Don Clayback: Desire to do the right thing

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In the future, winning companies will have a blend of solid customer service and crisp business management and operations. They will need to know what they can do profitably and how to best differentiate themselves in the market. The key to building the perfect HME company is to pick areas you want to focus on and then implement smart business practices at inception. This focus and discipline will help the business effectively deal with opportunities and changes as they occur in the marketplace.
In selecting product mix, I would focus on products that have a service component and exclude those items that fall under the commodity category. Reduced pricing pressures are greater on commodity items and price can be the sole driver. To succeed in commodities you need to create a high-volume, low-cost model which is more susceptible to national competition. Service provided at a local level can be an effective differentiator and gain market share. I would focus on some combination of rehab, oxygen, sleep therapy, repair and retail with professional and knowledgeable service being a focus. I would maintain a diverse payer mix. This would minimize the risk of cash flow being harmed by any one payer's change in processing or rates.
My business process would focus on key areas: planning, finance and reporting, marketing, personnel, intake/customer service, billing and collection, compliance, purchasing and distribution. Policies would be in writing. To support the policies and processes I would leverage technology. Technology would provide productivity advantages--let me do more with less--and allow for timely measurement and reporting of activities. For example, I would implement a telephone system with tracking and automated calling capabilities. A document imaging system would streamline paper management. An intake and billing system would be the backbone of the business and allow for order and claims processing.
Each key area mentioned would have specific performance targets. For example, the intake/customer service function could include number of orders processed, number of calls received, number of deliveries confirmed. Results would be measured by individual and department. Department measurables and results would be shared throughout the company. From a big picture perspective, an annual budget by department would be developed as part of the business plan. This would be created with active input from all departments. Revenue and collection reports would be prepared giving daily results and would be available in real time. Monthly financial statements by department would be generated and distributed.Accountability
Each person within the company will know what they are responsible for and how their performance will be measured. Measurement will take two forms: published weekly department performance results and individual quarterly and annual performance evaluations. An incentive plan will be put in place to reward performance.
There must be open communication, a desire to do the right thing the first time, and a commitment for continuous improvement throughout the organization. Couple these with the desire to put the customer first and you have a winning combination. All staff would be valued and recognized through good compensation packages and active inclusion of their input. As the company grows, so would advancement opportunities for staff.


Don Clayback
Age: 49 Company/position: The MED Group, senior vice president, networks Location: Lubbock, Texas Background: More than 20 years in HME business, including experience as industry consultant and vice president of two HME companies