You’ve thought about it, but you haven’t made the move yet. Or, you’re a member, but you haven’t taken full advantage of your membership.
You could have been busy trying to figure out your marketing plan, or trying to survive the latest round of healthcare related changes taking place in Washington. Or perhaps you’ve just been flat out trying to stay sane while also trying to remain competitive.
Whatever the reason for holding back, things could be easier if you trust power in numbers -- and the collective strength of group membership.
Our core mission is to help you build, run, and grow your independent pharmacy. And, part of our job is to help you maximize your membership benefits and provide potential members with a rundown of why negotiating as a group is one of the most powerful ways to improve the health of their pharmacies.
So, we put together a quick list of seven reasons why negotiating as a group provides some serious advantages to independent, local, and community pharmacies:
1. Competitive Pricing/Purchasing Power
When pharmacies negotiate as a group, they have a massive increase in purchasing power – a power that allows them to help influence more competitive pricing on the products they sell most. Pharmacies can use this buying power and more competitive pricing to capitalize on everything from regional favorites to national name brands.
2. Technology and Software Advantages
An often-overlooked function group negotiation contributes is the ability to find and patronize technology providers whose products have already been tested by other group members.
Because these providers and products have already been proven to control costs, improve sales, and even simplify operations, the demands on time and money for a pharmacy considering those same products are reduced.
3. Special Vendor Purchasing Arrangements
Traditional vendor services are nice, but when you can superpower them, why wouldn’t you? As a member of a buying group, yo get access to increased purchasing power from a deeper pool of suppliers. Everything from front-end merchandise to traditional stock, discounts and rebates received from a larger pool of vendors can help to reduce costs across the board.
4. Access to Tradeshows
Trade shows may not be the first thing on your list of group negotiation advantages, but they should be. Many buying groups have access to national conventions and trade shows. By taking advantage of this access, a pharmacy can increase its ability to meet with vendors who offer emerging technology or products –– which could give them a leg up among their competitors and help them to compete on a more even playing ground with larger chain store retail pharmacies.
5. Access to Continuing Education
Building on trade show access, Continuing Education is another big draw. Not only are Continuing Education and Certificate courses offered to pharmacy owners, staff, and technicians at trade shows, but many buying groups negotiate deals on stand-alone courses for their members that can help them retain their status as healthcare leaders in their communities for lower (or no) costs. Continuing Education is a valuable tool and strategy that can build and grow your independent pharmacy business, setting you up for continued success.
6. Legislative Advocacy
Yes, you too can have a lobbyist! You don’t have to run a multi-billion-dollar corporation to have your voice heard. You may not realize it, but many pharmacy groups act as legislative advocates for the pharmaceutical industry in Washington. Some even employ full-time lobbyists. When necessary, advocates and lobbyists will also routinely coordinate with those of other larger organizations such as the National Community Pharmacist Association (NCPA), providing their members with a louder voice in policy making –– especially when those policies will directly affect their businesses.
7. Pooled Knowledge
There really is strength in numbers –– there’s also knowledge in numbers. A collective pool of knowledge affords members access to not only an increase in buying power, but also an increased understanding of how other pharmacies run their operations. Pharmacies can find peers who have overcome the same challenges they are currently facing, presenting an opportunity for shared strategies and successes.
It takes a village.
A buying group is a community and independent pharmacy is all about community. We know your time is valuable and, lately, there’s been less and less of it to go around. But, by becoming a member of a Pharmacy Buying Group, negotiating as a group, and pooling information, education, and experience, an independent pharmacy’s ability to compete and retain their status as healthcare leaders in their community will only strengthen –– even in an often volatile (and always evolving) healthcare market. Why work harder when you can work smarter?
Which buying group services has your pharmacy found particularly helpful? How has your pharmacy benefited –– or not –– from the buying group services and negotiations provided?
We’d love to know and may even share those experiences in future blog posts, white papers, and e-books. If you’d like to add your experience, please contact BB Drake.
And, of course, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more tips, insights and bulletins that can help grow your pharmacy and save you money – all from your partners at AlliantRx.