Describe your company’s background.
It’s a 63-year old company. We started out as an orthotics & prosthetics company. Our founder just passed away a year ago. He was a bilateral, below-the-knee amputee at the age of 12, and his name was Tony Filippis. His first set of legs was made for him by a gentleman named Carl Wright. As Tony grew up and had to get a job, he was let go from the first three jobs he had once they found out he had prosthetic limbs. They labeled him as a ‘cripple’ and let him go. He went to Carl Wright, and Carl Wright hired him on the spot as an apprentice. They worked side by side 15 years before they started the company Wright & Filippis. He has always put patients first. Our company motto is ‘first to serve, first to care.’ Our Web site is www.firsttoserve.com. We started out in prosthetics, and we went into HME because those were the things people needed that had the disabilities.
We have people who have worked here 50 years, which is unheard of in this day and age.
A Word on Competitive Bidding
Were you in the first round of competitive bidding?
We were in the first round. Wright & Filippis bid a number of the CBAs for mail-order diabetic supplies. And we did bid one of the CBAs near to our service area in Michigan.
How does it look?
We were not a winner in any of the bids.
How will this affect you?
It certainly puts a crimp in our plans to continue providing diabetic supplies on a nationwide basis. We’re presently the 13th largest company in that arena in the country. But it does not yet affect us in a real profound way. That could take place during round 2, when four of the CBAs will be in our present service area for traditional home medical equipment business.
How are you preparing for competitive bidding?
Efficiencies, efficiencies, efficiencies. We really need to get lean with our operations. We’ve been working with our supplier partners diligently to obtain the best pricing that we can and coordinating with MED Group to access that good pricing and to look at best business practices — but most profoundly, looking at all of those day-to-day overhead operational things that we do and looking for ways to squeeze efficiencies out of those things. Shipping is just one example. We recently moved our package business to UPS to obtain savings. We’re looking at everything now. We’re looking at everything from our contracts with the people we buy our boxes from, to our cleaning services, to our alarm services, to our sleep management — just really going after our cost structure in an aggressive manner.
It’s past theoretical at Wright & Filippis. We’ve done a number of things to prepare for the eventuality that is the competitive acquisition train wreck.