Collaboration is the key to success with independents — part three

December 16, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition

Posted by Megan Moyer

My previous posts inspired by the supply chain collaboration white paper sponsored by HDMA and CHPA covered the first two action items for healthcare distributors: program development and SKU rationalization. Today I’m elaborating on the last action item, making the most of your primary interface to both suppliers and pharmacies.

As a healthcare distributor, you have a special position in between manufacturers and independent pharmacies. You’re best poised to facilitate supply chain collaboration; you have the relationships with both parties as well as the knowledge of what the success factors are for each of them. You can see all sides of the coin, including your own, which can help you come up with programs that will benefit all.Getting all parties on the same page can be tricky

Getting all parties on the same page can be tricky and time consuming, but remember that having input from all involved will give you the best chance for success. When you take into consideration what everyone needs for a successful sales year, you can do your best to plan programs and promotions to move products off pharmacy front-end shelves and into shoppers’ baskets.

The best way to begin is to evaluate what seems to “sell itself” at independents and what needs some extra attention to make shoppers aware, interested, and willing to spend their money. Refer to the Growth Drivers white paper for the categories that excel in independents over chain drugstores. For the items or categories that are not as quick to turn over at independents, do some research into possible reasons why. Is it department location? Is it lack of awareness among pharmacists of product benefits? Is it an out-of-stock problem? Find out as much as you can to narrow down the reasons for slow movement. Once you have diagnosed the issues, come up with possible solutions.

Ultimately, you, suppliers, and independents all want the same thing – to improve sales, profits, and overall business. Coming together to help one another achieve those goals will bring a more determined focus to making it happen.

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