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No More Sales Reps in Med Device? with Rick Barnett, President at Rep-Lite

Episode 158

No More Sales Reps in Med Device? Rick Barnett, President at Rep-Lite

Thanks for tuning in to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I want to personally invite you to our first inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It’s a conference that the Outcomes Rocket and the IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Sciences has teamed up on. We’re going to put together silo crushing practices just like we do here on the podcast except it’s going to be live with inspiring keynotes and panelists. To set the tone, we’re conducting a meeting where you can be part of drafting the blueprint for the future of healthcare. That’s right. You could be a founding member of this group of talented industry and practitioner leaders. Join me and 200 other inspiring health leaders for the first Inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It’s an event that you’re not going to want to miss. And since there’s only 200 tickets available you’re going to want to act soon. So how do you learn more? Just go to outcomesrocket.health/conference. For more details on how to attend that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference and you’ll be able to get all the info that you need on this amazing health care thinkathon. That’s outcomesrocket.health/conference.

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I have an outstanding guest for you today. His name is Mr. Rick Barnett. He’s the CEO at an amazing company that is doing some pretty efficiency driven processes to help operating rooms as well as med device companies be more effective and efficient in the way that they do their process. His name is Rick Barnett and he’s a CEO at Rep-Lite. He’s held many senior level executive positions within the medical device arena. Mr. Barnett is a performance driven sales leadership executive with expertise in building client relationships developing and executing winning sales strategies and the selection and development of top sales teams. Mr. Barnett is recognized as a leader with a reputation for advancing successful business development campaigns leveraging core strengths and capitalizing on solid client relationships. He’s done a lot of things and work with partners such as Stryker Intuitive Surgical. Over the last 25 years. In a nutshell he’s a visionary who commonly recognizes outside of the box opportunities while driving the current business to surpass establish goals which has allowed him to function in a consultancy capacity for the past 25 years for top industry leaders. I’m so privileged to have him on the podcast today and what I want to do is have an awesome discussion with him working through some of the things that they’re doing at red lights to make health care more efficient and improve outcomes so Rick it’s such a pleasure to have you on the podcast.

Saul, thank you for having me.

So anything that I missed there in your intro that you want to fill in the listeners on.

No not really. And you’re gracious and kind. So thank you and your comments. I would just tell you that the reason that Rep-Lite was founded Rep-Lite was really to provide a needed solution for medical device manufacturers and providers to continue providing amazing patient care to the patients that we serve.

For sure. And you know the thing that I that I love about your mission Rick is that it is so centered on the patient. And a lot of the things that we do in health care can oftentimes take us away from that mission. So I’m excited to dive into some of the things that you guys do. But before we do that I love to learn a little bit more about what got you into the medical sector.

Well it’s a great question. I’ve always had this passion so the little boy for helping people just in general and had an opportunity early on to know a few surgeons and a few healthcare providers and just decided that that it was a perfect space for me. You know I get the sense and the things that we tell them that we drive through all of our people that work that we need to treat every single patient like it’s a family member. And that’s just kind of the core of what we do. So no matter what intervention is happening with that patient we go at it as if it’s our mother or father or some immediate family member. And so for the past 30 years this careers been bearing fruit for me and my family were very blessed to be a part of it.

That’s awesome. Yeah and what a great story. It’s you know you’re surrounded by folks that are and are in the sector with a great mission you just kind of got involved with it and now fast forward you’ve got Rep-Lite going. What I want to do is just kind of level set the audience and give them a little glimpse about what red light does what problems they solve and yet so just kind of highlight a little bit of that.

Yes so it’s fairly simple, Saul. What we recognize early on is that in the world of health care there’s a lot of things that pull our attention both from the provider and the medical device manufacturers and what we wanted to do is to do a few things we wanted to make sure that the technical aspects, the service aspect, support aspect was never diminished with all the tasks that we do. So we just believe that if we can continue to provide great quality of care which equals great outcomes and then we can do that in a financially responsible way then we can continue being a leader in this country in healthcare. And so really what we do is we provide service sales and support to medical device manufacturers at a level that will allow the professional sales organization to do what they’re supposed to do and sell while we service and support the devices that ultimately give patients their care.

Rick such an interesting proposition here and if you’re a medical device manufacturer listening to this some to think about we’re in an era of constant change. You never know what’s gonna pop out of policy in Washington for healthcare that’s going to change how you do business like the medical device tax or who knows. Right. You just there’s so many unknowns and in an era of unknowns. Rick is providing a really interesting solution. Rick can you give us something within this realm a hot topic that you think should be on every leader’s agenda listening today.

Yeah I mean it’s that’s a pretty easy question. So I mean it’s continuing to maintain probabilities for company while adhering to all the changes happening. So everyone’s being asked to do more with less. And so one of the things that’s very difficult for medical device manufacturers is they they need to see more people but at the same time they need to support the equipment that is sold and distributed and used in the field. So how do you allocate resources. It’s not really financially responsible just to contain the headcount have had that headcount. So what we do is we come in behind that and again supplement the headcount we hold headcount and we provide a contracted service so that really the medical device manufacturers can do more with the resources that they’ve allocated from a sales perspective and we supplement that with great service and support of the product.

That’s outstanding. And Rick obviously this isn’t your first time around you’ve had success with this type of model before. Can you give us a little bit more details on some of the things that you’ve done to create results and improve outcomes.

Yes. So I’m a clinician by heart started out as surgical assistant.

Oh did you? That’s pretty cool.

I did and ended up in a surgical services. And what I did, Saul is I created basically a Rep-Lite internally. Again it came with the same set of problems. You had to continue to increase headcount and that headcount is a pretty big strain on a PNL. So what we did is back and I’m going to date myself here but back when minimally invasive surgery was really taken off and in the mid 80s it was very disruptive to the CEO. There was a lot of resources put into it and it was fairly inefficient. So what we did when I went to Stryker’s we started a program similar to what we have now Rep-Lite where we would put that support role in and we got to see a lot of tremendous benefits. We’ve got to see clinicians having what they needed the things working properly we enhance the ability for our sales force to do what they were supposed to do at the same time the parameters were growing because of the efficiencies that were created inside the walls there. So we did that there and then we did the same thing because we had the summer scenario an intuitive surgical where disruptive technology. So we kind of did the same thing. The thing that was all of the great results that we were getting were amazing. The only hiccup to that is that we were continuing to increase headcount rapidly in today’s environment with all of us having to be punished financially responsible and and price compression everywhere. We had a bit of delay. So it’s kind of the genesis for Rep-Lite. To provide that type of service without increasing company company’s headcount.

Man that’s so interesting Rick and today in healthcare it’s not only product innovation that’s going to move us forward, listeners – it’s going to be process innovation, operational excellence, and the time and dedication that Rick has spent and seeing how to best make this system work has given him results has given the company that he works with results. Stryker Intuitive Surgical pretty well-known names. Rick you had a chance to catch up before this and you kind of walk me through the Rep-Lite can you tell the listeners a little bit about why the name?

Yeah yeah. So you know I think as we go through this process and all the change in healthcare, Saul, we’re trying to find ways to become a patient save money. Proper allocation of resources. And so one of the things that has come up is the buzz word is Rep list and the problem with rep list is that you dump up then you take a tremendous amount of responsibility and you put it right on to a hospital employee. Well the hospital is already maxed out. So now we’ve got a even bigger problem because we’re asking people against do probably double or triple their daily work with the same amount of time. So really it’s not really rep list that I think gets us back to this. I think it’s rep-lite and that’s the reason that the name came about I think rep list is very difficult. I think rep-lite is much easier.

I think that’s so awesome Rick and listeners you know when you think about how you improve process. Oftentimes it’s incremental and rather than go all the way to the other side and just get rid of the sales rep altogether or the service rep or the clinical rep just make it light and it really this is just the tip of the iceberg. I definitely invite you to go check out Rick’s Web site where you could learn a little bit more about his system. Rick you want to share your Web site.

It’s simple. It’s rep-lite.com.

So check that out because we’re just kind of scratching the surface here with 30 minutes. We really don’t have a lot of time to check that but I definitely encourage you all to check this out. https://rep-lite.com/. Rick you obviously didn’t get here without making mistakes or having setbacks your system wasn’t always perfect. Can you share a setback that you had and what you learned from that?

Yeah I think one of the big things from a corporate standpoint is early on I really didn’t pay attention to headcount. From a budgetary standpoint if we were growing the business that we added people and would learn the set back was that that really can have a negative impact on your PNL. The other thing is is that there’s a lot of times in this space that medical device manufacturers and vendors are looking to increase and they really go through a due diligence interview process but they’re really kind of in line with reply. I always will allow my client if they want our people to take them on at the proper time. I encourage that as a matter of fact the beautiful thing is that you get it’s almost like a baseball form team you get to have a look at this person you get to see their talent and you get to sit within your culture before you do a higher. So we get a deep rift. And again I think the tail or the missed that I had early on Saul, is that I don’t know that I paid attention to resource allocation as much as I do now. Now it’s critically important these companies they’ve got to deploy resources in the most cost effective manner. And that’s why I think Rep-Lite We’ve been so successful we’re helping a lot of small to very large medical device manufacturers really create value to the customer.

Man, that’s such a great share and definitely something that we all have to be cautious of when we’re running our companies. And we really got to keep that cash flow going. And it’s it’s a balancing act like Rick said if you’re wanting to grow double digits or continue to grow at a good pace and you’re adding on headcount how do you keep this balancing act of growth and profitability. And Rick what a great lesson that you shared and I think one that we can all definitely be reminded of and stay profitable and stay consistent with the way we approach it. What would you say one of the most amazing leadership experiences that you’ve had in healthcare to date?

I have two, Saul. I mean one of the things that hold very dear to my heart is we will take a genuine professional and we will allow them to launch into this great industry. And so that’s one thing that from our standpoint is it’s our ministry it’s what we do. We take younger folks and train them and have them to where they can work in this amazing space taking care of our patients. This is a little dated but in 2007 I was awarded Stryker’s corporate. Most impactful point.

Nice. Congratulations.

You know but. Thank you. Well I think that’s a secondary. Other than that what we’re doing for our folks to have a company of that scale recognize us as having the most impact in the businesses is pretty overwhelming. And it was a total surprise. So very blessed and very grateful for that award.

Definitely something to be proud of. And you know Stryker’s an excellent company as you guys build this client base and you continue to serve even more people. What would you say one of the most exciting project that you’re working on at rep-litet today is?

What’s kind of interesting is that we’ve been pulled into many different verticals. Anything from orthopedics to laparoscopy to home health to dialysis. So what’s really exciting to me is that the Rep-Lite model really can provide value across the spectrum of care and not only for the providers and our healthcare providers but the vendors and the manufacturers and the innovative companies that are that are bringing innovation to this space. What’s exciting is that this model we never have one cookie cutter answer for anyone. We always modify what our process would be so that it benefits our client. So it’s pretty exciting to be pulled into many different spaces at the same time because you get a great look at just the overall healthcare space.

Yeah, that’s so true Rick and one of the things that we’ve been talking about a lot here on the podcast is that the end of the day innovation in healthcare is implementation. And so if you’re going to have a successful program,the importance of implementation is so key and it sounds like you’ve had this impact across several different verticals and that’s definitely something to be excited about.

Yeah we’re we’re we’re really excited about it. We kind of started in one vertical and it just seems to continue to expand out of the CRM just I can’t even name all of them, Saul where they are contacting us now to provide the services. It’s pretty exciting.

Well there’s a huge need and I’m super happy for you guys that that things are going well. Getting close to the end here. And this has been a ton of fun. I love to put together a medical leadership course with you. It’s the 101 of Rick Barnett on medical efficiency. And so we’re going to write out a syllabus for questions lightning round style followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready.

Yes sir.

All right. What’s the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

Lower the cost and reduce infection rates.

What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

I don’t think we should ever sacrifice quality over cost. You should always strive for the best healthcare possible.

How do you stay relevant despite constant change?

We are a change agent so change is kind of in our nature. So for us we welcome the change because it plays right into our business model.

Love it. What’s one area of focus should drive everything in a health organization?

It’s very simple. You have to provide either of those that you serve period.

Love it. What would you say your all time favorite book is?

My all time favorite book is probably a book called point man. By Steve Farrar and it’s a book on how a man should lead his family.

Very cool. Very cool. Love that point man. Well listeners we’ve got the syllabus for you as well as a link to this book. Rick’s Web site. Everything’s available if you go to outcomesrocket.health/rep-lite. You’re going to be able to find that as well as a transcript to all of the things that we discussed. Rick this has been so much fun. I love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get in touch with you.

So first off thank you Saul for having me. It’s always a pleasure speaking with you and really appreciate what you’re doing in health care and getting this information out. What I would tell you is that I hate to be cliche but have any of your listeners historically have used a taxi cab service. But now they’re using either Uber or Lyft. That’s really what we’re doing in the space. So and again not to be cliche but we’ve done things the same for a long time and now we’re kind of being asked to change so we consider ourselves the Uber for medical sales and support. You can get in touch with us by the way and that includes on-demand efficient and less expensive. You can find all the information and all contact information. Like we said again. rep-lite.com.

Outstanding Rick. This has been a true pleasure. And folks, again take the invitation from Rick to connect. Find out more about what they’re doing at rep-lite.com. And Rick I just want to say thank you so much for spending time with us and sharing these operational efficiency words of wisdom with us.

So again thank you for having me. And I appreciate you as well.

Thanks for tuning into the outcomes rocket podcast if you want the show notes, inspiration, transcripts and everything that we talked about on this episode. Just go to outcomesrocket.health. And again don’t forget to check out the amazing Healthcare Thinkathon where we could get together took form the blueprint for the future of healthcare. You can find more information on that and how to get involved in our theme which is implementation is innovation. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/conference that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference be one of the 200 that will participate. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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Recommended Book:

Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family

Best Way to Contact Rick:

https://rep-lite.com/

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