Retail Therapy – God is in the Details

HERD Pharmacy division offers a wide range of goods other than medications and health products that are all offered at retail pricing. The expanding workforce is provided with training, business information and advice as to how to go about making sales that hit the roof. The recent Maha Bachat Mela at the pharmacy located at Khamla is a case in point. Newly set up a few months back, the team needed to build up a retail customer base.

We have learned it along the way that retailing cannot be looked upon at, on an as-is-where-is basis. Proactive customer service to create a positive retail customer experience is going to be vital for establishing presence in an open market. And completion is right across the street and everywhere. This is why the focus has always been on a coherent and practical retail service model that would differentiate us from the others.

The sales staff at the front-end and back-end as well as from management level from top to bottom follow the essentials to help deliver exceptional customer service experience. We continuously drill the minds of our sales staff to exert themselves to befriend and convert customers who walk in through the door. Our salespeople have been ingrained to not just inform but also inspire, educate, and instill confidence in them so the next time round they want to walk in for another wonderful shopping experience.

We do not allow disengaged employees because such will become risky propositions. What we aim for is that when a customer walks in our sales staff should push himself/herself out of their comfort level. Whether they want general medicines, cosmetics, or a health product sales staff should be helping them make their purchases in a manner that will make them return back for more shopping later.

So how do they do it? Staff puts on a supportive attitude and encourages shoppers to try out new things apart from what they actually came in to buy. Overtime they have been trained to learn how to form customer-centric relationships. Offering the team members a certain leeway to chat up with clients, we know for sure this little bit of extra time acts as a fillip to approach and engage often times with total strangers!

New shoppers who venture into the store are happy about the exceptional experience. They are instantly at ease with the friendly atmosphere, attitude and manners of the attending staff. Soon in good time we hope to make them regulars. The Maha Bachat Mela held last week brought in very many new customers. The success of the three day event makes us plan for more such events on occasions.

HERD Pharmacy has been offering very simple concessions to drive home the point that we mean business. The one way in which we engage with them is over the counter or through a call to engage with them and assist them make their purchases. Simple gestures and free home delivery is to really attract them to respond to our customer service. We follow the simple dictum – make the customer happy.

Staff has been trained to employ measures that ensure a few norms in place. Like for instance greeting customers in a way that makes them want to buy and keep coming back. We pay attention and let repeat customers know that we recognize them. Anything goes to start a conversation – politics, cricket and the weather! And a bit of conversation is always good to set the ball rolling.

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GENDER APPROACHES – HERD GROUP PHARMACY DIVISION

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Pharmacists, more commonly known as chemists in our country, are healthcare professionals who practice in a pharmacy. It is a field of health sciences that focuses exclusively on the safe and effective usage of medications. As health care team members they are directly involved with patient care. To be able to do this they have to undergo university-level education to understand all about biochemical drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions as well as be cognizant of monitoring factors for using medications.

It appears to be a good idea to staff pharmacies with women team members, particularly at the store counters. This would be especially useful to interact and respond to women customers walking into the medical store. It has been seen observed that women customers are generally more comfortable to talk to women on the workforce team. Such suggestions have been going around in the sector, emanating from several quarters. It’s been given to understand that the presence of a lady makes female customers (already be troubled by disease and patients back home) instantly comfortable.

Aside from it being a great idea to increase the sales process, it would also work for enhancing the much needed gender equity in the pharmacy sector. In our country very often advice is sought from pharmacists regarding medications to be taken for general ill- health conditions. The best of us may have done so at some point. Since most medical stores are run by men there are hardly any women present to quell doubts arising for women customers. So it’s a good idea to have women pharmacists to tackle issues faced by female visitors.

More often than not in case of mild ill-disposition like common fevers, cold, coughs, and headaches, it is quite common for pharmacists to be quizzed for suitable remedies. If a pharmacy is closer at hand than a doctor many people simply walk up to the medical store and seek guidance as to what medicine should be taken. In the case of women customers having female pharmacists across the counter may be a sound idea to counsel such women as to the best course forward.

By and large, although sizeable numbers of females pass out of pharmacy education each year, a pharmacist’s job is not yet considered as an ideal job for women. Such conservative thinking and traditional opinions continue to plague the sector that keeps women largely out of it. HERD Pharmacy plans to recruit women with the aim to induct willing female pharmacy staff to enhance their diverse roles and to make the best use of their skills. We are keen to make our pharmacies women-friendly so that women customers may approach comfortably and be able to share whats on their mind.

“The feminisation of pharmacy is a fascinating insight into the overall make up of the pharmacist workforce…” ~~ Anas Hasan

HERD Pharmacy – ‘MAHA BACHAT MELA’

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A very enthusiastic HERD Pharmacy marketing team is geared up to deliver as promised at the three-days ‘Maha Bachat Mela’ or Huge Saving Event organized at Khamla for June 9-10-11, 2017. The medical store will have on offer medicated cosmetics and general health products at discounted prices to build up its customer base. Khamla Pharmacy was set up only recently and this is a tried and tested marketing strategy being executed by the experienced team.

The good thing about the HERD Pharmacy team is that the pitch includes everyone – from top level Operations Head to Managers, Communication-designers, Market-campaigners, Event coordinators, and Marketing-specialists along with pharmacy staff. Everyone joins in responsibly to highlight the brand image of the establishment. And what makes HERD Pharmacy stand out from regular pharmacies is the fact that it is affiliated to a large hospital.

This allows health issues of patients requiring more care and expertise to be directly referred to the hospital. In fact the Maha Mela is also conducting a free general health check-up for interested people who walk into the pharmacy during these three days. The team has arranged for experienced doctors and nurses from Lata Mangeshkar Hospital to undertake check-ups. Other than create awareness in the area the point HERD Pharmacy is making is that this is a specialty pharmacy that goes beyond merely responding to prescriptions.

It’s been only days that the Khamla pharmacy was set up and the team has now roped in clinical expertise. Other than this, pharmacy staff has been trained to be compassionate and to guide and support customers who come in. The team sincerely believes that true excellence goes beyond the call of immediate duty. HERD Pharmacy is therefore intent on seeing its brand image advance and thrive.

Operating three other medical stores in different locations in the city, the team is well aware that everything depends on exceptional customer service. And so the staff is trained to provide outstanding service to attract people to become regular customers. Undoubtedly personal attention and a supportive attitude is just the way to increase sales at the pharmacy. Every day the personnel is motivated to question themselves as to what it is that they can do better to enhance the customer experience.

Supervised by senior managers, the interns and new staff are regularly inspired to perform their best. Gaining direct feedback helps managers implement the needed changes that are required. HERD pharmacy will in time transform into more than just a place that sells medicines. The team is already providing convenience products, supplements, health food, health products and Ayurveda medications at the store.

The attempt now is to focus on integrating marketing techniques to create tailor-made sales strategies work out for the target population. In so doing they are concentrating on forming stable relationships with patients and customers. The marketing team is looking at past marketing successes in order to develop suitable approaches for Khamla Pharmacy. Knowing full well that healthcare is increasingly becoming consumer-driven, the team is deploying practices to tune into what patients want and desire.

This “MAHA BACHAT MELA” is all set to offer discounts to its growing numbers of valued customers. Discounts are being made available ranging from 5% to 50% for all general health products and cosmetic goods.  HERD Pharmacy Marketing Team understands what the customers want to buy and help them do so. They are not afraid of getting creative to experiment with ideas. This then is just such an event to attract customers, egging them on to buy products of their choice at discounted prices.

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Monsoon Games

 

1200px-New_Mexico_Monsoon_2011Nagpur. Still humid, muggy and sultry. The rainy season was supposed to start already. But it’s been days now. And no rains! The hushed under song of the early dawn brings in cool breezy winds. You almost smell the moisture laden atmosphere and you are still waiting. And perhaps imagine the earthy scent that is produced when rains hit the parched dry soil. Your senses are yearning for the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of the first rains. Yet they tarry and linger and the clammy days move on from morning to night with nary a drop from the heavens!!

Each morning the weather projections get broadcast everywhere. Even Facebook informs – “It’s going to rain. Take care and stay dry!!” But the past three days since June 5 when the monsoons were predicted to start their annual deliverance, are going high and dry. Insat weather imagery is also going awry. The clouds keep getting all skewed and out of kilter. The high resolution Insat images too are unable to keep track of the wayward clouds. Yet, still we wait…

Nagpur has been gearing up for heavy rains as monsoons this year are expected to be really heavy. With the rains projected to hit soon the civic administration has been attending to issues related to water logging and need for maintaining hygiene, especially in vulnerable areas. The authorities are busy scrambling to complete the sludging and de-silting works of ditches, drains and nallahs. The experiences of last couple of years have not been good. Flooding of homes in low lying areas and swamping of roads and open spaces created severe problems.

As a prelude to the heavy downpours that are expected the city has been ascertaining that garbage disposal is efficaciously carried out. With new norms of garbage collection citizens are being roped in to become accountable for cleanliness around them. This is very important especially in view of ensuing health issues and epidemics like dengue and malaria that must be overcome. Thus while rains are a natural phenomena, flooding and epidemics are certainly preventable. This is why everybody needs to pitch in to make the season safe and healthy.

So even as we wait for the rain gods to bestow their bounty, it has certainly been beneficial to have had city precincts undergo deep-cleaning and sprucing-up to face up to the anticipated monsoon onslaught. In the meantime we stay pinned with our hopes on the skymetweather.com prediction that the Monsoon 2017 will make its onset over North Maharashtra and that rains will increase gradually by June 10-12.

HERD Foundation wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable monsoon season. Here are a few tips to remember to stay healthy while weathering it out for the next few months:

  • Avoid street food.
  • Keep insect repellent handy.
  • Avoid walking about in the rain.
  • Keep umbrella, rain coat, and cap handy.
  • As far as possible eat hot food and drinks.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in the rain.
  • Dry feet immediately if they get wet.
  • Avoid colds and coughs by keeping your body dry.
  • Drink herbal teas often.

Keeping the Peace

 

May 29Monday, 29 May 2017 is being celebrated the world over as International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The occasion commemorates the importance to honour and remember personnel who are in the forefront to keep the peace around the world. India today remembers 168 of its soldiers who died in various corners of the world for the cause of peace. India actually contributes around 6,900 military personnel among 115,000 peacekeepers in various missions.

It was on December 11, 2002 that the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003. The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is a tribute to people who serve or have served in the UN peacekeeping operations. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948 until April 2016, 3,400 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease.

The global theme being celebrated this year is – Investing in Peace around the World. Today the focus is to be on offering tributes the world over to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s whose invaluable contribution results in peacekeeping by the United Nations. UNO therefore honours the peacekeepers that have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.

“Peacekeeping is an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. It is a flagship enterprise of the United Nations. Today, it deploys more than 113,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. It is a flexible, evolving instrument that brings together political, security and technical tools to assist countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace.”, as per the statement issued by the UN on the occasion.

“Over time, peacekeeping has grown from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and so much more. They have also work to ensure that women are fully represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All of these efforts are fundamental investments in building lasting peace,” adds the statement.

With time peacekeeping has moved on from just simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and more along these lines. UN has also worked to ensure that women are represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All such efforts assist in being able to make fundamental investments in building lasting peace.

Peacekeeping mission focuses on ensuring rule of law. Currently, UN peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 124 Member States. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of UN peacekeeping. Despite the breadth of its operations, peacekeeping’s budget is less than one half of one percent of global military spending. Every mission aims to save lives and prevent mass atrocities to set the stage for peace.

 

 

 

Need to Reinvent Institutionally

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One of the most difficult things to do after building a respected organization is to reinvent the institution that may perhaps not be performing to its full potential. The best amongst us often face strange snags – embedded cultures, weighty reputations to live up to and worst of all resistance to change. With passing time, all of this makes it yet harder to transform organizations in order to take them to the heights they deserve to reach.

Apathy, lackluster culture, or vested interests can really put a spanner in the works! The best efforts and an established reputation would not be visible to the outside world, if new, innovative things were not to occur in an institution. We have to therefore continually plan for culling in the state of the art goings-on in the world of medicine so that we can be abreast with modern world of medical education.

‘So what have you done lately’ may well be the question of the brave new modern medical world! ‘So what’s new’ – this oft asked common-place query should really become an impetus for all of us to look for answers that lead us on to explore avenues for expanding our horizons. As affiliates in the management of these medical institutions, the common search in these establishments would help determine and differentiate issues that hamper progress and growth. There is only way for them to go – and that is up!

The need really is to develop and enlarge the framework of these medical institutions so that they outshine and grow alongside world class institutions. This is essential to allow them to emerge as recognized institutions of higher learning across the globe. One cannot afford to sit on past laurels nor allow any kind of complacency to set in. Such might obstruct plans for envisioned transformational processes. In all likelihood these then would be successful steps that will alter the course of these institutions.

When Shri Ranjitbabu Deshmukh and his devoted team took over the reins of NKPS Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, few outside of Nagpur even knew it existed. In no time these coveted institutions had made their mark in Central India, doubled residential students, jumped student enrollment, and now the Medical College and Hospital attract the best talents and students from all over.

So much groundwork and effort has gone into the Institutions to bring them to their present stature. Undoubtedly it has been the vision and vigil of the founding fathers that serves as an inspiration to this day. Putting up the right people together with given responsibility and due authority helped in making everything work and grow. Decisions were made that made things going bigger and better.

And now once again the time has come to strengthen affairs with a plan of action. The present sets of guardians have a vision in place. Added to this, they have the propensity to act, to make decisions, to make things happen. The team is a strong believer in opportunity. And looking into the kind of prospects and targets that appear quite reachable, they sense the time has come to move fast to be at pace with contemporary medical science around the world.

Some of the opportunities that have of late presented themselves make it urgent to move forward for the rapid growth that is for the asking. New joint ventures, new technology and new associations will most certainly offer a lot more opportunities. There is so much ahead going on in the medical world of which we have to become a part. And we have to take advantage of it. It is in this context that both Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta want to reinvent institutionally to be ready for the next level of achievement. With an inherent propensity to get things done, it is time to create the environment to get the faculty involved in this vision to succeed beyond expectations. And that’s the very real transformation through which they want to lead the change.

May 8 – World Ovarian Cancer Day

Ovarian cancer affects about quarter million women all over the world! It kills about 140,000 women annually. Surprisingly it does not distinguish between women of developed or developing countries! Hence it is essential to know all there to know about this dreaded disease. All of us must know the symptoms, risk factors, family history regarding ovarian cancer.

Sadly, ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate among all gynecologic cancers. Also it is characterized by lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis. This is why May 8 got marked out in 2013 to observe World Ovarian Cancer Day. The day focuses on ovarian cancer and many of us educate communities about ovarian cancer. It is also a day to build solidarity for women fighting the disease.

Largely overlooked in terms of awareness creation and funding, it is time to tell all about it. Ovarian cancer symptoms are quite similar to other less serious conditions. Further absence of early detection tests results in late diagnosis, often leading to few survivors who may advocate or draw attention to the disease. It was therefore decided to draw worldwide attention and gladly the idea was accepted by participating countries that now offer good momentum.

It is really important to spread awareness about the disease, especially about its symptoms that often get confused with less serious conditions like gastrointestinal disorders! Most victims are identified only in advanced stages when the disease becomes difficult to treat. Hence it is critical to create awareness about the risk factors, signs and symptoms. Also, family history plays a definite role in identifying the disease.

Experts opine that frequency and combination of symptoms help in identifying ovarian cancer from other conditions. Anybody with the following symptoms on most days within a three week period must consult a doctor immediately:

  • Increased abdominal size / persistent bloating
  • Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Needing to pass urine more urgently or more frequently
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Unexpected weight loss or weight gain around the abdomen
  • Fatigue

Early diagnosis helps in improving chance of survival. When the cancer is confined to the ovary then up to 90% of women are likely to survive for maybe more than five years, under specialized treatment. Women with symptoms of ovarian cancer should find a specialist so that an accurate diagnosis is made. Later they should go to a gynecologic oncologist who would be the best expert to manage the disease.

Most times ovarian cancer gets diagnosed when the cancer is already at an advanced stage. Many women delay seeking help in the false belief that the symptoms are related to their period, menopause or other ailments. With modern day tests and examinations it is possible to arrive at well deduced diagnosis. It is to be remembered that a cervical smear test or Pap test does NOT detect ovarian cancer. It only detects pre-cancerous changes to the cervix that is treated more successfully than ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women, worldwide, and is the most serious gynecological cancer. For women without a family history, the biggest risk factor is age. It therefore becomes essential to talk to doctors to determine personal risks. A family history of breast or ovarian cancer requires genetic counseling. This is really important and we can show our love, support to women we cherish in our homes – mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends.

Every woman in the world is at risk of developing ovarian cancer, the most serious gynecologic cancer. May 8 is therefore the day to spread the word on World Ovarian Cancer Day to provide an opportunity to raise awareness of this disease. HERD Foundation joins in this global movement to ensure all the women know about ovarian cancer.