Sam’s Club and Amazon rank top among customers in terms of experience
WABAN, Mass. — Based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers, Sam’s Club and Amazon earned the top spots in the retail sector of the "2013 Temkin Experience Ratings," the Temkin Group announced Tuesday.
Six additional retailers were in the top 20 overall, including Costco, which was tied for the No. 13 spot with Nordstrom. Four retailers tied for the No. 20 spot, including BJs Wholesale, Dollar Tree, PetSmart and Walgreens. Thirty-six out of the 44 retailers in the study earned a "good" or "excellent" rating.
"The retail industry remains one of the better sectors for customer experience," stated Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group.
The "Temkin Experience Ratings" evaluated three areas of customer experience: functional (can customers do what they want to do), accessible (how easy it is to work with the company) and emotional (how consumers feel about their interactions).
Amazon and Sam’s Club earned overall ratings of 81% while Ace Hardware earned 80%, both of which fall into the "excellent" range. The average rating for the retail industry increased from 71% in 2012 to 74% in 2013.
Amazon and Costco were the top rated retailers in the functional component; Ace Hardware was the top rated in the accessible component; and Nordstrom earned top honors in the emotional component.
Office Depot and Barnes & Noble made the largest improvements in the industry from 2012.
Support for comparative effectiveness research grows
WASHINGTON — A survey of 114 researchers, government officials, insurers, employers, business leaders and trade groups found nearly one-third say comparative effectiveness research will have a "moderate improvement" on healthcare decision making over the next 12 months.
The survey, conducted by the National Pharmaceutical Council, was the third in an annual series. The 31% who foresaw a moderate improvement from CER marked a 7 percentage-point increase from 2012. Over the next three to five years, 51% of respondents said there would be a moderate improvement, while 31% foresaw a moderate improvement over the next five years. Meanwhile, 24% said there would be a "substantial improvement" over the next three years, while 55% said such an improvement would occur over the next five years.
"The potential for CER to reshape the healthcare landscape is real, but the survey indicates that the actual impact is still on the horizon," NPC president Dan Leonard said. "Many healthcare stakeholders are not seeing an immediate impact from CER, but they do expect CER to have a larger impact on decision making during the next five years."
The NPC said the survey indicated that as the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act picks up speed, healthcare stakeholders have growing expectations for the use of CER as a tool for improving healthcare decision making.
The survey also found that more and more stakeholders are looking to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute as a leader in the CER effort. The survey found that 73% of respondents viewed PCORI as leading on established research priorities, while 67% said the same about the National Institutes of Health, and 65% said that about the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. At the same time, the NIH is still viewed as playing a leading role by 69%, but that number is down from last year’s 85%, while 66% have the same view of the pharmaceutical industry, and 61% said that about PCORI, figures nearly unchanged from 2012. Most researchers, respectively 82% and 67%, expect the work conducting research to fall to academia and the pharmaceutical industry.
"We’re expecting many groups to have a significant voice in the CER conversation during the coming years," said NPC director for health services research Kimberly Westrich. "Yet we’ll likely see a clearer picture emerge as the research priorities identified in the last year yield results that stakeholders can use."
Compared with 2010 data, the survey indicated that respondents believe efforts to advance research standards and move toward integrated purchasing decisions have increased slightly during the past three years, with 16% saying there were no widely agreed-upon research standards, compared with 38% in 2010. The respondents who said there were widely agreed upon standards rose from 7% to 10%. Those who thought purchasing decisions took an individual, "stilted" view of services declined from 62% to 39%.
Cardinal Health braces for August contract expiration with Walgreens
DUBLIN, Ohio — In the wake of a new partnership announcement between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health announced on Tuesday that its pharmaceutical distribution contract with Walgreens that is scheduled to expire at the end of August 2013 will not be renewed.
"Although we are not yet ready to provide fiscal 2014 earnings guidance, our portfolio has considerable balance and we have prepared strategies to mitigate the impact of a Walgreens nonrenewal," stated George Barrett, Cardinal chairman and CEO. "Based on this, we will target a 2014 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to be at least similar to the fiscal year 2013 guidance range of $3.42 to $3.50 we provided in our fiscal 2013 second quarter earnings release. We intend to provide more color on fiscal 2014 during our fiscal 2013 third and fourth quarter earnings calls."
The company also noted that earnings for the current fiscal year 2013 would not be negatively impacted as the current Walgreens agreement remains in place throughout fiscal 2013.
Sales to Walgreens, one of Cardinal Health’s two largest customers, generated approximately 21% of consolidated revenue for fiscal 2012. For this period, approximately 60% of revenue from Walgreens was classified as bulk sales, which, as described in the Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, has significantly lower segment profit as a percentage of revenue than non-bulk sales.
After the expiration of its contract with Walgreens, Cardinal anticipates a significant net working capital decrease based on reduced inventory and accounts receivable, partially offset by reduced accounts payable. Based on the expected working capital decrease and other factors, it is anticipated that the expiration of the Walgreens contract will result in a meaningful net, after-tax benefit to cash flow from operating activities in fiscal 2014.