Welcome to the 8th episode of The SPS Check-in. In this video, SPS Director of Sales Jamie Seabold interviews FabCo Prosthetic Design's Director of Fabrication Nick Gambill, CTP, and Amputee Associates’ VP Clinical Operations Zach Weber, CP.
The following includes a lightly edited transcript of their conversation:
Jamie: Welcome to The SPS Check-in. I want to welcome Nick Gambill, CTP, from FabCo and Zach Weber,CP, from Amputee Associates. FabCo is our central fabrication partner and have created laminated sockets for us, which were launched this year. Let's get to know them and what they have to offer.
Nick, can you tell us about FabCo?
Nick: FabCo Prosthetic Designs is a prosthetic only central fabrication facility. I've been in the industry for about 15 years now. For the past 13-14 years I have been running FabCo. The partnership we have formed with SPS this year has given clinicians another resource at their disposal.
Jamie: Tell me a little bit about your team. What services do you provide?
Nick: We're located in Nashville, Tennessee. I have nine technicians, including myself. We do everything from CAD (computer-aided design) to cast, and anything from upper extremity to lower extremity.
We spend all of our time focused on prosthetics, from new trends and material selection to socket design. By collaborating with the clinician, we can ultimately provide a custom device to a patient that they will love.
Jamie: Zach, being a practitioner, can you provide us some insight as to how you work with Nick and FabCo?
Zach: I've known Nick for more than 10 years, and always find value in bringing him into the end stages of a prosthetic fitting. When I'm transitioning a patient from a test socket to lamination, I enjoy hearing Nick’s feedback. I want him to know about the patient's challenges, because we want to provide a great socket by using premium materials, effective design, and layups. He's able to tell me how I can achieve a superior design from a fabrication perspective.
Jamie: Nick, in your opinion, what do you think the benefits is to using central fabrication in the O&P industry?
Nick: Insurance rates dropping and reimbursement becoming more challenging can lead to smaller O&P clinics letting go of technical staff, and outsourcing to central fabrication. I think a misconception is that clinicians are going to submit orders, and a fabricator will design a socket their way and whatever they deliver is what the clinician is stuck with.
FabCo is different. We will spend time with the clinician, talking through material selection and socket design to ensure they’re getting what they want. I think it's hard for smaller clinics who see fewer prosthetic patients to understand the full scope of what central fabrication can offer.
Jamie: Zach, from your side of the business, how have you seen things change over the years from in-house creations to outsourcing to central fabrication?
Zach: I think the future is good. I believe a lot of clinicians would prefer in-house central fabrication with all the equipment to produce the desired products. But for me, hiring is a big challenge. It’s difficult to find someone with that skillset, and then take the time to train them. Additionally, there is the challenge of operational capacity and space needed to store equipment.
I'd prefer to lean on a company that provides more than the socket they build. That kind of partnership requires really good communication so they can become an extension of my practice.
Nick: To piggyback off what Zach said, I think what many people want is to walk into the shop and talk to their technical staff and say, “I want this specific task done.” What happens in central fabrication is that you lose that direct communication line. This is where FabCo excels really well. We communicate with our clients through FaceTime, text, and phone calls. We try to provide that same experience as if we're working in your shop.
Jamie: What kind of changes do you see happening down the road where we can better serve our customers?
Nick: When we first started working with SPS, we didn't know if other clinicians just wanted a low cost socket that could be quickly produced by leveraging SPS’ buying power. What we found over the last five or six months, is that they do want options. We're working with SPS to integrate more options into our product offering, whether it's a click or posterior mount system. We are also working on streamlining our process so that we can provide as many options as possible through an online platform.
Jamie: Based on your experience with SPS and our customer base using our online store to place orders, where can we improve in order to help both you and our customer base have more options available?
Nick: If you come to FabCo Prosthetic Designs directly as a customer, we lay out a large platform of options. We want to integrate those options on the SPS website so clinicians will know upfront what our products are going to cost and what FabCo needs to create the product. Since launch, we have improved our integration with the SPS platform. Through this integration, clinicians will receive the same service at both SPS and FabCo.
Zach: As a clinician I want a one stop shop to order products and sockets. Ordering online allows me to anticipate the turnaround time. It's all coming from SPS which streamlines those channels so I can be proficient in my work.
Jamie: There's a lot of customization when you're talking about prosthetic sockets. I've always been told central fabrication can be difficult because you don't always know what the cost will be.
Nick: That is why, at FabCo, we have always tried to be transparent about pricing.
Jamie: I think that's the benefit of using our online store. They know exactly what the cost is going to be.
Zach, in your opinion, does ordering central fabrication through an online platform benefit you as a practitioner?
Zach: Yes, in a couple ways. That's where I’m ordering all of my products the majority of the time. Additionally, there's pricing transparency with the socket style that I want. It's helpful for me to understand and anticipate what the cost is going to be. Lastly, the turnaround time frame is provided so I’m able to schedule my patient in an appropriate amount of time versus guessing when that socket will arrive.
To me, the transparency features on the SPS Online Store are helpful.
Jamie: Zach and Nick, we certainly appreciate your time.
If there's any additional questions, please reach out to your SPS sales manager. Thank you for your time and I hope you and your families are safe out there. We'll see you soon.
Nick and Zach: Thanks, Jamie.
Click here to order an AK or BK laminated socket from Fabco.
To learn more about FabCo Prosthetic Designs, click here.
Did you miss the other SPS Check-in videos? Click the following to watch today:
Sign up to be notified when the next SPS Check-in goes live!