Moving the HME Industry Forward

General Healthcare

Why Go It Alone? Partnerships to Help Your Business Succeed

August 10, 2015

LUBBOCK, TX – One of the key elements to supporting business growth is developing and maintaining successful partnerships. Partnerships provide a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties, and may give you the added business strength and resources you need compared to running your business on your own. Teaming up with the right company can deliver many benefits, such as helping you expand your market reach, enjoying a speed to market, or developing new business opportunities.

Critical to joining forces in a new business relationship is ensuring your company connects with the right partner – pair with someone that is compatible with your company, provides benefits, and wants to work with you. To build an effective relationship, it’s important to consider your company goals and then find a company you can trust to help meet those goals. Maintain open communication to build trust and ensure that you are working toward the same objectives.

In the HME industry, evaluate forming partnerships with the following:
• Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO)/Member Service Organizations (MSO)
• Manufacturers
• Service Companies (outsource)

A Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)/Member Service Organization (MSO) membership is one distinct form of a solid partnership. If you are currently a member of a GPO/MSO such as The MED Group, it’s important that you are maximizing your membership and have truly partnered with them! There is a tremendous amount of value to gain for very little investment. Group Purchasing Organizations can help your business operate more effectively with payer contracts, discount pricing, and continuing education and accreditation tools.

Be sure to take advantage of all that your GPO offers; in addition to standard group purchasing services, they may host networking events and legislative advocacy forums that let you meet with key industry influencers. GPOs and MSOs are some of the best partners you can have, because they’re always working for you. If you are not currently a member of a GPO or MSO, I would suggest researching your options and joining one. If you are a member, make sure you are taking full advantage of your membership and are using all of the available benefits!

Your manufacturers, your largest vendors, are another obvious representation of the benefit of partnerships and solid business relationships. They should know the vision for your company and be approaching you with ideas and suggestions on how you might succeed. If they are not, it may be time to evaluate who you are doing business with.  I am continually impressed with the business partners I work with on a daily basis.  

The support that I witness is amazing and the passion that these folks all share is a true testament to the companies that employ them. A real “business partner” will want your business to succeed, and will be willing to work with you in terms of price, new products, promotions, shipping terms, etc. You should regularly evaluate your relationships with manufacturers to ensure that you are working with the best possible team for your company.

Service Companies
The service companies you work with are a valuable partner for your company as they can save you time and resources. Are you still managing sleep patients for re-supply in-house, shipping supplies out of your warehouse, or handling your own billing and collecting? It may be time to take a look at one of the many companies that can perform these activities, and perform them very well. When you work with a service company, you free up time to stay focused on the products and services that you offer for your patients. To ensure that your service company is working effectively and efficiently, you should clearly communicate your goals with them and occasionally review their progress.  

In today’s environment, partnerships are more important than ever. There is absolutely no reason why you should “go it alone.” By understanding what to look for in a successful partnership you will recognize that there are many ready and waiting to help – all you need to do is ask! Review your current partnerships, and consider new options to help your company rise to the next level. It takes an open mind, fresh eyes, and a huge amount of dedication to survive and thrive. Setting mutual goals and communicating with your partners will allow you to run your business more efficiently and provide better service for your patients.

Todd Blockinger is senior director of Sales, The MED Group, Lubbock, Texas. Attendees at Medtrade, scheduled for Oct 26-29, 2015, can visit The MED Group at Booth #2319 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.