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Systems provide boost for business outcomes

PUTTING systems in place to govern virtually every facet of the business has paid off for a Subiaco pharmacy.

Friendlies Chemists Subiaco embarked on the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Quality Care Pharmacy program about 18 months ago.

It was named Quality Care Pharmacy of the Year last week.

Small business owners are told to put systems in place to make their business run better.

And, furthermore, they should continually monitor those systems to make sure they are working and see if they can be improved.

However, the usual small business owner’s lament is that he or she rarely has the time to put in place systems, let alone monitor them.

In Friendlies’ case, while the initial introduction of the program was painful, it soon started to show benefits.

The pharmacy’s owners have enjoyed increased profits, management has become easier, communication between its different departments has become clearer and the staff has become more proactive in improving the business.

The business even put in place a system to deal with armed hold-ups, something pharmacies are unfortunately becoming more familiar with.

Friendlies Chemists Subiaco marketing manager Sharon Edwards said that system was put to the test and found to be working effectively.

“The girls knew exactly what to do. They handed out offender description sheets to the customers and the whole thing seemed to run so smoothly,” Ms Edwards said.

“We even have lines painted on our doors so the staff members could say how tall the offender was.

“The police caught him a week and a half later.”

However, the biggest difference seemed to come in the business’s recruiting procedures.

“Recruitment procedures became very strict. The main difference is that when a staff member joins they know exactly what they are doing because they are given a job description. That’s something we never had before,” Ms Edwards said.

“The program also improved our customer service and generally improved the way the store ran.

“It forced us to have monthly meetings so every department could let the others know what promotions they were running.

“Before we always tried to organise these meetings but they’d usually get missed because other things became more important.

“We’ve organised job descriptions for everyone – something we didn’t have before. Just by going through those job descriptions we found areas of the business that weren’t being covered.”

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said it was crucial small businesses came up with systems to cover their key areas of operation.

“You can virtually encapsulate your business into four or five key areas, so you just need to set up systems to cover those areas,” Mr Etrelezis said.

“Systems can make training and inducting staff so much easier because you can give them a list of their key duties.

“It’s also becoming more important to link system development with risk management to work out ways to overcome a stoppage in one of the key business areas.”

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