Access Point dismisses rumor, plans for growth

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ST. LOUIS -Access Point Medical's vice president of sales, Andy Jones, put a lid on rumors that the company has fallen on hard times, saying last week that the manufacturer plans to bring out a line of concentrators and two new power wheelchairs next month.

"We'll have some more compelling technology-based products, and I think that will make us more of a threat to some companies out there," Jones said. "It's not an easy market, but we are still growing."

Rumors of trouble at Access Point began circulating in October, when the company reduced its in-house sales force from 45 to about 30. Jones said the move eliminated some poor performers. Access Point can't afford to have unsuccessful sales reps selling its new concentrator, which Jones described as "a big cornerstone product for us."

To fill holes left by the departed sales reps, Access gave some of its existing sales reps additional territories. The company also plans to hire some independent reps, Jones said.

The company's new line of five-liter concentrators, AXS 590, will come in three models: a basic unit; a unit with an oxygen concentration indicator; and a unit that uses advanced technology to eliminate the standard humidifier bottle.

The concentrators have only four main components. That makes them very easy to repair and reduces a provider's inventory, Jones said.

"We can speed up the repair process for a company that has been spending a lot of money shipping concentrators out to a secondary repair center," he said. "I think we'll revolutionize how concentrators are supported by homecare dealers and pull a lot of the cost out."

Increasing its respiratory offering is a natural part of Access Point's evolution, Rick Davis, vice president of marketing and product innovation, told HME News in September. The ultimate goal, he said, is to create a "one-stop-shop" identity.

"Many of our HME customers also serve the respiratory market, and they want to be able to consolidate their orders into one invoice to lower their operating costs," Davis said. "It also helps them increase their minimum order sizes, giving them favorable freight terms."