VGM Fulfillment adds compression to resupply roster

 - 
Friday, August 17, 2018

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Fulfillment is always on the lookout for new ideas to grow its business—and sometimes they come from their provider customers.

That was the case for the company’s new compression stocking resupply program, which joins the company’s existing CPAP resupply program, says Jeremy Stolz, president.

“We’re always searching for something that fits this business model and that can benefit from the value we create,” he said. “But this was something the Mayo Clinic Stores approached us about. They are a long-time customer on the CPAP side who said, ‘We’re interested in putting something together for compression.’”

For a fee, VGM Fulfillment manages a provider’s inventory of compression stockings, processes their orders and ships products directly to their patients or to their stores.

The program allows the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic Stores, which has 13 locations, to focus on answering more calls and taking more orders—leaving the picking, packing and shipping to VGM Fulfillment, says Gina Owen, assistant director.

“When we started out, we would mail supplies,” she said. “We’d go to the retail floor, pull it out, put it in a box and send it to the mail room to ship out. We were handling the product three or more times. It was very inefficient.”

Because the sky’s practically the limit for the number of SKUs for compression hosiery—“There are so many different kinds, knee-high stockings, open and closed toe, wide calf and narrow calf,” Owen said—Mayo Clinic Stores worked closely with VGM to analyze their data and determine what their “bread-and-butter” products were and only stock those.

“But if someone wants a stocking in rutabaga and we don’t carry that, VGM will place the order with the manufacturer,” she said.

That approach, along with VGM’s willingness to provide inventory audits to manufacturers, has helped ease the minds of compression stocking manufacturers, which have needed some convincing that a resupply program was the right fit for the product category, Owen said.

“It was a sell, and VGM did a fantastic job,” she said.

Now that the compression stocking resupply program is up and running, VGM Fulfillment is looking at how to enhance it, maybe with outreach capabilities, Stolz says.

“Pairing the ability to contact patients with our shipping and handling operation would build something unique in the market,” he said.

As for Owen, she’s moved on to coming up with the next product category that’s well suited for a resupply program.

“Another obvious one would be breast pumps and supplies, and mastectomy products like bras,” she said.