In 2001, Peter DeLuca and two former colleagues came together and realized that certain characteristics are necessary for a great orthotic lab. Armed with these goals, the three formed Integrity Orthotics in Arlington, WA.
DeLuca, president and chief executive officer, said he and his partners painstakingly chose the name Integrity Orthotics. Above all, he said, the business should act with integrity toward clients, patients, employees, vendors, and partners.
The three core dimensions of value DeLuca and his partners have striven for in their business are operational excellence, product innovation, and customer intimacy.
“How you execute the business is the most critical thing. You have to be consistent in terms of your turnaround time and in meeting commitments to doctors, making sure that things are billed correctly, making sure your error rates are low,” DeLuca said. “[Practitioners] need to be able to rely on your lab to do it right the first time.”
For this reason, he and his partners have made the commitment to using advanced technology, including lab management software, evaluation software, and CAD-CAM, which encompasses the majority of Integrity’s device fabrication.
“It’s taken some years to accomplish that, but we’re close to completing the entire technology platform that we had in mind from the beginning,” he said.
That advanced technology has paved the way for extensive product innovation; namely Integrity’s two recent releases of foot orthoses: a razor-thin, high-heel fashion device and a posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) device.
“In both cases, those were areas where we saw an opportunity within the market and we tried to meet that need,” said Rosemarie DeLuca, vice president of sales and marketing. “We’ve received tremendous response from practitioners and customers.”
The PTTD device is focused on biomechanics. The high-heel fashion device, on the other hand, is a response to a patient population that is not willing to compromise.
“The fashion device is the lowest bulk concept that we’ve ever done. In the past, we said that if you need serious control, you shouldn’t wear that type of shoe,” Peter DeLuca said. “But the market said that there are people who just won’t be compliant. At least we can give them some degree of relief and a little support, while still allowing them to wear the shoe that they want.”
This is just one example of the diverse line of products Integrity offers to position the company as a “one-stop shop” for practitioners and patients.
To achieve the customer intimacy component of Integrity’s core values, DeLuca promises his customers “honest people, honest answers.” The most important thing for them to know is that Integrity takes responsibility for its products. For this reason, the company offers an unconditional six-month patient satisfaction guarantee.
“We will stand behind the device no matter what, not just the materials and workmanship,” DeLuca said. And that includes situations in which the practitioner decides to change the treatment plan, requiring a completely different device. Integrity covers the return shipping on the device, as well.
“We try to make everything simple so that our customers are able to have a good experience with us, from start to finish,” DeLuca said.
Integrity consists of about 30 employees and continues to grow, but everyone is like family, DeLuca said. Because it’s such a close-knit group, the employees have positive attitudes and work together to do what’s best for the customer. He emphasizes to his employees that they are caring for patients with each step.
It is for this reason that Integrity has made such an investment in research and design based specifically on what its clientele needs. The company employs Mark Grumbine, an “inventor at heart” and CAD-CAM expert who dedicates his experience to addressing particular conditions and pathologies, said DeLuca. Once Grumbine develops a product, Integrity tests it with a small patient population and releases it on a limited basis for feedback.
The team brings those same efforts to work with researchers in Japan and university affiliated and biomechanically knowledgable podiatrists in Canada; Integrity also contributes to the Prescription Foot Orthotic Lab Association, which has members around the globe, to help fund biomechanics research.
Integrity contributes to the profession by giving back to those without the means to purchase orthotic devices. The team supports medical missions undertaken by Stephen Miller, DPM, who works extensively in Vietnam and South America, by donating materials and products. Additionally, Integrity team members donate their services to making custom orthotic devices for patients who are unable to afford them.
DeLuca said the company has accomplished its goal of being “not just a West Coast lab.” A large portion of its work is sold outside the US, in Japan and Canada, and soon more than half of its business will be international.
Thanks to the company’s expertise and advanced technology, DeLuca and his team are able to deliver products quickly, regardless of the shipping distance.
“Our goal is to be one of the industry leaders in terms of quality, innovation, involvement with our customers, and to be the best value for the price,” DeLuca said.
Stephanie Zultanky is a freelance writer in the New York City area.