I applied for a job with Edgepark Medical in 2005 as a sales rep. When I got a call back from their HR department, they asked some typical screening questions and was told they'd call back if they were interested, which I did. My interview was with their "sister" company, Meyer Distributing. The interview went well and I was asked back for 2nd interview, but this time it was with yet another sister company, called Milliken Medical.
--Please note: When I entered the facility for the interview, I was required to sign a document which states I will not share information read, seen, heard, yada yada. This is for 1 very valid reason and another one not-so-valid. The valid reason is because "the company" is dealing with patients buying med supplies, etc which is private. The not-so-valid reason is because you soon learn there are 4 companies under the same roof - I will explain further shortly.--
At this point I was confused and during the 2nd interview it was laid out for me that Milliken Medical is a wholesale physical therapy supplies dealer. Meyer Distributing is a retail dealer selling the same supplies but to customers and chiropractors. Edgepark is retail, while Independence Medical is wholesale-both selling medical supplies.
As a rep for Milliken Medical, I am scouring the internet for physical therapy and chiropractor supply dealers to sell products to. I am pounding the phones all day long, working toward my goal of 90 phone calls a day so I can sell some exercise balls, electrodes, TENS devices, BioFreeze, etc. My customers already work on slim margins and they need the best possible pricing. However, my hands are tied because our sister company, Meyer Distributing (who, by the way, had their sales force sitting at desks 10 feet away from the Milliken team), already has pushed market prices way down by offering low-ball retail prices to my dealers' customers.
Essentially, we're supplying Meyer's competition with OK pricing, but our dealers can't compete with Meyer. It is a no-win situation all around for Milliken Medical and our customers. Not only were we competing indirectly with Meyer Distributing, but we had to compete against Independence Medical when it came to crossover products.
Each of the four companies share the same company values. However the 3 which baffle me are:
Integrity-We do what we say we will do. Family-Owned, Professionally Managed. We are family acting in the Companys best interest. Service-We are loyal to our customers and treat them with courtesy, empathy and respect.
Everything and anything they do is for no one's benefit but "the company's." If they have to put a small mom and pop dealership out of business to maintain profits, they certainly will do it. I have had heated conversations over the phone with my dealers who were absolutely livid with me when they discovered Milliken and Meyer were the same company. I had betrayed their trust and confidence. No matter how many times I attempting to calm the situation down by stating that in no way did Milliken and Meyer share information, it didn't matter.
Meyer was their main competition and ultimate cause for their profit margins being so slim. Milliken wasn't allowed to act like a true wholesale supplier to our retail dealers because it would mean Meyer would have to lower their costs to compete. In other words, lower profit margins for Meyer if Milliken could supply our dealers with adequate pricing so they could be competitive.
The same practices occur on the Independence/Edgepark side of the building. It is highly unethical and it betrays the trust of the patients which Edgepark claims they serve. They serve no one but themselves.
As an employee, I was very excited about the job because I felt by selling physical therapy supplies at "competitive prices" to dealers I would be making a difference. After my initial few days of training, I was given a list of business names and phone numbers to call. As I stated earlier, I was required to make 90 outgoing calls daily. My manager monitors everything I do: the number of phone calls, the amount of time on the phone, listens in on the conversations, records my conversations.
On top of that, other managers monitored me as well. I know for a fact, Meyer managers would listen in to Milliken calls, as well as the General Manager of Meyer and Milliken. So the "escape phrase" that Meyer and Milliken don't share information is a farce.
When confronted about a situation in which a Meyer rep was selling directly to a dealer, a Meyer manager would meet with my manager on the Milliken side to discuss what was best for "the company." What was best for "the company" 100% of the time was which side had the best opportunity to make the most money, which was Meyer nearly 100% of the time. So instead of allowing Milliken to supply that customer with wholesale pricing, "the company" would allow Meyer to continue do business with them at inflated "dealer" pricing. Unethical.
After a month and a half of seeing the pattern repeat itself again and again, my initial excitement for the job diminished. I was not motivated to make any extra effort to fulfill my daily quotas. As a result, I was called in for meetings about my attitude, where we would discuss the companies values, and how I was not fulfilling my obligation to them. I was high-handed in many ways. From the way I sat at my desk to how I presented myself on the telephone. It was reminiscent to my days at a private school during my sophomore year in high school. Gestapo tactics? Perhaps. But kept working there because at the time I didn't have anywhere else to go.
Eventually, I got out by accepting an incredible job being a REAL sales person with another company. There are people who work at "the company" who make very good money. However, I question the sincerity of their beliefs in some of the values which they subscribe to. The company of Edgepark, Indpendence, Meyer, and Milliken is very unethical and money driven to the point where the customers and mom and pop supply dealers suffer. I am embarrassed to say I worked there.
Taken for a ride