ONE ELEMENT COMMON TO SUCCESSFUL LABORATORY ORGANIZATIONS of the future will be the ability to both understand the concept of “value added” services and to offer such services to customers. At its core, value added is an essential business strategy.
There are many ways to define “value added.” But the intent is unquestioned. Any product or service which is “value added” has recognizable benefits to the customer. Some examples make this clear. In overnight package delivery, what company would you say is the value added leader: Airborne Express, UPS, Federal Express, or U.S. Postal Service? Among department stores, which is considered the value added leader: Bloomingdales, Macys, Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, or Marshall Fields?
Most financial analysts, and a large number of the public, would pick Federal Express and Nordstroms. These companies have the ability to deliver something extra to customers which is recognized. It is because of this something “extra” that customers repeatedly return to buy. There was a day when Neiman Marcus was an unquestioned value added leader. Same for Cadillac. But those companies failed to maintain that capability and many customers ceased to buy from them.
THE DARK REPORT is excited to bring you two examples of “value added” in this issue. For pathologists, IMPATH Inc. (pages 2-7) demonstrates how to give anatomic pathology services a “value added” twist in the clinical marketplace. It’s growth rate has been phenomenal and its market share is increasing steadily. Many pathologists can duplicate the product positioning of IMPATH’s anatomic pathology services by applying similar techniques to their particular specialty.
Within the clinical laboratory world, the story of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago should be a wake-up call. Microbiologist Lance Peterson, M.D. arrived at Northwestern in 1992 with a vision. He recognized the potential of the laboratory to contribute to a substantial reduction in the number of hospital infections. He created the “value added” capability of speedy in-house DNA typing, then helped infection control staff at the hospital use this tool with impressive effectiveness.
The message from both stories should be clear: in a time of increasing costs and declining reimbursement, laboratories and pathologists can offer “added value” services which help clinicians, help patients, and result in more
revenues to the laboratory.