Business Spotlight: Beyond Band Aids | Springfield Business Journal

BY: Julie M. Good, co-author

For over a century, Hankins Surgical Supply Co. has been a hub for major medical manufacturers and supply chains that extend well beyond bandages.

With core values ​​and business practices passed down through four family generations, Hankins Surgical Supply remains key to distributing medical supplies throughout the region. Founded in 1917, the company serves laboratory, dental and medical supplies in southwest Missouri and portions of Arkansas.

The product catalog includes well over a hundred items – from tongue depressors and examination gowns to technical devices such as urinalysis devices. The company is part of a large purchasing group that also expands access to over 10,000 products from manufacturers including Midmark Corp., Bovie Medical Corp. and Welch Allyn/Hillrom.

Hankins Surgical Supply sells primarily to independent physicians and community health centers from its 7,000 square foot facility at 829 N. Prince Lane.

“People trust and want to do business with a small, local company. We thrive on personal connections,” says Jimmy Hutchison, fourth-generation co-owner of the company.

Big business
According to a 2022 study by MarketsandMarkets, revenue from the medical supply industry is expected to reach $163.5 billion per year by 2027. This year, they’re on track to hit $138.4 billion.

Despite operating in such a large space, Hankins Surgical Supply does so with a small team of seven people, Hutchison says. He declines to disclose annual earnings, but notes that the team’s approach is rooted in customer service and client relationships.

“We trust our employees and know that they will do what they have to do to make the business successful,” says Hutchison. He also credits an increase in clinics across the region for strong sales.

It’s been the family path since the Hutchison family took over Hankins Surgical Supply in the 1920’s. Originally owned by Hutchison, whom he only referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. Hankins” in 1917, the business was reorganized when Mr. Hankins died, and James C. Hutchison, along with two doctors, bought it in the 1920s.

Jimmy Hutchison took over leadership of the company from his father, John, who remains with the company as President after his grandfather.

John Hutchison has worked on these customer relationships for years.

“The Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Missouri State University, and the Ozarks AIDS Project are all important partners of ours,” he says.

Each of these organizations has grown recently, he adds, noting, “Our growth is entirely due to the strength of the independent doctor and community health centers in the area.”

Jordan Valley Community Health Center is one of Hankins Surgical Supply’s largest and most enduring customers.

“Hankins is in our top 5 accounts payable based on our $70 million budget,” said CEO Brooks Miller. “Our relationship dates back to the establishment of the clinic many years ago. I have worked with the Hutchison family for 20 years. They really allowed us to get on our feet.”

Regional Reach
Hankins Surgical Supply sells consumables and makes deliveries to customers within a 150 mile radius including Northwest Arkansas. According to John Hutchison, the increased use of community health centers from Ava to Rolla has impacted the business. Some of the clinics they serve are Burton Creek Rural Clinic in West Plains and the Compass Health Network statewide, as well as a large number of clinics in Northwest Arkansas.

“Your willingness to do business with a local company is critical,” says John Hutchison.

Management of the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been the biggest business challenge of recent times, according to company officials.

“The amount of new and replacement products we’ve introduced has been incredible,” says Jimmy Hutchison. “Fortunately, we were able to overcome this obstacle and make our customers happy.”

However, with challenges can also come achievements, and Hutchison credits the team’s greatest achievement to staying consistent for clients during the pandemic.

“We were all on deck working overtime to keep everyone happy,” said Jimmy Hutchison. “While it was tough, the sense of accomplishment and pride we have as a company definitely outweighed the stress of making it all happen.”



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