It always comes back to the foundation and infrastructure. No matter how swanky the front end or conscientious the staff, if your hardware is not up to speed (figuratively and literally), or if it does not offer the functionality you need to manage your workflow and support your customers’ demands, then you are struggling unnecessarily, which can affect your profits and your business.
Your hardware is as significant as your software. Hardware dictates what software can run, how fast staff can complete tasks and what added benefits or features a particular piece of equipment might add to the overall pharmacy experience. How can a single piece of equipment affect sales? Consider the blood pressure monitoring unit in many pharmacies; this is a proven piece of equipment with obvious benefits. Customers can track their blood pressure as recommended, and pharmacists have a tool that generates repeat traffic and most likely front-end sales with each visit.
How can you duplicate that functionality and return on investment in your operating equipment? It’s possible that an updated hardware platform and configuration could enhance your behind-the-counter tasks and customer support opportunities. Consider QS/1’s Point-of-Sale (POS) system as an example, which enhances time management and inventory control – elements that affect performance.
Your Pharmacy’s Little Black Box
Hardware is the little black box of your operation; it encompasses all the vital elements that support your software. If it stalls or shuts down, your business and customers will suffer inconveniences.
To assure peak performance, your equipment should be configured to enhance daily tasks and react swiftly to commands, all while functioning in the background like a ninja. This seamless operation is dependent on your vigilance to ensure all pieces that make up the whole of your operating hardware are up to par. This includes checking the manufacturer’s warranty and conducting a maintenance checkup to confirm you’re using relevant hardware that will support the growth of your business. With endless demands on pharmacists from legislative rulings and dispensing, workflow procedures are constantly in flux. Your system’s architecture must support new software, enhancements and additional services, and your purchasing decisions must support anticipated future demands.
Where to Begin
You have four components to rely on when it comes to an equipment assessment:
Staff: Are employees operating at peak performance and not fighting the system?
Customers: If they find themselves waiting too long to get a prescription or check out, move swiftly to correct what could result in customer loss.
Yourself: Knowing what capabilities your business needs to compete is essential to strategic growth. There are two sayings that always hold true: “You’re only as good as your tools” and “You need the right tool for the job.” Do your tools have the capability to put a new product into action? Upgrade your workflow to initiate best practices and help evaluate your customer service.
Your QS/1 Representative: QS/1 knows the ins and outs of your hardware components and is eager to help you succeed. Account representatives are invaluable liaisons; they know your software and how much horsepower you need to accommodate your daily tasks. They also keep their pulse on what’s a proven winner or loser in the industry. Your QS/1 team knows what your present equipment is capable of and can clearly communicate if you are getting the most out of your current setup. They also know if you are working with outdated hardware. Their job is to recommend new or different pieces of equipment that support high performance or even dissuade you from taking an avenue that would cost more than the expected returns.
Conduct a Hardware Review
Computers seem lightning fast when first installed, but a year or two later, they can’t keep up with your fingers much less your thought process. Remember that just because the software specifications say a system will run on a certain platform doesn’t mean it will run at peak performance.
Sync your needs with speed; your software dictates functionality, but your equipment dictates the speed and manner in which that software performs. When your capabilities, workflow and even compliance are hampered by under-performing hardware, your business suffers. If upgrades can support growth strategies, aid in customer service and increase staff morale via better functionality served up on a faster platform, it’s a win-win for employees, patients and your bottom line.
QS/1 recommends you conduct a hardware review each year. It’s also a good idea to complete the following steps to ensure your equipment is up to date.
- Conduct a hardware profile review every year. QS/1 doesn’t want you to pay for equipment you have stopped using or replaced. By completing a review, you eliminate unnecessary billing. Update your profile by calling QS/1 Hardware Maintenance at 800.845.7558. Select option 2 and request a hardware profile sign-off sheet. You can also request to have a QS/1 technician complete a profile update onsite.
- If your computers are running Windows XP or Server 2003, your system is no longer being updated or supported by Microsoft®. If you are using either system as a cash register, you are not PCI compliant and are in danger of fraudulent charges.
- QS/1 is the only pharmacy software vendor to provide Hardware Maintenance Agreements. There are three options, which include on-site, mail-in and phone-in maintenance.
- Keep your equipment clean; do not let dust accumulate in or on your hard drive. Compressed air dusters are perfect for crevices and interiors.
Sign Up for Hardware Maintenance
If you have questions about your hardware, contact our Upgrades department at 800.845.7558, ext. 1412. To sign up for a Hardware Maintenance Agreement, call 800.845.7558, and select option 2 for Hardware Support, then option 2 for Hardware Maintenance Agreements. You can also contact your QS/1 Regional Office.
Northeast – 800.882.3821
Southeast – 800.889.9183
West – 800.248.0096
Even the best equipment can’t protect against catastrophe, ransomware or unforeseen circumstances. Always back up your daily records in a secure, off-site location. Ask your QS/1 Account Representative about QS/1’s Remote Backup and Recovery Service, which includes data backup and reloading, equipment replacement, system configuration and testing.
NEW POS REGISTER
Exciting upgrades in hardware will be unveiled at the QS/1 2018 Customer Conference, including a new POS register. The new register hits right at the heart of customer service and front-end capabilities. A smaller footprint frees up additional space for customer interactions, provides a more secure environment for PCI compliance and increases the visual appeal of your front end. Justin Buckland, QS/1 market analyst and your POS information resource, will be dropping reveal clues before the conference, which begins May 15, via Twitter. Follow him @QS1JustinB.