Products for Surgery Inc.

Edition: December 2001 - Vol 9 Number 12
Article#: 1130
Author: Repertoire

Company history:
In 1979, Products for Surgery Inc. (PSI) was incorporated as a specialty distributor by Bryan Gregory and H.A. ''Butch'' Lawhon. Tom Madsen joined the company about a year later as a principal. In 1996, PSI merged with Bob Wahlenmaier's Sierra Surgical Products (SSP). Later, in 1999, another merger - this time with Mike Per's St. Patrick's Distributing Company - enabled PSI to expand into the Rockies. Today, PSI maintains a principal in major markets in Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Scottsdale and Denver.

PSI is a charter member of American Surgical Specialties Company (ASSC) and IMDA, the specialty distributors association. Butch Lawhon is a former president of ASSC.

To provide specialized distribution for manufacturers through optimal access to surgeons and top-level surgical personnel interested in new technology.

To provide health care providers with quality products designed to improve patient outcomes and integrate cost-saving products into the health care system.

WE at PSI enjoy a reputation of integrity in our products, personnel and fiscal accountability. We specialize in personalized professional and technical service to all clients, with an emphasis on full and immediate customer service.

PSI looks to create new markets. Our customers' needs are our main concern, and meeting these needs depends on our ability to efficiently provide the most current technology, medical equipment and services.

Primary market:
Hospital OR, interventional radiology and outpatient surgery centers.

Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Las Vegas, NV.

Number of sales reps:
We began with two reps: Bryan Gregory and Butch Lawhon. Today there are 22 salespeople and three sales managers.

Annual sales volume: Our goal for this year is to exceed $18 million.

Top five manufacturers:
Medcomp, Jarit, Scanlan, Komet and ITC - but not necessarily in that order.

Educating sales reps:
We hold an annual sales meeting at the beginning of the year. Here, our vendors and sales reps can interact. We also schedule sales meetings as we take on new products.

Over the summer, all of our salespeople were certified by Education Design (Denver, CO) in ''Operating Room Protocol for Medical Industry Professionals.'' It appears that increasingly more hospitals are requiring this certification before permitting salespeople in the operating room or, in some instances, before letting them call on the hospital.

What do you expect of your manufacturers?
We expect our manufacturers to provide education and timely delivery, assuming they have innovative, leading edge technology to sell.

Do you sell products on your website?
At this time, we are not using our website to sell to the end user. We continue to look for software that can be integrated with our current system.

What impact will the Internet have on your business?
The Internet already has had quite an impact on how we run our business. PSI is paperless when it comes to the following:

- Lead management and follow-up.

- Sales and commission reports to sales reps. (Sales and commission reflect the previous day's close of business.)

- Projection or target management and follow-up.

- Quote generation for the end user that allows the sales rep to e-mail or fax quote.

- Bulletin board for information exchange for reps and vendors.

- Consignment inventory management.

- Quota management.

All of these items are posted on our website (

What has been the biggest change in your customers' buying habits over the past three years?
Today, overnight shipment requests are nearly twice as great as they were three years ago.

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

Our greatest challenge will be to maintain quality product lines in an era where large companies continue to grow and acquire new technology. Along with this, we must educate the acquiring manufacturers on our specialized sales skills. Finally, we see hospitals that receive inadequate reimbursement from third party payers as another challenge in years to come.

Where do you envision your company to be in five to 10 years?
We foresee ourselves as a super-regional sales organization that remains in the high-tech sales arena.

Tell us about an interesting approach you have for reaching your customers.
We presently are in the process of discussing sales alternatives within our own sales expertise with a large nationally known company. This discussion is based on the recognition that large manufacturers have choices other than direct sales.