With the shift in consumers buying so many goods online, Walgreens was challenged to stay competitive in the pharmaceutical sector and is changing how it fills prescriptions to be more efficient. Walgreens has opened one of its first micro-fulfillment centers in Texas to fill prescriptions using robotic arms. Within this facility there are approximately 220 employees including pharmacist’s that fill roughly 35,000 prescriptions per day. Walgreens plans to open 22 more fulfillment centers throughout the US to service 8,500 of their 9,000 stores.
Each robot can fill as many as 300 prescriptions in one hour, whereas a pharmacy employee may only be able to do that many in one day. Walgreens is keeping its pharmacy staff numbers very much the same, although hoping they can shift to provide customers more healthcare services and a nicer quality experience. The pharmacy has been seen as very transactional; Walgreens hopes to change this to enhance the customer experience and to provide more quality one on one time with their patrons.
For the pharmacy store chain, this investment could translate into cost savings and new streams of revenue. As more prescriptions get filled by robots, pharmacists can take on other duties that Walgreens can bill to insurers or customers, such as testing and treating medical conditions and writing prescriptions.
To read more, click the link: Walgreens turns to robots to fill prescriptions, as pharmacists take on more responsibilities (cnbc.com)