Dynatronics Corporation (formerly Dynatronics Laser Corporation) was started in 1979 with the initial intent of developing laser technology for use in medical procedures. Unable to acquire the necessary FDA approval required to market the technology the company turned to other areas within the medical rehabilitation market. Seeing an opening in the market for ultrasound electrotherapy technology the company soon found a distribution channel that could support the new product offerings. Subsequent years led to the company developing additional products that have been used to treat chronic pain, test physical ability with computer software and to provide other forms of therapy. In addition, the company has ventured into the aesthetic market and has patented and distributed microdermabrasion technology for use by both aestheticians and plastic surgeons. Dynatronics has made several acquisitions over the years that have met with mixed results. The purchase of a rehabilitation manufacturing plant in Columbia, South Carolina proved to be a drain on both management skills as well as financial resources. Other acquisitions include the purchase of RME in College Station, TN which has provided a staple of reliable income and a wealth of existing and new customers for the company. In the years that have passed, Dynatronics Corporation has become well-known in the physical rehabilitation market and manufacturers and ships more than $16 million dollars a year in rehabilitation and aesthetic equipment and supplies.
Although Dynatronics is a public company, it is owned primarily by family and friends of the Chairman of the Board Kelvyn H. Cullimore, Sr. In fact, the son of the chairman, Kelvyn H. Cullimore, Jr. is the President and CEO of the company. Additional company officers include Larry K. Beardall who is the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Ronald J. Hatch, Senior Vice President of Operations and Robert J. Cardon, Corporate Secretary.
Work-group productivity: Productivity within individual work groups is difficult to improve given the high turnover in the various positions within the company. As a small company with fewer than 500 employees, the work groups frequently consist of only two or three people. The largest work groups in the company are within the manufacturing, sewing and customer service areas. Many of these jobs are repetitive and unpleasant causing significant turnover as a natural function of the job but turnover is also caused by other problems within the company that have been included in later sections. Beyond that, the fact that the company is small and uses nepotism as its primary system for hiring and promotions, there is little incentive for employees to work harder and increase overall productivity. Recommendation: Dynatronics could limit the amount of turnover by creating a reward structure for tenure. This would cut down on the costs connected with retraining and help reduce the problems caused by production errors that naturally result at the beginning of the learning curve for new employees. The reward system could be as simple as cash bonuses or as complex as affording more tenured employees with additional opportunities to learn skills that will help them advance in the company although that would require additional structural changes.
Social influence: Dynatronics is not a promotion seeking company nor does it engage in actively marketing its own name since it is a manufacturer and not a direct retailer for most of its products. In addition, the mixed nature of the influences are difficult to assess since some of the products are geared specifically to help people recover from injury and some of the products are designed to appeal to the vanity in human kind. However, the company did provide gratis treatments with its electrotherapy and ultrasound equipment to the Olympic athletes staying at the Olympic village in Salt Lake City during the 2002 games. Recommendation: Depending on whether the company sees its obligation to the greater social structure they could do many things to impact the larger society. For example, the company could donate a number of devices to hospitals in low income areas so that the treatment costs associated with rehabilitation could be reduced.
Individual differences and personality: As president and CEO, Cullimore, Jr. is a charismatic and highly intelligent leader. His knowledge about the operations and details of the organization gives him a unique insight into the business. However, his ties to his friends whom he hires with great frequency give him a serious weakness of which he may be wholly unaware. Nevertheless, the company has demonstrated that it has potential with him at the helm. Recommendation: Cullimore, Jr. should take strides to assure that hiring decisions are based solely on merit. It would be difficult for him to eliminate the hiring of family by company policy since his father is the Chairman of the Board and he is CEO but strides could be made to improve the practice such as creating interview panels that include various individuals in management who are not connected with the applicants.
The habits of effective people: The individuals that work in the organization and have lasted for any length of time exhibit the ability to refrain from bringing up controversial issues. As a rule, they also have well developed communication and interpersonal skills thereby helping the company maintain the status quo rather than searching for ways to be innovative. Recommendation: There is an inherent difficulty in proposing the kind of cultural change that would allow employees to become more open with their opinions but it could be done over time. Allowing employees to submit ideas anonymously and having management view each idea honestly could be a good start in that direction. Management could then encourage further participation by sharing valued ideas at general meetings with the employee population.
Perception and attribution: The perception of the company is one of high quality and a willingness to stand behind the product. This is a function of the company's willingness to listen to each individual retailer and to honor the long warrantees that are supplied on so many of the products manufactured by Dynatronics. Recommendation: Dynatronics has a bad reputation for handling credits and returns in a prompt manner. Improved technology and established procedures would go a long way toward replacing the paper and pencil system used.
Motivation: With little opportunity for upward movement and modest income for the company, there appear to be few intrinsic motivators within Dynatronics. Therefore, individual team leaders probably need to rely on charisma and leadership techniques to inspire their work groups to perform at higher levels. Without those skills, the only motivation that will inspire the workforce is termination of employment. Recommendation: Allocating money from the company budget toward training and development for employees is an ideal motivator. Employees that demonstrate success in a particular area could be rewarded with the chance to attend additional training courses for other positions within the organization.
High-performance teams: The teams within the company that are responsible for assembling and repairing the complex circuitry and mechanics of many of the devices are comprised of engineers and electrical/electronics technicians. These teams work turn out sophisticated, high quality equipment that is used in physical therapy offices all over the world. Given the reputation of the organization these workers have found a way to perform at a high level but it is difficult to assess if they are at capacity or simply doing the minimum. Recommendation: Dynatronics has done a good job of creating high performance teams in the technical areas of the company but the less skilled teams in customer service are not working at the same level. One reason for the failure of less skilled teams to perform at the same level is the lack of cohesion resulting from a failure to meet and plan. The company should create a schedule for incoming calls that allows for team meetings and proper planning within this area.
Effective and ineffective team roles: Because the company is small, few roles on the teams are capable of being ineffective if any. The responsibility of each member of such small groups even in groups that are as large as ten, is closely monitored by co-workers thereby preventing ineffectiveness. On the other hand, there is a risk of group-think and the development of teams that have made a tacit agreement to work at a specific level but no more. Recommendation: There are no set metrics for certain groups within the company the drill down to the performance of individuals on a team. As a result, it is difficult to assess the individual's performance. Dynatronics should develop specific metrics for each job in the organization against which employee effectiveness can be measured. There are a number of technological resources that Dynatronics can use to achieve this objective. "Improvements in computer and communications technologies have made possible a new class of application systems intended to support group work. The objective of these systems is to support meetings, coordination, project management, co-authoring, decision making, and collaboration on a variety of activities. (Olson & Symposium on Technological Support for Work…