Quality rules: ‘Products that require few replacements is our goal’

Sunday, November 30, 2003

YARMOUTH, Maine - When deciding which product to buy, quality may be the key driver for many providers, but it’s hardly the only criteria. A manufacturer’s sales rep, timeliness of delivery, co-op dollars and other factors also figure into the buying equation. For most, however, quality still seems to play a pivotal role.

“On many occasions we find ourselves paying $50 more for a lightweight wheelchair so we can offer a higher quality product, get the customer satisfaction and less maintenance calls from our clients,” said George Nour of Elixair Medical in Los Alamitos, Calif.

Nour’s not alone. In last month’s HME News Poll, of 54 HME provider respondents, 22 chose quality as the primary driver of their buying decision; 12 chose price; 10 chose a vendor’s total program package (co-op dollars, marketing support, etc.); four chose their relationship with sales reps; three chose other; two chose brand; and one chose how quickly they can get the product.

In general, respondents made it clear that purchasing equipment is a tad more complex than a single factor.

“Quality and how quickly we can get it are important, but it can’t be outrageously expensive either,” wrote J. David Beshoar, president of MedServ Equipment in Palatine, Ill. “I rarely buy from reps I don’t have a good relationship with or who don’t call on me regularly.”

“I am looking for the longest product life, usually measured by products with the longest warranty, combined with ease of use for the customer,” added Jim Clark, president of Clark Respiratory and Medical Supply in Cakskill, N.Y. “Happy customers using products that require few replacements is our goal.”