Rehab Technology Specialists: The Backbone of National Seating & Mobility’s Success – National Seating – Brief Article
For Chattanooga-based National Seating & Mobility, a focus on financial success runs a distant second to the company’s goal of providing the best mobility solutions to a narrow segment of the seating and positioning market.
“Our business has a very narrow focus, which is the severely physically challenged population with mobility needs – that’s what we’re all about,” says Mike Ballard, president and chief executive officer for NSM. The company’s clients suffer from a wide range of severely debilitating diseases, from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and severe spinal injuries to muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
For these patients, equipment is only a small part of a larger mobility solution, according to Ballard. Therefore, NSM relies on rehabilitation technology specialists, who have an average of 14 years experience, to combine a clinical evaluation of customers’ equipment needs with the customization of that equipment.
The success of the overall package, Ballard says, depends on the expertise and skill level of the RTS in working with disabled individuals, caregivers and funding sources to achieve the best solution for the mobility problems of unique individuals.
“We’re different from HME [companies] in that respect,” Ballard says. “We’re really a clinical company, an RTS company, as opposed to an equipment company.
“We believe the RTS should be the king or queen of his or her own operations,” he continues. “The passion they have for finding solutions is what drives business. That is, we know a clinical person is going to let the right clinical decisions drive the business rather than the business driving the clinical decisions. And we’re never going to compromise that.”
Ballard says the company believes in a decentralized operating model, wherein most business decisions happen locally. “We establish good business practices, and we have stringent policies, but we don’t tell the RTS how to work clinically,” he says. “As an RTS, an employee has clinical autonomy. [NSM] does nothing to influence clinical decisions and how RTS’ practice – we’re not going to tell them what products to sell.”
And though NSM isn’t focused on growth, the company has continued to prosper.
“I’m in business to be the best in custom seating and mobility – that’s what this company is,” Ballard concludes. “Our goal is not to be the largest or biggest, just the best. It’s like you have to breathe to exist, but your purpose in life is not just to breathe. So, we have to make money to exist, but we exist to excel in this area.”
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