabel, head of pharmacy ser- vices at Johnston Rorke, believed phar- macy no longer needed evolutionary change; a revolution was required. HEN the best 17 second year pharmacy students at Sydney University are paired up with the most experienced and innovative community pharmacists in the industry, you get a mentoring program that is a big success. The landmark Pharmacy Business Mentoring Program (BUMP) is sponsored by the Pharmacy Practice Foundation at the University of Sydney. The course is hands-on and designed to introduce students to the basics of man- aging a pharmacy business and exposing them to innovative business skills of some of the most successful pharmacy owners and managers in the business. Students and mentors meet once a fort- night in the mentor’s pharmacy and com- plete objectives set out for them at a fort- nightly university tutorial. Topics include stock and premises management, marketing and merchan- Pharmacy business mentoring program a success W Rhonda White at the Conference He counted the major threats as being a failure to understand the customer (‘knowing their name isn’t enough’), fail- ure to have a relevant offer, a discounter mentality despite the evidence that phar- macy is poorly placed to sustain one, and an ‘emu’ mentality of sticking the head in the sand to disregard the dangers and real opportunities. Rhonda White, founder of the Terry White Chemist group, agreed: ‘If you don’t own your relationship with cus- tomers, you’ll fail; it’s the only sustainable competitive advantage’. Mrs White said the ‘brand is the most powerful delivery mechanism in the his- tory of time’ and that in order to build a brand around a pharmacy business, the application of systems was critical. ‘The greatest reassurance a brand gives to a customer is the compliance to brand values,’ she said. These were reliability, dependability, confidence, assurance and trust. dising, money management and human resources. The inaugural BUMP program launched in July will run for one year. A midway function will be held on 8 March 2007. Current students and mentors (as well as any pharmacists who are inter- ested in becoming mentors for 2007/8) will be in attendance. Instrumental in its success have been pharmacists John Bronger, John Maronese and Damian Smith. Professor Carol Armour and Dr Sinthia Bosnic- Anticevich from the University of Sydney have been closely involved with the pro- gram. Fran Wilson has developed the pro- gram materials, runs the tutorials, and is the program manager. For more information or to take part in the program, contact Martin Carroll on (02) 93512668 or firstname.lastname@example.org. edu.au ¦ 60 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.87 NOVEMBER 2006 Hilary Kahn, who owns the FeelGood category management system, said great businesses understood the customer, delivered hard and got on with the job instead of playing the ‘blame game’. She said understanding the experience that you want your customers to have is the key. The only way to do it was to become the customer by walking with them on their journey and develop anchor or signature categories. Ms Kahn told delegates that there were health offers available to buy into, but it was important to check out which had the systems approach. ‘Choose those that continue to build customers, skills, confidence, positioning and sales and profit. Look for relevance, look for innovation. You’re not buying a new store; you must create a new type of business that customers recognise and value,’ she said. ¦