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Hurricane Family Pharmacy Manages Inventory with Beacon

Cliff Holt

Every other piece of technology we’ve had we have outgrown and had to scrap. With Beacon I can simply keep adding on and incrementally increase the system as we need it.

Cliff Holt, President, Hurricane Family Pharmacy

Intoduction and Background

Inventory is typically a retail pharmacy’s largest financial asset. One key decision for every pharmacy manager is how much inventory to keep on hand. Having too much inventory can mean less available cash; too little inventory, however, creates an inability to fill prescriptions in a timely manner and a loss of patients.

Success relies on the pharmacy manager’s ability to maintain accurate and current records of drugs on the shelves, as well as prescriptions filled. Effectively, inventory management accuracy is critical to ensuring retail pharmacy profitability.

One company, Parata, is leading the way in effortless perpetual inventory control. Its Beacon system makes it truly possible for pharmacies to do more with less.

The Challenge

One of today’s greatest challenges in pharmacy is the continued and growing high cost of drugs and an unprecedented boom in treatment innovations. In 2015, total drug spending in the United States reached $364 billion, with $98 billion attributed to specialty drugs. By 2020, expenditures are expected to reach $483 billion overall and $212 billion for specialty meds. For pharmacy owners, this environment equates to a huge amount of beneficial, valuable inventory to manage — and protect.

The Decision

The first Hurricane Family Pharmacy location opened in 2009 in Hurricane, Utah. Pharmacist and company president Cliff Holt recalled those early days, when “you would just pray for a customer to walk in the doors.” Those worries didn’t last long, as the business quickly grew. Today, Hurricane cares for more than 14,000 patients in their community. The pharmacy’s growth led to some new needs in terms of drug packaging and inventory management.

“About a year and a half ago, we outgrew the packager we had been using,” said Holt. They needed something new. He’d heard about Parata and decided to visit their office in Powers Lake, Wisconsin, in order to see how their Beacon inventory management system worked.

Holt was impressed by the model pharmacy Parata houses onsite and, in particular, the compact layout maximizing its footprint. “I couldn’t quit thinking about that. I was out of space – we were running out of room in the bays, and I had two pharmacists working at one counter.”

The Results

Hurricane Family Pharmacy purchased Parata’s Beacon inventory management system in June 2016. The decision to invest in Beacon meant articulating and creating a customized design to meet Hurricane’s specific needs. Parata’s mechanical engineer worked with Holt to structure and install Beacon’s modular, moveable components in an optimal configuration for the space.

Hurricane’s pharmacy department footprint was reduced by 50%, allowing more store space for retail sales. Workflow has increased, thanks to three high-density filling stations located right where the technicians stand. “The drugs are literally in reach now,” said Holt “Not steps away, but actually within arm’s reach.”

At the same time that revenues were growing, Hurricane’s inventory shrank by $200,000. This is possible because Beacon’s perpetual inventory system knows exactly what drugs are on the shelves, in what amounts, and with what dates. “Beacon knows the dollar value of our inventory down to the penny,” Holt said. That knowledge alone is an outstanding ROI.

In addition, Beacon prevents unnecessary and costly waste. For Hurricane, what used to be one or two bins of expired drugs each month has been reduced to less than half of one bin. “That kind of waste really bothered me,” Holt said. Now when an order is made, Beacon pulls medications in order of return-to-stock drugs first, partial bottles next, and then shortest expiration time. Losses due to expiration dates are simply no longer an issue.

Using Beacon makes sense from a sustainability standpoint, as well. “Every other piece of technology we’ve had we have outgrown and had to scrap,” said Holt. “With Beacon I can simply keep adding on and incrementally increase the system as we need it.”


Beacon offers pharmacy managers the opportunity to reduce and control their inventory, streamline and increase workflow efficiency, and boost patient care and consultation time. All of this is possible without having to completely remodel a pharmacy space or impose a huge learning curve on pharmacy staff, and with no lapse in patient safety.

Hurricane’s business grew from 150 filled prescriptions a day before Beacon, to an average of 600 today – with the same number of staff members and a 50% pharmacy footprint reduction. And they haven’t hit capacity yet. “We could handle another 30% or 40% increase in growth right now, the way things are laid out with Beacon,” Holt said.

Solutions at Hurricane Family Pharmacy

Beacon Workflow Solutions

Beacon® Inventory Management System transforms your pharmacy efficiency and storage, reducing patient medication errors and your inventory carrying costs.

ATP® 2 Pouch Packager

Discover the industry-leading oral solid automated tablet packager engineered for performance and reliability for both unit dose and multi-med packaging.

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