Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Bright-Aid Pharmacy: Human Resource Forecasting and Staff budgeting.(Instructor's Note)

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Bright-Aid Pharmacy: Human Resource Forecasting and Staff budgeting.(Instructor's Note)

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

The context of this case is a retail pharmacy in a large national drug store chain and requires students to forecast a staffing plan and calculate a labor budget to fit an operating schedule. It is specifically written for students learning about the management of Human Resources (HR) in any field of study. This case offers a step-by-step exercise (embedded within the case) to guide the student through the basic calculations required for planning the staffing of any operation. It addresses two of the three challenges (staffing and budgeting) presented by the tight labor market in one healthcare profession. Suggestions for the instructor related to variations on the case address the third challenge (scheduling) defined as the actual assignment of staff to certain days of the week or hours of the day. This case has a difficulty level of three on a scale of one to five and is appropriate for upper division, undergraduate students or graduate students. It is designed to be delivered in portions of two classroom periods with completion of the embedded exercise as homework between the two sessions or online in one learning module. When combined with a reading assignment, the exercise is expected to require one to two hours of student preparation.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Bright-Aid Pharmacy faces a challenge typical to retail environments: staffing the long hours of operations (9AM-9PM every day of the week). In order for the pharmacy to operate, the store manager must staff several jobs: a pharmacist must be on duty, pharmacy technicians assist the pharmacist, and a cashier is needed. An exercise is embedded in the case to guide the analysis of this HR forecasting and staffing. Essential informational elements are provided to set the stage for designing, budgeting and implementing a staffing plan for a retail pharmacy of a large national drug store chain. The exercise and case questions require selection of appropriate informational elements to address the case components; calculation of production, full time equivalents of three levels of staff (pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and cashiers) and labor costs; and use of methods for monitoring performance in preparation for business growth due to such things as technology advances or national health insurance policy changes.

INSTRUCTORS' NOTES

Introduction

This case allows students to practice three HR forecasting methods: scenario analysis, managerial estimates and math models as outlined in the background and case introduction sections below. These sections could also be incorporated into a lecture in the classroom or in an online learning module.

Staffing Shortages Anticipated

Since there seems to be a drug store, and sometimes more than one, on every street corner, the competition model seems to be thriving in the retail pharmacy industry. Consequently, there is a high demand and a short supply of pharmacists as well as pharmacy technicians. Pal (2002) and an MSNBC report in 2005 underscore a nationwide shortage of pharmacists that will continue until at least the year 2020, which has prompted fierce competition. Desselle (2005) adds the importance for employers to address the national problem of high turnover among pharmacy technicians. These two circumstances call for careful use of the pool of available personnel through the human resource functions of staffing, scheduling and budgeting. These factors contribute to the 'scenario analysis' resulting in staff forecasting.

HR Forecasting and Staff Budgeting

Any operation requires a plan for staffing. Determination of staffing requirements (the number of people needed to operate a component of a business) is a basic first step in HR planning. The planning framework strives to match estimated labor demand (the number of people needed for each required skill level) with estimated labor supply (the size and availability of the talent pool in the labor market). …

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