Ops Management

Three Simple Steps to Rehab Business Success

In the last five years the complex rehab market has undergone numerous changes. We have all had to adapt and overcome policy and funding challenges, as well as skyrocketing commodity costs. The recipe for success in the everchanging, ever-challenging complex rehab sector is simple: Grow revenue and reduce costs.

However, adjusting a business model to do just that can be difficult for even those who are most driven to succeed. It is human nature to resist change. Over the years, many providers have come to believe that they have perfected relationships, contracts, practices and processes, and feel that there is no way to make any significant improvements. To succeed, it is essential that providers change the way they view their businesses in order to open all opportunities. If you critically evaluate and effect change in just three main areas, you will be ready and able to adapt and succeed.

Remove the Walls that Prevent the Streamlining Process

Streamlining your business processes sounds easy, and many believe they have already mastered and completed this exercise in the past. There is nothing innovative or mind blowing about this practice, yet it is an area where there is always room for improvement. It just requires a new perception of your operations.

If you could knock down the walls of your business and have your staff work in an environment of complete visibility, there would be much to be learned. You'd gain better understanding of their daily tasks and identify where there would be overlap within departments that you did not intuitively realize. It may be surprising to find duality within the processes of your billing department and receiving team, for example. To get a fresh look, you must remove figurative walls.

If you create a cross-functional project team with a mix of star employees and your most talented leaders, you can remove the figurative walls that separate them. Within no time, you will be amazed at how even their simplest observations can be turned into true timesaving gems. If your project team effectively works together and truly observes each other's workflow, what comes from this group effort will be exceptional. The numerous, seemingly simple suggestions you will receive when your team collaborates will be astounding.

A good example of a simple suggestion coming from a project group with real time- and cost-saving ramifications would be converting multiple fax machines to a multi-functional printer. The time it takes for multiple staff members to distribute faxes, not to mention the expense of ink cartridges, paper and the cost of lost pages or misdirected information, can be offset by this conversion. View interdepartmental walls as obstacles to business efficiency, and work hard to build bridges to remove them.

Effectively Measure Results to Enhance Performance

When was the last time you analyzed how effectively your company or individual departments are at achieving their goals? The goals you set for your business or staff are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to grow your revenue and reduce expenses.

As time and the market change, what is often measured becomes outdated without notice. A great exercise to keep your internal analysis up to date is to assign your department leaders to map out their processes by creating a flow chart. The chart should indicate which of their activities are automated within your systems and which are manual.

It is essential that particular attention be paid to the processes that are manual. Do they require information only possessed and communicated by those completing the task regularly? It is during these processes where we are most at risk for errors, revenue loss or increased expenses.

Once all your flow charts are created and analyzed for manual processes, challenge your leaders to put a time study to these processes. How many errors can be traced back to them and at what expense to your organization? Once your team gathers the time and costs associated to their manual processes, you can match it up with each team's goals or KPIs. This information will help you better access where goals can be adjusted, expectations raised and where improvements can be made. This process can be duplicated in the future to access your progress or to make further enhancements to your performance.

Invent New Revenue Streams

Adding new revenue sources is something that should always be at the forefront of all business efforts. Most businesses have their sales leaders continually working on developing new opportunities. What if every member of your organization was given this challenge? Imagine the ideas and possible new connections you could make.

Create a program that recognizes individuals within your whole organization who advance your company's goals and increase growth opportunities. You will be surprised where inspiration and entrepreneurial ideas will be created.

For example, if you send out a company-wide incentive that will reward your staff for their 10 best ideas, you may learn that someone on your staff is a volunteer firefighter whose firehouse regularly refills their oxygen tanks, or that someone has an aunt or uncle in an assisted living facility that is in need of new transport chairs. Someone from your delivery team may suggest that you create a piece that highlights your top five best-selling home aids as part of the delivery process.

As the market changes, we must be poised to stay ahead. It is not easy to predict what will happen in five years, let alone beyond that. Creating a dynamic in your organization that rewards adapting to change will go a long way in preparing for the future.

One thing is certain: More challenges are yet to come. By looking at your operation in a new way and accurately assessing where you stand, you can create a team that works together to be more efficient, raises the bar on company performance objectives, and embraces the entrepreneurial spirit you are building as a foundation for future growth and success.

This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Julie Pello is the general manager of Quantum sales for Pride Mobility Products Corp., Exeter, Pa. Julie can be reached via e-mail at jpello@pridemobility.com or by calling (800) 800-8586.

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