Homecare Products picks Sunrise as primary supplier

Saturday, August 31, 2002

LONGMONT, Colo. - Sunrise Medical's new executive team scored its most significant piece of new business to date last month when Homecare Supply picked Sunrise as its primary supplier of standard HME products.

The deal should triple the business Sunrise does with the largest, privately held HME in the country. Sunrise won secondary supplier status on sleep. It has also been named a primary supplier of mobility products, though Homecare Supply doesn't expect its rehab business to change much.

"When we're putting a $20,000 chair under somebody, we let our rehab specialists and techs make that call," said Todd Christopher, CEO of Homecare Supply. "Sunrise and Invacare pretty much split that business 50-50 right now, and that business will not change a lot."

Invacare had served as primary supplier in standard HME and mobility for Homecare Supply, which expects to generate revenues of $170 million this year. Respironics is the 54-branch chain's primary respiratory supplier.

Announcing supplier agreements is rare; companies generally shun making such information public. "You could do about 25 news stories on Invacare every month for every new contract that we sign, or business that we get from sombody else," said Lou Slangen, Invacare's senior v.p. of sales and marketing.

Sunrise is hailing the deal as the most significant coup by its new executive team and a taste of things to come as its new national accounts department takes wing.

"We haven't had a true national accounts department for more than a year and a half," said Ken Yannerella, Sunrise Medical's v.p. of national accounts. "We're now working aggressively with all the nationals."

Although Sunrise is a shared primary supplier to Apria for conservers, aerosol and rehab, line shortcomings have held the company in check when it comes to standard homecare product contracts. With the recent introductions of the Guardian homecare bed and the standard K0001 Escort wheelchair, Sunrise believes it's plugged those holes. "Those two products really helped us gain this business because now we're well-rounded on the HME side," said Yannerella.

Christopher said a new attitude at Sunrise management was also responsible for the business. "They had a couple of challenges with the old guard," said Christopher. "But these guys came in and dressed those out. They have really come in and showed a real, good old-fashioned customer-oriented, what-do-you-guys-need kind of attitude."

Today, Homecare Supply's product mix breaks down this way: 48% respiratory, 30% DME and 13% mobility. HME