New digs, catalog for Nova Ortho

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CARSON, Calif. - Nova Ortho-Med has laid the groundwork for an HME future where retail rules and cash-paying baby boomers demand top-notch customer service.
Over the past few months, the 12-year-old mobility manufacturer moved into a new 70,000-square-foot location here; hired a new national sales manager, Wes Hopper, with deep distribution and retail experience; and debuted a new, easy-to-use parts catalog.
"People are buying these products online, at their pharmacy and our dealers are becoming much more retail savvy," said Nova CEO Sue Chen. "Customers are walking in and buying (HME) with their credit card. People pay cash for wheelchairs. People buy these products for Christmas presents. The industry is changing, and when customers pay for something they expect full service, and that is what we are trying to deliver."
To that end, with its new distribution center and a 35,000-square-foot DC in Chicago, which celebrated its first full year of operation last year, Nova can now fill most orders in one to three days, Chen said.
Both locations also stock parts for every Nova product ever made. Together with the company's new parts catalog (slated to be posted online this month or next), that should help alleviate an area were manufacturers often come up short: Providing timely access to parts necessary for repair and maintenance, Chen said.
"It's sort of like a car," she said. "You won't buy a car if you didn't have a dealer to talk to and that dealer wouldn't be effective if he didn't have access to the thousands of parts that go into that car, regardless of model."
What's more, with products being used longer than ever before and customers staying active longer, access to parts has never been more important, she said.
Nova's product line includes most non-motorized mobility products: rollators, bathroom safety, canes, standard and lightweight wheelchairs, for example.
"During 12 years in the business, we have grown organically, slowly but successfully, and we are becoming a much larger company," Chen said. "In the past, HME was kind of hard to find, (but now) we see our products becoming much more available to everyone in America."