Mile High Orthotics Lab (MHOL) is a young company that bases its success on staying at the forefront of technology while emphasizing client and community relationships.
Commerce City, CO-based MHOL, a manufacturer of custom orthoses, utilizes high-tech software to measure, design, and construct orthotic devices based on practitioner prescription. The complete product line includes custom ankle foot orthoses (AFOs), custom and prefabricated foot orthoses, custom shoes, CROWs (Charcot restraint orthotic walkers), scanners, CAD-CAM software for orthotic manufacturing, and routers.
“We are one of the most technologically advanced labs in the country, which is essential to being able to offer the highest quality products. In addition, we have a dedicated group of highly trained employees committed to paying attention to every detail of their work,” said owner Mark McMahon.
“While we receive digital scans from many output sources, we also take traditional plaster casts, foam boxes, and STS socks. Basically, whatever a practitioner’s method of taking a foot impression or image, we can make a custom orthosis,” he said.
All that, however, will mean little unless MHOL continues to develop great relationships with its clients and remains a valued member of its community, he added.
McMahon’s co-owner, Greg Armstrong, has a marketing and sales background and believes it’s vital for lab staff to get to know the business’s customers on a personal basis as well as provide them with premium service.
“We spend time with our clients around their own interests, and look for ways we can assist in causes that are important to them,” he said.
Since their start-up days in 2007, Armstrong and colleagues have always looked for ways to be involved in the lives of their clients and community.
That may mean helping organize a foot screening to introduce a new community podiatrist—a recent screening attracted 50 young soccer players for foot scans, and even resulted in new appointments for the clinician. MHOL staff has spent weekends in mud-runs, 5Ks, and other events in support of a client’s favorite charity. MHOL also has established two annual scholarship grants for the Texas Podiatric Medical Foundation residency program.
Visit the company’s website, mholabs.com, and see Armstrong competing in a CrossFit competition to raise funds for breast cancer prevention. Or see a group from the lab participate in a Tough Mudder event in Texas on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project.
Armstrong believes, “The company is nothing without our reputation for highest-quality products, fast turnaround, easy electronic access to account information, and, especially, ethical business practices. We are known as a lab that will go the extra mile in resolving any issue that arises. Our reputation is at stake in each encounter and we try to look at any client concern from their point of view and do whatever it takes to make them satisfied.”
The technological prowess at MHOL helps keep customers happy. Now that digital scanners and precision routers are becoming more common and replacing traditional plaster molds, the company stays at the forefront of new high-tech developments.
“Today, people want the best and they want it fast, so everything has moved toward laser scanners to capture data that our high-quality routing equipment can make,” Armstrong said.
Mile High’s relationship with Delcam, a provider of software and scanner technology, illustrates the company’s excellent bond with its vendors as well as its customers.
“We were Delcam’s first orthotics customer in North America and this was the basis for a strong relationship between the companies,” he said.
“We have an open door policy for visits to our lab. People interested in getting into CAD-CAM orthotics can come to our lab and test-drive Delcam’s software before they commit to a large investment,” Armstrong said.
Why invite potential competitors to see your shop? “We’re confident enough in our product and quality and services. I don’t care if someone else has the same equipment—it’s the people in the lab paying attention to every detail that sets us apart from others,” Armstrong said.
There are 20 MHOL staff members, and turnover is almost nonexistent due to excellent employee relationships. Employees get an extra paycheck for Christmas, delivered in mid-December, and each year two are selected for outstanding performance and receive trips to Mexico.
“It’s hard to find the kind of employee we demand, so we treat them right. I firmly believe that if we take care of them we’ll have a happy workplace, and, if they are happy, they will pay better attention to details that please our clientele. In this business, attention to detail and making your clients happy are of paramount importance.”
In the past six years Mile High has grown exponentially, but, as Armstrong said, “When you grow, you have to make sure you don’t lose focus on taking care of your clientele. We’re constantly monitoring ourselves to stay on top of their needs while proudly making 100% of our products in the US.”
Hank Black is a medical writer in Birmingham, AL.