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Getting Down to Business

February 23, 2012

I applaude the efforts of the many independent pharmacy Owners/Operators gathering this week at the Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) annual conference in Orlando. Dan Benamoz and his team put on a compelling event that is all about the business of pharmacy. More than a tag line from an industry behemoth, PDS’s version of business-centric emphasis for real Owners/Operators dealing with real challenges and offering real solutions is what the overall independent pharmacy industry needs.

Central to the event this year is the burgeoning topic of the independent’s considering the essence and reality of interdependence. This too is more than a rhetorical theme. If the audience would dare to coalesce around a short and defined list of critical issues, put pen to page making some form of owner/member commitment, and even go as far as surrendering secondary issues for the immediate critical ones then measurable progress could begin. At the end of the day each Owner/Operator has to ask the image in the mirror if the necessity of independence is costlier than a surrendered compromise to interdependence. You can’t have it both ways. My Dad used to say, “The only thing you get from sitting on a fence is a sore crotch.”

It’s my hope that substantial and material movement can be made, not by a few hundred promoting a good public relations campaign but, by several thousand banding together in an affiliated structure to once and for all change the game. It begins with individual decisions one Owner/Operator at a time.

I’d like to see an Independent Pharmacy Owner/Operator Thought Leaders Summit called to present, discuss, vet, and decide on an appropriate structure to move forward. Not unlike any corporate planning initiative, this summit would involve hands-on pharmacy management practitioners as well as domain experts from the legal, risk, financial, and strategic planning disciplines. Technology leaders supporting the industry should band together to offer best-in-class automation solutions. Logistics leaders should share best practices unencumbered by phantom competition concerns. Other interested vendors should offer support and thought leadership to support the thinking. Why? Because if the independents fail all the suppliers, vendors, and support organizations will be materially damaged as well. In other words, our self-interest is a mutual interest.

Any takers?

Copyright 2012. The Tricord Group, LLC


Economics, Change, and the Independents

November 23, 2011

So much is occurring in the national economy, the global economy, that it’s difficult to stay current with the chain of economic traumas being broadcast each day.  The world is struggling to find its footing and sad to say it won’t for a few more years.  The fundamentals have been so egregiously trespassed that consequences are unavoidable.  It’s time to pay the cost of irresponsibility.

It’s in the current context that American healthcare is attempting wholesale change, enterprise transformation.  It’s not all good you know.  Actually, more is questionable and in error than founded in sound thinking.  Such is the way of government.  Representative of the whole, the broadest constituency, yet perhaps the most myopic of decisioning bodies on the planet.

As we look to the future Tricord encourages, begs for,  the Independents to unify and make something of themselves unlike they have done in less trying times.

We hope you’ll listen to this podcast and make better decisions . . .

Copyright 2011.  The Tricord Group, LLC

Driving Toward a Sustainable, Enterprise Solution

June 29, 2011

I’m a fan of Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) simply because they apply focus and passion to assisting Pharmacy Owners and Operators with basic business support.  Their recent effort to promote a comprehensive solution to the diminishment of Independent Pharmacy through NAPHER is worthy of praise.  They’re going about it the right way . . . Gather a mass of members who acknowledge the common problem and are willing to sign-up to belong to a common solution THEN go about exploring the complexities of the problem and the myriad possible solutions in order to get to a short list of viable, sustainable, enterprise ones.

This course of common sense action is creating some anxiety with some in the community.  They are tossing grenades, criticizing the NAPHER effort as naive, poorly organized, and unnecessary.  Some are even hinting that Dan Benamoz and PDS are only doing this to fulfill some self-serving purpose, to expand the PDS business footprint.  It’s amazing how low people will stoop when they start an attack on another.  Character assassination, a constant in American politics, is now common place in other segments of society.  I am hoping the community of Independent Pharmacists who read this and listen to the audio link below will reverse this and step up to defend the relationship they have with PDS and will get behind NAPHER.  Let’s be better people.

All the best . . .

Off to the races . . .

June 14, 2011

The participants are launching from the gate, egos are puffed out, and pedestrian positions are front and center. The riders are jockeying for position with Socratic inquiries intended to present themselves as authentically intelligent when they are only pseudo-so in reality . . . They’re the only ones who don’t understand the difference.

This is the entire essence of the Independent’s demise . . . Lost in self-absorbed importance based on anecdotal events, yet unsustainable practices with terminable sustainability. Me! Me! Me! (Us requires too much inconvenience)

Vanity, where is your end? Pride, you exact too high a cost!

Is Anyone Listening? Is Anyone Taking Intelligent Action?

June 8, 2011

This posting is an edited and expanded excerpt from a recent entry made on the Pharmacy Development Services Message Board:

I’m curious. How many Independent Pharmacies are there out there?  I keep seeing the numbers from 21,000-24,000 Independent Pharmacies in America.  This doesn’t include the Independent and Privately owned Long Term Care, Specialty, and Chain Pharmacies.  These numbers are quoted for the Independent Retail Pharmacies.   Has everyone signed up to participate in the restructuring and strategic planning for Independent Pharmacy?   Believe me, the publically traded companies are watching.  The investment community is watching.  The regulators are watching.  Most are betting against the Independents as fractured, self-centered, whiners that can’t their act together to stand together for anything.

It’s a funny thing about organizational behavior, the way people interact with one another. On one end we have the “Wait and See” crowd who rarely take initiative. Too risky. Might be wrong and God forbid, they might taste the crumbs falling off of Humble Pie.

On the other end are the “Geronimo” crowd leaping headlong onto the fray often without knowing what the fray is!. Short on insight and a grasp of understanding the 360 degree dynamics, they are sure they have it figured out because they have anecdotal evidence (at best) or a gut feeling (at worst) that’s driving their effort.

For an initiative of this magnitude to succeed it will require people who are first and foremost cognizant that the current way of things is no longer acceptable. Secondly, they will understand that if things continue as they are, their livelihood will be at risk and all they’ve worked for will diminish. Thirdly, they desire to lock arms with similar thinkers to lay out a plan of action that makes sense, not for this or that or you or me, but for the industry as a whole.

When these kind of folks get together they will define the primary themes around which they will coalesce, themes that stand for something. They will not only identify themes with a negative nature which they all agree upon (PBM tactics) but will also identify themes of a positive, forward leaning nature that they will invest in (Formalized Network, Independent PBM, Independent GPO, etc.).

There are many ideas floating around about how to address this current state of affairs but it will only happen, it will only succeed, when we begin at the beginning.

Have you signed up for to participate in this industry transformation? Have you asked your colleagues and contacts to sign up?


Copyright 2011.  The Tricord Group, LLC

The Pros and Cons of Interdependence

June 8, 2011

Interdependency is a compromise.  It requires give and take, letting go and holding on.  So why do it?  I guess you have to believe the value of interdependence is greater than maintaining a strict posture of independence.  So let’s look at an abbreviated list of the Pros and Cons of interdependence and see what it yields.



  • Power in Numbers – The leverage of combined numbers allows for significant buying power, influence, and voice.
  • Ubiquitous Reach – Being everywhere to meet the needs of Customers and Patients.
  • Common Framework – Meeting Customer and Patient expectations through repeatable value and service.
  • Safety Net – You’re not alone in managing your business, addressing risks, and planning your future.
  • Extended Opportunities – The synergy of thought and creativity generates multiple opportunities to expand the business footprint.
  • Can you offer more PROS?
  • Surrendered autonomy requires the effort to cooperate, compromise, and communicate; high energy drains.
  • Surrendered autonomy means NOT getting to do whatever one desires.
  • Surrendered autonomy means having to sometimes agree to “second-best” choices when one would have chosen something else.
  • What other CONS can you offer that don’t fit under these themes?
The reality is, we in America live in an interdependent society.  We choose to.  We founded our country on independence from foreign rule but interdependence in how we govern ourselves and conduct commerce.  This founding principle is what fundamentally sets us apart from most other nations.
The question that we now must grapple with is what the Independent Pharmacy market with its distinctive segments, will do about formalizing an interdependent structure?
Copyright 2011. The Tricord Group, LLC

More on “Resident Magnetism”

June 7, 2011

The choice, open and unencumbered, to choose interdependency as a core operational ethic is where “Resident Magnetism” finds its start.  It begins with each Pharmacy Owner/Operator conducting an intentional conversation with themselves, posing questions to the figure in the mirror, and allowing for the awkwardness of a response.  Sound crazy?  Not really.  Each of us conducts an ongoing conversation with ourselves everyday.  You don’t think so?  Then stop what you’re doing right now and listen only to what’s passing through your mind.  Empty and silent?  On the contrary, our minds are active and conversational, processing images, sounds, and senses twenty-four hours a day.  It is these internal conversations that set the context for how we see the world, our work, and our interactions.

So what shall we discuss with this figure in the mirror?  How about the pros and cons of maintaining independence versus interdependence?  Let’s begin with independence . . .



  • Autonomy to do your own thing.
  • Efficiency in running your own business by your own rules.
  • Streamlined Decisioning – Nobody in the way to inhibit decision-making.
  • Self-Accountability – The “buck stops here!”
  • Are there more that don’t fit under these four?
  • Limited perspective and self-interest regarding industry – Like a mule with blinders on; “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
  • Myopic approach to daily business often void of “best practices” – “We’ve always done it this way!”
  • Limited challenges to the rights & wrongs of conducting business – Need we add anything here?
  • Limited leverage in contract negotiations, vendor management, and regulatory influence.
  • Are there more?
Don’t get me wrong!  I love being American, self-determinant, and independent.  But when my love for that threatens to undermine the whole system then I have to ask myself what is the healthier choice?  How do I exercise the very best of independence in the greater context of interdependence?  As a Pharmacy Owner/Operator, what does this mean to you, now, in this time, when the very independence you have celebrated threatens to end the independent industry altogether?
We’ll take a run at the Pros and Cons of interdependence another day.
Copyright 2011. The Tricord Group, LLC