- Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania
- Industry: Pharmacy
- Number of Stores: 4
- Web site: www.thompsonpharmacy.com
"Having inventory, cost, and pricing information in the palm of my hands has been instrumental. I'm able to make smarter buying and pricing choices that fine-tune margins. Eagle gives me peace of mind, and that's invaluable."
Mindy Baker, Store Manager | Thompson Pharmacy
Thompson Pharmacy is a four-location business located in Altoona, Pennsylvania. While all four locations provide pharmacy services, two locations also offer a large retail selection including gift items, clothing, sports memorabilia and food, along with the unusual additions of a dry cleaning service and a post office. With multiple locations, a large retail inventory, and 100 employees to manage, it can be difficult and complex to track inventory and keep a pulse on key performance indicators. Thompson Pharmacy relies on Epicor® Eagle® to better manage front-end inventory and monitor daily performance of the business.
Serving retail and pharmacy needs
Prior to choosing Epicor Eagle in 2011, Thompson Pharmacy had tried a couple computer systems that didn't perform. "We wanted a system that integrated with our pharmacy system," said Mindy Baker, store manager at Thompson Pharmacy. "We needed the confidence that when we ran a prescription at the register, it would get reflected in our pharmacy system, which is critical in the pharmacy world. Other systems we tried would crash in the middle of the day or our prescriptions would not scan. Once, we even lost all our inventory data." "The Eagle system integrates with our pharmacy system, this is very rare in the pharmacy world. It's versatile and makes us more efficient. Our data is secure and we train new employees to use the system within hours. We have peace of mind."
Performance data drives profitable actions
Thompson Pharmacy's managers were searching for a better way to monitor business. After hearing great things about Epicor Performance Manager, Baker implemented the powerful business information tool. "We now see what's going on in the business with just a glance at a few key charts. We quickly and easily see performance from year-to year and use that information to increase sales."
The straightforward dashboards have contributed to improvements throughout the store, including accounts receivable. "We now easily track our best- and worst-paying customers using the Top 100 Customers chart," said Baker. "If a customer wants to increase their limit, we check that list first to see if an increase is profitable-it's a fast decision. If they aren't on the list, we won't extend their limit. Before, we would have flipped through several screens-taking more time-to reach a decision. We also use the Top 100 Customers chart to give discounts to our best customers and encourage them to keep shopping in the store."
Thompson Pharmacy now streamlines scheduling with a quick analysis of store hours. "With just a click, I see which hours are the busiest and which are slow," said Baker. "I have a better sense of how to profitably schedule our employees. We serve our customers better because when we are busy, we have employees there to take care of them. When you take care of your customers, your business thrives." Baker can go even further in her store hour analysis. "I recently researched the profitability of staying open the last hour of each day. I was surprised to see that our last hour of the day has indeed been very profitable. Without that data, we may have reduced some profitable store hours."
Baker also uses the dashboards to get a quick glance into performance and can react to trends and issues as they arise, before they create a large impact. "I can see sales at a quick glance without running a report," said Baker. "After Christmas, I noticed that our pet department was performing poorly. When I looked at the data more closely, I saw that we had sold out of a lot of items even though the shelves didn't appear empty. I reordered those items right away, preventing larger losses in sales. The quick glances allow us to be very efficient and act quickly. We have been able to save time, become more efficient, and use the analytics to boost sales."
Baker uses the Market Basket feature to guide co-selling decisions. "I love Market Basket. I look up an item and see what other items normally sell with it. It's amazing to see what drives customers and what products they are buying together. I try to market and display those items together to increase sales. It has helped us build better endcaps to serve our customers when they walk into the store, and our customers enjoy a better shopping experience. We can help them get what they want faster."
Performance Manager has made tracking inventory easier. "We transfer [inventory] between stores, but as you can imagine, we sometimes make mistakes," said Baker. "Performance Manager makes it easier to track errors and correct them so that our inventory stays accurate. We serve our customers better that way, too. We can count on our data to accurately inform our customers of items on the shelves. It also helps us plan for the year ahead to ensure we are not over- or under-purchasing for upcoming seasons."
Going mobile: One quick glance to buy or pass it by
Baker goes to buying markets throughout the year. The printed reports she typically brought with her did not always help. Baker needed faster access to inventory information for on-the-spot decisions and now has that with Epicor Mobile Manager. "I'd be at a market trying to research an item, and I wouldn't have access to any of the information I needed-I wouldn't know if it had sold well or if we still had any in stock," said Baker. "With Mobile Manager, I immediately access data on how any item has performed in the store. For the most recent show, I took both my phone and the printed reports. I ended up using my phone to look up information because it was so much faster and more convenient. Without Mobile Manager, I would have purchased items that we really didn't need. It has been very useful to have our inventory information so easily available."
"The Eagle system integrates with our pharmacy system, this is very rare in the pharmacy world. It's versatile and makes us more efficient."
Mindy Baker, Store Manager
The owner of Thompson Pharmacy has also benefited from going mobile. He can keep an eye on the business without having to be in the store. "The owner can instantly see how well we're doing daily and assess if we have too many people scheduled for the day," said Baker. "He can manage the business remotely, all from his phone. Recently, when he was away from the store, a potential customer asked him if he carried a certain product. He looked it up on his phone and saw that we had two in stock. He called us and asked us to pull the items for the customer."
Baker also uses her smartphone while in competitors' stores to compare prices. "I like to know we are on the right path. Sometimes our prices are in line with our competitors and other times they are too high or too low. On some items, we could be earning more profit. It helps me evaluate and change prices to increase profit."
Price checks are also conducted for a customer using a smartphone. "I can check the price on my phone without having to leave the customer in the aisle," said Baker. "It has made a great impression on our customers!"
Thompson Pharmacy has improved performance. "Having inventory, cost, and pricing information in the palm of my hands has been instrumental," said Baker. "I am able to make smarter buying and pricing choices that fine-tune margins. Eagle gives me peace of mind, and that's invaluable."
Technology that empowers
"Eagle inspires me because I learn something new every day," said Baker. "I find something new in the system that I can use to do a better job, be more efficient and make more profit for our company. Before Eagle, my work would pile up so much that I sometimes dreaded coming in to work because I knew I would never get it all done. Now with the Eagle system, I have a sense of accomplishment because I am caught up. I even have a life outside the store and coach a volleyball team. I could not have done that before Eagle. I can't say enough about the Eagle system. It has made my life so much easier every day."
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.