A Guide to Crafting a Repless Business Model

Many small orthopedic device companies traditionally begin their journey with a sales model that relies on representatives. They typically develop their initial product, which often requires field service, surgical training, and autoclavable trays. However, it might be worthwhile for startups to consider adopting a repless approach right from the start.

There are several compelling reasons to consider the repless approach from the outset, including five key advantages:

  1. Reduced Sales Costs: A repless model often leads to significantly lower sales expenses.
  2. Streamlined Workforce: Fewer employees are needed when you eliminate the traditional sales representative role.
  3. Lower Payroll Requirements: With fewer staff, payroll expenses decrease.
  4. Inventory Efficiency: Maintaining less inventory can lead to substantial savings.
  5. Enhanced Cash Flow: A repless model can contribute to improved cash flow management.

So, how can an orthopedic startup embark on the journey to a repless business model? Here is the playbook, with the second step being the most challenging:

  1. Target the ASC Market: Focus exclusively on the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) market, where efficiency and cost-effectiveness are crucial.
  2. Niche Product Focus: Concentrate on a single flagship product to streamline operations and market penetration.
  3. Innovative in the Single-Use Product space: Develop a single-use disposable product that outperform traditional autoclavable tray instruments.
  4. Strategic Geographic Focus: Initially target specific Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) to gain a foothold in the market and build momentum. Use the positive cash flow to build awareness in other MSAs.

To illustrate the success of the repless orthopedic business model, here are five real-world examples of companies that have developed treatment-specific single-use products that can be sold and serviced directly:

1/ Mission Surgical Innovations – Clever and simple carpal tunnel release procedure in a deposable kit called, SafeView.

2/ OrthoFundamentals – The only SI fusion sterile-packed procedure kit that is FDA cleared.

3/ Icarus Medical – Patient-specific braces to offload PFJ.

4/ Green Sun Medical – Childhood scoliosis treatments without surgery.

5/ Endeavor Orthopaedics –  The only sterile patella fracture repair kit in the world.

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