Find Leaks, Ignore Numbers to Succeed in Business

ORLANDO, Fla. — Each company can find ways to clean up its
processes, reduce waste and add to the bottom line, according
to a business session at the
2011 Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the American
Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists

The first thing all business owners should do is challenge themselves to
find their biggest losers, Joyce Perrone, director at Delatorre Orthotics &
Prosthetics Inc. and a consulting partner for PROMISE Consulting Inc., said.

Unknown leaks run rampant across the board and can cost a business its
efficiency. Perrone recommended asking others in the company to point out weak
spots, since the president does not always identify those from his or her
vantage point.

Some of the warning signs to be aware of are a lost focus, operational
fragmentation and what she called number obsession.

“If you try to run your company by the numbers, you’re going
to lose,” she said.

Instead, she recommended that business owners focus on sustaining a
solid business and constantly taking waste and inefficiency out of their

“Of course, many types of data must be watched, even scrutinized,
but it is not the one and only point of focus,” she said. “In an
environment of shrinking reimbursement and trying to collect from patients
directly, the one thing we can control is out efficiency and waste reduction

She also urged business owners to evaluate whether they have undervalued
employees, or strained relationships with suppliers. Instead of squeezing
suppliers in a hostile manner, it makes better business sense to form a good
relationship with that company or representative. This can have many outcomes
that will benefit the company and consistently save money.

Business strategies should be open for discussion with all employees, as
well. By mapping out business ideas, all members of the staff have the
opportunity to get excited about and involved in the company’s goals.

“You get that true genius when you have everybody in the room
[contributing],” Perrone said.

But the most important factor of any business remains the customer; in
O&P, that is the patient. It is easy to get sidetracked and think it is the
physician, therapist, or even the employee or the company owner. While they are
a type of customer, the patient is always the beginning and end point of care,
she said. Quality is always going to be what the customer thinks it is. Without
the patient, there is no business. So, if the patients think that they received
nothing of quality or nothing worth the price, then something went wrong. There
are more patients that have to pay out of pocket for the product they are
receiving, so the perception of quality and value is more important than ever.

“We want to thrill our patient,” she said. “We want our
patient to love us.” — by Stephanie Z. Pavlou


Get organized, and follow a plan. If you do that, stay
on the path, it usually turns out better than if you’re just wandering

— J. Laurence Allen, CPO, LPO

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