(Time to read this Blog is about 2 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:
    “The world doesn’t need one more mediocre anything!  First you have to be a story…and then you have to tell your story.  What’s your compelling and differentiating value ‘story’ and where and how do you tell it?”
    …Donald Cooper
  1. UPS drivers almost never turn left.  Here’s why.  UPS’s vehicle routing software has determined that turning left is most often a waste of time and fuel because of the time spent waiting for traffic or signals to make the turn. Left turns also have a higher accident risk. (Note:  For our readers in UK, Australia, NZ, Hong Kong and Singapore, we’re talking about right turns here).     
    It’s estimated that the ‘almost never’ left turn rule saves 10 million gallons of fuel, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20,000 tonnes and facilitates the delivery of 350,000 more packages each year.
    So, what study, analysis and decisions are being made in your business to be more efficient and more environmentally responsible?  Small improvements can make a big difference.
  2. Women-led companies outperform the average by more than double.  An eight-year study of 11,000 publicly traded companies around the world by Stockholm-based Bank found that companies led by women had an annualized return of 25% vs. the average of all companies of just 11%. So, clearly we need many more smart women in top management positions. 

Now, to this week’s important topic:


Life is free research…4 biz insights from my local pharmacy: 

Every time I go to my local Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up my meds, I get and new lesson on how not to run a business.  At my age, I’m on a lot of meds…so I get lots of lessons on how to get it ‘wrong’!

Yesterday, it took the pharmacy clerk 6.5 minutes to locate my one bag of meds in various drawers, shelves and bins scattered around the dispensary.  While this ‘search’ was going on, the line-up behind me grew from 2 frustrated customers to 9.  In addition to ticked off customers, the huge inefficiency of taking 6.5 minutes to do something that should take 10 seconds, must be costing the pharmacy big-time in unnecessary labour costs. The embarrassed pharmacy clerk apologized to me 5 times over the 6.5 minutes, so she was not enjoying being there either.  

Here are my 4 biz insights from yesterday’s trip to the pharmacy:  

  1. The first biz lesson here is about being aware that there’s a problem in your business and an urgent commitment to fix it. The store ‘franchisee’ / owner was right there, 5 feet from the ‘chaos’, but completely oblivious to it.  Clearly, she sees herself as a pharmacist and not as a manager, leader or advocate for efficiency and extraordinary customer experiences.  
  2. The 2nd biz lesson is about ‘systems & process’. This chaos, inefficiency and customer frustration could easily be solved by a 20-minute Team meeting to get their thoughts on the problem, a slight reconfiguring of the physical layout of the dispensary and some upgraded systems and software. Remember, our front-line people know stuff…and they hate it when we don’t ask.
  3. The 3rd biz lesson is about head-office support. Shoppers Drug Mart is Canada’s largest pharmacy chain, by far, and it’s owned by Canada’s largest grocery chain, by far.  But, in spite of all that Head Office brain power, the individual Shoppers Drug Mart store franchisee / owners have not been encouraged, trained and supported to think and act like business people.  And, their Regional Territory Managers must be oblivious to what’s going on in the stores they supervise. 
  4. The 4th biz lesson is that no one at Head Office, or in the local store, appears to be paying attention to their Google rating and Google comments. This location gets just 2 Google stars out of 5 (most people give them just 1 star) and there are hundreds of Google comments like, “The worst pharmacy in town.”   

You might ask why I keep going back to this pharmacy.  It’s mainly because it’s an endless source of new insight on what not to do in business.  I keep waiting to see when someone will wake up and fix what needs fixing.  It has become a hobby of mine like looking for pennies in parking meters, or watching paint dry.

So, below are a few questions to ask about your business:   

  1. Are you paying attention, or are you blissfully oblivious?
  2. Are you thinking like a day-to-day ‘operator,’ or like a manager and leader?
  3. Are you constantly looking to improve the customer experience and operational efficiency in every part of your business?
  4. Have you embraced the latest and best systems and processes?
  5. Finally, are you paying attention to your Google ratings and comments and to other customer feedback…and committed to fix what needs fixing?
  6. When you’re out in the world, being a customer, are you looking for insights on how to make your business better? Life is free research when you’re paying attention.  


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 

Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

One Response to Life is free research…4 biz insights from my local pharmacy:
  1. Comment * Hey Don,
    Another great observation. I have had the same experience with picking up med’s for my kids and wife at our local shoppers drugmart in our neighbourhood. i was thinking the same thing as one of the largest pharmacy chains in canada, you think they would have the best systems? I went for a booster shot on Monday to a different pharmacy that appeared to have more systems and better customer service. I am thinking of switching to them now. Will forward this email to my operations manager to review our wait times at the front and see if we have any hiccups that have developed since we review our experience cycle. Keep up the great work. Blair.


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