News & Updates

MTS Blog: Making the Case for FSL with Sales

The MTS/iTraycer blog is typically geared towards medical device operations and supply chain professionals.  This post, instead, is focused on reaching sales professionals because in order to bring a forward stocking location (FSL) solution to your company, you need sales team support.  Our goal is to help you properly position the FSL and the corresponding technology to gain buy-in from the sales team, from the top leadership professional to those in the field. 

To say sales professionals are reluctant to change the way they manage inventory, is a gross understatement.  It’s a bit like telling Kevin Harvick you have a new and improved method of managing parts and service for the Ford Fusion he is planning to race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  The hesitation of sales professionals is not because they love doing things the hard way.  They are averse because they don’t trust any system that removes precious inventory from their personal control.   

Persuading sales professionals to trust a new methodology and technology for tracking and managing inventory might seem like a herculean task.  Our experience is that the best approach to accomplish this goal is to sell them on the downstream benefits, not explain the nuts and bolts of a new system.  The message should be: FSL provides the major benefits they want, which are more time to sell and more time for work/life balance.

Here’s what we’ve heard directly from sales professionals about the value of FSL.

“This program allows me to spend more time with surgeons and residents.”

“I hit my sales quota in large part because of it.”

“With more sets in the program, we would see sales go through the roof.”

“This is a game changer and sets me apart from my competition.”

“Because of poor quality of life, I was going to change careers until this started.”

“If this program was around earlier, we almost certainly wouldn't have lost tenured consultants.”

The way FSL is always introduced is as a means to reduce inventory and see an impact on the bottom line through cost reduction.  Now we know that inventory reduction is a sweet by-product.  The real impact and value of this program is sales growth because sales reps spend more time selling and being productive and successful.  And, there’s another great result.  Sales reps are happier because they are making more money, and they have more time to spend with their families. 

If anecdotal evidence ain’t enough, the stats we gathered are pretty stellar, too.

  • Enhanced sales force effectiveness – 75% of sales reps report that the “service saves me time.”  Sales are up by 26% for all active sales professionals in the territories we support.
  • Reduced working capital expenditures – Surgical loaner kit cycle times improved from 14 days to less than five days, and 56% of rep consignment was identified as “excess.”
  • Improved operating expense efficiency – Expedited parcel freight costs decreased as did the Next Flight Out shipping costs.
  • Increased quality compliance – All sets were inspected after each use, and the number of sets complete to Bill of Materials (BOM) level went from 38% to 91%.
  • Upgraded customer experience – Deliveries were 99% on time, and 95% were completed with white-glove, carry-in service.

Professionals responsible for operations and managing the supply chain readily understand the advantages of FSL.  Sales team members might need a little something extra; something specific to their corner of the world.  Appealing to sales pros through the two biggest items on their work “wish list” – more time for selling and better work/life balance – might be just the ticket to get them to jump on board.