Gareth Rowe, a pharmacist from South Wales and his wife Cathie run two pharmacies in Bridgend. Having acquired the second of the pharmacies three years ago, the duo were met with many challenges and were offered support and guidance from Numark as part of their new consultancy programme.

Gareth met with Adam and Lorna from the n.able consultancy team in June 2020, just as they were about to start piloting Golden Tote in independent pharmacies. As a result Gareth’s pharmacy in Nantymeol was a pilot site for Golden Tote.

“Having had Golden Tote for a year now, it has completely changed the way the pharmacy runs. The efficiency it brings has freed-up dispensary staff time and I’ve been able to see more patients, provide more services and get on with my own contractor responsibilities. We just seem to be much more on top of what needs to be done, but realised that there was even more that we could do to be productive and increase profitability.”

After discussing this with the consultancy team, Gareth was presented with the opportunity of having the n.able consultancy service take a look at his entire business model.

“Initially we had a lot of work to do in changing our processes and ways of working but Golden Tote had already shown us we could adapt and gave us the confidence to do more. We wanted to review our ordering processes and stock control, amongst other things. However, the most challenging issue was updating the layout of our most recently purchased pharmacy, Ogmore Vale, which we knew needed to change for two reasons. Firstly, the retail area needed updating with improved stock control and presentation and secondly, we needed to create more space in the dispensary which was particularly cramped”

OTC

“Numark’s OTC team, the n.able team and Cathie, worked extensively to completely revamp and refresh the retail area of both pharmacies. We have streamlined the range of products we hold and completely re-merchandised Ogmore Vale based on planograms and support supplied by Numark.”

The OTC team researched, looking at demographics, and used their findings to entirely redesign the retail space in Ogmore pharmacy. Following this, an OTC webinar was also created along with a workbook for staff on Retail Excellence which highlights key objectives on core range, space allocation, effective store layout and more, ensuring that if any new starters join the pharmacy team they are upskilled on the OTC and retail principles. This then lead Cathie and her team to make the decision to have EPOS installed in both pharmacies for even greater clarity on their retail area going forwards.

“As result of our collaboration with Numark in redesigning and maintaining our front of shop offering, the staff’s roles have developed.  Since the refit in Ogmore (but also in Nantymoel) Cathie has been working with our counter staff to rationalise our stock. We have removed lines identified as slow/non-sellers and are trying to not order random items simply because they are on a special offer. We found that we ended up with lots of bits of the same type of product as a result and we are trying to stop this so we keep a consistent offering for our customers. We have stopped chasing the pound-lines!

“As far as cost saving is concerned, we hope that as we rationalise our stock offering we will have less waste and also less excess stock and with the inclusion of EPOS for both pharmacies, this will help us to monitor sales, which in turn will promote cost saving as we will be able to identify what is selling and what's not.

“We have worked closely with the n.able team and it has been great, it was really helpful to have a professional set of eyes to reassure us on what we were doing well and advise us on where we could change for the better. As the expression goes, you don’t know what you don’t know!”

Refit

Gareth went on to talk around more changes that have been implemented, especially around the refitting of the dispensary.

“We inherited a particularly cramped dispensary in Ogmore Vale, so worked with the team to open up the space to make movement easier, re-structure the fittings and improve the dispensing flow. We worked with n.able and refit company BAPTT to show us exactly what was possible and the whole team were excited about the design we settled on.

“The dispensary was refitted over a weekend. It has created a huge amount of space and made it so much easier to navigate around the dispensary. On top of this we installed a new dispensing area for Golden Tote where the stockroom was previously, this meant we now have a distinct area for repeat dispensing and another more accessible area for acute prescriptions.

“The whole dispensary is now bigger, brighter and the staff love it! It’s a much happier and open working environment.”

It is clear that n.able played an integral role in achieving Gareth’s goals.

“Cathie, who is not only my wife but also co-director of our company, handles all of my administration, HR and finances and she has been liaising with the consultancy team on much of our other working processes, commercial deals and financial workings. As part of this we are currently looking at a number of changes to the providers of our services to help profitability.”

Gareth explained how he knew that he needed to change Ogmore Vale to be able to achieve his vision but also knew it was a big job.

“Working in conjunction with the n.able team has made this so much easier and allowed us to do it in a much shorter time scale.

“The physical appearance and layout of our pharmacy in Ogmore Vale is now where we want it to be; our dispensing processes have been streamlined thanks to Golden Tote and of course our ordering optimised by using PharmAssist, which we have been using for several years.

“I think a consultation with the n.able team would be beneficial to any pharmacy whatever stage they are at.”

n.able is our new offering that is designed to power up your pharmacy business through a range of support and services that help meet head on, the challenges faced as part of the pharmacy contract.

Our new service will help you grow, achieve your goals and ambitions and enable your business to do more. It’s designed to power up your business, pharmacy can feel a lonely profession but you are not alone, we’ve got your back.

Find out more by calling the team on 0800 783 5709.