CORONADO, Calif. -- The Food Marketing Institute has unveiled a new video-based training program aimed at creating synergy between supermarket pharmacists and store managers. "Bridging the Gap: A Program in Pharmacist/Store Manager Relations," previewed at FMI's Pharmacy Conference, held here April 21 to April 23, is a five-part program illustrated in a 20-minute videotape. A reference manual is also included.
Many pharmacy executives at the conference hailed the program, saying it will improve the operations of their department, as well as the performance of the entire store.
"It gives us a tool to work with store management," said Gary Smith, director of pharmacy, Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y. Filmed in Shoprite stores supplied by Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J., "Bridging the Gap" centers on a pharmacist/store manager misunderstanding involving a customer. The situation is described from both views, and is resolved with practical recommendations on how to avoid similar misunderstandings.
The program is designed to be presented in three sessions: for store managers, pharmacy managers, and both departments together. The individual meetings run two-hours, while the joint gathering lasts four. "We created three different types of sessions for three different types of problems," said Marilyn Fowler, principal, Fowler Associates, San Ramon, Calif. Fowler Associates designed the program with the assistance of the 16-member FMI Program Development Committee. After interviews with 50 executives from 20 different supermarket companies, Fowler determined that both departments don't understand how the other operates. About 80% of respondents said store managers are only "focused on the numbers," often ignore pharmacy's contributions in the store and can be difficult to work with.
Store managers, in turn, reported that pharmacies are not essential to store operations, act like "prima donnas," have no business sense and are inaccessible. The goal of the program is to explain store/pharmacist impact on the financial success of the store; gain insight into job responsibilities; explore different customer service perspectives and learn more about store/pharmacist business operations.
"We wanted each department to walk a mile in the other's shoes," said Fowler. Without having a good rapport with store managers, pharmacies won't be able to make the transition to pharmaceutical care, said Fowler.
The video, which officially goes on sale next month, is available to FMI members for $200 per kit and $175 for each additional kit. Nonmembers will be charged $600 per kit.