“The sunny shores of Daytona Beach welcomed approximately 85 percent of our members and our vendor partners to the IMCO National Convention,” said President and CEO Bill McLaughlin Jr. after the event. “Everyone enjoyed four days of networking, education and trade show activities. Potential members and vendors also took advantage of this occasion to gain a better understanding of IMCO and the benefits offered to both members and vendors.”
IMCO continued its “Unite” messaging with a 2017 show theme of “Together Towards Tomorrow,” signifying the partnership of IMCO’s independent distributors and vendor partners in addressing the needs of the constantly changing healthcare supply chain, he explained. “Local and regional distributors, in conjunction with their vendor partners and healthcare providers, will provide the flexibility and agility to provide individualized solutions to improve efficiencies, outcomes and costs. The convention provided a forum for the exchange of best practices to address these needs.”
Jeff Havens kicked off the meeting with a humorous presentation on easily implemented communication strategies to immediately create positive change in your team dynamics. Meagan Johnson provided a general session on the generational dynamics of the workplace. Her observations provided insights on similarities and differences of generations and what motivates each.
Attendees had multiple educational opportunities specific to their target markets:
- JD Clockadale, from ASLAN Training, provided sales training on improving customer reach and receptivity.
- Bob McCart, IMCO, conducted an interactive session discussing current challenges and opportunities with contracts and rebates.
- Deb Bullock, IMCO, and John Longfield-Smith, JLS Enterprises, conducted training sessions on the implementation of the Quality Choice Network program.
- Mike Strange, Emerge, conducted a session with home medical equipment suppliers to highlight best practices.
- Product showcases for both primary and long-term-care markets were held. In addition, market-specific roundtable discussions were held to provide members a forum for discussion of pertinent issues facing them in the current market.
During his kickoff address, McLaughlin highlighted a variety of initiatives for IMCO and its member and vendor partners for 2017, including the Equipment Performance Incentive Contest (EPIC) and Quality Choice Network, or QCN, which is IMCO’s newest nursing home program.
“We have invested heavily in these programs, which are designed to provide rep and customer incentives as drivers to increase your business,” he told attendees.
The Equipment Performance Incentive Contest (EPIC) is a year-long program rewarding top-performing reps with travel vouchers for the sale of participating EPIC vendors’ equipment. IMCO has partnered with 10 vendors, and a total of $27,000 in vouchers will be earned by the top 10 performers. A wild card drawing for a $1,000 travel voucher will be held each quarter.
The Quality Choice Network (QCN) program is IMCO’s exclusive rewards program for nursing homes, designed to give them the tools necessary to address value-based reimbursement and quality initiatives, said McLaughlin. The reward points, earned by buying products with proven outcomes from key vendor partners, will be used for a variety of tools, including staff continuing education, software, inventory tracking, QIS, QAPI tools, and many other solutions.
IMCO also announced a partnership with CareSpan USA Inc., an online healthcare delivery company. McLaughlin told attendees that IMCO views telehealth as a new area of opportunity. “Our goal is to help bring quality vendor partners to the table in this developing area to enhance your knowledge, and to provide your customers with the tools they need and see how beneficial this new method of healthcare is.”
In other IMCO developments:
- IMCO has upgraded and enhanced the IMCO Design Center, offering more tools and functionality to help improve distributors’ communication with their customers. “IMCO’s exclusive web-based program helps all members and vendors sell more product with custom marketing materials that are simple to create,” said McLaughlin.
- McLaughlin announced that 61 vendors are participating in the 2017 Member Incentive Program. “Our vendors who participate in this program are committed to work closely with you to help you earn even greater incentives every year,” he told attendees, adding vendors participating in the 2016 program would hand out just over $1.2 million on the show floor.
- IMCO’s sister company, IMCO Home Care, “continues to grow and add more DME/HME/independent pharmacies to the membership roster, which is now over 300 members,” said McLaughlin. “As this $10 billion market continues to grow at 6 percent annually, we recommend taking the time to learn more on how to service these customers and help meet the demands of this growing healthcare segment.”
- IMCO continues to grow and add partners to its master distribution program, which continues to evolve with its partner, Optimal Healthcare Solutions, said McLaughlin. Vendors recently added include B Braun and GMAX Industries.
- In 2016, IMCO distributors that focused on GPO customers increased their sales to over $12.5 million, representing an increase of 180 percent, said McLaughlin. “These distributors accomplished this during a time of major change inside the GPO world of Novation.” IMCO is working on its own GPO program, and is currently reviewing three possible options with well-established sources.
IMCO continued its practice of awarding convention scholarships to individuals nominated by vendors, managers and owners for their contributions to their companies through the support of IMCO Sales Emphasis Line (SEL) vendors and programs. 2017 scholarship winners were:
- Kyle Miller, Booth Medical Equipment.
- Rob Lingham, Omni Medical Supply.
- Treena Morton, Atlantic Medical Solutions.
- Jaime Manning, Gericare Medical Supply.
- Ross Popko, King of Prussia Pharmacy Services
Several other awards were presented during Tuesday evening’s closing banquet:
- Best Booth Winner: Tradex International, represented by Lorie Fox, Yonilee Miller and Greg Sword.
- Best Vendor Costume: Health o meter, represented by Pam Bonk, Debra Garzolini, Ken Harris, Sarah Paslawski and Kurt Rosinski.
- Best Member Costume: NH Med Services, represented by Nile Goad, Cheree Loflin, Dennis Loflin, and Callan Loflin.
In working with its convention theme, “Together Towards Tomorrow,” IMCO gave members and vendors a token at registration to place in the charity jar of their choice for IMCO’s donation on their behalf. IMCO added to its charitable contributions with a dunk tank during its Monday evening event on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. Angie Euston of IMCO, Mike Carver of GOJO and McLaughlin took turns in the tank, with help from a member volunteer, David York of Grove Medical.
IMCO raised over $6,000 for the following charities:
- FISH Hospitality Pantries, Knoxville, Tenn. FISH is committed to feeding the hungry in the Knoxville area.
- Barnes Foundation, which was started by Terry Barnes of Professional Medical Supply to raise money for organizations such as Morning Star Mission Food Basket, American Cancer Society, and various other causes/projects within the community.
- 4 Miles for Heart & Health, to raise awareness and funds for low cost coronary calcium scores, to honor Bob Menke, a former teammate of Midmark.
- Halifax Urban Ministries, an organization that helps prevent homelessness in the Daytona Beach area.
McLaughlin and IMCO also extended thanks to its vendors for their donations to the Gaitu-Kenya Community Clinic. “Our vendor partners provided hundreds of supplies, filling two trucks after the trade show with an estimated value of over $5,000,” he said. “These products will be used to provide life-saving exams as well as surgeries in a country devastated by poverty and disease. The mission trip later this year will help provide three-day clinics and vital community improvements for over 1,500 people Thank you to all our vendor partners for supporting this cause.
“IMCO continues to grow and evolve as our industry transforms,” said McLaughlin. “Independent distributors are the heart and soul of this industry and will work hard to ensure their customers have the tools/knowledge/partnerships they need to adapt to what’s ahead. IMCO is honored to represent the 134 independent distributors across North America who rely on our association to compete with competitors of all sizes. We look forward to facing the challenges of tomorrow with our member and vendor partners, because we know the power of our group and what we can do Together.”