Innovation, Binghamton University host pharmacy automation symposium
With retailers and healthcare providers across the country struggling to find ways to get their pharmacists more involved in patient care, pharmacy automation supplier Innovation brought together executives from a diverse range of companies earlier this month for a detailed look at how its partnership with Binghamton University’s Watson Institute for Systems Excellence is helping retail pharmacy in this effort.
“Our association with WISE is in no way accidental,” Innovation COO Tom Boyer told attendees at the two-day symposium at the university’s school of engineering. “We are in an excellent position to leverage the research being done here.”
During the event, entitled “Exploring Successful Change Management for Pharmacy Operations,” Boyer and more than a dozen Innovation senior staff, professors and students explained the work that they were doing to make high-volume automation an option for more pharmacies. A critical part of the discussions focused on ensuring that once a pharmacy commits to high volume automation for a central fill or mail order site, the installation and operation of the system goes smoothly.
“We have a mutual goal,” Boyer said. “You have this asset that you have acquired from us, and the more it stays working effectively the more beneficial it is to your business and to us.”
Symposium participants, which included drug chain and supermarket pharmacy executives from such companies as Rite Aid, Wegman's, Publix, Giant Eagle and Brookshire Food and Pharmacy, as well as representatives of mail-order operations and pharmacy benefit management companies, said they came away with a clearer picture of the benefits that high volume automation can bring to their businesses.
In addition to the discussions, the symposium also included a tour of the Binghamton University School of Engineering where attendees saw some of the work researchers are doing in 3-D printing, computer-assisted design and simulation and modeling.
A live “cobot”– an extremely flexible and adaptable robot that works in collaboration with a human – demonstration showed the impact these small-footprint devices can have on speeding up the prescription-filling process and making a pharmacy more efficient.
“I definitely see cobots being the future of robotics,” BU assistant professor Dr. Chris Green, who led the demonstration, said. “While I don't like to use words like 'paradigm shift,' cobotics will represent a paradigm shift.”
All in all, attendees who were already using Innovation technology told Drug Store News that the event gave them a better understanding of how to get the maximum benefit from their systems. Attendees whose companies were exploring the possibility of adding high volume automation came away with a clearer picture of what the technology could do for them and how to best plan for such a complex implementation.
“The information that was given was something that will help us make informed decisions that can aid us in enhancing our patients’ quality of life,” Rite Aid manager of pharmacy technology and operations Steve Smith said.
Pharmacy automation market is expected reach US$ 9.55 Bn by 2022, as healthcare providers and retail pharmacies are focusing to reduce incidences of medication errors and adverse drugs effects.
Farm to shower: Natural options dominate shelves
Although sales increases in hair care are not as dynamic as some other categories, retailers are enthused about the caliber of launches hitting shelves. Among those they are hoping will shake up sales are Garnier’s Whole Blends — nurturing formulas concocted to return health to hair — and TRESemmé’s new Beauty Full Volume.
(Click here to view the full Category Review.)
L’Oréal’s U.S. CEO Jean-Paul Agon recently singled Whole Blends out during an analyst meeting. “Natural, organic hair care — this is something that apparently everywhere is growing,” he said, adding the company was responding with a natural line.
The TRESemmé introduction is the first reverse system in which the conditioner goes on before the shampoo. It is promoted by Chrissy Teigen. Beauty editors have been burning up social media praising the results from the reverse process.
Also out of the gates fast is Henkel’s Schwarzkopf Ultîme hair care collection. The brand kicked off last year in Walmart as an exclusive, and now is rolling out nationally. To sweeten the offer, Schwarzkopf is adding a new line of products for dry and damaged hair called Essence Ultîme Amber + Oil Nutrition.
“We added this to have something to cater to the growing desire to address damaged hair,” said Daniel Langer, SVP and general manager of Henkel Beauty Care North America. Schwarzkopf also is launching a new styling collection, Styliste Ultîme Amino-Q Hold, which includes a hair spray, a mousse and a gel — all priced at $7.99.
The national rollout is just the beginning for the company, which has a goal to gain a bigger footprint in the U.S. hair market. The brand is nationally known, with plans to duplicate success in American mass doors.
No comments found
Retailers note spike in artificial nail sales
Perhaps women are fatiguing of gels, or just want instant access to the coffin-shaped nails made popular by celebrities. Whatever the reason, retailers are seeing a spike in sales of artificial nails.
(Click here to view the full Category Review.)
The category is up 10% in drug and 13% in multi-outlets.
Kiss Products has been on top of new shapes and introduced an oval choice in its imPRESS manicure lineup. Kiss also debuted new French nails for women who want that look in an artificial version. Walmart also offers a natural French nail from Nailene, and Rite Aid’s expansive nail assortment includes Revlon Color Allure nails. Interest in nail art is expected to continue to fuel fake nail options.
The overall nail category can use the lift. In total, nail is down only slightly, but nail color is still in the red with sales in drug stores down almost 6% for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 21, according to IRI.
There are a few new items retailers hope will re-energize the category, including new celebrity-backed offers from SinfulColors — three from social media phenomenon Kylie Jenner. The next collection is expected to feature textured polishes.
There also are new colors coming from Sally Hansen, including some tricks to create unique nail designs. Retailers are keeping an eye on the delicate balance of traditional colors and the new gels. One concern is whether or not the proliferation of new gels will confuse customers and cut sales. For some chains, the goal to building new color lies with such exclusive nail products as Target’s Defy & Inspire, CVS’ Pop-arazzi and Rite Aid’s JulieG.
No comments found