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THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 245 • February 2019

THIIS Issue 245 February 2019

TRADE MAGAZINE

Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

A good iDEA! Mobility retailer discusses why industry peers should consider boosting their digital credentials MORE ABOUT…

RETAILER SPOTLIGHT:

Mysokoni

People First Mobility

also inside... PRODUCT SHOWCASE: HOISTS, SLINGS AND LIFTS


Partner Programmes 3 options designed for your business

The Stiltz 10-point Referral Partner Guarantee Our entry-level partner programme option will deliver: 1. Minimum £1000 commission – guaranteed! 2. An opportunity to refer a unique and exciting product range 3. Same day customer call back to make appointment to visit 4. Maximum visit lead time is 48 hours from receiving your lead* 5. Market leading expertise in Homelifts 6. Specialist sales consultants guarantee unrivalled conversion 7. We will keep you in the loop every step of the way 8. Referrals treated with same respect as you treat your customers 9. Prompt and efficient commission payments 10. Sell just 5 Stiltz Homelifts, and receive a Generous Loyalty Bonus *Unless delay is requested by customer

Other partnership levels ... Affiliate Partners promote and market Stiltz products, undertake customer home visits and complete the sale. Stiltz will manage technical surveys and installation of the Homelift. You will receive flexible head office marketing support.

Top tier Premier Partners promote and market Stiltz Homelifts to new and existing customers and also carry out installations. Comprehensive marcoms support will be provided as well as full technical and product training.

To discuss how the programme can work for you, email enquiries@stiltz.co.uk or call Gino on 07940 437835


welcome

…from the editor The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a little addition to our logo on this month’s front cover. That’s right, THIIS has turned 20 years old this year!

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ver the last two decades, THIIS has covered some interesting, shocking and sometimes unusual stories relating to the industry and in our new feature called ‘Back down memory lane’, we look back at some of the articles that have grabbed the industry’s attention each month over the years. During my research and reading 20 years’ worth of magazines for the feature, I was struck by just how much the industry has changed. New innovations and ways of working have led to new challenges for retailers aiming to compete in an increasingly digital world. This has led to business leaders needing to respond and this month’s Retailer Spotlight highlights how one retailer is aiming to stay one step ahead of her competitors by investing in her digital credentials. Interestingly, this month THIIS also had a conversation with Ray Vernon to find out more about his online healthcare marketplace, Mysokoni. For the industry, online marketplaces are nothing new and are sometimes found at the heart of the ‘bricks vs clicks’ debate, leading many to question their suitability in the mobility market, particularly around questions of assessment. In the piece, Ray discusses why he believes his platform is different to others on the market. In addition, this issue is a Moving and Handling special, showcasing some of the latest products to have reached the market, as well as talking with some of the key players in this active sector to find out what the future holds for moving and handling suppliers and providers. As mentioned, THIIS is celebrating its 20th Anniversary but you can certainly expect more to come from us this year than just a jazzy new logo update. Throughout 2019, we will be running some exciting initiatives, aiming to bring something new to the trade. Watch this space over the coming issues to find out more.

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

Editor Calvin Barnett 01933 278086 newsroom@thiis.co.uk

Advertising Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 joe.fahy@bhtaengage.com

Calvin Barnett Editor

Sub-editor Sarah Sarsby sarah@thiis.co.uk

TRADE MAGAZINE

THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, 2-4 Meadow Close, Ise Valley Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, NN8 4BH • 01933 278 086 • newsroom@thiis.co.uk BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions.

You can find THIIS on Twitter at: wwwthiiscouk www.thiis.co.uk | 3


contents

22 What’s the big iDEA?

Features 8 It’s coming home 44 Big movements in moving and handling sector 60 Living made easy Product Showcase: Hoists, slings and lifts

Regulars

36 The mobility scooter revolution

20 Retailer Spotlight 28 More about… 34 The OT’s Perspective

58 Retailers’ picks

36 Meet… 56 Retailers’ Product of the Month 68 Recruitment 70 Training Diary 4 | www.thiis.co.uk

34 The OT’s Perspective

26 Meet Katie


The Heartbeat of your

GEL Mobility Over One Million Batteries Sold in the UK!

Tel: 01536 203030 Website: www.easystartbatteries.co.uk Email: sales@easystartbatteries.co.uk

Ask about our other ranges


round-up

INDUSTRY REMEMBERS DAVID EDMUND TALBOT GARMAN OBE David Edmund Talbot Garman, the inventor of the world's first portable powered bath lift, amongst other products, died peacefully at his home in mid-Wales on 4th January 2019, aged 96.

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well-liked and respected figure in the industry, David invented, designed and manufactured a number of products that went on to shape the industry and help people all across the globe. In 2007, aged 85, he was presented the British Healthcare

Deal ON! 6 | www.thiis.co.uk

Trades Association’s (BHTA) Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2015, David was awarded an OBE for services to the healthcare industry. The founder of Mangar International, a company founded with his wife, Francesca, back in 1981, the couple ran the Presteigne-based company

until he was well into his 90s, before selling the company in 2014. David is survived by his wife and their four sons, Rupert, Jocelyn, Benedict and Dominic, as well as eight grandchildren.

Installer Partner Programme

Stiltz Home Lifts are looking to develop their new, exciting Installer Partner Programme. Signing up for both sales and installation will make the Stiltz business far more profitable that a straightforward sale. Full training will be provided. For more information, call/email Trade Sales Director, Gino Farruggio on 07940 437 835 gino.farruggio@stiltz.co.uk


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Medstrom Healthcare’s new facility, Medstrom House

IT’S COMING HOME… Ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU and with a desire for more control over production quality and turnaround times, some manufacturers have began shifting production from overseas back to the UK.

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ast year, a number of manufacturers reported moving elements of its production back into the UK, with a weaker pound making British exports more competitive in global markets. In October 2018, Drive DeVilbliss announced it had moved the manufacturing of its range of electrically profiling beds produced for its French sister company to Leeds from Vietnam, citing manufacturing efficiencies and product quality behind the decision. MEDSTROM MOVES MANUFACTURING In January 2019, Medstrom Healthcare announced plans to start manufacturing its ultra-low 5000 specialist profiling bed from its brandnew facility, Medstrom House, located close to the company’s headquarters in Castle Donnington in Derbyshire. The UK’s only independent provider of bed management services and products to the NHS, Medstrom launched its 5000 profiling bed in 2015 and enjoyed a considerably successful 2018, selling a record number of beds including 800 to the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in July and 750 sold to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board at the end of 2018.

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According to Medstrom, the decision to relocate manufacturing to the UK will offer customers a range of benefits, boost the local economy, as well as grant “a level of security against the uncertainties and risks relating to Brexit”. BUCKINGHAM HEALTHCARE TAKES CONTROL Originally manufactured under license by Performance Health as part of a long-standing agreement, Buckingham Healthcare has now taken full control of the manufacture and distribution of its Buckingham Walking Frame Caddy. The Buckingham Caddy was the first product designed by Buckingham Healthcare founder Chris Buckingham. It consists of a tray and storage container, allowing the walking frame user to safely carry personal items and meals easily. Discussing the decision to shift production of the aid back to the UK, Chris commented: “Bringing the Caddy back under our management allows us to focus on future development and

distribution. UK based production gives us greater control over the production process and allows us to react to changes in demand. This also allows us to protect our customers from currency fluctuations as Britain prepares to exit the EU.” The daily living aid is predominantly sold in the UK through a network of distributors, NHS Trusts, Local Authorities, mobility retailers and online retailers. According to the company, Performance Health will remain the main distributor for the Caddy, ensuring a smooth transition for existing customers. www.medstrom.com www.buckinghamhealthcare.co.uk The Buckingham Caddy


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new to the team

STILTZ SET TO LIFT SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR ACTIVITY

Coastal retail team expands Great Yarmouth-based retailer Style Mobility has expanded its sales capacity with the appointment of new product advisor Scott Smith. Spending eight years as a martial arts instructor, Scott later decided to pursue a career in sales in 2016, leading to a two-year stint working at car dealerships in Norfolk. Deciding he wanted to remain in sales but wanted to change the industry, Scott joined the team at Style Mobility at the end of 2018. According to the retailer, Scott has already began forming lucrative contacts with various local care organisations and is currently completing training on various mobility products. www.stylemobility.co.uk

Do you have a new team member? Why not let the industry know? Just send us a short news item and photo. 10 | www.thiis.co.uk

Looking to expand its reach into the social services sector, Stiltz Homelifts has appointed Joe Bailey as its new business development manager. Joining the homelift manufacturer following 16 years with postural care company SymmetriKit as a senior sales consultant, Joe is tasked with working with growing Stiltz’ local government contracts business by developing relationships with independent OT firms and Disabled Facilities Grant groups. He will also work with major adaptations companies, home improvement agencies and existing Stiltz dealers in the south of the country to promote the company’s range of domestic lifts. Joe commented: “My aim is to work with social services on a much closer basis in order that Stiltz Homelifts is in a strong position to tender for local Government contracts. This means speaking to OTs, who for so long, have had very limited and clinical looking options to prescribe for their clients using the Disabled Facilities Grant.” www.stiltz.co.uk


20 years of THIIS

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE The Homecare Industry Information Service (THIIS) is 20 years old in 2019! For the last two decades, THIIS has been keeping the trade in the know with the latest news, views, products and jobs in the industry. Over 2019, THIIS is looking back at some of the interesting, impressive or surprising stories featured in past issues that have shaped the industry into what it is today.

FEBRUARY

2010

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arver Care and Mobility’s owners William and Maggie Carver’s discuss big business backgrounds and local retail ambitions. The article included insightful comments regarding the difficulty of achieving profitability in the mobility retail sector in comparison to other high street retail sectors, as well as the growth of direct-to-consumer activities by manufacturers. Carver Care and Mobility dissolved in September 2018, with the two stores in Milton Keynes and Newport Pagnell joining the Ability Matters portfolio of retail stores.

“There is a long-term trend for the suppliers to compete with their retail customers. There has been an increase in the amount of national competition from manufacturers. They can spend a lot more money promoting the products than we can and they are using price match strategies.” MAGGIE CARVER IN FEBRUARY 2010

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FEBRUARY

2013 T

HIIS caught up with AJ Way’s then General Manager, Barbara Douglass, to find out more about an expensive, computerised new piece of cutting machinery purchased to boost its manufacturing capability. The machine, an Assyet Bullmer PremiumCut, cost the seating specialist £100,000 and offered improved manufacturing efficiencies. In THIIS’ January 2019 issue, David Tomlin, Managing Director of Primacare, confirmed that the Welsh seating manufacturer had purchased assets including machinery from the now defunct AJ Way.

FEBRUARY

2012 A

ccessibility is a hot topic at the moment, with initiatives such as Purple Tuesday encouraging retailers to focus on the issue. In 2012 however, retailer Bang & Olufsen in Newcastle were tackling accessibility heading on. The home electronics store enlisted the expertise of Dolphin North East to fit a travelling staircase during a store refurbishment in a bid to get ahead of the Disability Discrimination Act curve.

“The machine is a fantastic investment because it reduces our cutting time drastically” BARBARA DOUGLASS IN 2013

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20 years of THIIS

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obility retailer Clark & Partners make a point about Point of Sale for showroom success. In 2014, the retailer had recently launched a 350 square foot showroom in Sheffield and spoke to THIIS about the importance of modernising the retail experience in the mobility industry. The company brought in an external retail consultancy that had worked with brands such as Harvey Nicholls and Harrods and focused particularly attention a contemporary shop window with engaging visual graphics.

“We are finding that our mature customers are ‘younger’ in their expectations. They want a more up-to-date shopping experience that reflects the well-known high street chains.” MARK SHAW IN FEBRUARY 2014

FEBRUARY

2015

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etailer Healthcare Matters decides to dip their toe into manufacturing, producing their own range of pressure mattresses. In 2015, MD Phil Silby told THIIS that he saw an opportunity to provide both quality and affordability, investing time and money to create their Air-Flo range. The company was working on creating a nationwide distribution for the new range to help bring the new products to market.

“We have been distributors of products for a long time and so we were ideally placed to know what was important to our partners and what they wouldn’t want or require.” PHIL SILBY IN FEBRUARY 2015

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FEBRUARY

2014


FEBRUARY

2016 A

special political guest cut the ribbon for Recare. In 2016, then Prime Minister David Cameron paid a visit to Oxfordshire to officially open mobility retailer Recare’s new 5,000sq ft. clinic, showroom and offices.

“We have grown substantially since we launched and were working out of four different locations and so it was time to bring everything together.” RICHARD HOLLAND-OAKES IN FEBRUARY 2016

FEBRUARY

2017 A major acquisition shook the healthcare bed market. In 2017, Drive DeVilbiss acquired Leeds-based manufacturer Sidhil, one of the biggest acquisitions to have taken place in the sector for a decade.

FEBRUARY

2018

“This acquisition will expand Drive’s existing manufacturing capabilities in the UK while adding significant manufacturing expertise to our European platform.” HARVEY P. DIAMOND IN FEBRUARY 2017

Disability Needs decided it was time for a brand refresh to synchronise for the future. In 2018, after two decades of success, Disability Needs made the decision to rebrand the organisation under the new moniker, Sync Living. The Irish provider of mobility equipment and bathroom adaptations highlighted that the rebrand was in response to an evolving, inclusive society. eVilbiss acquired Leeds-based manufacturer Sidhil, one of the biggest acquisitions to have taken place in the sector for a decade.

“The new name duly echoes our ethos of ‘Us + You’, which signifies provision of solutions in respect to the needs of our end-users.” MARK SPOTTISWOODE IN FEBRUARY 2018


round-up

RETAILER ENQUIRY LEADS TO NEW INVISIBLE STEP LIFT Following the launch of its invisible step lift and a referral scheme offering dealers £600 for every successful referral, Oyster Mayfair has added a new model to its range. The third model in its range, the new SR (short rise) model can provide wheelchair access over a single step up to a height of 220mm. Additionally, the maximum travel height on the company’s model V and model VH have been increased to 800 mm. Neal Boswell, Marketing Manager at Oyster Mayfair, said: “The decision to launch this new model was inspired by a specific enquiry that we received from a mobility store who had seen about us and our sales commission referral offer in the November edition of the THIIS. We are happy to have been able to help the store offer a possible solution for disabled access to a member of the public.” Mobility stores wishing to find out more can contact the company at enquiries@oystermayfair.co.uk or call 020 7183 3606. www.oystermayfair.co.uk

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WHEELCHAIR SERVICE CALLS ON USERS TO SHAPE ITS FUTURE Three NHS CCGs serving Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, and South Eastern Hampshire are asking for feedback from long-term users of Wheelchair Services as part of a review to improve the service. Aiming to tackle longstanding concerns locally about the length of time that long-term wheelchair users can face before receiving their chairs, the review hopes to go beyond just tackling waiting times and examine other issues according to Portsmouth CCG, including whether people want more opportunity to buy their own wheelchairs with NHS budgets and whether the system of assessment and appointments can be improved.

Transfer solutions land with discounted package offer Two new products, the FSG200 Free Standing Gantry and CP200 Portable Hoist, have been released by Prism Medical UK, with the company offering a discounted price when bought together. Produced using a high-strength, lightweight aluminium and with a max load of 200kg, the FSG200 Free Standing Gantry system is designed to provide a stable hoist track in places where a fixed ceiling track may not be suitable or portable solution is required. The company says when used in conjunction with a portable track hoist, such as its CP200, the system proves an effective solution for home care, extending the time users are able to remain in their own home. The CP200 is capable of up to 60 lifts on a single charge and has a maximum rated load of 200 kilos and can be used with multiple fixed

The FSG200 free standing gantry

ceiling track systems and with gantry systems. With features designed for use in hospitals, care homes The CP200 portable track hoist and home care environments, the hoist also includes a quick release system on both the top and bottom of the unit, allowing it to be transferred between fixed and portable applications in seconds. For discounted price packages, contact 01924 840 100 www.prismmedical.co.uk


HALF-PRICE RETAILER OFFER TO KICK-START 2019 Continuing its ongoing monthly promotional campaign for its third year, Repose Furniture is offering retailers a half-price, all-inclusive, five-year warranty on every chair and two or three-seater sofa from its homecare furniture range in February.

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he deal is available on applicable ranges ordered between February 1st and February 28th 2019 when quoting FEBRUARY19 and gives retailers a saving of £29.50 on a chair, £39.40 on a two-seater sofa and £49.50 on a three-seater. The comprehensive five-year

warranty, available in association with Staingard, covers accidental damage, structure damage and fabric stains and as part of the warranty, a customer’s chair will receive a spray treatment application whilst being manufactured (general domestic fabrics only). A specialist cleaning kit is also

supplied with the chair or sofa. For full details, retailers are advised to contact their Repose representative and to be eligible, customers must register their details with their order. www.reposefurniture.co.uk

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round-up

New aid helps users switch between seating and standing

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eceiving a positive reaction from OT Show attendees in 2018 ahead of its official launch in 2019, Joerns Healthcare’s new Oxford Switch is designed to help those with reduced mobility stand from a seated position and facilitate their transfer to another service. According to the company, the Switch actively encourages the enduser to participate in the standing process, engaging core muscle groups while improving strength and function. As a secondary function, the Switch can also be utilised to help re-position a patient who has slouched or slipped forward in a chair. With a safe working load of 180kg, the compact Switch features four swivel castors, alongside two independently braked central wheels, ensuring the user’s weight is distributed more widely for enhanced stability. The aid includes a choice of hand hold points for the user and a carefully selected frame angle ensuring optimum user positioning, while height and angle adjustable knee pads coupled with optional padded covers help to provide added comfort. Additionally, an accessible foot bar allows the carer to provide counterbalance support during standing. Designed for use with the Switch

as a complimentary accessory, the Oxford Patient Handling Belt is also available separately in a choice of sizes, offering additional reassurance when standing and during transfer.

For more information, contact Joerns Healthcare on 0844 811 1156 or email info@joerns.co.uk www.joerns.co.uk

MOBILITY DEALER EMBRACES THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT DF Mobility played the role of Santa at the end of last year, donating a sensory kit worth £2,000 to the Icknield School in Andover, Hampshire. Danny Frendo, Director of DF Mobility, delivered the mobile kit to the school as a way to give back to the community, after asking followers on its Facebook page to name schools and organisations in the Andover area that would benefit from the gift. Picking the winner at random, the sensory kit included a glitter ball, rope lights, a scent machine, mirrors and bead tumblers.

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retailer spotlight Should more mobility retailers invest time building their online ability to take advantage of the ecommerce opportunities

PEOPLE FIRST MOBILITY

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?! When it comes to staying up to date with the latest developments in the digital world, it can be somewhat of a daunting task. Seemingly every day, new technology emerges that can potentially shift the way businesses operate and the environments they operate in. Aiming to stay ahead of the curve, Karen Sheppard, Managing Director of People First Mobility, discusses why she has been investing her spare time and effort to keep up to date with the latest online developments and why other mobility retailers should consider doing the same.

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GETTING ON BOARD WITH ONLINE To say the rise of internet has altered the retail landscape for almost every single sector would be no understatement. Search engines, smartphones, ecommerce, social media and digital advertising are just some of the recent online developments that has resulted in an increasing number of consumers turning to the internet as the first port of call for their information, entertainment, and importantly, products. Arguably, the mobility industry has seen a slower trend of consumers turning online first, largely due to an older, less-digitally savvy demographic of shopper, however, research highlights that this may no longer be the case. According to a recent report by Accord Marketing, a marketing agency specialising in the mature market, results show that over-50s customers that have previously been deemed as ‘non-digital natives’ now engage with online as a key step in their buying process.

mobility industry that disregard the online world do so their peril. For many SMEs that are unfamiliar with the ever-changing online world, working on online areas of the business can prove too expensive to be viable, be it employing a dedicated marketer or hiring a consultant to manage the various facets of digital. Karen Sheppard however has decided to invest time and energy into developing her own understanding, building the skills to allow her to better manage this side of her retail business. ACQUIRING AND BUILDING THE SKILLS Understanding the importance of keeping up to date with the digital domain, she has been busy completing the free iDEA program, designed to teach and enhance her online skills. Having recently completed both Bronze and Silver tiers of the program, as well as being awarded both the iDEA Bronze Champion decoration and the Special Achievement Silver Award Star, Karen says the modules

“I am able to reach out to more customers in a much more professional manner and it gives me an edge over my competitors” KAREN SHEPPARD

From 1,465 people surveyed, with the majority over the age of 60, 70 percent of respondents said they investigated a product online before making a purchase, with 22 percent going directly to a brand’s website and 18 percent visiting a price comparison website. Consequently, when it comes to buying, 31 percent confirmed buying from an online retailer. As more digitally-confident consumers enter the market over time and with the children of elderly parents more inclined to turn to Google for solutions than the Yellow Pages – which as of January 2019, has been discontinued in print – retailers in the

cover vital areas of the virtual arena. “The iDEA badges cover everything from social media and websites, to GDPR, social selling, and advertising. They are interesting to do and as well as brushing up on knowledge that you already know, there is still so much to learn,” she emphasised. In addition, modules including coding, cloud computing, design, ecommerce, customer relationship management, gif making, and others essential to modern retailers looking to eager finding success in the market. Discussing working through the course, she told THIIS: “I can honestly say I have enjoyed all of the badges

and looking back through them, I am finding it difficult to say which bits were most interesting, as they were all so unique in their own way. So many different challenges. “There were no badges that I did not enjoy doing. Admittedly there were a few that took me a few days to do as they were challenging and I had to keep coming back to have another go to be able to complete them. This just added to the fun, excitement and challenge of managing to complete them. The coding badges were probably the hardest for me to achieve.” APPLYING THE KNOWLEDGE Keen to put her newly acquired digital acumen to practice, the Skegnessbased managing director has already started implementing changes into the way she works online. “I have used knowledge from a few badges already,” she explained. “I have used social media badges to change how I am going to approach my customers through the use of social media. Social selling and advertising have again given me different perspectives on how to approach these areas of my business.” Additionally, Karen says the Web Designer and Making Websites modules helped her better understand what makes a good, streamlined design, allowing her to communicate her requirements when working on her upcoming website redesign. “The advantages of these are that I am able to reach out to more customers in a much more professional manner and it gives me an edge over my competitors,” she continued. “Completing all these skills sets will also benefit People First Mobility by allowing us to not stand still and put different skills into place to continue to grow and adapt to the changing world of business.” By gaining a better understanding of digital technologies, retail leaders can better respond to and implement the changes needed to remain ahead of the game in a fast-moving online environment.

www.thiis.co.uk | 21


retailer spotlight

Enhancing her digital skills with iDEA has been both a rewarding and business savvy decision says Karen

A PERSONAL TRIUMPH As well as a shrewd business decision to invest in her personal digital development, Karen highlighted how empowering the experience has been personally. “Being in business is always about learning and adapting, both in personal skills and workplace skills and the digital world is becoming more and more used in the business world, so to have something that increased my knowledge in that area is fantastic,” said Karen. “I am always looking at ways to learn and keep the brain active. I am a mature learner and think that to keep your brain active helps to keep you proactive in business. “Also, I am a cancer survivor and two years ago I had to have ten months of treatment including eight rounds of chemotherapy, which is quite harsh on the body and can give you something called ‘chemo brain’, which makes you more forgetful and have memory fog. One of the best cures for this at the moment is to keep your brain active.”’ In particular, the mobility retailer discussed fitting in completing the Award whilst also meeting the needs of running her business.

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“To find the time to complete the badges has needed time management skills and dedication,” she noted. “The iDEA award also appealed to me because of its flexibility, as it can be done at home, at work, on the train, anywhere, and at any time and any pace and on many different devices. Being able to stop and start any badge at any time allows you to fit them in around other commitments.”

A CALL TO OTHERS With plans to complete the Gold tier when released, Karen is now encouraging her peers in the mobility world to also consider investing time developing their online credentials. “I think mobility retailers should increase their digital knowledge as the digital world is fast advancing and to stay on top of the knowledge is a way to be a step ahead of your competitors,” she finished. “I would strongly recommend the iDEA award to anyone who wants to invest their time into learning more about the digital world, finding ways to improve and enhance the digital part of their business. “The world is evolving very fast in the digital age and there are many of the badges that can help in all different kinds of job roles and situations. The badges are easy to understand, can be done at your own pace and at your own time. When each module is completed there is also the sense of accomplishment. Just be warned that once you start you may find it very addictive.” www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk

WHAT IS IDEA? The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award’s (iDEA) is a free international program helping participants develop digital, enterprise and employability skills through completing online modules and challenges. Aspiring to be the digital and enterprise equivalent of The Duke of Edinburgh Award, the program launched its Bronze Award in 2017, its Silver Award in 2018 and plans to launch its Gold Award soon.

HOW DOES IDEA WORK? Participants complete individual online modules called digital badges in three different award levels, ranging from Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Bronze Award is the entry-level category for beginners, introducing partakers to a number of digital areas, whilst the Silver Award is for those who have mastered the Bronze topics and want to build on the skills acquired. In the Bronze Award, each module completed awards the participants with a bronze badge. Those who complete 50 modules being awarded an iDEA Badge Champion.


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round-up

New bathlift entrant aims to make a splash in the market With almost 20 years’ specialising in bathlifts, Hugh Malone has now launched his own bathlift company, H&M Bathlifts, following 18 years with Drive DeVilbiss. Having helped bring the Aquatec lift to the market in 1999, Hugh went on to set up the successful AquaJoy company before selling the business to Drive Medical in 2011. Over the subsequent years, Hugh worked at Drive, running the AquaJoy range and turning around the fortunes of bathlift business Mountway. Leaving the company last year, Hugh is now bringing a new bathlift range created by German manufacturer Eureha to the UK to help relieve pressures facing the public sector. “Things like bed blocking, austerity and increased demand on already stretched public services all impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of

product capability, supplier selection, lifetime costs, plus ease and speed of loan store re-issue,” he explained. “I felt there was a gap in the bathlift market for a product and unique service that can address all these key issues. That product is the KANJO range and it is probably fair to say, I believe it is set to revolutionise the UK bathlift market.” According to Hugh, the KANJO range offers users fixed and recliner options as standard, a stable lift that fits most bath tub shapes (including corner baths), a low decline position allowing more depth into the bathwater, as well as adult and children accessories. For Local Authorities, Hugh says the new range provides economic benefits, including a four-year warranty to help tackle the estimated £5million Local Authorities are estimated to spend annually on spare

parts. The company will also be offering free of charge product and technical training to all Community Equipment Service nominated staff. www.hmbathlifts.co.uk

FREE TRAINING DAY TO BOOST COMPLEX SEATING KNOWLEDGE Prosthetics, orthotics, seating and mobility rehabilitation manufacturer Blatchford is running a free complex seating training day in Sheffield throughout the first quarter of 2019, with the company’s seating specialists sharing insights they wish they had been told when they first started out in complex seating. The day will cover a range of topics including a review of anatomy and the biomechanics of sitting, helpful techniques for assessing posture, as well as discussing how assessment findings influence product selection.

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In addition, the course will explore specific product management solutions and how best to use them for different postural presentations.

Check the Training Diary on page 70 for dates www.blatchford.co.uk


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meet...

MEET… KATIE ELLIS, DIRECTOR OF THE ABLE LABEL What does your position involve? Pretty much everything because we’re a small business and have to get stuck in with all the different areas. My job varies from setting the top line strategy for the business; ensuring targets are met; marketing the products; sourcing and developing clothing ranges; and trialling and testing all garments with customers before they are launched – this is really important and at the heart of everything we do. What do you enjoy most about your job? Getting testimonials from customers, explaining what a difference our products make to them. That’s definitely the number one thing for me. One lady told us that she’d

Quick-fire questions! Describe yourself in three words Innovative, hard-working, caring What’s your favourite song? Firework by Katy Perry. I often put it on to motivate me What was the last movie you watched? The Polar Express If you could have one superpower, what would it be? The ability to be in several places at once Favourite place in the world Whitstable Beach. It’s a special place to me as I got engaged there

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stopped going out to events because she was so worried that she wouldn’t be able to get her coat back on. But she bought one of our coats and told us that she’s able to go out again and it has enabled her to do more. What is one of your proudest moments in the industry? Leading the way as we’re very unique in what we’re doing. We are trailblazers because we are doing things that nobody has done before and we’re doing a good job of it as well. What we do makes a difference to people’s lives in an under-catered for area, clothing. We encourage independence and grow selfconfidence. What have you found challenging within the industry? We are in both the healthcare industry and the fashion industry and because adaptive clothing is something that is new and different to both, it can be difficult encouraging shops to try something that they haven’t done before. Everyone has to get dressed in the morning, everyone has to get changed at night, so it’s a really important product area, but it’s not without difficulty. This is why we work closely with stockists, giving continuous support and guidance along the way.

If you could bring one new innovation to the market, what would it be? This is a difficult one because innovation is what we’re all about. We’ve introduced Velcro-fastening bras, which is innovative because the current products available normally only have front poppers or they fasten at the back. So, our bras have made a big difference to people. We’re constantly trying to think of new ideas and work really closely with our customers and factories to think of those new ideas. In terms of bringing a new innovation to the market, that’s what we’re trying to do anyway with all our products. What are your interests outside of work? I like to do sport, I play tennis and netball, so that keeps me quite busy. I also enjoy shopping, fashion and clothes. If you had to do any other job in the world, what would it be? I don’t think I would. I previously worked in fashion as a buyer for White Stuff and could’ve continued my journey climbing that career ladder, but there isn’t the same job satisfaction level in doing that. What we’re doing is really helping people and I find that more rewarding than anything else.

About The Able Label The Able Label is an accessible clothing range designed for people with restricted movement and reduced fine motor skills. The company emphasises that its clothes enable people to get dressed more easily while still remaining stylish, allowing people to remain confident and independent.


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more about‌

MYSOKONI

CHANGING THE FACE OF BUYING AND SELLING IN THE INDUSTRY? Amazon. eBay. Etsy. These are just a few of the wildly successful online marketplaces that connect customers and sellers together. For companies, such websites offer the benefits of an online store, secure payment facilities and access to a vast number of customers, whilst customers get to see a wide array of products and prices in one, easily accessible forum. Online marketplaces have changed the face of the retail world, becoming the norm for millions of shoppers and potentially leading to the rise of directto-consumer retail models adopted increasingly by manufacturers. THIIS interviewed Ray Vernon, Managing Director and founder of Mysokoni, a digital marketplace in the healthcare industry, to find out what makes his potentially revolutionary and disruptive platform different to all the others. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LOOK AT CREATING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? I stumbled into the market completely by accident after speaking with a friend who was trying to find a solution for her mother and was growing frustrated by being unable to find something suitable. At that same time, I was looking for ideas to launch my own business but was struggling to come up with one. Initially, I thought about something in travel because my wife and I love to travel and explore; however, we did

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not have the money to open our own travel company so began exploring different niches relating to the travel industry. HOW DID A NICHE IN TRAVEL EVOLVE INTO AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE IN THE MOBILITY AND INDEPENDENT LIVING SECTOR? It was during a visit to the Travel Technology exhibition that I first came across the mobility, disability and independent living market. There was a speaker talking about

travel and the disabled market. My friend who was looking for a product for her mother had specifically mentioned travel as a particular issue, so I decided to go to find out more. Luckily, it was just me, a gentleman from Holland and the speaker at her talk, so we were able to sit and discuss the travel industry and disability in detail for 45-minutes. At the end of it, she said to me that if I wanted to find out more about the disability side of things, go to Naidex.�


show, the products and looking through all the literature I had come back laden down with, she asked me, “how would you help?” That is what got me thinking about Mysokoni.

Ray Vernon

HOW DID YOUR TIME AT NAIDEX INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO LAUNCH MYSOKONI? My background is in marketing and consultancy, having owned a digital marketing agency, so I had never heard of Naidex before and assumed I was going with the goal of speaking to people about disability and the travel sector. When I arrived, however, I was absolutely gobsmacked by the innovations that I saw. There were solutions I never knew existed. One company that really caught my eye were offering an experience to take quadriplegics up to the top of mountains and ski the person down. Absolutely incredible and I couldn’t believe I had never heard or even considered such a thing. As I went around the show talking to people, I asked different vendors why they exhibited at Naidex and many of them said it was to raise awareness of their products or services because many people like me had no idea their company and products existed. I thought that was a real travesty as there were so many products and services there that could improve and change the quality of a person’s life. I left the show thinking that there should be more awareness of these products. After talking to my wife about the

WHAT MADE YOU CONSIDER LAUNCHING AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE FOR SELLERS AND BUYERS? Following the show, I started researching online what source disabled and older people use as the de-facto standard for finding disability solutions but couldn’t find anything in the UK. Being Canadian, I searched my own country and couldn’t find any comprehensive resource there either. The situation was the same in America. After having conversations with people, I was told that it doesn’t really exist like that but what I did find during my research is actual disasblef customers complaining of feeling ignored, being unable to find specific solutions or struggling to get hold of trustworthy advice and guidance. To tackle these problems, my solution was to create what I would term as the Amazon of the disabled and older people product market, although I do not like relating it to Amazon as there are a number of important differences.

WHAT MAKES THE MYSOKONI PLATFORM DIFFERENT FROM AMAZON AND OTHER ONLINE MARKETPLACES? Amazon is primarily concerned about selling, box shifting really, however, we didn’t want our platform to just be about selling products but instead incorporate a real educational and informational element to it. From the people I have spoken with, be it the end-users themselves, their partners, family members or friends, they highlighted that as well as a lack of awareness regarding what solutions are out there, there is also a lack of good quality advice for how people can best help a loved-one. That is why the educational content is such an important difference for Mysokoni and to that end, we decided to create a video channel dedicated to informative and insightful content. So far, we have created a handful of videos which can be seen at www. vimeo.com/possabilitytv. There is a massive gap between what is available and what is known. Many people want to help those close to them but do not know how to because a lot of the products and shops are specialist and not widely known about outside of the industry, so Mysokoni aims to bridge that gap.

Ray says Mysokoni will provide an online marketplace completely tailored for the healthcare sector

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more about… HOW HAS THE WEBSITE GROWN OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS? We showed Mysokoni at Naidex 2018 and only had 12 products and one vendor on the site. By December, we had over 900 products on the website with 20 vendors, so it is growing quickly in a short space of time. It is positive because it validates the concept and proves there is an appetite for our platform in the market. The number of people that came to our stand at Naidex asking for specific products surprised us. Many OT’s and nursing professionals came to give us support and feedback, so we are on the right track. It has been a really good start for where we want to go, however, our BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is to reach a point where half of the products in the industry will filter through the Mysokoni marketplace. CAN YOU EXPLAIN MORE ABOUT THIS BIG HAIRY GOAL? We have some big ambitions for where we would like to take Mysokoni. When we get further investment, we want to have fully

The website allows users to search and compare prices against healthcare products from various sellers online

customers, some of these products require that extra level of service. For users who know what product fits their needs, that is fine. For those who are unsure or coming in cold to the market, it would be great if they could receive additional information from an actual person. Then that product category expert could recommend a

“Our big hairy audacious goal is to reach a point where half of the products in the industry will filter through the Mysokoni marketplace” RAY VERNON

trained people available to talk over the phone to field enquiries and provide their advice and expertise to customers and those buying for users like family members and carers. Ideally, we want to get to a point where a user could go online, see a product and then choose to purchase the product there and then or have the option to pick up the phone and speak to a member of staff who is trained in that particular product sector, for example, wheelchairs or sensory, for additional advice. This is something I think online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay could implement today but choose not to. Understanding this sector and the

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selection of products for the user or the best next course of action. WOULD THAT INCLUDE RECOMMENDING THAT PERSON ON TO SEE SPECIFIC HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS OR UNDERGO AN ASSESSMENT? If that is what is required then yes. We are hoping some of the people on those phones will be the occupational therapists and healthcare professionals qualified to give the advice. It isn’t just about selling otherwise we would become like another Amazon or eBay, it needs to be tailored for the needs of this

marketplace and the customers in it. If a trained advisor is talking to someone on the phone and they believe that a person needs a full assessment or to see another professional, then that member of staff could help recommend and advise how to organise and arrange that. At the end of the day, the recommendation needs to be what is best for the person at the other end of the line as everything we do is always aimed at helping that end-user. HOW DO YOU ENSURE CUSTOMERS RECEIVE THE RIGHT LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM COMPANIES SELLING THROUGH THE MYSOKONI PLATFORM? If we have vendors on the site that are not responding to customer queries, not living up to expectations or not selling products that are fit for purpose, then they will not be allowed on our site. We will cut them out of the process. I am acutely aware of just how much of an important role these products play in ensuring someone is able to live a good quality, independent life, so ensuring the products are suitable and the vendor is providing the right information and customer service is vital for the platform’s success.


WHAT STEPS AS A PLATFORM DO YOU TAKE TO GUARANTEE ONLY GOOD SELLERS ENGAGE WITH THE PLATFORM? This is an area we spend a lot of time and attention on. For example, on the platform currently, we have mobility batteries. Before they were put on Mysokoni, we asked questions of the manufacturer to validate what kind of support they offer our customers, what does the warranty of their products include, how fast is it sent out when a customer orders it and when a customer needs service. These are the kind of questions we ask and we plan to do that with the vast majority of vendors who plan to sell through our website. We are being contacted by Chinese and other Far East manufacturers all the time to sell on our site and we ask how do they support our customers once they have purchased the product and if they have a representative in this country that can look after our

“We want to have fully trained people available to talk over the phone to field enquiries and provide their advice and expertise to customers and those buying for users like family members and carers.” RAY VERNON

customers if there is a problem. The companies are unable to offer the type of support we feel is required so we deny them the opportunity to sell via the platform. SO, THERE ARE ELEMENTS OF DUE DILIGENCE TO ENSURE SUPPLIERS CAN BACK UP WITH SERVICE? Certainly. If you can’t supply service to our customers, then we do not want you on the platform until you can. That is essential for us and it is what makes us different to alternatives such

as Amazon and eBay I believe. We want to build a trusted brand so that when people look at Mysokoni, they know they can go on and buy safely because the vendors have proven they are reputable and trustworthy. As we grow, we would love to get to a position where we can begin to potentially influence manufacturers and retailers in the way they create and supply products to customers to drive best practice.


more about… HOW DO YOU SEE MYSOKONI BENEFITTING THE INDUSTRY? We believe in the idea of the “triple win” whereby the experience should benefit all parties involved. WHAT DOES A “TRIPLE WIN” MEAN? The most important person to win is the customer by getting the best products and experience possible, which really is first and foremost. Secondly, the vendors also have a business to run and the only way for businesses to grow is to invest in better products and services by being profitable, so they also need to win. Lastly, Mysokoni, which sits in the middle, also needs to win so we can be there to support both sides and ensure the right products are reaching the right people. For us, the best situation is when all parties win and I think we have created a platform and environment where this can happen. IF A CUSTOMER DOES HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A VENDOR AND THE VENDOR IS NOT ENGAGING WITH THE CUSTOMER OR HASN’T OFFERED A LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE THE CUSTOMER FEELS IS ACCEPTABLE, WHAT STEPS DOES MYSOKONI TAKE IN THAT EVENT? Legally, we are not obligated to get involved in a dispute between the customer and the vendor, as when a customer purchases from a vendor, the relationship is formed between those two parties. However, we do state, and it says this clearly in the emails we send out to our clients, that if they experience

Deal ON! 32 | www.thiis.co.uk

a problem with the purchase, contact the vendor first. If it cannot be resolved between the customer and the supplier, then we ask end-users to contact us and we will become involved at that point. There are statutory rights customers receive, such as a 14 days return policy and warranties, however, if the customer has exhausted all of these options and is still unsatisfied with the vendor, then we will look to get involved. We contact the vendor directly to discuss the situation on behalf of the customer, hear both sides of the

of products and buy what they want without any form of assessment. It is these elements of online marketplaces that we want to challenge with Mysokoni. In the future, we intend to build what we call ‘Wizards’. Essentially, wizards are the mapping of a category expert’s brain. It isn’t as exotic as it sounds! In essence, it is aiming to replicate the questions that a fully trained expert would ask in order to determine which product is right for a customer. We want to create a feature on the platform that will ask users,

“We would love to have more vendors providing both physical and mental health products on the platform.” RAY VERNON

story and try to find a solution for the customer because our primary focus improving the quality of life of end users. We are also considering working with an insurance company or two to help mitigate the risks that buyers sometimes have with a seller to give added reassurance to customers. This is something that we would look to introduce in the future and are currently in the process of formulating how this could work. HOW CAN YOU HELP ENSURE END-USERS FIND THE RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR THEIR NEEDS? I am aware that the wrong products can actually cause harm to people and at the moment, anyone can go onto Amazon or eBay, look at a range

depending on which product category they are searching, questions to determine their needs, wants and suitability for products. If we take the example of a wheelchair, the Wizard would ask the same questions as a professional. It would then use all this different data to recommend products that meet the needs of the customer. Again, going back to the idea of the platform being more than just sales, this recommendation could be to inform the individual that they need an assessment and then signpost them to the relevant places. We have the vision, now we just need the momentum to get the funds to turn the vision into a reality. The initiative certainly doesn’t lack ambition.

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You need to have a high goal to reach so you are constantly driving towards it but at the very heart of it, everything we do is focused around the customer and their needs. We want Mysokoni to be the single place where people with disabilities can find, compare and make an informed decision about products that will positively impact their lives. We can only build as much as our resource allows and we are realistic about what is achievable at the moment but as we continue to develop and build the platform and receive the necessary funds to kickstart some of our bigger plans, then we’ll hopefully find that we have solved those challenges that inspired me to start the company. WHAT DO THE NEXT 12 MONTHS LOOK LIKE FOR MYSOKONI? Building our vendor base is a key objective for us in the coming months to offer more products and more options for consumers. We want to grow to a point where customers are able to make comparisons against a large range of products. We certainly do not want to be a platform where there is only one manufacturer selling one type of product, customers much have choices. We want customers to be able to see multiple products and compare various products to see which best fits their needs, be that in terms of features, function or price. WHAT TYPE OF VENDORS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? We would love to have more vendors providing both physical and mental health products on the platform. Our objective is to create a professional environment that is competitive and helps facilitate the buying process, bringing together those selling products and those buying them, without interfering with the buyer/ seller relationship. All we ask is that vendors are diligent with their customer service and answer customer queries properly and promptly, as well as offering competitive pricing and ensuring their

Ray says educational content is a differentiator to other online marketplaces

products are fit for purpose because as we mentioned, we do to let endusers down. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST COMPANIES LOOKING TO FEATURE AND SELL PRODUCTS ON THE PLATFORM? It costs absolutely nothing to put products on to the platform and retailers can feature products in multiple categories at no cost. One of the features we have included for vendors is a free chat facility, so if a customer is on a vendor’s Mysokoni store and the vendor is logged in, they can engage with potential customers in a live chat, answering questions and learning more about the customer’s needs. HOW DOES MYSOKONI GENERATE REVENUE? We have the attitude that when a vendor is selling products, it is a lot of responsibility and it is someone’s livelihood, so we want to help support them as much as we can. The way the system works is that we won’t make money until they make money. When a vendor sells something, all we ask for is a flat 10 percent of the invoice. If it is the case that the product requires assessment, such as a wheelchair for example, then the

site can generate a lead that goes to the vendor. Rather than charging a vendor for a lead that may not give them a sale, we ask the customers to complete a very short form. Our system automatically includes the product information and the customer details and a copy is sent to the customer, the vendor and ourselves. We then follow up to make sure the vendor has responded and is dealing with the request. We rely on the honour system for vendors to say they have sold a product and the amount that is owed to us from the sale. It really is a simple process. For companies interested in becoming involved with Mysokoni, they can get in contact with us at vendors@mysokoni.co.uk, call 0333 370 1607 or click on the ‘Become a Vendor’ link at the top of the website which takes them through an application process. We hope as time goes on, we’ll keep working towards our big hairy, audacious goal of changing lives. www.mysokoni.co.uk

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OT perspective

SENSORY LOSS – A BRIEF OVERVIEW FOR RETAILERS AND MANUFACTURERS TO UNDERSTAND THE ROLE OF THE OT! As occupational therapists, we help a lot of different people in a lot of different ways. But one of the things we perhaps don’t talk about enough is sensory loss.

T

here are multiple reasons for clients to lose senses, and the implications for their quality of life can be significant – it’s for that reason that a big part of occupational therapy for those who’ve lost full sense capability is to mitigate those results as best we can.

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FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT IS SENSORY LOSS? Sensory loss may include abnormal sensation, decreased perception and awareness of the body and decreased coordination.

WHAT TYPES OF SENSORY LOSS ARE THERE? Phantom Limb Syndrome This occurs after having an arm or leg amputated. The client may not be able to process what has happened, leading to them still feeling as though


their limb is in place, but is in severe pain. One way to improve phantom limb syndrome is to reduce the hypersensitivity of it (there are typically lots of nerve endings at the point of amputation, which results in the unpleasant sensation). This can be done by agitating the nerve endings, using gentle touch, towel rubbing, pencil eraser taps or friction massage, gradually increasing touch tolerance, pressure and tactile stimulation. Hypersensitivity Disorders Children with development delays are particularly prone to hypersensitivity disorders, as well as those with brain injuries. These disorders manifest themselves in sharp “pins and needles” type pain which can be so significant that it debilitates. Once again, by stroking the area, it’s possible to reduce the nerve’s reaction and the pain as a result. Desensitization At the other end of the spectrum some clients experience poor or absent sensation. This comes with significant risk – a client can injure a limb without knowing. Once again, there are treatments that use vibration and stimulation to that limb, in order to rejuvenate any affected areas of the brain and improve the sensation. SO, STIMULATION CAN IMPROVE SENSATION. WHAT NEXT? Once a client’s stimulation begins to normalise, a therapist will start introducing more functional sensation activities. For example, a small item like a penny or paperclip will be dropped into a bucket of rice, and the client will be asked to retrieve them. This forces the client to use sensation to differentiate between different surfaces, fine-tuning their sensation. MULTI-SENSORY ENVIRONMENTS Multi-sensory environments are interactive spaces that offer clients a range of activities to engage with, typically to help their sensory,

cognitive and motor skill levels. These environments can be used to help clinicians assess and identify clients’ strengths and weaknesses; identifying need and determining suitable interventions. The activities within these environments can be graded up or graded down according to need. For example, if a client is mildly visually impaired and enjoys tactile input and a colour, but a therapeutic goal is to work on improving the range of motion on an upper limb or fine motor skills, one might consider selecting a ball bubble tube with large coloured balls that float gently up and down so the client can see the movement. The activity could be to get them to touch the ball tube, set to their favourite colour and then ask them to reach and touch (maybe count) the balls as they float upwards or downwards. EXAMPLES OF MULTISENSORY EQUIPMENT Visual stimulation (Sight) Optic fibre spray, Projector with reminiscence images, Bubble tube. Auditory stimulation (Sound) Relaxation tapes, vibration noise from equipment, wind chimes, music. Olfactory (Smell) - aromatherapy, perfumes and aftershaves that are familiar. Gustatory (Taste) - Any food substance that provides distinct flavours or texture. People with autism may orientate to flavours and textures. The challenge might be to gently increase that range.

Tactile stimulation (Touch) Vibrating cushions and mattress, weighted blanket with different textured fabrics. Proprioceptive and vestibular stimulation (Movement) - Rocking chairs, rocking horses, stretching and reaching. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH EQUIPMENT IS APPROPRIATE? Before using sensory equipment, it is advisable to carry out an assessment by a trained practitioner. Some helpful tools • The Sensory Assessment and Profiling Tool (Collier, 2003) – identifies sensory preference • The Sensory Profile (Dunn, 1999) - identifies correct stimulation levels • The Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument for Occupational Profiling (Pool, 2011) –gives guidance on how to run a session for autistic adults • Multisensory environments information sheets (Pagliano, 2001) – help monitor progress in the Snoezelen environment, recording behavioural responses in a standardised manner. Some helpful products and manufacturers www.sensorykraft.co.uk/ www.safespaces.co.uk/ www.snoezelen.info/ Some useful courses and training www.sensoryintegration.org.uk/ www.snoezelen.info/media/freeresources/sensory-rooms-referencelist.pdf

Stuart Barrow of Promoting Independence is a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and a recognised expert in the field of home adaptations. His experience is sought by manufacturers and service providers looking for an expert opinion. Stuart also runs the Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference (OTAC).

www.thiis.co.uk | 35


FOUR DECADES AND COUNTING…

THE BIRTH OF THE MOBILITY SCOOTER REVOLUTION When Ray Hodgkinson MBE and Martin Corby set up Raymar in 1978, the pair did not imagine they were taking the first steps in what would be a revolution in the world of mobility. Starting with a shoestring budget and a goal of introducing new mobility and rehabilitation innovations, the company ended up being the first to bring the modern mobility scooter to the shores of the UK. 41 years on, Ray reflects on the early days distributing the new technology and discusses what the future holds for the popular mobility scooter in the future.

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Newton’, an all-aluminium selfpropelling wheelchair which was later adapted to electric power. “I had come across an innovative solution to manage pressure ulcers ‘The ROHO Cushion’ and an interesting range domestic stairlifts and wheelchair lifts from the USA.” Keen to bring these new finds to the UK, the pair started the company on what Ray describes as a shoestring budget and quickly found that people were both intrigued and excited about the new developments and inventions the company were introducing. Former BHTA DG Ray Hodgkinson reflects on the remarkable growth of the mobility market

I

n 2014, a market overview of mobility scooters by the Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (Rica) reported that an estimated 80,000 mobility scooters are sold every year and around 300,000 to 350,000 of the mobility devices were on roads and pavements up and down the UK. Now, some suggest that number could have risen to as high as half a million over the past five years, however, just over four decades ago in 1978, a mobility scooter had never been seen on a British street. MOTIVATION TO FIND INNOVATION It was at this time that Raymar was established by Ray Hodgkinson and Martin Corby, a company aiming to bring innovative, new products to the fast-growing UK assistive technologies market. Discussing Raymar’s early day, Ray told THIIS: “I had been fortunate to travel the world marketing the first ultra-lightweight wheelchair ‘The

COMPACT FOLDING

UNIQUE CONTOURED BACKREST

A LUCKY INTRODUCTION It was during the early days of Raymar that Ray first came across a mobility scooter. Recounting how the Amigo was

any interest in taking it further but encouraged us to assess it.” The device in question was the Amigo Scooter, a three-wheeled device with a platform, electric motor to drive the front wheel featuring a tiller style steering system and a seat that swung around to make access easier. Designed by American inventor Al Thieme, a plumbing and heating contractor in Michigan, USA, he worked away in his garage in the late 60s creating a new personal mobility device that could help meet the needs of a loved one. Intrigued, Ray and Martin set off to America to find out more about Al and his new product. Recollecting on the meeting, Ray told THIIS: “A more enthusiastic and

“Interestingly, healthcare professionals and clinicians were quite dismissive at the time and doubted its clinical application, only suiting the most agile of disabilities. It is a thought that still exists today!” RAY HODGKINSON

first brought to his attention, Ray explained: “Out of the blue, a very forward-thinking and much respected occupational therapist Alison Wisbech who was working with disabled children at the Wolfson Centre in London informed us about a new type of mobility product from the USA. “It had been brought over by a friend of hers, a doctor practising in West London. He, nor Alison, had

dynamic American you could not meet! “Al Thieme had been inspired to try and help his wife who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. Her ability was becoming limited and one day after seeing a hoover being used, he had one of those eureka moments. Could he use the motor of the hoover to drive a wheel that could, in turn, be enough to move a person seated

Call to find out more

01787 882 244 or email info@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk THS310119

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www.thiis.co.uk | 37


Al Thieme working on the first production line of the early scooters in his garage

on a chair? Could it be used indoors and outdoors and around the local environment, thus bringing a degree of independence to his wife? At that time in the USA, powered mobility devices were very large clumsy and often impractical in the home environment, as well as seen as costly.” RAY’S RESERVATIONS With hundreds of thousands in use and tens of thousands sold annually,

we rushed into the market,” he emphasised. “Having experienced the UK wheelchair provision dominated by the Department of Health and the general attitude towards the limited choice of mobility products for disabled people, I was not convinced that the prevailing circumstance that existed then would accept such a radical change to mobility.” Despite his concerns, the former

“Why the Government is in a seemingly churlish position by restricting the funding of the mobility scooter is unclear.” RAY HODGKINSON

the decision to introduce the product to the UK may seem like a no-brainer with the benefit of hindsight, however, at the time, Ray had his reservations regarding its chances in the market. “It would be wrong to say

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BHTA Director General notes that he knew the product was revolutionary to many of the undesirable solutions that were available for disabled people at the time. “It would not be exaggerating to say

that using a wheelchair, non-powered and power, had a stigma and was the last resort for many. The wheelchairs were very standardised, heavy and unattractive. There had been little innovation since the advent of Everest and Jennings introducing new designs of wheelchairs and most products were copies of each other,” recalled Ray. TAKING THE LEAP In spite of his trepidations, Raymar took a chance on the device, with the Amigo sold by Raymar going on to be the very first mobility scooter sold in the UK, a claim Ray says he is happy to stand by. Described as the first significant change in the powered wheelchair market in many years, the Amigo quickly made headway in the UK and went on to become one of Raymar’s best-selling products. “To see the Amigo was in those days quite remarkable as it challenged all the thinking on mobility,” reflected Ray.


“Raymar caused a stir for two or three years or so as we were the only people pioneering this new form of mobility aid. All sorts of people, adults and children, with a wide range of mobility limitations which included those with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, muscular sclerosis, arthritis and spinal injuries began to buy the Amigo.” According to Ray, the device’s popularity amongst users was because it did not suffer from the stigmas associated with wheelchairs, which he describes as the symbol of disability. “They saw mobility in a different context,” continued Ray. “It could be fun and it brought about interest and helped to integrate disability.” THE MARKET EXPANDS The company decided to market the product on the freedoms it gave users over alternative mobility solutions on the market, which lacked the scooter’s agility. “A revolution had begun, although I did not appreciate it at the time,” said Ray. “We were competing with power wheelchairs and we marketed this as being the opposite to the big, cumbersome devices that were on the market, instead highlighting the additional freedom that the Amigo offered, such as being easier to get into the car and easier to move around the house in. “Really pushing the ‘freedom’ element of the Amigo is what really led to its popularity.” Having seen the growing demand for the new personal mobility device, however, more players entered the market, keen to get involved in the emerging market by launching and selling their own mobility scooters. “We created so much interest that it was not long before competitors entered the market,” remembers Ray. “One of the early copies came from Ray Biddle at BEC (Biddle Engineering). He did a good job and had much support from David Hull who many old enough will remember was head of development at Sunrise

Medical for many years. Sadly, he passed away prematurely. Ray Biddle sold his business to Sunrise and was able to retire and enjoy his motorcycling to which he was devoted and had a reputation of being somewhat wild alongside David Hull!” Enjoying success bringing in the Amigo, Raymar also introduced their own mobility scooter into the market during the market’s early years. “It was called the Solo and it sold to some extent but it did not take long for the market to become pretty fierce, with bigger players such as Invacare and Sunrise entering the market,” said Ray. “I did not have the investment ability at the time to take our range to where it needed to go. “I would say Amigo in America was a little short-sighted in not seeing the price competition in Europe, so we found ourselves struggling to remain

competitive as larger players entered with their offering. Since those formative years, the mobility scooter market has continued to grow significantly from the days of the three-wheeled Amigo, with today’s mobility scooters now providing advanced features that would not look out of place modern cars, from run-flat tyres to incorporating smart technology. LACK OF CLINICAL CREDIBILITY Despite the increased development of the products, however, Ray believes there are still some underlying issues inherent to the market that have prolonged over the years, particularly in regards to mobility scooters clinical credentials. “Interestingly, healthcare Al Thieme named the United States Small Businessman of the Year in 1981 at the White House from Vice President George Bush.

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professionals and clinicians were quite dismissive at the time and doubted its clinical application, only suiting the most agile of disabilities. It is a thought that still exists today!” he claimed. “We came up against those criticisms a lot and so convincing clinicians about the products’ positive credentials was a struggle. It was these clinical criticisms that the former Raymar director says has played a role in restricting the amount of Government support for the device over the years. “Clinically, I do see the caution but scooter development has made great strides forward and they are governed by the same regulations i.e. transport, CE marking under the MDD and International Standards as wheelchairs; they are essentially the same but just look different,” emphasised Ray. “Why the Government is in a seemingly churlish position by restricting the funding of the mobility scooter is unclear. Funding should be available for users to choose what is best for them to meet their requirements. Perhaps the move towards Personal Wheelchair Budgets provides an opportunity to rectify this ambiguity and kill off the myth that the new generation of mobility products, such as scooters, are not performing the same function.” Making the case for funding the provision of mobility scooters, Ray asserts those with mobility needs should be able to choose which device best meets their requirements under clinical guidance, with scooter being a legitimate clinical option contributing to social, physical and mental health needs. “If you go to Wheelchair Services, you can get a powered mobility product but it will not be a mobility scooter, which I still think is wrong. By widening the net of choice, this will stimulate even more development, better products and costeffectiveness,” he maintained. “Where cost effectiveness is concerned, it is not just the product and service costs that should be examined, but rather include the

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savings brought throughout the system where people are able to do things for themselves, work, play and go to school and university.” THE PUBLIC HAS SPOKEN Considering the hundreds of thousands of mobility scooters in circulation, Ray contests the mobility scooter’s enduring popularity amongst users is evidence that, despite the lack of Government or clinical backing, there is a clear consensus amongst the public for the need of mobility scooters in the world of disability. “Undeniably, the public themselves have driven the growth and somewhat flown in the face of government policy, in particular, the Department of Health and Wheelchair Services, as well as clinicians, confirming mobility scooter validity and widespread acceptance,” added Ray. GROWING CONCERNS With market research specialists Global Info Research predicting the global travel mobility scooter market will continue to expand in the years to come, potentially reaching over one billion dollars ($1.07billion) by 2023, the popularity of the devices does not seem to be dissipating. As the products’ popularity has grown over the decades, with more mobility scooters in circulation than ever before, so too has the number

Raymar’s first advert from 1978 created a lot of interest introducing a new approach to mobility /wheelchairs recalls Ray

of accidents and, worryingly, fatalities, resulting in increased media and public scrutiny. Highlighting some of the key issues surrounding mobility scooters, Ray commented: “The danger with mobility scooters is that there isn’t proper training, the control of them into the marketplace needs to be tighter, retailers need to have greater knowledge on people’s conditions, and users themselves need to be acutely aware that they are sitting on something that can be lethal if not driven properly.” THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO STEP UP Rather than waiting for the Government to step in with regulations to tackle the issues, Ray states the industry needs to be on the front foot to address the growing concerns. One element he contests is vital is the need to introduce qualifications. “There should be qualifications required for selling these products. Drawing a comparison to the spectacles market, when people go in for glasses, someone qualified will assess that individual and give them a prescription. I think the same needs to be introduced for mobility scooters and really all assistive technology,” noted Ray.


See the KYMCO family at NAIDEX 2019 Stand No N2100


A look at the marketing messaging of the Amigo scooter four decades ago… how much has changed compared to the present day?

“If you have someone who is qualified and has prescribed a particular type of mobility vehicle following an assessment, then the consumer should be free to go anywhere they want to buy the product, be it in-store or on the internet.”

so many people. But there is still more work to be done. Look at what chains like Specsavers have done in the spectacle market for example - modern, smart conditions with trusted, qualified individuals. I think our industry has a fantastic opportunity to move more in that

“There should be qualifications required for selling these products” RAY HODGKINSON

Introducing qualifications for sellers will help deliver more professionalism argues Ray, asserting that whilst the industry has grown tremendously over the past 40 years, there is still a need for further development. “I am not being critical of the industry as it has grown incredibly over the decades, particularly with the introduction of the BHTA’s Code of Practice, and delivered incredible freedom and independence to

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direction and that’s not just on the mobility scooter front, but across all assistive technology,” finished Ray. “Eventually, there may well come a point where you will not be able to sell in this industry without being qualified and the industry should really look to do this itself.” REFLECTING ON A REVOLUTION Looking back over the past four

decades, Ray points out just how much of a change the mobility scooter has brought to many disabled people’s lives, referring to the introduction of the mobility scooter as a revolution in the world of mobility aids. “The wheelchair was a revolution a number of centuries ago and the mobility scooter has brought about another revolution. A single stroke of ingenuity by Al Thieme broke open a new era”, ended Ray. “I was fortunate enough to be around at the time, take a risk and contribute to its introduction and development so, over 40 years on, we have much to celebrate and be thankful for. “Mobility is a fundamental right and we can no longer isolate those people requiring sophisticated means to get about their daily business. The mobility scooter has helped develop that freedom and this massive acceptance is an indication of people willing to help themselves despite the hurdles and barriers in front of them.”


COULD A SPECSAVERS RETAIL MODEL WORK IN THE WORLD OF MOBILITY?

W

hilst there may be no formal, recognised qualifications for the selling of mobility scooters, many dealers currently assess customers, both as part of their own sales procedure or as a requirement of the BHTA’s Code of Practice. A common bugbear of retailers in the industry is carrying out an assessment, only to then lose the sale to an internet-seller, where prices can often be cheaper to their bricks and mortar counterparts who have higher overheads. Ray argues however that part of the problem lies in offering assessments for free, both devaluing assessments in the eyes of consumers and restricting bricks and mortar retailers from being able to provide extra value offers.

“Some consider the idea of qualifications, assessments and prescriptions becoming a barrier for selling when in my view, it is actually a tool for selling. If retailers were to put a value on their assessments, they could then use it as a sales tool for incentivising a customer to shop with them. For example, if a retailer was to offer an assessment and prescription for £50, they could then incentivise the customer to purchase a mobility vehicle from them by taking the price of the assessment off the final selling price of the scooter. “This would not only mean customers need to come into a physical store to be assessed but it also gives retailers an opportunity to offer more value to customers and educate them about the importance

of aftersales care and support as well.” Additionally, Ray suggests that wheelchair services could also play a role in helping transform the mobility scooter market. “Wheelchair services could and should play a big role in helping bring about change in the mobility scooter sector. Currently, the 150 or so wheelchair services need assurance that they can safely signpost retailers to people who don’t qualify for their assistance (or who would benefit from a mobility scooter rather than a wheelchair). Having qualifications that prove a proper assessment will be provided should help to overcome that,” he finished.

Where is Amigo now? Not currently distributed in the UK, the pioneering mobility scooter supplier is still manufacturing its range of Amigo healthcare models, motorised shopping trollies for supermarkets and a new line of material handling carts at its headquarters in Michigan, USA. Having just celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, Al Thieme still runs the company with his wife Beth Thieme and the second generation is also working in the business to see it grow into the next 50 years. www.myamigo.com

Lord Snowdon viewing an Amigo at Naidex Harrogate 1979

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BIG MOVEMENTS IN THE MOVING AND HANDLING SECTOR Towards the end of 2018, the moving and handling sector saw a flurry of activity, with new players such as Herida Moving and Handling, led by exMackworth boss Neil Smith, moving into the sector and established players such as Prism Medical UK – the company that acquired Mackworth – and Mangar Health undergoing lucrative acquisitions. With a market predicted to reach £20.21billion globally by 2025, THIIS has examined what it is driving such activity, what effect Brexit could have on export success and what the future holds for the market’s players. GLOBAL MARKET GROWTH DRIVERS A recent market report by Data Bridge Market Research, the Global Patient Handling Equipment Market, predicted that the market is expected to reach £20.21billion by 2025, up from £9.1billion in 2017, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5 percent during the forecast period of 2018 to 2025. One of the key elements driving this substantial growth is widely accepted to be the world’s ageing population,

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Mangar CEO Simon Claridge

About Mangar Health... Established in 1981 by the late David Garman OBE in the Welsh village of Presteigne, Mangar created the world’s first powered, portable bath lift before expanding into inflatable moving and handling equipment. www.mangarhealth.com/uk with the World Health Organisation estimating from 2015 to 2050, the proportion of the world’s population of over 60s will nearly double from 12 percent to 22 percent, whilst by next year, the number of people aged 60 and older will outnumber children younger than five years old. Discussing the global expansion, Neil Smith, Managing Director of the Herida Group, said: “There are lots of reported reasons but the main one is that we are getting older and living longer, with better medical facilities and of course, better products available to help patients and carers. It’s really that simple.” With an increasingly ageing population also comes increasing medical requirements related to this demographic, with the World Health Organisation stating all countries will face major challenges to ensure health and social systems are ready to make the most of this demographic shift. Andrew King, National Sales Manager for Etac UK, points out that as well as an older population

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increasing the numbers of individuals requiring care within the community and healthcare establishments, greater awareness of the need for health and safety for both for service users and caregivers is also playing a significant role in the market growth. It is a point supported by Mangar Health’s CEO Simon Claridge, highlighting that whilst some markets, such as the UK, is more developed with its understanding of the importance of moving and handling, other countries will have to invest and adapt swiftly to meet the needs of an older population. “Our experience suggests that although the UK has recognised the physical and economic cost of poor manual handling techniques for many years, putting in place the infrastructure required to protect patients and workers, globally has been much slower,” said Simon. “In the US alone, musculoskeletal

more mature with established players and infrastructure in place, is also still providing attractive growth opportunities for equipment suppliers. Mangar Health, the Herida Group and Etac R82 all confirmed to THIIS that along with stability in the UK market, there are specific growth areas the organisations are focussing on. According to Neil Smith, relatively new market entrant the Herida Group is enjoying domestic success in both public and trade sectors at the expense of its competitors. “Herida Group sells over half of its business portfolio to Local Authority and public sector and this market is steady but our UK growth is from other competitors who held this share,” he noted. “Our dealers are also growing with us. These partners serve LTC and most high calibre distributors in the nursing and residential sector are

“Although the UK has recognised the physical and economic cost of poor manual handling techniques for many years, putting in place the infrastructure required to protect patients and workers, globally has been much slower” SIMON CLARIDGE

injury costs employers £2 billion annually and securing the right equipment is part of the solution to this worldwide problem.” Neil also highlights the growing awareness of the expense relating to either patient or caregiver moving and handling injuries, driving care providers across the world to invest in the right equipment and training. “Costs associated with falls are also high profile today and with most things, it’s cheaper to prevent the cause and litigation by investing in good moving and handling equipment and practices.” GROWTH CLOSER TO HOME With the global market set to surge significantly over the coming years, the UK market, identified as being

showing growth, some significantly, again for the reasons mentioned before.” For Etac R82, Andrew explains that budget constraints and service pressures in the UK are driving demand for products helping to keep patients at home. “Etac R82 continues to grow as a business through demand for its quality products which deliver greater safety in care homes, hospitals and domestic situations,” he told THIIS. “Product orders are particularly strong from those assisting people in their own homes – helping to reduce budget pressures on hospitals and care facilities.” It is these growing budgetary pressures identified by Andrew that Neil says is actually providing the


Etac National Sales Manager Andrew King

About Etac R82... The Swedish-based manufacturer of a substantial range of patient transfer and mobility equipment, Etac R82 has been a key player in the market for over forty years. www.etac.com/en-gb Herida Group and other smaller players in the market the opportunity to gain valuable market share from larger, more established players. “The NHS is also skint,” said Neil. “This is a challenge for bigger brands but in honesty, a great opportunity for lower profile brands or relatively new entrants at the moment. We have really capitalised on this area.” Recently acquired Mangar Health is also seeing continued success in the UK, largely driven by specific, targeted marketing activity, according to CEO Simon. “The Mangar lifting cushions, Camel and ELK, are recognised by Ambulance Trusts in the UK as the best way to lift fallen people and initiatives working with CCGs and Health Boards has driven increased demand from the care home market in particular,” he commented. One of the most important trends in the UK moving and handling arena identified by all three manufacturers influencing product demand and development is the need for products that can be operated by a single healthcare professional.

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SINGLE-HANDED GROWTH Etac R82’s Andrew King told THIIS that the requirement for single-handed care is being propelled by a lack of funding which, despite having seen some increases in certain areas, is still not enough to meet increased demand. “This is resulting in even greater pressure on care and equipment budgets and hence single-handed care is essential where possible,” he commented. It is a claim echoed by Mangar’s Simon Claridge: “In the UK, singlehanded care is always a priority and this will continue to be the case as budgets are cut and staff resource is depleted.” One of the primary concerns in the area is combining meeting the need for single-handed care for healthcare providers to achieve greater efficiencies whilst simultaneously minimising the risk of injury to healthcare professionals and patients. “Every day in the UK, 1000 residents living in care homes will fall,” explains Simon. “Ensuring residents are lifted safely and in a dignified way is a daily challenge for healthcare professionals and one that over the years has contributed to musculoskeletal injuries for many working in the sector.”

safe product supply. Herida is all over this. Don’t just sell it in a box with a compliance paragraph of user manual. People can die if you use a sling in the wrong way!” This desire for lifting, moving and handling equipment has led to some UK retailers enjoying lucrative sales by introducing new moving and handling innovations to the public sector. Over 2018, Yorkshire Care Equipment enjoyed substantial success selling Danish manufacturer LiftUp’s Raizer emergency lifting device to emergency services across the North and Midlands. Tristan Hulbert, Managing Director of Yorkshire Care, said: “Falls in the UK is a huge issue, so to be supplying a product that could help relieve pressure on the healthcare service and other healthcare professionals is a huge thing for us.” CAPITALISING ON EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES With significant growth prospects abroad, moving and handling equipment manufacturers are focusing particular attention on their export activities in order to reap the lucrative benefits of providing for a quickly expanding ageing global demographic. Mangar’s CEO discussed with THIIS

“This is resulting in even greater pressure on care and equipment budgets and hence single-handed care is essential where possible” ANDREW KING

These three demands have largely influenced the product and design innovation in moving and handling equipment, however, Neil says it is vital for manufacturers to offer more than just high-quality aids and to also deliver greater training resources for healthcare professionals. “Single-handed care and education are big,” he contended. “Reducing dangers by education, marking, branding or video training is all part of today’s modern and

some of the regions and markets the company is enjoying export success. “Demand from overseas is growing with recent orders for the Camel and ELK lifting cushions from Australian and Canadian ambulance services,” said Simon. “We are also beginning to work with Veteran Associations in the USA, where the Camel lifting cushion has been identified as a product which will help veterans to return home faster after a stay in a veteran facility.”


New kid on the moving and handling block Herida is also busy building its international network says Neil, taking full advantage of the weakened pound and the positive reputation associated with British manufacturing. “Our export percentage is stable but physical revenue is up. When the pound is cheap, people want to buy British quality,” the entrepreneur said. “Australia has been great for us, as well as some European growth, despite the uncertainty of Brexit. We’ve even got interest from the Far East. Partners in Dubai, Oman and the wider Middle East have recently signed exclusively with Herida Group as well.” In spite of the positive outcome on the horizon for moving and handling providers, one possible grey cloud potentially looming over the substantial growth prospects of British manufacturers is Brexit. COULD BREXIT THROW A SPANNER IN THE WORKS? With ‘uncertainty’ seemingly the word to kick-start 2019 and Government departments urging healthcare providers to make preparations for a no-deal exit from the European Union in March, THIIS questioned manufacturers about what they could see as the potential consequences to the market. Having been bought out by a French manufacturer, Mangar’s Simon explained why the Welsh-based company was not worried about an impact to its supply chain. “We are fortunate that we do not rely on manufacturing or componentry from any other European country and so believe ‘piling up stock’ will not be necessary for us,” he elaborated. “Other than that, it is impossible to know what impact Brexit may have on us at this time. “We do believe however that Brexit may well cause greater staffing shortage in social care settings, leading to pressure on the industry for greater equipment innovation. We believe both Mangar and our peers in the industry are well placed to innovate and new products will be the way companies will grow and succeed in the future.”

The outlook for the market looks strong for manufacturers and suppliers of moving and handling equipment

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Undaunted by the Brexit impact of potential supply chain disruptions, Mangar is currently looking ahead at export potential into Europe, with the recent acquisition opening profitable doors for the company. “Our acquisition by the Winncare Group means the Camel and ELK lifting cushions are being introduced to French and European care home groups and we expect to see significant growth here in 2019.” Stressing that Herida has now planned “methodically”, Neil emphasises that due to the level of uncertainty, all the organisation can

OVERCOMING EXPORT CHALLENGES Whilst Brexit has often dominated conversations relating to export activity recently, Mangar’s Simon Claridge and Herida’s Neil Smith identified a number of unrelated but equally, important factors companies have to consider when exporting in the moving and handling market. According to Simon, one of the key issues relates to understanding the healthcare markets, systems and infrastructures of other nations, which can differ wildly to those in the UK. “Healthcare markets in Europe and

“This is a challenge for bigger brands but in honesty, a great opportunity for lower profile brands or relatively new entrants at the moment” NEIL SMITH

do is to try to anticipate and plan accordingly for the variety of possible Brexit scenarios. “The pound’s strength against the dollar and euro will continue to be up and down like a bride’s nightie until early April and possibly beyond, with each side blaming each other for this process but it will settle longer term,” he predicted. “In the interim, we hope to continue as we have set off. I will be glad when it’s all over, just like 99 percent of the UK population. “It is also true to say that a small proportion of Herida’ supply chain has been linked to goods imported from Europe. However, over the last six to 12 months, where possible, we have prepared a supply chain contingency that has included sourcing and testing materials to the same standards of which our customers are experiencing from other continents. “This has been no easy task, but we are pleased to identify that we do now have alternative measures in place to react to most eventualities (outside of potential export tariffs). We’ve also had support from EU suppliers who recognise their part to play.”

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beyond are far more fragmented than in the UK,” he observed. “In France for example, there are hundreds of ambulance organisations and most are privately owned. In comparison, in the UK there are just 14 NHS Ambulance Trusts to work with. The most important part of exporting is finding distributors who have the right contacts and networks within the health sectors we need to address and then supporting them to market our products effectively.” The importance of finding the right distributors is shared by Neil, underlining that finding the right partners is no easy or cheap task, particularly for a smaller company. “It’s all about research and knowing the customer or having prior links, ‘mates in the trade’,” he said. “If you don’t already have them, you must make the effort to find them. Travel and attend trade shows like Medica and Arab Health but still, it needs vast research and pre-booked meetings before you go or it’s a waste of time. “Each market is different. Travel is expected and lots of it. I spent my six weeks summer holiday travelling to see export customers and suppliers.

Don’t expect to sell at the same price or indeed same product specification to every single market. It’s just not feasible. Then there’s the big one cash to fund growth and travel!” WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR MOVING AND HANDLING PLAYERS? With a potential global market worth an estimated £20.21billion by the next six years, it is easy to understand why more companies, both inside and outside the moving and handling market, are investing the time and money to build international connections and gain a foothold in the global market. At the end of 2018, LDC, the private equity firm behind moving and handling manufacturer Prism Medical UK, sold the moving and handling manufacturer to Limerston Capital, after reports revenues of £40million. Additionally, Mangar Health was acquired by French medical device manufacturer the Winncare Group towards the back end of last year, citing Mangar’s relationships with UK care providers, Local Authorities,

Herida Group Managing Director Neil Smith

About Herida Moving and Handling... Herida launched its new Moving and Handling company at the end of 2018, combining technology from its pressure care business with a new range of slings. www.heridahealthcare.co.uk


ambulance services and care homes as a vital purchase factor. Domestically, as the market becomes more competitive and budgets become tighter to meet growing needs, Neil believes more merger and acquisition activity will be inevitable in the future. “More controlled or lesser budgets in the public sector will always test the bigger companies, markets, therefore, need to be cross bet. Consolidation of companies will naturally occur as the market becomes more challenging,” he forecasted. In the face of some potential bumps in the road, with Brexit uncertainty hanging as an unknown variable, the outlook in the moving and handling sector looks largely positive for some of its key players, especially for companies providing innovative solutions to help relieve financially strained healthcare providers. For retailers and distributors, this means providing equipment to

cash strapped healthcare providers focusing on not only providing highquality care but also cash saving opportunities. “Our company mission continues to focus on providing quality products and education that deliver tangible ROI,” finished Etac R82’s Andrew King. “Choosing Etac R82 equipment represents sound economic sense with long term cost savings versus repeated purchasing of cheaper, inferior products. This investment helps Local Authorities and the NHS strive to meet ever increasing demands in the future.” Mangar’s Simon Claridge shares a similarly positive outlook, reinforcing that 2018 had seen growth of more than 15 percent and its new acquisition, expanding its product offering further domestically. “We have great opportunities with export in Europe, Australasia and the USA, building our presence in emergency services sectors globally

with our unique and innovative lifting cushions,” he concluded. “In the UK, we are looking forward to building our business in care homes but also introducing Winncare products to our Local Authority and hospital customers.” As the newest market entrant, Neil ends by pointing out that regardless of what is to come, the organisation is in control of its own fate. “Our competitors do not have all our skills under one roof and investments towards manufacturing equipment in-house which allows us to ride the pending storms and to come out of them stronger at the other side we hope,” he stated. “Ultimately, we oversee our own destiny. That is a big thing, regardless of what’s coming!”

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MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND INVESTMENTS Harvest Healthcare acquired by MD At the end of 2018, Rotherham-based Harvest Healthcare’s Managing Director Neil Davis completed a management buyout (MBO) of the company for an undisclosed sum. Having joined the manufacturer and distributor of healthcare equipment to the NHS, care home and community markets in February 2017, Neil oversaw and led the growth of the company’s annual turnover and profit before putting together an MBO bid. The managing director acquired all shares from Harvest Healthcare founders Phil and Jim Hutchinson, who had been decreasing their involvement in the daily running of the business for the past few years. www.harvesthealthcare.co.uk

PRISM MEDICAL SOLD AS IT REPORTS REVENUES OF £40MILLION After supporting moving, handling and bathing manufacturer Prism Medical UK’s management buy-out (MBO) in April 2014, private equity firm LDC has sold Prism Medical to Limerston Capital in December 2018. Over a four-year period, Prism Medical UK pursued ambitious growth goals, largely driven through acquisitions, with a burst of business purchases in 2014 and 2015. Today, the company boasts three UK manufacturing facilities, employs 450 people and recorded revenues of £40million for the financial year ending November 2018, with 10 percent

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attributed to international sales. Joao Rosa, Limerston Capital’s founding partner, says the organisation has been interested in entering the market for some time and will now look to support further growth ambitions. “We have been following the sector for some years and identified Prism as a particularly interesting investment opportunity,” Joao commented. “Limerston is looking to support the management team’s ambitious plans for growth both organic and through acquisitions.” www.prismmedical.co.uk

TRADE DAYS EVENT ORGANISER SOLD CloserStill Media, the organiser of healthcare events such as Trade Days and The OT Show, has been bought by Providence Equity Partners, acquiring a majority stake from the company’s management and private equity firms Inflexion and NVM. Founded in 2008, CloserStill launched Trade Days in 2013, the only annual exhibition dedicated exclusively to the mobility-trade, providing a forum for suppliers and retailers to come together and talk business openly. CloserStill’s exhibition portfolio has grown significantly in just over 10 years, largely driven through an acquisitive growth strategy which has seen it complete 11 acquisitions in the last three years. Alongside its acquisitions, the events company has also launched a number of flagship events, domestically and abroad. Despite terms not being disclosed for the deal, reports estimate that the investment was in the region of £340million.


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pick of the month

WHAT PRODUCTS ARE RETAILERS IN THE INDUSTRY RAVING ABOUT? Wondering which products are grabbing retailers’ attention? Each month, retailers in the mobility industry highlight one product that has stood out for them and why…

Karen Sheppard, Managing Director of People First Mobility

Pick of the month: Motion Healthcare’s Lithilite Pro

People First Mobility has recently become stockists for this scooter and has seen it become a good seller due to the lightness of the components when split down, including the lithium-ion battery and the advantage of the large range from a small car portable scooter. “The Lithilite Pro has a marketleading 26-mile range, making it very appealing to many customers. The lightness of the lithium-ion batteries makes it ideal for those who cannot lift heavy weights but still require to travel a few miles more than the standard car portables on the market. “Lithium-ion batteries are better equipped to stand up to day-to-day use and are so much smaller and lighter. The lightweight battery pack weighs in at only 5kg, making it incredibly easy to remove and charge off board. There is also an even lighter 2.75kg Air Safe battery pack. At 11ah, the Air Safe pack is within Civil

56 | www.thiis.co.uk

Aviation Authority’s new regulations and can be taken on a plane, allowing you to take this scooter on holiday with you. “The heaviest section of the scooter weighs only 15kg, the same as a packed suitcase, making it lightweight to lift into the boot of a car. It is easily stripped down and reassembled, has a swivel seat, along with plenty of leg room and even comes with front and

rear suspension, enhancing comfort on the longer journeys. “The feedback from customers has been very positive, comments made are its lightweight, easy to strip down, long range and suspension, all within a compact scooter. This is definitely a scooter to consider for the showroom.

www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk


Beth Warner, Assistant Business Manager for Better Mobility

Pick of the month: Osprey’s Tilt in Space shower chair

My product choice for the showcase this month is the Osprey Tilt in Space shower chair. “The Osprey Tilt in Space shower chair range is suitable for accommodating either one specific individual, or a range of patients due to its great adaptability. “With choices of frame size and in-rigged or out-rigged arms, you can accommodate almost any seat size and positioning requirements. The Osprey company also offers custom frame alterations which are a great option for accommodating sizes outside of the normally available range. “I have found this shower chair range is an increasingly popular choice for therapists for their clients, due to supportive shapes and high quality. “With a range of accessories available for more specialised seating, the Osprey TIS shower chair range provides a supportive position for users who require a tilt in space shower chair. The feedback I receive on these shower chairs are that they are not only a comfortable and secure seating position for the user but they also provide a good level of privacy coverage. “The Osprey range can be adapted to work as commodes with various apertures and options available to meet different toileting requirements. “Harnesses and belts are options for more security, as well as adaptable wedges which can assist in thoracic support. “Overall, the Osprey range, although not the least expensive shower chairs on the market, are proving to be money well spent, with many happy users. www.bettermobility.co.uk

Michelle Mossford, Senior Marketing Manager of Ableworld

PICK OF THE MONTH: SHINE’S NON-SPILL TUMBLER

This handy ‘non-spill tumbler’ is ideal for those with poor motor skills, Parkinsons or Tremors and the base is specially designed to prevent the tumbler from being overturned. “The ergonomic angel shaped twin handles make the tumbler easier to hold and the lid with spout

aids drinking without spillage. “The luminous colour tumbler absorbs light through the daytime and glows at night in the dark which means the tumbler can be located at night without having to turn a light on. www.ableworld.co.uk

” www.thiis.co.uk | 57


pick of the month

Alastair Gibbs, Managing Director of TPG DisableAids

Pick of the month: Continence products

For my pick of what a good showroom should stock this month, I am looking more at how you get new customers to visit your shop in the first place. “Often it is following a life event that has prompted a call to action. This might be a fall, an injury, an operation or a health event of some sort. So, your first contact with this new customer is as a problem solver or a solution provider. “One of the most common ‘urgent’ problems is the one of urinary incontinence. For that reason, all good showrooms should stock a range of incontinence products to suit both male and female clients and various sizes to suit differing age ranges. “The products should not be hidden away in the back of the shop as new customers are often very shy or embarrassed and having to ask to see them just goes to make the problem worse. “Having a range on full show, with duplicates and extra stock in additional sizes kept in your storeroom works well and may be the easiest sale and introduction to a new customer. That new customer may not be a long-term purchaser of incontinence products as the NHS may take over the supply if the condition is long-term. “However, your relationship with that new customer is now started on a positive note, as you have solved their immediate problem. This almost certainly means they will return when they next require a solution, which may be a mobility device or a stairlift. “Never underestimate the power of solving a customer’s problem.

www.tpg-disableaids.co.uk

PICK OF THE MONTH: VINYL VALUE’S SCOOTER CANOPIES Dominic Goldsmith, Director of Style Mobility

I have decided to cover scooter canopies for my product this month. In particular, the bespoke canopies supplied to us by the lovely people at vinyl value. “They offer an incredibly highquality product available in a wide range of colours, custom made to fit any scooter. “We have been incredibly pleased with their efficient service and have had nothing but positive feedback from our customers.

www.stylemobility.co.uk

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Save time and money by utilising Interactive Assist remote connection tool. Run remote diagnostic checks on the chairs control system

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living made easy

HOISTS, SLINGS AND LIFTS With close to 1000 suppliers nationwide constantly releasing new products in the mobility and independent living industry, it can be difficult for retailers to keep track of what equipment is available on the market. Living made easy however is aiming to make retailers’ live easier each month with their product showcase, highlighting new, unique and popular products to busy retailers

Multi-function hoist Astor Bannerman’s Senta is a mobile bathroom hoist with a range of lifting options, from seat lift, to leg-supporting seat lift, and with the addition of side wings, to a full stretcher lift. Designed for use in shower areas and wet rooms (it’s partly constructed from stainless steel and has polyurethane padding), the hoist features a commode seat with removable pad, swing away detachable arms and a handrail. The detachable PVC backrest is interchangeable. The height can be adjusted via a hand control unit and the chassis is width adjustable, designed to allow it to fit into larger baths. The four double castors (two of which are lockable) have a closed design to help prevent a build-up of carpet fibres and debris. The Senta comes with an integrated manual emergency lowering system and cut out. A range of optional extras are also available.

livingmadeeasy.org.uk is the UK’s leading comparison site for equipment for independent living, used predominately by disabled and older people or their relatives and friends. Our comprehensive database helps around two million people a year. If you are a supplier and would like to list your products on Living made easy, contact our data services team at data.services@dlf.org.uk

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BIRDIE ELECTRIC MOBILE HOIST

T

he Birdie can be used to lift and transfer to or from beds, chairs or the floor. It features a curved boom section, designed to keep the user away from the mast during lifting, allowing for a 360-degree range of movement. Functions include emergency stop, emergency lowering and a detachable battery. There’s the option of a two- or four-point spreader bar. The manual leg spread is operated with a foot lever, or alternatively a handle can be fitted or an electric leg spreader can be added. The mast and boom detach from the base - the hoist is designed to fold and unfold without the need for tools. Manufactured by Invacare, the Birdie is compatible with a wide range of slings.

SINGLE CARER LIFTING The Body Up is a multi-functional transfer frame with seated sling lifting mechanism. Manufactured by Veziris Healthcare, it’s designed to act as transfer aid, wheelchair, and toilet and bath aid. It can provide transfer to and from a variety of vehicles. The frame is made from stainless steel with waterproof cushioned arms and back covers. The internal and external width is adjustable (the width will extend to fit around a wheelchair) and it folds into three pieces for transport. There’s no motor or battery charging, instead, a manual geared winding mechanism enables the carer to lift and lower the patient. A range of accessories are available including a waterproof seat for use in the bathroom and toileting and stabilisation straps.

info@dlf.org.uk 020 7289 6111 62 | www.thiis.co.uk


! 9 EW01 N for 2

Switch A simple and versatile solution for assisted standing and transfers Introducing the Oxford Switch from Joerns Healthcare. Designed to help a person with reduced mobility, stand from a seated position and enable their onward transfer to another surface. The Switch also facilitates patient rehabilitation, actively encouraging the user to participate in the standing process, engaging core muscles and helping to improve strength and natural function.

Key Features n

Safe Working Load 180kg / 28st / 397Ibs

n

Compact and easy to manoeuvre

n

Easy to transport and store

n

Simple service and maintenance routines

n

Height adjustable knee pad and optional padded covers

n

Optional Patient Handling Belt for assistive support

Contact Joerns Healthcare for pricing and availability:

(T) 0844 811 1158

(E) info@joerns.co.uk

Promotional Launch Offer Available !

Ask for details


INDEPENDENT TRAVEL

Lift walker The ArjoHuntleigh Walker is a hand operated mobile seat hoist and walker. The person sits astride a contoured spade seat and is supported under the arms by a padded horseshoe-shaped rest. Vertical handgrips are located on either side. The seat can be detached when the user is raised to a standing position and the hoist is used for supported walking. The Walker’s open sides give free access to the user’s hips, knees and ankles. The Walker is variable in height, with adjustable handgrips and straps. It’s also equipped with brakes on two castors and a straight steering device. A battery-operated version is also available.

FLOATATION SLING This floatation sling is designed for transferring a user into a hydrotherapy or swimming pool. The sling is constructed to provide maximum buoyancy, security and support to a user whilst they are in a horizontal position. Manufactured by Silvalea, it features a foam neck roll, waist support with a connecting groin strap and a padded roll at the base of the sling and comes in a range of four sizes.

livingmadeeasy.org.uk is the UK’s leading comparison site for equipment for independent living, used predominately by disabled and older people or their relatives and friends. Our comprehensive database helps around two million people a year. If you are a supplier and would like to list your products on Living made easy, contact our data services team at data.services@dlf.org.uk

64 | www.thiis.co.uk

Designed for wheelchair users who can transfer between the wheelchair and the car seat, the Abi Loader is an automatic wheelchair loading system that will load and unload the wheelchair in and out of the rear of the vehicle, delivering it to the front passenger or driver’s door side. The Abi Loader is designed to be suitable for most cars. It can be used with some wheelchairs that have electric power conversions and can be transferred from one vehicle to another. Manufactured by Abiliquip, it is imported into the UK by Steering Developments.


OTAC Events 2019 • OTAC Leeds

• OTAC Southampton

• OTAC Devon

• OTAC Newcastle

• OTAC Cambridge

• OTAC Kent

• OTAC Reading

• OTAC Cardiff

Wednesday 24th April

Who else wants their product in front of HUNDREDS of occupational therapists? OTAC is the UK’s only FREE occupational therapy and adaptations conference, giving retailers valuable opportunities to showcase their products, and OTs crucial knowledge of products that can make their clients’ lives better?

Wednesday 1th May

Wednesday 12th June

Wednesday 10th July

Wednesday 11th September

Tuesday 22th October

Wednesday 6th November

Wednesday 4th December

Featuring:

Sponsored by:

Technical Roadshow Media Partners:

To talk to us about exhibiting at OTAC, call us now on: 02921 900 401 or email karen@promoting-independence.co.uk

All 8 Events Proudly Sponsored by:

To book your FREE tickets visit our website or email sally@promoting-independence.co.uk For more information on exhibiting please contact karen@promoting-independence.co.uk

www.otac.org.uk

WE DELIVER YOUR PROMISES We are a nationwide delivery company based in the heart of Yorkshire. We specialise in the delivery, installation, demonstration, handover and testing of all types of healthcare products.

Our services include: • • • • • • • •

Delivery and Installation of ALL Healthcare Products Engineering Call Outs Removal and Disposal of Old Products Honour Manufacturers Warranties Customer Service Management Full Annual Services Inbound Receipt and Warehousing LOLER / PUWER Testing

CONTACT US TODAY ON 0330 445 0099 SPECIALISTS IN HEALTHCARE LOGISTICS

Visit us at www.hdd-ltd.com @HDDltd

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diary dates February 6, 2019 Hallmark Hotel, Chester - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) – www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 March 14, 2019 QEF Kids Equipment Open Day - QEF Mobility Services, Carshalton www.qef.org.uk March 21, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Middle – Coventry www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk

March 26 & 27, 2019 Naidex - NEC www.naidex.co.uk March 29 – 30, 2019 Living Limitless - Sandown Park, Surrey www.limitlesslivinguk.co.uk April 17-18, 2019 Medtrade Spring - Las Vegas www.medtrade.com April 24, 2019 Weetwood Hall, Leeds - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 April 31, 2019 Imperial Hotel, Torquay - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 May 15-16, 2019 Med-Tech Innovation Expo 2019 – NEC, Birmingham www.med-techexpo.com May 16, 2019 Kidz to Adultz South – Farnborough International Centre www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk June 12, 2019 Hallmark Hotel, Cambridge - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 June 17-18, 2019 COT Annual Conference – ICC Birmingham www.cotannualconference.org.uk June 26 - 27, 2019 Health+Care – Excel London www.healthpluscare.co.uk July 4, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Wales & West – Bristol www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk July 10, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Reading - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 July 15 - 17, 2019 Posture & Mobility Group Conference - Telford International Centre, Shropshire www.pmguk.co.uk July 14, 2019 – 28th Disability Awareness Day - Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk August 7 – 8, 2019 DLF Moving & Handling People - De Vere Beaumont Estate, Windsor SL4 2JJ www.training.dlf.org.uk/ moving-and-handling-people-south-2019 September 11, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Southampton – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org. uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 18-21, 2019 Rehacare – Dusseldorf www.rehacare.com October 6-7, 2019 Trade Days – NEC www.tradedays.co.uk October 9-10, 2019 The Care & Dementia Show – NEC www.caredementiashow.com October 22, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Newcastle - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 November 6, 2019 The Spa Hotel, Kent - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 December 4, 2019 St David’s Hotel, Cardiff - OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or call Sally on 02921 900402

66 | www.thiis.co.uk

Retailers urged to keep eyes peeled for stolen products

S

cooterpac is warning mobility dealerships to be on alert for any individuals trying to sell its goods which were stolen on the 18th January. A Mercedes-Benz Grey Sprinter Van (YL66 MLX) owned by the company was stolen in Lowestoft, Suffolk, in the early hours of the morning. Inside the van contained a white Cabin Car Mk2 (serial number 201810100) and various other parts and tools. In a statement, Scooterpac said: “We would appreciate that anyone with any information about the van and its missing contents would please contact us. “We would not want any mobility retailer or individual to potential suffer from the purchasing of any stolen goods.” Anyone with information is urged to contact Scooterpac’s Josh Coles on 0330 124 1733 or josh.coles@scooterpac.com


trusted recruiter Product Advisor – East of England £28k-£36k Plus Commission Location: Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire UK Based well established manufacturer and supplier of postural and seating aids to the paediatric market worldwide, having been established for over 30 years. As a product specialist you will be carrying out product demonstrations and advice on seating, standing, sleeping and other disabled aids across the East of England. Working closely with therapists to ensure the right suitability. You will be in charge of managing your own diary and using a local lock up for holding stock. Candidates from a similar background will be advantageous, however candidates from experience of working within occupational therapy will be considered as will those from outside of the industry who have the right transferable skills. Basic salary of £28k- £36k, £44k OTE Quarterly commission structure, company Van, phone, laptop, 33 days holiday. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. co.uk Including job reference 492 to discuss further.

Product Specialist – South West and West £35k Plus Commission Location: Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, South Wales, Cornwall and Devon Our client a large, highly recognised manufacturer and supplier of mobility and rehabilitation products for both paediatric and adult market. With over 50 years in business and with continuous growth and internal promotions. They are now seeking a Product Specialist or Therapist to carry out assessments and demonstrations of their products in the South West. You will be responsible for working closely with Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists products offered will be their seating and standing aid products mainly in the paediatric market. The ideal candidate will have experience of having worked with rehab or mobility equipment. Occupational Therapy, sports therapy, physiotherapy candidates will also be considered. This is an immediate start opportunity. Salary being offered is 35k plus commission structure, company van, pro rota holiday. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. co.uk Including job reference 487 in order to discuss further.

Technical Specialist – Northern England and Scotland Salary £23k+ Bonus + Van Our client is a leading supplier of innovative postural and seating products for both Children and Adults. Employing over 100 people across the UK and Ireland. With over 20 years in existence. They are seeking a Technical Specialist or Service Engineer to carry out quite basic repairs and audits of their products in customers’ homes, schools and hospitals etc. As well as helping to build relationships with existing customers and clients along the way. Products mainly include walking and standing aids. This is an excellent opportunity for someone looking to start a role within the private mobility/disability sector or wanting to work for a well-established company offering career progression along the way. As the product range is not too technical the candidate does not have to be too mechanical minded but more so have an understanding or have worked with therapy products. Perhaps been a therapy assistant or Technical Instructor. Must be willing to travel as will be covering the whole of Scotland and North of England from Cumbria and Durham up. Base Salary of £23k plus Profit sharing bonus, Company Van, Life Assurance, Pension, 20 days holiday plus bank holidays. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. co.uk Including job reference 489 to discuss further.

Product Specialist – Scotland £25k -£35k Plus Commission Our client a large, highly recognised manufacturer and supplier of mobility and rehabilitation products for both paediatric and adult market. With over 50 years in business and with continuous growth and internal promotions. They are now seeking a Product Specialist or Therapist to carry out assessments and demonstrations of their products across Scotland. You will be responsible for working closely with Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists products offered will be their seating and standing aid products mainly in the paediatric market. The ideal candidate will have experience of having worked with rehab or mobility equipment. Occupational Therapy, sports therapy, physiotherapy candidates will also be considered. Base Salary being offered is between £25k- 35k depending on experience, plus commission structure, company van, Home Broadband, pension and Life Insurance scheme. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. co.uk Including job reference 491 to discuss further.

0333 0144 014 www.trustedrecruiter.co.uk www.thiis.co.uk | 67


recruitment

Business Development Managers UK Long Term Care Market THE COMPANY Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare are one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of durable medical products in the world today, with manufacturing and distribution centres in the UK, Ireland, United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Australia, Romania, Taiwan and China; we deliver a truly global service complimented by the added benefit of local knowledge. The Company is dedicated to its customers by consistently offering the best quality and most functional products across a broad spectrum of healthcare providers’ needs, better value and competitive pricing, world-class customer service and technical support, friendly people to work with and ongoing innovation. THE ROLE Due to continued growth and the launch of new products, we are looking for talented sales professionals with extensive sales experience to develop the sales of the full portfolio of products into the care home/long term care market in the UK and achieve both revenue and profit targets. In order to make the very most of this role, the successful candidate will operate effectively at management level in order to understand and influence the ordering process. They will also need to negotiate with business owners and purchasers and to grow both their and our businesses. This role is for a highly organised individual who is focussed on delivery, results and meeting/exceeding targets. The successful candidate will be adaptable to business needs. LOCATION We have roles in both the North and South of England MAIN DUTIES • To achieve on target revenue and profit sales of our Company’s healthcare products across the territory to all relevant care home/ Long term care customers • To maximise profitability of every sales/service opportunity across the territory • To promote the Company’s services and products effectively to the target customers in order to raise products and Company awareness • To build and maintain a detailed record of the customer base including their existing supplier base, future opportunities, key contacts and influencers. Provide customers with quotations and product information as required • Maintain knowledge of competitor services (and products), the key features and benefits and define sales arguments to position the Company services and products against these

• •

Assist in the development and implementation of sales strategies on the defined sales area to increase sales Work closely with marketing to develop and implement marketing tools and strategies to assist in growing sales and market share and developing brand awareness and the positioning of our healthcare products Assist in the development and presentation of a detailed annual business plan for the defined sales area Maintain an awareness of developments in market and customer needs and market trends and report these to management Maintain continual and updated knowledge of competitor products and disseminate this knowledge to managers within Sales and Marketing. Build and maintain key contacts across the territory to support this knowledge Work to the Sales standards as set by our Company Ensure the CRM database is systematically cleansed, updated, maintained and constantly represents a current snapshot of all customers, influencers and key opinion leaders on the territory. All customer visit information to be input into the CRM system the same day

ESSENTIAL SKILLS • Previous knowledge of account management principles and practice • Ability to work autonomously, set and agree agendas and deliver agendas is essential • Ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team is essential • Strong Business and Commercial Acumen ADDITIONAL SALARY INFORMATION The Role will be rewarded with a base salary and bonus scheme aimed at attracting the best people, Bupa Cash Plan, Life Assurance 4x salary, 3% matched pension contribution, as well as 26 days + 8 bank holidays. WHAT TO DO NEXT Please apply by submitting a covering letter with CV to: hrteam@drivedevilbiss.co.uk When applying for the role please quote reference BDMLTC01 Closing date is Friday 15th February 2019 but may be closed earlier if there are enough applications received; applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

DDHRetailUK DDHRetailUK Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare Drive DeVilbiss UK Drive DeVilbiss UK

www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare is an Equal Opportunities and Age Positive Employer

68 | www.thiis.co.uk

PRODUCT SPECIALIST x2 NORTH AND SOUTH OF ENGLAND. THE COMPANY. Laybrook are a family owned business that specialises in the manufacturer of electric adjustable beds & chairs. We have operated nationally for the past 15yrs and developed a unique offering in both the domestic market and the healthcare sector dealing directly with occupational therapists that can prescribe our innovative products. We have recently developed a range of unique “Chair-Beds” to the market. Laybrook and are interested in talking to people who are established in the healthcare industry and have the drive to succeed in bringing new products to market. Laybrook launched this latest version of the Lincoln at the OT show receiving rave reviews from the sector. This will compliment our existing base of products giving the right candidate a great opportunity with little or no competition. THE CANDIDATE. Experience in the healthcare market and able to develop business within DLCs, social service loan stores, spinal clinics and nuero rehab centres also recognising new opportunities in sectors that you may have previously worked.

THE JOB. Working with us at events specific to occupational therapists, regional and national. You will have excellent communication skills and ability to demonstrate the products to OTs and the public. Maintaining accurate records is essential for reporting to senior management. Good time management skills. Attend company events. Full Driving licence. THE PACKAGE. Salary: 25k basic plus un-capped commissions OTE £60k Company vehicle plus expenses provided. Mobile phone and tablet provided. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to mike@mobility-furniture.co.uk

Sales & Administrative Assistant DC&M are a successful Award winning Family business based in Cheltenham. We specialise in Mobility Equipment and Installation of Vehicle Adaptations for the Elderly and Disabled Drivers and Passengers. We are currently looking to recruit an ambitious and enthusiastic person who will become skilled in a variety of tasks across the business. The job role will entail: •

The co-ordination of “Vehicle Adaptation” installations in the Bristol & West area

Using assessment skills to advise customers and car dealers on “Vehicle Adaptations”

Assisting in the main Cheltenham based Adaptation department.

Using assessment skills to advise and supply Mobility Equipment in the Showroom.

To assist with administration and general Showroom duties

Combining knowledge in order to advise and supply suitable Mobility Equipment and Vehicle Adaptations as a whole customer package.

The Ideal candidate will need to have had some sales experience and preferably a technical background although not essential. They will need to be flexible and able to work well on their own initiative. Customer service is key to this role so we will be looking for an outgoing confident person with good interpersonal skills. Driving Licence is essential. This is an exciting and hugely rewarding role as we believe that we our business changes lives! Starting salary £20k negotiable dependant on experience Please apply in the first instance to steve@dcmglos. co.uk with a forwarding letter and a current CV.

www.dcmglos.co.uk


The Board and Council of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) seek an exceptional candidate to be their next Director General for the BHTA Group of businesses. BHTA is the leading trade association for the healthcare and assistive technology industry, promoting its members’ role as key to a robust and effective healthcare environment. At an important stage in the development of the association and its businesses, the new Director General will lead the representation of its members’ interests to key stakeholders inside and outside the industry. The Director General will develop strategies for the development of the association and the strengthening of services to members. The role is based UK wide with regular attendance at London and Wellingborough based offices. Key responsibilities for the Director General are: • Sound leadership and direction to the association and strategic and operational responsibility for its management, finances and administration. •

Develop relationships with BHTA members to ensure that the association’s growth and delivery plans reflect their needs.

Develop and maintain an effective working relationship with the BHTA Board and Council, ensuring full, open and regular communication

Manage and lead the secretariat to continue to develop their skills, understanding of members’ needs and effective service delivery

Protect and enhance the reputation of the association by positively promoting its image with multiple stakeholders, leveraging opportunities where possible to support the strategic aims

Seek to influence national and local government policy and lobby on behalf of association members through the development and maintenance of effective relationships with all relevant stakeholders to achieve the BHTA’s strategic objectives

To act as primary spokesperson for the organisation

The successful candidate will be: An effective and credible leader with the skills to develop organisations through leadership, communication and engagement. The successful candidate will demonstrate credibility, and authority to develop relationships at a high level and the leadership strengths to motivate and engage staff to harness and deliver opportunities for the association. The ideal candidate will have proven strategic leadership skills gained in an organisation of comparable size and complexity along with the commercial experience and acumen to maximise the BHTA’s potential. Salary and Package Advised on application. How to apply: Candidates who feel they meet the criteria should email their CV to include expected remuneration package along with a covering email to: Andrew Stevenson, Interim Director General BHTA, at andrew.stevenson@bhta.com Please NO recruitment consultancies to apply on behalf of candidates or to solicit to advise on the appointment. Closing Date for applications 15th February 2019 British Healthcare Trades Association Suite 4.6 · 4th Floor · The Loom 14 Gowers Walk · London · E1 8PY Telephone: 020 7702 2141 www.bhta.com


recruitment

training

Training Manager Salary £27,000–£30,000 The Stair Climbing Company requires an experienced full time Southern regional training manager to provide the highest standards of deployment and training of our Stair Climbers in a private and public environment covering the East of England, South, South West and Midlands. Home based, the candidate will be expected to travel to Essex offices minimum once a week, provided with a vehicle for work use only. The candidate must have experience of mobility product training and have experience of working in the healthcare profession Responsibilities and job description: • Working closely with the Operations Director, you will be delivering training courses to employees from organisations such as Care Groups and hotels to families in residential properties who have purchased or hired a Stair Climber.

• Responsible for booking in CPD training with healthcare professionals. Your role is to deliver training and offer the opportunity to demonstrate and promote to healthcare professionals (Occupational Therapists) and Local Authority services. • Responsible for ensuring Stair Climbers and accessories are inspected before deployment and on return to pass all checks. Working with the Operations Director together to maintain equipment. • Responsible for competently LOLER testing all Stair Climbers, complete the relevant paperwork and rebook next appointment and refresher training while onsite • You will also be expected to work with our admin team to arrange new business meetings and manage existing relationships with key accounts

Enquiries should come to info@thestairclimbingcompany.com www.thestairclimbingcompany.com

Training Diary If you are providing training for the trade, then simply send us the details of the course, the date, any costs, the venue and the contact for booking places and we’ll include it in the Diary. Email info@ thiis.co.uk with any details you have. February Electric Mobility – Engineer training for Electric Mobility retailers – 13th February - Ilminster, Somerset – FOC (only available for Electric Mobility retailers) CECOPS - Wheelchair and Seating Services: (Service Provision, Clinical and Professional Responsibilities) – 20th February - 8 All Saints Street, London - £195 + £39 VAT Blatchford - Complex Seating Training Day: Pelvis is Key! – 21st February - Seacroft Hospital, Leeds - FOC

March Jiraffe - Training for Life – Sleeping, Standing and Mobility Course – 6th March - Sheffield – FOC

Check the ‘Jobs On Offer’ section of the website for more opportunities Take a look at the recently added positions Regional Product Specialist Contracts/Bid Writer Manager Operations Manager Area Sales Manager Product Specialists

Jiraffe - Training for Life – Seating and Toileting Course – 13th March - Sheffield – FOC Blatchford - Complex Seating Training Day: Pelvis is Key! – 21st March - Kettering, Northants – FOC

April Simple Stuff Works Associates - Special Seating a Masterclass w/ Sharon Sutherland – 4th April – Tamworth - £285 + £79.82 VAT Electric Mobility – Engineer training for Electric Mobility retailers – 10th April - Ilminster, Somerset – FOC (only available for Electric Mobility retailers) Jiraffe - Training for Life: One Day Technical Users Course – 30th April – Sheffield - £100 + VAT

Contacts for bookings Electric Mobility – Call Rebecca Bateson on 01460 258158 or email rebecca.bateson@electricmobility.co.uk Jiraffe – call +44 (0)114 285 3376 or email marketing@ jiraffe.org.uk CECOPS - Contact: info@cecops.org.uk

www.thiis.co.uk

70 | www.thiis.co.uk

Blatchford – Contact tracy.minor@blatchford.co.uk Simple Stuff Works - Contact Simone McCarthy at Trainingadmin@simplestuffworks.co.uk or call 01827 307870


LIGHTWEIGHT

PRESCRIPTION

POSITIONING

POWER

A COMPLETE RANGE MOBILITY SOLUTIONS KARMA MOBILITY LTD UNIT 6 TARGET PARK, REDDITCH, WORCESTERSHIRE B98 8YN T: 0845 630 3436 E: INFO@KARMAMOBILITY.CO.UK WWW.KARMAMOBILITY.CO.UK


The new TGA VITA E Affordable stylish comfort

To enquire about adding the VITA E to your range

call 01787 882 244

or email info@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk THS310119V

The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985

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THIIS February 2019  

In the February issue, THIIS explores the importance of retailers investing in their personal digital development, examines how an online ma...

THIIS February 2019  

In the February issue, THIIS explores the importance of retailers investing in their personal digital development, examines how an online ma...

Profile for thiis