Article from LER
An article published in Lower Extremity Review, January 2013
Acor: Wholesaler offers wide variety to fit practitioner's needs
Based in Cleveland, OH, Acor Orthopaedic is a manufacturer and supplier of pedorthic products, including foot orthotics, diabetic shoes, comfort footwear, custom orthopedic footwear, and orthotic materials. Acor is owned by brothers Greg Alaimo, CP, and Jeffrey Alaimo, CPO, and is built of a team of engineers and practitioners. All contribute to product design, selections, and creation.
Established in 1972, Acor began as a patient care company and eventually expanded to include wholesale products. Today, Acor focuses on wholesale.
“Now that we’re a supplier for patient care companies, we understand the issues that practitioners face when looking for products,” said Jeffrey Alaimo.
As a supplier, Acor provides comfort footwear, prefabricated and custom foot orthoses, custom footwear, and fabricating materials for customers. Its comfort footwear offerings encompass a variety of different brands, including KeepingPace, Oasis and Hush Puppies.
“We offer these brands because there are so many different types of shoes that people want,” Alaimo said. “This allows our company to have a superior selection from a variety of different manufacturers. This assortment also simplifies the ordering process for our customers because it allows them to order all the things they need—including shoes, foot orthotics, and other materials—from one supplier.”
In addition, Acor test fits all custom foot orthoses into diabetic shoes. Customers will receive the shoes pre-fitted with orthoses and ready to dispense to patients who order both off-the-shelf shoes and custom inserts from Acor.
Acor also supplies a variety of custom foot orthoses, with a commitment to an extensive array of choice and designs. Though more traditional methods, such as plaster molds and thermoforming material around a mold, are still used, Acor aims to use CAD-CAM more and more to create foot orthoses.
“It's a more accurate way to make a foot orthotic,” Alaimo said. “It’s more reproducible. If a patient wants to have another pair, we have the image on file. It’s been a challenging but successful transition to this innovative technology.”
Alaimo also emphasized that, when using a 3D scanner to scan pressed foams, the company does not work from a library of molds, but instead works from the actual image of the patient’s foot. “We know we get a much more accurate foot orthotic that way,” he said.
Additionally, Acor provides custom footwear and custom ankle foot orthoses for customers. A new addition to this collection is a line including the DRAFO (dynamic response ankle foot orthosis) DynaStride Molded Ankle Gauntlet, which utilizes a proprietary plastic that is more flexible than those used by other plastic and leather of ankle braces.
“This is a good product with a price point that has very attractive billing code reimbursements,” Alaimo said.
Acor continues to make prefabricated foot orthoses in the US for better control of the product, according to Alaimo. “We make all our products in Cleveland so they will be competitive in pricing and fit the standard of the billing code,” he said. “Continuing to manufacture these in the US is one of our corporate goals.”
Lastly, Acor converts fabricating materials in Cleveland as well. “My brother and I decided to manufacture our products in the US for two reasons,” Alaimo said. “One was for better quality and inventory control. But we also wanted to help provide more jobs in the US. You might find foot orthotics that are fifty cents cheaper, but something we always say is to buy local, live local.”
Acor uses a wide range of materials in manufacturing foot orthoses. They also fabricate different combinations of materials to meet their customers’ needs. “This is one of our core competencies,” Alaimo said. “Our company helps out customers who want specific combinations—certain colors with certain thicknesses of certain materials. We are proud of our depth of material choices and fabricating options. ”
Acor’s many innovations are aimed toward enhancing customer satisfaction. “Whether it is laminated materials, QuikFormable orthotic blanks, or bringing silver into the industry, we are always looking for different types of things that make products better for patients or more efficient for practitioners,” he said. “In the end, we’re trying to make it faster and easier for practitioners to provide for their patients. I think it comes from the fact that we were in the industry of patient care for so long, we have a first-hand feeling for what our customers need.”
In terms of goals for the future, Alaimo emphasized the company’s efforts to continually improve customer fulfillment. “It’s a very difficult business to consistently make products that aren’t always the same, but are consistently correct,” Alaimo said. “We want to be the best provider that we can be for our customers so that they can provide a flawless experience for their patients. Besides innovating and bringing new concepts to products, in the end, customers are the most important thing. We have a mission to keep our focus on our customers.”