- Billie Hopkins
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How do you develop a loyal customer base as a pharmacy? By gaining their trust, offering them superior service, and truly caring about their well-being. To do all of this, however, you’ll need to rely on your supplier. More than perhaps any other industry, the supplier you choose as a pharmacy can make a big impact on how successful you are as a business.
That’s why, when you’re starting out or looking to expand your operations, it’s essential that you sit down to consider which supplier works best for you. There is a range of factors you’ll need to look at, and it’s not always an easy decision to make. If you focus on seeking out the following seven core values, you’ll find a partner to help your business flourish.
Although it may seem obvious, checking for supplier accreditation is often overlooked in the haste to get the business up and running. Accreditation is a good indication of supply reliability, product authenticity,1 and regulatory compliance, so, if you’re looking to build a dependable long-term connection, making sure they’re accredited is a vital first step.2
Not all accreditation is equal, either, so it’s also important that you find out what your pharma supplier is accredited for and who they’re accredited by, and double-check with the relevant authorities to avoid any problems down the line. This is especially true if they’re supplying you with controlled substances such as Schedule II – V drugs. For that, you should confirm that they’re certified by the DEA.
A Wide Range of Pharmaceuticals
When a potential customer comes to you, you need to have what they need on hand. To those in need of medical supplies, everything is urgent, and almost all people will simply go to another pharmacy instead of waiting days or weeks for an order to be delivered. Once they go to another pharmacy, of course, they probably won’t return.
Any supplier you choose needs to be able to provide you with a broad inventory, as well as multiple options for each product or drug so you can pass that choice on to your customer. While having multiple suppliers to widen your range is fine, the fewer suppliers you have, the better.3 It’s far easier to keep track of stock and avoid inventory gaps when you only have to deal with one or two suppliers.
In any business, and with any supply chain, there are always going to be occasional delivery hiccups. When we talk about reliable delivery, what we mean is that these disruptions are not only kept to a minimum but also that they are resolved quickly and honestly so it doesn’t affect your pharmacy.
That means a fast turnaround on orders, full delivery tracking, the use of a reliable delivery company, and open communication about order status, delivery problems, and any missing, damaged, or returned items.4 As well as that, if there is a problem, your pharmaceutical exporter should go the full mile in correcting the problem at no further cost or inconvenience to your or your customers.
As a business, it’s only natural to look after your bottom line. You could provide the best range and customer service in the world, but, if you’re not making a profit, you won’t last long. That’s why, apart from everything else your pharmaceutical supplier should offer, good prices—as well as volume and loyalty discounts—are definitely the top priority. The supplier should want to help your business grow!5
Convenience and Extra Services
Time is always the enemy of new business owners. There’s just never enough in the day, so whatever helps you save time will also help you out by allowing you to manage other aspects of your business with more care.
Inventory management and order is one such example: It’s necessary, of course, but also a big-time sink. A supplier that can make the whole process more convenient and less time-consuming should be valued highly!
In particular, look for suppliers that will help you partially or fully automate the reordering process, monitor the shelf life of pharmaceuticals, inform you of new products, and work with your own stock-keeping system so there are no gaps in your inventory and stock doesn’t run out (or expire) without warning.
Local and International Expertise
Pharmaceuticals is one of the most tightly regulated businesses out there—not just in the United States but around the world. Not only that, but legal requirements for importation and sales of many drugs vary from country to country and even from state to state. If you’re just starting out in the industry, keeping track of all the laws for your jurisdiction (and any relevant taxes) can be extremely challenging.
A good pharma export company will use its expertise to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law. Choosing a supplier that has extensive experience with your particular market can make all the difference when you’re starting out and, with their knowledge, they’ll be able to help guide you through the process.
This is especially important if you’re planning on operating in a different country from your supplier. In this case, finding an experienced international pharmaceutical export company isn’t just a matter of legality. With its knowledge of customs and the import/export process, and by using its international connections, the company can often save you a lot of paperwork, a lot of hassle, and a lot of money in taxes and fees.
How do you really know if a supplier is going to be the right fit for you? A lot of the time, it seems impossible to tell until you work with it. If you’d rather not risk wasted time and effort— and who can blame you—then one of the best ways to get a feel for a supplier is through its reputation. Determining their reputation early will make quality assurance simpler in the long run.7
Thankfully, this is easier to find out nowadays with all of the online tools at your disposal. Having said that, you should read as broad a range of reviews as possible, and it’s also an excellent idea to approach other companies, such as clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals, and confirm any opinions you’ve read. Not only that, but you should also talk to the supplier itself! Good suppliers will be more than happy to establish their credentials and let you know exactly what they can do for you.
Finding a Pharmaceutic Supplier You Can Trust
When it comes to your supplier, trust is both impossible to quantify and impossible to be without. In order to be successful without worrying all the time, you need to be able to trust your supplier. Trust that they’ll come through when things go wrong, trust that they know what they’re doing, and trust that they’re always giving you the best possible service. Trust takes time to establish, but the seven values we’ve just described create the ideal foundation.
If you’re looking for a pharmaceutical export company you can trust no matter where your business is, choose A-Plus Corporation. Based in California and suppliers to pharmaceutical companies across the world, the company delivers generic, brand name, and controlled drugs with a reputation for supply chain excellence and outstanding customer service.