Part of PSS Retooling Includes Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

David Smith, president of PSS World Medical Inc., said this week that the Jacksonville-based medical-supplies distributor intends to add 100 employees in Jacksonville over the coming year as it retools its operations.

Smith said PSS employs about 4,800 people systemwide and more than 500 in Jacksonville. It added about 200 of those Jacksonville workers over the past 18 months. "We're redefining our business model," Smith said.

PSS intends to centralize some functions in Jacksonville, such as accounts receivable, purchasing, collections and some clerical, officer-level and management jobs, Smith said. PSS also will create jobs in its supply chain management system, he said.

Some of the new jobs will be relocated, but "the majority will be new," he said. He said salaries would range from $20,000 to $250,000 a year -- and is interviewing now to fill that top range.

We profiled the company and Smith's efforts Monday in the Times-Union First Business section. The company, which distributes medical supplies to office-based physicians, was started in 1983 by former chairman Patrick Kelly.

Kelly resigned a year ago, and Smith was named president of the company, which was considered a rising corporate star through the mid-1990s. But it suffered missteps that included a product recall by its largest supplier in one division, manufacturing problems with one of its largest suppliers in another division, and financial problems in yet another division. Its stock price plummeted, and the company put itself up for sale in January 2000.

By fall 2000, a potential deal to sell the company fell through, which is when Kelly left and Smith was promoted.

The company restructured, including an attempt to rebuild morale among the troops. …