Jeffrey’s Drug Store is an independent pharmacy located in the small, intimate town of Canonsburg, PA. Jeffrey’s Drug Store has been serving the community of Canonsburg for over 100 years, and has been owned and operated by Gerry O’Hare for over 20 years. O’Hare recently took the time to discuss how the ECRS point-of-sale system and their partnership with Cardinal Health have helped streamline his day-to-day operational needs.
O'HARE: The implementation of ECRS' CATAPULT retail automation system and their tight integration with Cardinal Health has greatly improved our overall store efficiency. Our front-of-store used to require a full-time manager to run day-to-day operations, but with the ECRS system in place, many of the cumbersome processes that were part of the daily routine have been eliminated. The ECRS partnership with Cardinal Health is huge because it allows for all the price updates to come through flawlessly and for all the automatic re-orders to happen behind the scenes. It is a completely automated system. The more automation you have within your store means less time employees have to spend doing manual tasks. With ECRS and Cardinal Health seamlessly handling the day-to-day operations, employees can spend more time on customer service or improving other areas of the store that would have previously been neglected.
O'HARE: The ECRS Supplier Integration Server (SIS) automatically generates purchase orders for front-end merchandise as soon as it is sold at the register level. This is huge because we used to require a front-end manager just for ordering. Automatic Replenishment allows us to remain in stock on a daily basis. Before the ECRS system, the front-end manger would walk around the store and order once or twice a week. It was completely normal for us to have three or four days when items would be out of stock. For example, if we had a really good day on Monday and sold a lot of product, then the shelves would be empty until Thursday. With SIS in place, if we have a great Monday, then on Tuesday everything is replenished automatically and we’re up and running again. It's really a great system for maintaining inventory and keeping up store appearance. The front-store appearance is very important. Image is everything to a smaller, independent pharmacy such as Jeffrey’s. If customers walk in and see full shelves with inventory neatly arranged, then they know we’re up and running, we’re in business, and we’re here to stay. This is so important for the independent pharmacy owner in today’s competitive landscape.
This system has allowed us to become almost a stickerless pharmacy. We don’t have to spend time stickering each individual item. Shelf labels also improve the overall image of the store. The automatic price updates we receive regularly allow us to be more consistent with our pricing, and we are able to keep up with those updates effortlessly.
O'HARE: I use the ECRS system for a number of things, one of the most important being security. Being a small pharmacy, we don’t deal with a lot of theft, but we have come across some security issues. The ECRS CATAPULT system helps prevent security issues before they occur. For example, before CATAPULT we had cases where a cashier would accidentally ring in an item for $3 when it should have been $30. With a CATAPULT and the ability to scan items, this simply doesn’t happen. Reports provided within the system also help to track any discrepancies and monitor store transactions.
O'HARE: In addition to credit and debit transactions, we also use the signature capture for our prescription signature tracking. Our pharmacy system is tied directly to the ECRS CATAPULT system. We can easily track if a patient has picked up a prescription, or if a prescription has been scanned. In an audit situation, we can actually pull the signatures electronically instead of having to search through piles and piles of paper. It’s wonderful to have this feature available electronically through the ECRS POS system. Anyone who has been through the audit process knows that getting signatures can be the most difficult part.
O'HARE: ECRS customer support has been unbelievable. I can only think of one time in the many years since we implemented this system that we have been down, and ECRS support was right there to rescue us. They are always quick to respond, and they take the time to actually solve your problem rather than simply trying to blame the problem on another component of the system.
O'HARE: ECRS also takes the time to develop relationships with other vendors to create a very efficient system. They work with our vitamin supplier, card processing company, and many of our gift suppliers. There isn’t a lot of hand input involved with the maintenance or initial installation of the system. The staff is there every step of the way to provide the support needed. The ECRS customer support is very good, and in the world of computers, customer service is everything.
O'HARE: It’s all about efficiency. Sales are better because product is on the shelf, and the staff has more time to focus on customer service. The ability to seamlessly maintain inventory is very important because you don’t want to send customers elsewhere to purchase items that could be on your shelves.
A modern POS system is something more pharmacies need to move toward. In today’s competitive landscape, you need to automate every part of your business if you are going to survive. If you are a Cardinal Health customer, you have to do yourself justice and look at the ECRS system because of the efficiency it provides and the numbers it brings. With the tight integration between Cardinal Health and ECRS in place, everything pretty much occurs behind the scenes. It’s truly seamless, and it makes my job that much easier.
The ECRS POS system and their partnership with Cardinal Health have combined to provide a wonderful tool for us. Inventory management, re-order capability and security are all things that give us headaches as pharmacy managers; having the CATAPULT system alleviates all of those problems.
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