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Get to know John Saywell - The IPG

Sharing cutting-edge and industry-leading data analysis and invaluable knowledge on service in Pharmacies is not just a job for John Saywell, its a passion and his purpose. Outside of his 9-5 job as CEO of RPM Retail and Co-Founder of The IPG, there's much more to John's life that you may not know! Read our Q&A below to find out more.

1) Tell us a bit about yourself – What’s your background and your journey to starting RPM Retail and the IPG?

I grew up in New Plymouth and my first job in pharmacy was as a 13 year old washing bottles, cleaning windows and delivering prescriptions at Teeds Chemist which my father managed. I learned how to sell working on the photo counter. Managing the sunglass sales during my Pharmacy School holidays was the start of my interest in inventory management. Janet and I moved to Christchurch 40 years ago and we owned and managed pharmacies before I started my consulting and software company RPM Retail over 20 years ago. I’ve worked with pharmacies and other retailers throughout NZ and Australia and all of my learnings from being in and around retail for nearly 50 years are now being put to good use as the foundation for the operating standards for The IPG.

2) Outside of work, what are your interests / hobbies?

I’m a keen runner (half marathons are my preferred distance) and I love wordgames and card games.

Cryptic crosswords keep my brain flexible, and Wordle is a fun daily habit.

3) What is your ‘why’? – It could be your goals, mission, mantras or sayings that you live by

Getting things done is my passion.

I love the saying: “To know and not to do – is not yet to know”

I love change! Helping people to change using patterns which make things simpler is my mission.

If I hadn’t become involved in retail I would have been a software developer… the simplicity of using 1s and 0s to write complex programmes which change the world is the 8th wonder of the modern world!

4) Where do you see RPM / The IPG in the next 12 months? Think about the team’s goals and aspirations for the year ahead

RPM has been ahead of the pack through its use of cloud-computing, AI and computer learning – and the market is only now catching up.

Building the world’s best group of high-service pharmacies throughout NZ is the most exciting opportunity ahead. It really is the culmination of my life’s work which supports behaviour change with great systems.

5) Why should Independent Pharmacies sign up with the IPG and RPM?

My biggest learning throughout my career is that successful businesses are just well-organised collections of people doing the right things together.

It is not possible to be the best on your own – and Independent Pharmacy owners need the support of a strong, like-minded network of colleagues, experts and suppliers if they want to win in the fun “game” of business.