Sterling Surgical Supply Inc.

Edition: July 2001 - Vol 9 Number 07
Article#: 1004
Author: Repertoire

Company founded:

1976, by Tom Shaver.

Key company players:

Scott Hundley
, president.

Tom Shaver, vice president.

Carrie Shaver, office manager.

John Cograve, inside

sales/operations manager

Rich Durphy, service manager.

Berry Robison, sales manager.

Dave Gossage, delivery.

Primary market:

We sell to physician offices. In addition to selling supplies and equipment, much of our business comes from servicing ECGs, stress systems and defibrillators.


Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Number of sales reps:

We currently have three outside sales reps and two inside sales reps. We added our third outside rep this past year.

Annual sales volume:

$2 million plus.

Top five manufacturers:

Welch Allyn, Burdick Spacelabs, Midmark/Ritter, Banta, and Becton-Dickinson.

Educating sales reps:

Our sales people spend time with manufacturer reps both in-house and in front of customers. Our service technicians attend service schools, coupled with in-house training.

What do you expect of your manufacturers?

We expect our manufacturers to provide competitive pricing and prompt delivery of products.

Do you sell products on your website?

We do not currently sell products over the Internet, but plan to do so in the future. We believe an e-commerce site would complement our business. As physician offices continue to accept this technology as a standard way of doing business, everyone should benefit from the efficiency of the Internet.

What impact will the Internet have on your business?

The Internet should complement our business by improving efficiency without requiring a large investment in advertising and hiring additional people.

What has been the biggest change in your customers' buying habits over the past three years?

We haven't seen a big change in buying habits. People still want high quality products, low prices and prompt delivery. In addition, customers expect their equipment to be fixed quickly and correctly the first time around.

What do you see as your greatest challenge in the years ahead?

Our greatest challenge in the upcoming years will be to find and retain quality employees to handle our growth strategy. We are a lean company where everyone performs a wide variety of jobs. We focus on efficiency and financial performance, such as revenue per employee, profit per employee and net service calls per technician.

Where do you envision your company to be in five to 10 years?

In the upcoming years, we expect to make two or three acquisitions and increase our sales volume to $5 million plus.

Two years ago, we acquired another small sales and service company, which has been extremely successful. We are always looking for acquisitions that fit into our business model.

Tell us about an interesting approach you have for reaching your customers.

We rely on good, old-fashioned customer service. Our customers who order from us on a regular basis, or have a service contract with us, receive 100 percent of our dedication.

We once had a customer whose treadmill malfunctioned on a day that was scheduled full of patient stress tests. To ensure that we were bringing the right parts to fix this customer's unit, we loaded a treadmill in our van and brought it to the job. Fortunately, we were able to repair the broken unit without having to unload our 500-pound treadmill. And, we completed the job within an hour of the customer's call.

Most of our new business is generated by our customer referrals - a constant reminder that all of our employees are doing a great job.

For more information about Sterling Surgical Supply, contact Scott Hundley at (703) 821-6760, (703) 821-6952 fax, or