But then PTS engineered an about-face, ditching its retail strategy to focus on serving physicians and nurse practitioners. Obamacare and other factors are pushing health professionals to rely more than ever on the kind of diagnostic tools PTS makes, to help keep patients healthier and out of the hospital.
This year, PTS is on pace to record revenue of nearly
"It's a very exciting time for us. A lot of people worked very hard to get things to this point," said PTS CEO
PTS acquired the A1C Now test in
PTS swooped in to get the product even after Bayer had already closed its
Huffstodt vows PTS isn't going to repeat the same mistakes it made earlier in the retail space. Instead, PTS struck deals with
That means the chains do the advertising and promotion of the product, while PTS focuses on manufacturing and customer support.
What tripped up PTS earlier is that it had to spend so much money on advertising to promote CardioChek that it had little left for customer service, quality assurance and development of new product features.
"That was a tough challenge for a small company," Huffstodt said, referring to the heavy spending on advertising. "We had a perception problem."
So PTS diverted advertising money to fund an 18-person team dedicated to fixing the customer experience. They worked for 18 months to do informational training sessions with the distributors PTS relies on to sell CardioChek devices to its key customers: companies that do health care screenings at health fairs, employers and medical clinics.
Previously, those customer relations were left to PTS' sales reps, meaning it was getting only about half the attention it needed.
PTS' team also worked to beef up quality assurance at its manufacturing plant in
When she joined RepuCare two years ago, PTS trained her entire staff of 40 people. And whenever PTS has a new product, they come for a three-hour training session, Powers said.
PTS also offers live training sessions online every day for anyone who misses its in-person events.
"Quality and service have both improved drastically," Powers said. The training is so important, she added, because, while RepuCare does blood testing at an employer's workplace, "We'll have up to 20 people using the device. So we need to ensure they know how it works."
PTS' efforts to improve quality and service started translating into more sales in 2011. Also, at the end of that year, PTS sales got a boost when the company entered the
"It really took off in a hurry for us," Huffstodt said of
PTS now sells in more than 120 countries and derives half its sales from outside
The handheld, disposable nature of PTS' products make them easy to use in developing countries, whose health care workers are not clustered in high-tech facilities as they are in
Also in foreign countries, PTS partners with food companies and drug companies that stage screenings using PTS products as a way to raise awareness for the need for their healthy foods and medicines.
But Huffstodt is also high on
But changes brought on by Obamacare have increased the financial rewards available to doctors who make sure patients check their blood sugar and cholesterol.
Also, some new programs launched by
PTS has been focusing on getting retail clinics - such as those run by CVS and
"The jobs to be done for these patients is to take care of minor issues. That's something that the current model is not doing a good job of. I think everybody understands that," said
PTS thinks its tests fit these needs nicely. They can generate blood readings quickly-90 seconds for CardioChek and five minutes for A1C Now.
It's certainly easier than going for full blood draws at a physician's office or medical lab, Huffstodt said.
"The first thing our test works for is more convenience and saving you from having to go back into the doctor," he said. "We facilitate easier monitoring after you've been diagnosed."
Products: CardioChek blood monitors and strips for cholesterol testing; A1C Now monitors and strips for blood glucose testing
Founded: 1992, as