Saturday, July 11, 2009

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine meeting

Yesterday, I went to the AOSSM meeting in Keystone Colorado. Although I have lived in Colorado for a couple of years now, this is the first time I've been farther than the Eisenhower Tunnel. The morning drive into the mountains was gorgeous. Colorado has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world to live.

Perhaps because of the natural beauty outside, the traffic on the exhibition floor inside was quiet. I was told that this is not uncommon for this particular meeting, especially since many surgeons brought their families and headed out to the mountains after seeing what they were most interested in.

This was an exciting show for ConMed Linvatec, since the launch of the new Shoulder Restoration System is official. FDA approval was received a few weeks ago, and product is being rolled out across the country. Accordingly, the booth highlighted the new shoulder system.

I met some of the new people I've been involved with hiring recently, and reconnected with some long-time colleagues. When I arrived, I asked the two new hires from Colorado to walk me through the booth product-by-product to show me what they've learned so far. One of them has been on-board for only two weeks, the other about three months. I asked lots of questions about the products, including strengths and competitive advantages. It was a good learning experience for me, and good practice for the new reps. It think they did a great job.

The shoulder system is a fantastic addition to our product line. The leadership and direction of our new president was a major impetus behind bringing this product through the development process so quickly. R&D and marketing have done a fantastic job. There are superior and patented features that are part of the system which will contribute to its success in the marketplace.

The sales force is thrilled to have this product in their bag, and I believe their customers are going to be too. I watched as a surgeon tried out the product. One of our marketing folks walked him thru step-by-step as he "implanted" the device. From my observation, the surgeon seemed impressed by the product features and ease of use.

The head of R&D for sports medicine was kind enough to give me an overview of the major competitors' products, comparing and contrasting ConMed Linvatec's system to theirs. As a recruiter, I am often asked about our competitive advantages, and it was great for me to learn more about this new system. The launch of the SRS goes to the heart of ConMed Linvatec's future as a company.

I also learned from him about "booth etiquette": do not step onto the carpeted areas of competitor's booths, don't gawk, and never handle your competitors' products or instruments at the show. Violation of these rules mean that your company could be sanctioned, and your booth demoted to a less favorable location at the next year's show.

Still, I walked the floor of the convention hall several times, observing the people as much as the displays. Almost all of ConMed Linvatec's direct competitors were present, plus a range of other companies, perhaps 50 or more vendors in total.

It was a terrific day. I can't wait to see the impact the new SRS will have in the coming months.

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