Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Let's implement the 80/20 principle in pharmacy - if you haven't already.

For those of you not familiar with the 80/20 principle (more formally known as the Pareto Principle), it's a basic rule of thumb stating that about "80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes".

In relation to pharmacy then, it becomes like this:
  • 80% of your profits made in the pharmacy comes from only 20% of your customers.
  • 80% of your sales are only from 20% of your products.
  • 80% of your time was wasted by only 20% of your customers.
  • 80% of complaints come from 20% of your customers.
and ad infinitum....

Once examined, the pattern becomes as obvious as Kim Kardashian's ass.

It is then not too much of a stretch to say that perhaps, just perhaps, we should focus more of our energy on the 20% of the customers that gives us 80% of the profit and tolerate no B.S. from the ones that are being less than reasonable. Not only do we achieve better profit margins, we also gain more time, which we can then spend on providing better service for those that are actually sensible to us.

At the end of the day, pharmacy is a business. So perhaps we need to stop trying to be nice to everyone (especially the ones that demand a specific type of flavoured pamol liquid even though the kid is already 8yo) and focus our energy so we can achieve greater efficiency on those that actually benefit from our efforts.

Of course, one can cite this and that about everyone in this country deserving the right to equal healthcare but the reality is, if someone comes into your pharmacy asking for advice yet he is determined to reject everything and anything you say (even after 20min of discussion) then I think you will be forgiven for not going the extra mile.

Cautionary note to all the employees though, you'd probably be better off doing what your boss tells you to do at the end of the day :) Although that doesn't prevent you from bringing this topic up in an informal discussion.


  1. problem is you can't ask the 20% to bugger off

  2. 80% of ur complaints would probably come from 20% of those "unprofitable" customers.
    Does that mean u r more likely to "get into trouble" if u stop serving them?

  3. not suggesting to not serve them, just suggesting not to bend over backwards for them, spend the minimum effort required for you to satisfy the legal requirement, that's all.