Doing more with less.

Today, the Big Orthos are posting record sales, and at the same time record layoffs. I wrote about this strange phenomenon here – The Orthopedic industry paradox. Over the last few weeks I have tried to figure out how this is happening.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a logical reason for higher sales with less people. The Big Orthos have learned to do more with less people, less capital, and less system complexity. This discipline was forced on them during the Covid period and its playing out now.

The old paradigm pre-2020 was to do more with more. If a company needed to sell twice as much, you needed twice as many salespeople, twice as many products, twice as many training courses, twice as many sales samples, twice as big a marketing budget, and so on.

Post-2022, the Big Orthos have learned to leverage improvements in many areas to grow sales faster than their expenses expand.

Below are 7 strategies that are being used today:

1/ Automation and Technology: By investing in technological advancements, Big Orthos can automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and improve overall efficiency. This reduces the need for additional labor, thus controlling expenses.

2/ Scalability and Flexibility: Technology allows companies to scale their operations more easily without a linear increase in expenses. Cloud computing, for instance, enables businesses to expand their infrastructure as needed, avoiding the need for extensive upfront investments. This scalability allows them to handle increased sales volumes without proportionate growth in expenses.

3/ Consultants: Instead of hiring full-time employees, companies can leverage the expertise of consultants and external service providers. Consultants offer specialized knowledge and experience in specific areas, allowing businesses to access high-level skills without the long-term commitment and costs associated with permanent staff. This approach can be particularly effective for short-term projects or strategic initiatives.

4/ Outsourcing R&D: Building and maintaining an in-house R&D department can be expensive. It requires significant investments in research facilities, equipment, talent acquisition, and ongoing operational costs. By leveraging outside R&D and strategic startup acquisitions, companies can minimize these upfront and ongoing expenses. Instead, they can tap into external resources and expertise on a project-specific basis, allowing for more cost-effective innovation and product pipeline.

5/ Operational Efficiency: Companies can optimize their processes and workflows to improve efficiency and reduce costs. This can involve reevaluating supply chains, implementing lean management principles, or utilizing data analytics to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. By streamlining operations, companies can achieve cost savings while maintaining or even increasing sales.

6/ Data-Driven Decision Making: Leveraging data analytics and business intelligence tools, companies can make informed decisions that drive sales growth while minimizing expenses. By analyzing customer behavior, market trends, and operational metrics, businesses can identify opportunities for revenue growth and cost optimization. This allows them to focus resources on high-potential areas and allocate budgets more effectively.

7/ Strategic Partnerships: Collaborating with strategic partners can enable companies to access new markets, distribution channels, or complementary product offerings without substantial investments. By leveraging partnerships, businesses can expand their reach and increase sales while sharing costs and resources with their partners.