Vmotion™ in motion
ITK recently spoke with Ramez Mattha, an innovative community pharmacist who has enthusiastically embraced automation, including the installation of Vmotion™ screens in early February 2020 at one of his pharmacies.
Ramez shares a little of his pharmacy journey, his perspective on technology in a community pharmacy setting, coupled with his unwavering goal of delighting his customers.
Can you provide a little background on your pharmacy journey to date?
I was introduced to pharmacy through my father who is a professor of Pharmacy. While my father was still in the research field, I began studying engineering as he bought his first pharmacy. However, soon after, I embarked on the community pharmacy journey alongside him as I switched to pharmacy. I worked part-time at his pharmacy while studying and it was at university where I met my now wife, Lisa. We understand pharmacy and the challenges that invariably accompany our roles as community pharmacists. Lisa has been the driver of our pharmacies and specifically the technology elements. She has completed a Diploma in Nutrition to provide additional service and solutions to our customers, extending to vitamins and complimentary medicines. Technology is at the forefront of our entire model of pharmacy.
In 2020, you introduced Vmotion™ screens in one of your pharmacies?
Vmotion™ screens are a solution to a problem I believe exists for a lot of pharmacists today. One of our pharmacies was growing at a rapid pace in a busy medical centre, and floor space became a critical issue. We needed to maximise the front of shop space and expand the facings and footprint. However, in the absence of being able to add physical floor space, we considered how we could offer digital gondolas. This was an easier solution than finding more physical space.
There began our Vmotion™ process as we did not have the luxury of seeing other Vmotion™ screens in place at the time. Space was our primary consideration, and BD Rowa™ explained to me the benefits of using the Vmotion™ OTC solution to display the products and vary the visual interface as required.
We have a clear agenda for our front of shop in that we strive to develop a systematic approach to product recommendations, matching the product to the disease state or problem the customer presents. This allows for a solution that is systematic and importantly, any staff in the pharmacy environment can replicate.
Standards are accurately benchmarked and the Vmotion™ cleverly allows for this product and service standard to be met. It displays the product in the correct manner and importantly, the key messaging about the product, facilitating the conversation with the customer regarding the benefits of the relevant product.
The Vmotion™ screen is intuitive and provides a step-by-step systematic approach to displaying directly to the customer. We can display the product image, orientate it in different ways, show every product physically and completely immerse the customer in the experience and benefits of the product in a holistic health sense.
Importantly, it allows us an opportunity to introduce a strategy to customer engagement and ultimately product sales. We are not compelled to stock all OTC products in the robot, only those we wish to stock and sell. In fact, we believe the bigger the robot, the better because it allows the Vmotion™ to display a broader product mix and to dispense the product from a robot if included.
The Vmotion™ adds a real competitive advantage as it benefits the pharmacy and importantly, the overall customer experience.
Can you recall any challenges, particularly in the early stages of installation?
Ramez – Perhaps the biggest challenge we face as pharmacists is change management and how we introduce that change. We need to stay ahead of the technology curve, not just attempt to keep pace with it by introducing new and innovative approaches to serve the customers’ needs and health outcomes as provided by the Vmotion™.
The challenge is in educating the team and identifying how we get them excited about using such cutting edge and interactive technology.
How does pharmacy keep pace and embrace this technology in a community pharmacy setting?
Ramez – Technology surrounds us and is quite literally taking over, so there are a few things that technology can do to improve the health outcome for the customer. Technology assists to improve the customer service experience and engage them more deeply, including the speed they are served.
For example, script platforms such as Guildcare have added to this experience of ordering and paying for the script and having it delivered. Parallel technologies are helping our technologies evolve, assisting to tap into a larger market as early adopters of this technology.
We’ve got a robot that manages our DAAs for customers and assists with managing their health. To further illustrate, an additional technology that has helped with safety is our sachet robot. Checking medications ensures packing is accurate and medication mismanagement is largely alleviated.
That is perhaps the most exciting technology of all, dispensing robots which complement the Vmotion™ OTC platform. Prior to automated dispensing, manual dispensing times were variable. Automation reduces error rates to almost zero, and these increased accuracy levels delight the pharmacy and the customer. As a result, there are no mistakes in selection errors and the safety of the entire engagement is incredibly accurate.
What advice would you offer anyone who was considering Vmotion™ screens in their pharmacy?
Ramez – Pharmacists are trying to find new and innovative ways of creating efficiencies and improving their business. While the traditional ways of doing business in pharmacy are sustainable in the short term, slowly, new technologies are emerging that provide expedient script processing, allowing for a more complete level of customer care. They are happy to invest in what will provide better health outcomes, and Vmotion™ screens support this.
It is about improving customer engagement and the Vmotion™ is the perfect vehicle for this. It’s an amazing tool in terms of maximising your KPI of return on real estate investment. Ultimately, if you have a smaller footprint pharmacy and you want to increase your front of shop capacity digitally, product recommendation technique and product sale, the Vmotion™ is a game changer for our profession.