Coming off of last year’s success in upgrading the materials line, Acor has now turned its attention to its central fabricating services.
Last October Acor ended production of custom-molded shoes. “This was a difficult decision since this line of products once defined our company,” Joseph Merolla, Acor director of sales, told LER. “However, declining Medicare reimbursements, combined with our commitment to supply high-quality products at affordable prices, meant it was no longer possible for us to offer custom-molded shoes. With this decision, we are excited to focus our efforts on our remaining products, which are one-hundred percent manufactured in the US.”
Acor’s manufacturing plant and central fabrication services are located in Cleveland, OH, where it processes and produces its entire product line: fabrication materials, custom foot orthoses, leather gauntlets, Charcot restraint orthotic walkers (CROWs), QuikFit Pro prefabricated foot orthoses, Richie Braces, and stock therapeutic footwear such as Drew, Orthofeet, and Oasis.
“Improvements in our systems include a new way to do business with Acor Central Fabrication services. All custom orthotic orders will be processed through our new ordering system, the EZ-Fab Fabrication and Order Management Service,” Merolla said. “This ordering system allows companies to see where their orders are in production in real-time, so they always know exactly when they can expect to receive them.”
In addition, said Merolla, the system integrates with Acor’s new digital scanning technology, making it possible to scan the patient, enter the order online, and track the entire production process. This eliminates the time lag of shipping the negative to Acor, since the order and the impression are all sent electronically.
“The ordering system is part of Acor’s commitment to meeting its customers’ ever-changing needs,” he said. “Our goal is to eliminate guessing and provide our customers with a seamless experience that starts from the moment they place an order and continues until the item has been shipped on time and received.” As part of Acor’s continued focus on customer service and delivery, the improved ordering system now allows same-day shipment, Merolla said. Acor has increased the level of in-stock converted materials by 20%, which will allow the company to ship a higher percentage of material orders on the day they are received.
Added materials, colors
A recent addition to Acor’s orthotic materials line is high-density DuraForm EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). Produced as a closed-cell structure, DuraForm will not absorb perspiration and is easily cleaned. Customers can choose from various colors, densities, and materials.
Acor has expanded the range of colors available for some products. P-Cell, a closed-cell EVA foam orthotic material, is now available in silver, light blue, black, and traditional pink. The Multicork material is now available in black or tan, and Plastazote is now offered in pink, white, blue, green, yellow, black, and red.
Acor continues to stand behind all its products and services. “We have always fully supported and warrantied our products,” Merolla said. “This is the guarantee that you get with Acor products that is not found with many others in our industry. Acor’s continued emphasis on guaranteed quality is really starting to show, since some of our customers come to us with stories of failed products from competitors that the manufacturers wouldn’t stand behind. We want the experience at Acor to always be a good one, and are committed to back that up by standing behind any product issue.”
Listening to its customers has paid dividends for Acor. When customers asked for more durable laminates, Acor responded in 2014 by updating its manufacturing processes to supply them.
“Acor changed its materials handling processes, and the way we manufacture products has improved dramatically,” Merolla said. “The industry demanded a better product, a better quality of lamination—that was the overwhelming request. They wanted better-quality laminates that would not fall apart, even under extreme circumstances. This could include competitive biking, running, and other activities that can stress the materials beyond the parameters of what one would consider normal use.”
The company took ownership of an automated laminating machine in 2013. For the next six months, company technicians and engineers tested the machine to work out all possible issues.
“We didn’t put it into production until we had a full understanding of it,” Merolla explained.
Brothers Greg Alaimo, CP, and Jeffrey Alaimo, CPO, own Acor. They have built a team of practitioners and engineers who know the needs of the market, and design and make products to fill those needs. Acor started in 1972 as a patient care company, expanded into wholesale products, and now concentrates on manufacturing and wholesaling products to the O&P industry
“You have to be able to adapt,” Merolla said. “We’re always looking to make changes, and we’re always looking for ways to upgrade our processes. We are very proud of the products we provide to the industry and are committed to being the number-one manufacturer in our industry.”
Article sponsored by Acor