MES dumps company that owns rival

Friday, May 31, 2002

SCOTTS BLUFF, Az. - Until six months ago, Medical Equipment Specialties (MES) was buying $10,000 to $15,000 of medical supplies from Cleveland, Ohio-based Independence Medical. Then MES found out that Independence owned Edgepark Surgical, a medical products supplier.

That bothered MES. The company didn't like the idea of buying product from a company that owned a potential rival. When MES relayed its concerns to Independence, the wholesaler told them not to worry. They would not sell into MES's market. In fact, according to Mike Sesions, one of MES's co-owners, Independence said they had built a referral feature into their database: If anyone from MES's market called Independence / Edgepark, that customer would be referred to MES.

So MES tested the referral feature.

"We had one of our people call in," said Sesions. "We gave the credit number and got the product. When we brought this to their attention, they really didn't have an answer"

As a result, MES switch vendors. "I don't understand," said Sesions. "They were claiming they had two to three customers in this area. You're talking maybe $2,000 worth of supplies, maybe more. But we were doing $10,000 to $15,000 per month."

Independence did not return calls for this article. HME