United Seating & Mobility: All Together Now

LAS VEGAS - What happens here stays here, according to the famous tourism slogan for this glittering desert town.

But United Seating & Mobility (USM) staffers who gathered for their organization's 2012 sales & operations planning meeting had a farther-reaching goal. They joined forces at The Venetian Las Vegas to share best practices, to celebrate past achievements, to receive clinical and product education, and to network with colleagues who are geographically far flung, but who also truly understand the day-to-day challenges of ATPs and their managers.

All Together Now

The event kicked off on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 16, with a lunch that included all USM ATPs, operations managers and corporate staff and featured a company and industry update from USM President Bob Gouy (see sidebar).

Last year, logistics - caused in part by USM's ongoing acquisitions of complex rehab provider business - made it necessary to hold ATP and operations meetings separately. But this year, as in years past, the meetings were held together.

"It's about bringing both the operations and the sales teams together," Gouy said. "It's building on that team concept: We don't just have a sales meeting, we have a sales and operations meeting. We see the managers as important as our ATPs. They're all important as a team, so we think that their interaction and working together to solve problems creates even more value."

Thursday afternoon was reserved for education, with ATPs attending CEU courses, and operations managers attending operational initiatives courses.

CEU course presenters on the first day of ATP education included Peter Wankelman from Altimate Medical (Standing Justified); Allen Siekman from Bodypoint (Controlling the Pelvis in Wheelchair Seating); Theresa Berner representing Frank Mobility Systems (Power Assist: Fundamentals, Evidence of Efficiency and Applications for Success); and Ron Boninger from Out-Front and Jim Black and Josh Anderson from TiLite (Putting the "Custom" Back into Manual Mobility).

Thursday evening was devoted to recognizing 2011's successes, with awards being given out to ATPs, branch offices and managers during a reception that included exhibit hall participants. In addition to traditional sales awards, USM staffers were also lauded for volunteer work and community involvement.

Friday morning started with another round of classes from Brad Peterson, Motion Concepts (When Lymphedema Impedes Seating & Mobility); Gabriel Romero and Mark Scott, Stealth Products (Head, Neck & Shoulder Positioning); Andy Brown and Jonathan Biggers, The Comfort Company (Un-Complicating Custom Seating); and Dennis Sharpe, MK Battery (Battery Application for ATPs). Following a group lunch, ATPs and operations managers gathered in the expo hall, where nearly 50 manufacturers showed off their complex rehab technology products and DME.

The event concluded on Saturday, with the meeting's platinum sponsors delivering four more CEU courses: Lois Brown, Invacare Corp. (It's Not Just the Product That Counts, It's What You Do with It!); Matt Weaver, Permobil (The Power of You: How to Be an Advocate in Today's Service Delivery Process); Jay Brislin, Quantum Rehab (Innovations & Complex Mobility Solutions); and Claudia Amortegui and Tim Morrison, Sunrise Medical (Custom-Configured Seating: Product Selection, Order Process & Funding Challenges).

Staying True to the Consumer

In total about 250 ATPs, operations and corporate staff participated in the meeting. And while operations managers and ATPs attended separate classes, they also spent plenty of time together during meals and in the exhibit hall, where ATPs and operations managers checked out the new technology together.

Gouy said having everyone together again in a single meeting provided "a better atmosphere."

As for what the meeting set out to accomplish, Gouy said, "Our primary goal is really to get everybody together and make sure we're all on the same page with our company initiatives and we're all being true to that mission of delivering value to our customers. We look for ways to share best practices across the company, both at the ATP level and the operations level, and I think we did that very successfully. Our ATPs basically gained their education and CEUs for the year, so we accomplished all that training, shared ideas.

"I think we did what we wanted to do."

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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