Technology isn't an end in itself.
Other pharmacies have added gee-whiz gizmos, but for PrairieStone, it's all about using automation in a carefully planned workspace. "You can't get intoxicated with the technology per se," says Lewis Zeidner, a cofounder. "The automation is a methodology like a hammer is a tool. The question is, Do you pick up the hammer at the right point in the workflow?"
Technology attracts talent.
Starting up in an industry suffering a labor shortage, PrairieStone's founders were worried about recruiting top talent. But within a month after they opened their first location, local pharmacists were calling them. "We said, 'You're going to focus on patient care, not counting, pouring, licking, and sticking,' " says another cofounder, Marvin Richardson. "They could see that. We began to get the kind of talent we only dreamed we could get."
Sometimes high tech just isn't high touch.
PrairieStone was prepared to add a 24-hour interactive voice-response phone system, as all pharmacies have today. But after customers said they wanted to speak to a live pharmacist immediately when they called, the founders decided to forego the system during the day and rely on their pharmacists and technicians instead.
A version of this article appeared in the April 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.