The shower of crumbs after turning over the average keyboard is probably a good indicator of how much TLC most computer hardware gets. But if your hardware isn’t fast enough, can’t handle the latest features, or is even running non-supported software (Windows 7 users, look out), then you are struggling unnecessarily – which affects your pharmacy’s performance.
Your hardware is as significant as your software; it’s the black box of your operation, holding all the vital elements that support your software. If it stalls or shuts down, major inconvenience follows. Hardware dictates what software can run, influences how fast staff can work, and ensures your workflow benefits from new features.
Good hardware is not hard to justify
For an easy example of how equipment can affect business, consider a blood pressure monitoring unit. Not only does it help patient health, it drives repeat store traffic and probably front-end sales with each visit.
This kind of return on investment applies to your operating equipment, too. As just a start, think about the point-of-sale system. It impacts checkout time and inventory control, among other things. Updating the hardware platform and configuration could enhance behind-the-counter efficiency and customer support opportunities. The smaller footprint of a new register frees up additional space for customer interactions, provides a more secure environment for PCI compliance, and increases the visual appeal of your front end.
So give your hardware some hard thought
Having hardware that helps instead of hurts does rely on you paying attention – doing a regular checkup to confirm it still supports the growth of your business. With the constant changes in pharmacy, the ideal workflow is a moving target. Your system’s architecture needs to support new software enhancements and additional services, and your purchasing decisions should anticipate future demands as much as possible.
Luckily, the 4 areas to consider when you assess your equipment are pretty common sense.
Staff: Are employees working quickly and not fighting the system? Have you been hearing (and ignoring) complaints or suggestions?
Patients: Are they waiting too long? If so, you’ll need to move swiftly to correct what could result in customer loss.
Yourself: You know your competitive environment and what equipment capabilities would help you thrive and grow. As they say, “You need the right tool for the job.” Do you have it, based on your best strategic thinking?
Your account representative: Account reps can be invaluable liaisons. They should know your software and how much horsepower you need to accommodate daily tasks. They should also be keeping up with proven winners and losers in the industry. 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 return.