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Five ways distributors should dream big for pharmacy partners

By George Rafferty

How do you know when your distributor is growth-minded?

Large retail pharmacies serve a special role in their communities. They're vital to the patients who depend on them to fill prescriptions for everything from seasonal allergies and emergent illnesses to chronic conditions. As such, retail pharmacies need a reliable distributor with a strong network of manufacturers, even stronger values, and a commitment to solving any challenges that arise so that consumers don't have to deal with disruptions to their course of treatment.

A good healthcare distributor is more than just a middleman. Pharmacies can only dream big if they have a distributor who will dream big with them, embracing and living out a larger purpose and applying that to how they partner with their pharmacy customers. These are a few of the ways in which a distributor can — and should — dream big on behalf of its large retail pharmacy customers:

1. Bring in diverse perspectives

A distributor that builds a diverse team and cultivates an inclusive environment internally is better able to serve a wide array of customers and their communities. When it comes to innovation and problem-solving, diversity can elevate the conversation, generate more ideas, and help avoid blind spots. Diversity ultimately raises the overall IQ of the team.

2. Commit to sustainability and corporate responsibility

A pharmacy's mission is ultimately to improve the health of its community. As a partner in that mission, it's crucial for a distributor to ensure it has strategies in place to prioritize sustainable and diverse suppliers and to continuously strive to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. Any responsible partner will also have a broad understanding of what it means to be healthy and grasp how a corporate commitment to social equity contributes to a healthier future for everyone. It's incumbent upon any global leader in healthcare to make sure we care for the health of our planet.

3. Prioritize purpose

 It can be easy for anyone to get lost in the logistics of day-to-day work. The best way to ensure a team stays motivated is to instill a sense of purpose. A purpose-driven distributor will be as committed as the pharmacies it serves to meeting patients' needs and making them healthier. The distributor may not have direct contact with the patient, but prioritizing their health will provide the necessary drive for team members to keep things running efficiently and solve problems before they can disrupt patient care.

4. Never stop innovating

Now more than ever, it's important for pharmacies to be able to adapt to changes in consumer behavior, and they need distributors that are creative and flexible enough to rise to the challenge. Given the ongoing ripple effects of COVID-19, it's important for distributors to anticipate consumers' needs and be nimble enough to help pharmacies meet them where they're at.

5. Make customers shine

The goal of any distributor should be to make their customers look good and operate to the best of their ability. If a distributor takes the time to observe and understand how pharmacies run their businesses, it can do more to address their needs and improve the overall customer experience. Pharmacists already have enough to do without worrying about whether a particular product will be on the shelves. If a distributor can make everything run like a well-oiled machine, it can ultimately fade into the background, allowing the crucial work pharmacies do for patients to take center stage. That's the value of a trustworthy and mission-driven healthcare distributor.

Is your distributor bringing the dream to life?

At the end of the day, a distributor's growth is dependent on the growth of its customers. That means going beyond the dream to bring the breadth of its enterprise so that pharmacies and providers can accomplish their goals.

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Find out more about pharmacy solutions at AmerisourceBergen

About The Author

George Rafferty
President, Corporate Partnerships
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