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THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 238 • July 2018

Providing news and views in the trade since 1999


Issue 238 July 2018

A better way to distribute Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Better Mobility reveals how years of retail experience will shape its new distribution endeavour MORE ABOUT…




Better Mobility


also inside...

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…from the editor In our July issue, a common theme running throughout many of the stories covered is the impact of new digital social technologies on various aspects of business.


ocial media is certainly nothing new in today’s fast-paced world of technological advancement but the way that companies in the industry are embracing the technology is evolving. Many brands are investing more time and marketing budget into the platforms to promote their products to end-users, however, the digital platforms are also helping businesses discover new trade opportunities. For Corien Staels, the focus of our ‘More about…’ feature, she used social media to help network and raise her personal in the world of mobility after moving to Glasgow, enabling her to meet some of her brand’s key ambassadors and champions. Better Mobility’s Jeanette Warner on the other hand has used social media to discover unique and innovative products that are yet to make their presence known in the UK. Traditionally, networking with individuals and discovering new products were restricted to the realms of trade shows, conferences and exhibitions There is no doubt however that as the world becomes increasingly more interconnected via digital social platforms, more businesses will have their own tales of unique social media success to share. For those that have already embraced some of the possibilities social media offers, feel free to let us know and we’ll share those stories of success for you.

Calvin Barnett Editor

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

Editor Calvin Barnett 01933 278086

Advertising Sales Manager Gareth Liddiatt 01933 278086

Sub-editor Sarah Sarsby


THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, 2-4 Meadow Close, Ise Valley Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, NN8 4BH • 01933 278 086 • 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 | 3


40 Turning a great idea into a great business

Features 6 The importance of recognition 46 Product Showcase: Paediatric products 50 A multi-million exit from mobility retail 18 Opening Pandhora’s box of distribution

Regulars 16

Round Up


Retailer spotlight


Deal On!


New to the team


More about…




Training Diary

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12 Mobility marketing magic

52 The OT’s Perspective

10 Meet Tim Ross

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THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOGNITION When Living & Lifestyle Mobility won an Independent Retailer of the Year Award at the Exmouth Business Awards at the end of May, the company’s owner Sarah Ford put it down to her team’s hard work and compassion. THIIS caught up Sarah to discuss her motivations for entering, what it takes to be successful in the industry and why it is so important to stand out.


aving operated in the mobility industry for over 30 years, Exmouth-based Living & Lifestyle Mobility has learned a thing or two about servicing the local community over the decades. Selling a wide variety of mobility aids including scooters, rise and recline chairs, wheelchairs and more, the company’s core goal of removing the stigma associated with disability and promoting empowerment throughout Exmouth has been a continuous driving force for the retailer. Working towards this goal, Sarah

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and her team are embedded in the local community, selling equipment to local residents, renting out mobility aids to the coastal town’s many visitors and working closely with local hospitals to handle equipment prescriptions, home deliveries and demonstrations. Speaking with Sarah, she told THIIS that the Exmouth Business Awards presented the retailer a perfect opportunity to showcase how much of an integral role the company plays in the local area. “The awards were all about the local

community which is why we felt we wanted to enter it,” she explained. AND THE AWARD GOES TO… With a record number of entries, the competition was fierce as 70 local companies contended across 12 award categories for the prestigious accolades. For Sarah, she cites Living & Lifestyle Mobility’s diversity as being one of the key factors for the store walking away with Independent Retailer of the Year award. “We really do work across various

Business Awards 2018

areas and as a business, we are diverse,” she remarked. “We’ll be in the shop one minute and then out in the van making a delivery the next. We are always multi-tasking.” Delighted with winning, she highlighted the value of gaining the acknowledgment from impartial judges and receiving appreciation for the company’s efforts. “We were fortunate that we did win but I think we deserved the recognition and the award,” added Sarah. “I think the award is a reflection of all the hard work that we’ve done and that we’re going to keep carrying on and it is great that others see and understand the effort we put in.” STANDING OUT FROM THE REST Sarah underlined the importance of standing out in the marketplace and shaking the stigma commonly associated with mobility shops. “We stand out because our shop looks very different to most mobility shops,” she said. “I think the traditional look of a mobility shop is quite clinical and hardware-ish whereas ours isn’t.” According to Sarah, the feelings

were shared by the Exmouth Business Awards’ representative, who told her that it’s the nicest shop they had seen because it did not look like a traditional mobility shop. “Most people feel when they come in that it is like coming into a normal shop rather than a shop where they

TIPS TO SUCCESS Considering what her top tip is for success, Sarah suggested that being natural and open is vital. “Just be natural and be real with customers,” she observed. “In this sort of business, you meet people from all walks of life so just

“We stand out because our shop looks very different to most mobility shops” SARAH FORD

think ‘oh my goodness, have I really reached that stage in my life?’” she noted. Along with the look and feel of the store, she praised her staff’s attitudes towards customers as a key contributor to the store separating itself from competitors and winning that all-important repeat business. “Our attitude towards people and our customers is lovely, which is essential in the industry,” explained Sarah. “A customer comes first, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”

being yourself and working hard to look after each customer is a good start.” The award-winning retailer also acknowledged the important role that bricks and mortar stores still have to play in the community and emphasised the importance of ensuring customers understand that. “Online has its pitfalls in this industry and it’s getting the customers to realise that,” finished Sarah. | 7



Joacim Lindoff with Karthik Srinivasan, CEO and Founder of Next Step Dynamics

Multi-million-pound investment in exclusive R&D partnership


fter reporting early sales success in 2018 as an independent company, Arjo has entered into an exclusive partnership with Next Step Dynamics to develop new preventive healthcare solutions. Specialising in predictive analytics for development of preventive healthcare solutions, Swedish-based Next Step Dynamics provides services for fall risk prediction and dementia. With falls being the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths globally, Arjo hopes the partnership will lead to a new range of solutions to address the problem. According to the terms of the partnership, Arjo will invest £6 million, granting the company global exclusive rights to commercialise and distribute any solutions created from the collaboration. Joacim Lindoff, President & CEO of Arjo, commented: “This partnership is very much in line with our digitalisation strategy and offers a fantastic opportunity for us to develop innovations that can really make a difference.” According to Arjo, sales and distribution of the technologies developed, such as smart wearables, are planned to begin in 2019. 8 |

New Welsh start-up Off-Road Engineering has received £25,000 of seed funding from the Development Bank of Wales to help the company meet order requirements for its new off-road wheelchair. The loan will be used as working capital to allow the company to meet orders from across Europe for its heavy-duty HexHog wheelchair. Designed by Sion Pierce whilst studying engineering at university, the young student was inspired to create the device after hearing about a disabled farmer unable to access his land safely. Sion commented: “Their faith in our product and our ability to take it to market means that we now have the cash-flow to fund our initial manufacturing.” Combining a wheelchair and an allterrain vehicle, the HexHog features a flexible chassis designed to keep all six wheels in contact with the ground, whilst its 20-inch diameter and sixinch wide wheels enable it to tackle various difficult terrains. Sion continued: “The HexHog is ideal for anybody with a physical disability who needs the capability of a quad bike but is dependent on a wheelchair.” With a UK and USA patent, the lithium-battery powered device has a top speed of 9mph says the company.



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MEET… TIM ROSS, NATIONAL SALES MANAGER AT TGA MOBILITY What does your position involve? It incorporates managing the growing trade sales of TGA Mobility. What do you enjoy most about your job? The variety. Lots of things constantly come across my desk and the sheer variety means every day is interesting. What is one of your proudest moments in the industry? Having pretty much continual growth over a long period is a really satisfying feeling. It always reinforces that we are doing something right. Performing well on the Motability scheme is also testament to the products popularity but also their value for money for customers and Motability alike.

TGA Mobility Based in Sudbury and with three decades of experience in the industry, TGA is a family business providing a range of mobility products, specialising in mobility scooters, powerpacks, manual wheelchairs and powerchairs.

What’s the biggest changes you have seen in the industry? We have seen more people entering the market over the years with cheaper products. The challenge is making sure that we are consistently improving our total offering to dealers, maintaining the quality and making ourselves easier to deal with If you could bring one new innovation to the market, what would it be? I think the one innovation I would like to see brought to the market is actually arriving later this year with the introduction of the Minimo Autofold because it ticks so many boxes. It’s an automatically folding scooter that’s a good size for a variety of environments

Quick-fire questions! Describe yourself in three words? Straight-forward, reliable and trustworthy What’s your favourite song? Three little birds by Bob Marley If you could have a superpower, what would it be? It would definitely be nice to fly Favourite place in the world Brazil

What are your interests outside of work? I used to like football until I ruptured my cruciate ligament (hopefully I’ll get back on a pitch soon) but my main interests are my lovely wife and kids. The family and home life are really important to me. If you had to do any other job in the world, what would it be? The idea of being in a forest, living

off the land and surrounded by the wilderness and wildlife definitely has an appeal at times, so something a bit like Bear Grylls.

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mobility magic

FIVE MOMENTS OF MOBILITY MARKETING MAGIC As many in the industry know, marketing in the medical and mobility sector is by no means the easiest task. Often, people do not want to think about the solutions available up until the point when they become essential. This can present a real challenge for raising awareness of products and brands amongst the public, however, some in the industry are using clever ways to grab attention and turn heads. These are five of THIIS’ favourite outside the box marketing ideas from the world of mobility.

Howzat for marketing?! Stiltz Lifts announced its launch in New Zealand by advertising in England’s Second Test cricket clash against the Black Caps in April. The home lifts manufacturer put itself in the sporting

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spotlight by promoting its brand on the pitch-side hoardings in the game broadcast globally to millions. The match finished in a dramatic draw as New Zealand claimed a 1-0 series victory over England.

It’s a wrap It is a guarantee the residents of Guernsey will see this scooter moving quicker than 8pmh. The Guernsey mobility outfit had their company car wrapped with this eye-catching scooter design. Sure to stand out from the crowd, it is a great example of how to get people talking, with a spokesman confirming an amazing response with over 12,000 shares of the image and growing.

Racing ahead


To raise awareness of its annual Great Yorkshire Scooter Sale, Harrogate-based Yorkshire Care Equipment decided the best way to showcase the products was to show them in action. The retailer posted a video of employees having a scooter race across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, promoting the products in a fun and upbeat light.

To promote its lightweight Apex Lite travel scooter in June, Pride Mobility turned to Facebook with a competition encouraging viewers to like, comment and share a video featuring the scooter. Those who did were in with a chance to win a free model of the Apex Lite on the 29th June. By the 25th June, the video had received more than 740 likes, 800 shares and 44,500 views.

RAMPING UP EXCITEMENT Parkour, the art of climbing, running, jumping and vaulting across a near impossible urban obstacle course is not for the feint hearted and very rarely associated with the world of mobility. That was until ramp specialists The Ramp People shot an incredibly unique video of warehouse member Ben and his brother Toby using the company’s warehouse and van to perform some breathtaking stunts. | 13

HAVE YOU SEEN THIIS ONLINE? Following a refresh of the magazine in last September and two new members joining the team in April, THIIS, the mobility industry’s longest-running trade publication, has completely redesigned and relaunched its website.


he new go-to source for the latest news, views, products and jobs in the mobility, rehabilitation and independent living sector will help keep industry professionals in the know for the future. Commenting on the new website, Calvin Barnett, Manging Editor for THIIS magazine, said: “We are delighted to be able to launch our new and improved version of THIIS website to the market and the response so far has been better than we could have hoped. “The new website will be the perfect platform for THIIS to share valuable content that our readers rely on to stay informed on what is happening in the industry.” Boasting a number of new, useful features, the website has been built around the requirements of those working in the trade, with feedback being positive. Elaine Leighton, Marketing & Communications Manager from Electric Mobility, commented: “I think the new look for the ‘THIIS’ website is great; it looks really fresh, contemporary and easy to navigate.” Approaching its 20th anniversary next year, THIIS (The Homecare Industry Information Service) was launched in 1999 by former Managing Editor David Russell. Over the years, the trusted industry publication has kept thousands of trade professionals up to date with new opportunities, breaking stories and in-depth articles. Discussing what the future holds for THIIS, Calvin continued: “This is a really exciting time for THIIS.

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“We relaunched the magazine with a modern, new design at last year’s Trade Days and this year we bolstered the team with two new members of staff. The completion of our new website means we are now in a good place to offer an even better experience to our readers in the decades to come.”

What’s new on THIIS online Industry events: A section dedicated to upcoming shows, exhibitions & conferences Fully responsive design: Built to suit viewing on any & all devices Unique categorisation: Viewers can quickly find the news relevant to them Easy on the eyes: Clear, attractive layout and styling THIIS newsletter sign-up: A simple and easy to find sign-up for THIIS’ twice-weekly industry round up

“I think the new look for the ‘THIIS’ website is great; it looks really fresh, contemporary and easy to navigate.” ELAINE LEIGHTON

Highlighting that the launch of the new website is stage one, Calvin confirmed that the company is already working on stage two. Consisting of a raft of new features which it hopes to launch towards the end of 2018. THIIS magazine is delivered to over 3150 individuals over print monthly and published digitally for thousands

of online readers, in addition to a twice-weekly industry round-up email and alerts posted regularly across various social media platforms. To view all the new features and register for the bi-weekly alerts, visit the website.

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Derbyshire Mobility at the 2017 Awards



ompanies in the mobility industry are sponsoring various honours at the Derbyshire Carer of the Year Awards 2018, a competition recognising the hard work carers do in Derby. Medequip and Derbyshire Mobility are both sponsoring one out of the 10 award categories for a second consecutive year. “It’s great to acknowledge the tremendous work done by the carers and care homes in our region, and some of the stories you hear on the day are both heart-warming and inspiring,” commented Robert Cartledge, Managing Director of

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Derbyshire Mobility. “We also enjoy the networking side of the event, to meet new people within the care sector is great exposure for our business, and we get to learn more about how our products help professionals within our industry do their job.” Matthew Ward, Head of Retail and Marketing at Medequip, told THIIS: “This year we are sponsoring the Young Carer of the Year Award and we are looking forward to hearing about the inspirational stories many young carers tell about their experience. “Medequip run the Community

Equipment Service in Derbyshire and in delivering this service, our colleagues regularly come into contact with carers and those who receive their care. The Derbyshire Care Awards are a wonderful opportunity to publicly recognise the commitment carers make to our society every day.” The awards ceremony will be held at Derby’s Pride Park Stadium in later in July.










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retailer spotlight Carefully selecting high-quality products has been a key component to Better Mobility’s longevity in the industry

BETTER MOBILITY: OPENING PANDHORA’S BOX OF DISTRIBUTION Traditionally, companies and consumers would find out about new innovation through visiting trade shows or reading about it in relevant publications, however, one retailer has shown how the world of social media is providing a new avenue for end-users and dealers to discover fresh innovations. Jeanette Warner, Director of Better Mobility and the Chair of the British Healthcare Trades Association’s Mobility Group section, discusses the retailer’s first foray into distribution with Pandhora, an innovative Italian wheelchair it discovered online. PANDHORA ARE A NEW ONE TO US, HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME AWARE OF THE COMPANY? We have got an incredible guy who we employ through his company to do all of our website, marketing and social media. Part of what he does is point out companies to us that are doing some really interesting stuff and attracting a lot of attention online and on social media, such as Pandhora. The online world is so important today and it is something a lot of dealers, especially independent dealers, make the mistake of trying to do themselves I think.

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IT IS INTERESTING THAT IT WAS SOCIAL MEDIA THAT FIRST MADE YOU AWARE OF PANDHORA, DO YOU FIND SOCIAL MEDIA IS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD OF MOBILITY? Over the past recent years, maybe since the Olympics in London, people in wheelchairs are being seen differently in society. There has been a shift of people’s perspectives of those in wheelchairs and people with disabilities, which, as the mother of a disabled son, really is phenomenal to see. It also means that people are starting to shout from the rooftops

and online when they find something they like and those people were shouting about this chair, so we thought we need to have a look at that. This community is so vocal and vibrant on social media so it is something that really can’t be ignored and should be embraced. HOW DID YOU KNOW PANDHORA’S PRODUCT WAS ONE YOU WANTED TO DISTRIBUTE? Being a relatively small company, we like to keep things personal and decided to travel to Italy to visit Pandhora. The company had been in

talks with some other UK dealers but no one had been out to see them or the product. We met the Pandhora team, saw the factory, spent the day with them and we were really impressed by the product’s ingenuity and the fact that it is slightly different to everything else on the market. My husband Lee, our senior most seating specialist, was equally

wheels on? Is it light to propel or to lift? Really, the chair has to be ergonomic and this chair really is. We found the patented backrest and seat pan really stood out to us, as well as how incredibly adjustable it is in its rigidity. It ranges from very bouncy and flexible, removing the need for any additional shock absorbing

“I don’t think that kind of pressure is helpful in our industry and I hope that the dealers that do choose to work with Pandhora and us find it a refreshing experience.” JEANETTE WARNER

impressed with the build and the quality of the product and said there and then that he wanted to sell this chair. HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO GO AND MEET PANDHORA FACE-TO-FACE? I personally do not see how anybody can possibly champion a product and put their stamp and endorsement on it if they haven’t seen it, seen where it is being built and met the people who are designing it. For us, we had to make sure this is something we would want to buy ourselves. I am not going to try and sell a wheelchair that I wouldn’t be happy for my son to sit in because that would not sit right with me ethically. WHAT FEATURES ABOUT THE CHAIR PARTICULARLY STOOD OUT TO YOU? With the lightweight wheelchair market being incredibly competitive at the moment, there are some great features on the chair that really made it stand out. Although incredibly light, the Pandhora Evo isn’t making claims to being the lightest because as anyone who uses or sells lightweight wheelchairs knows, lightweight is all relative. Is it light with or without

accessories which saves on weight and cost, all the way up to really firm. To adjust between the two is really relatively easy, with one movement of one key piece without needing to change the centre of gravity or having to add any extra components. The size is also very adjustable without adding extra weight to the chair. This is an issue we have found with some other chairs we have sold. Yes, there is adjustability but it often means more parts on the chair, which means more weight. WHAT HAS THE RESPONSE IN ITALY BEEN SO FAR TO THE PRODUCT? In the domestic market, it is doing fairly well and Pandhora are also active in other countries such as Sweden. They are not a major player in the market yet and when we went to visit them, they were literally moving into their new factory. They are still young and fresh, which is what we liked about it. They are not out to take over the world of wheelchairs; they are interested in creating a really good product that is better rather than cheaper. DOES HIGH-SPEC AND HIGHQUALITY ALSO MEAN HIGH COST THEN? The chair is going to be quite a

competitive player in terms of price partly because they have kept costs down by building their brand on social media. It is on the expensive end of the market so it would not be a first wheelchair for a user, but it is not unaffordable. BETTER MOBILITY WERE ALSO ONE OF THE FIRST COMPANIES TO ADOPT PROGEO, ANOTHER HIGHEND ITALIAN WHEELCHAIR MANUFACTURER. ARE YOU SEEING MORE DEMAND FOR HIGH-END WHEELCHAIRS IN THE UK? We have purposely avoided NHS contract work as a company, and the pressure to provide mass amounts for a low cost, and as a result of that, I think we have found that there has always been a strong market for higher-spec, higher cost models in the UK’s private market. Our clientele is an active client base who are willing to pay for both the right product and the service that comes with that. WOULD YOU SAY BEING HIGHLY SELECTIVE OVER THE PRODUCTS YOU STOCK HAS BEEN ONE OF THE KEY ELEMENTS TO BETTER MOBILITY’S SUCCESS? Not having to compete solely on price as a way to separate ourselves and being selective with the products we provide is absolutely key to our success. We have always said that we only stock the best products because I don’t see the point of selling a product that needs to be constantly fixed or does not have the back up from the manufacturer. We have always stocked and worked with the higher-end of mobility products in the market across the board and it has served us well over the past 15 years. Like Pandhora, we are not out to the take over the UK in this industry, we just want to do a really good job for our customers. | 19

retailer spotlight HAS THIS HELPED SOFTEN THE IMPACT OF INTERNETSELLERS UNDERCUTTING THE MARKET? It comes down to products and customer service. For us, we have been very fortunate to have great customers who appreciate that we are always willing to bend over backwards for them. They are not just buying a wheelchair from us, they are buying the whole experience and they know if they need us, we are there.

WITH MANUFACTURER SUPPORT BEING A KEY ELEMENT FOR DEALERS TO PROVIDE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE, WHAT LEVEL OF SUPPORT DOES PANDHORA PROVIDE AS A COMPANY? From speaking with them, I very much got the sense that they are very engaged with their distributors and end-users and are really listening to the feedback of the market. If we say that our customer really wants to be able to do something,

“I think many of us retailers have spent far too long thinking that we were the only ones in a situation.” JEANETTE WARNER

I have also experienced, as every other bricks and mortar dealer out there has, the person that will come in with their mum and dad, pick our brain and use our years of knowledge to then turn around and go and order something online. Does that mean the internet has no place in providing mobility equipment? No. Situations like that are a frustration but I can understand the appeal and need for internet sales. Being the parent of a disabled child, I do not need to be taught to suck eggs; if I know what I want and I know what I need and I want to go online to get a good price on it, then why shouldn’t I? By the same token, customers after something specific and customised for them, which is what we specialise in, do not tend to want to go online for that kind of product. Being able to talk to someone and ask questions will always be an essential part of the industry because many customers want to know that there is someone they can go back to. The more specialist and the more expensive the product, the more the need for that face-to faceinteraction.

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they will spend the time thinking of a solution rather than just going through the current available options. This is a different mindset to many other manufacturers out there and one of the reasons we were attracted to the company.

market and I think it has needed a push from individual wheelchair users who want to see more customisation and better design. I understand the restraints of a lot of the big manufacturers who have to try and satisfy the private market and the NHS. That balance of creating something that drives innovation forward whilst still keeping costs down is an extremely difficult one to find. I think that is why we are seeing a lot more innovation and high-end products coming in to the UK from manufacturers in countries like Italy and Scandinavia. Often, it comes down to how products are funded on health systems in other countries. WOULD YOU SAY THE NHS RESTRICTS INNOVATION? Not intentionally but because of the way the NHS operates and by serving so many people, it means the highest priority will almost always be on keeping costs down and, unfortunately, innovation often costs money.

WHY DO YOU FEEL THIS MINDSET IS LACKING IN OTHER MANUFACTURERS? To me, this approach is something that has been really lacking in the UK

With over 15 years in the industry, this is the retailer’s first foray into the world of distribution

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retailer spotlight I am not saying it is the only reason because many manufacturers are global manufacturers but I could certainly see how that could hinder innovation. AS WELL AS SELLING THE PANDHORA PRODUCT, YOU ARE ALSO LOOKING TO CREATE A DISTRIBUTION NETWORK WITH OTHER RETAILERS. WHAT KIND OF RETAILERS ARE YOU LOOKING TO WORK WITH? We want to set up a network of really reputable dealers who are willing to take training on this product and have the staff to not only sell it but really back it up, both in terms of support and servicing. We want dealers who have invested in their staff, their premises and care about customer service. This is not the kind of product for someone who wants to sell a box off the shelf without having ever met the customer face-to-face. HOW IMPORTANT IS CHOOSING THE RIGHT DEALERS IN SETTING UP YOUR DISTRIBUTION NETWORK? The dealers are going to represent us and represent Pandhora so we need to know the dealers we work with will be able to offer those expected levels of customer service. WHAT SUPPORT WILL BETTER MOBILITY PROVIDE? We will provide all of the UK sales support and be the point of contact for all dealers’ needs. This means training with staff where it is required and handling all queries. If there are any issues, whether that is with invoicing or with the actual product, we will be on the other end of the phone. It is a big undertaking but we feel strongly enough about the product that we are happy to do it. As far as the technical side of it, the team in Italy are incredibly open to suggestions and recommendations and we are happy to work with dealers to support that. ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC

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Jeanette and Lee took a trip to Italy to meet the team at Pandhora face-to-face

REGIONS BETTER MOBILITY IS PARTICULARLY KEEN TO HEAR FROM IN REGARDS TO DEALERS? We want good nationwide coverage in the sense of broad coverage but we will be careful not to oversaturate the market or specific areas. In essence, we are aiming for a dealer local to everyone in the UK who will be able to provide this product. I think this may prove the most challenging aspect of this whole process however, as we are very selective about the dealers being able to responsibly support this product. If there are good, reputable dealers out there who are interested, then we would love to hear from them. IS THIS THE FIRST TIME BETTER MOBILITY HAS DISTRIBUTED A PRODUCT? It is and funnily enough, we didn’t set out looking to do it. It just naturally happened and ended up being a good fit at the right time. We really like the guys at Pandhora and they like us, which is key. At the moment, we are working closely with them to iron out a lot of the little idiosyncrasies in terms of adapting the brochure and the website to the UK market.

This is very much a partnership which we can only see growing stronger over time. DO YOU THINK YOUR YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AS A RETAILER WILL SHAPE YOUR APPROACH TO DISTRIBUTION? Absolutely. We know exactly what kind of support retailers will need and how tough it can be with a new product because we have been in their shoes. That is why we are doing things a bit differently in regards to how other distributors and manufacturers often launch a new product. Often, we find when a manufacturer brings out a new chair, the reps seem to visit us with only one demonstration model and if we place an order, it can take four to six weeks before we have a model to start showing customers. By that time, a lot of the excitement and momentum has gone. We have decided to order 10 different demo units of the Pandhora immediately, allowing us to really show prospective dealers the benefits of the chair and, if they choose to sell it, giving us the opportunity to leave a chair with them so they can hit the ground running.

WEARING YOUR ‘RETAILER’ HAT, WHAT CAN MANUFACTURERS DO TO HELP YOU DEALERS SELL NEW PRODUCTS? For us, it is about support, which is why we are so keen to get the support we will offer as a distributor right. Having that back up, both in terms of parts or being able to speak to someone with a query, really is essential to maintaining a good dealer/supplier relationship. I think for many years, some manufacturers have tried put a lot of pressure on dealers, be it buying demo products or committing to hitting certain sales figures. For small, independent retailers, it can be a lot of pressure on them whilst trying to sell the best possible product for an individual customer’s need. I don’t think that kind of pressure is helpful in our industry and I hope that the dealers that do choose to work with Pandhora and us find it a refreshing experience.

someone who has been selling these products for years, who understands the market, understands retail, understands the customer and truly believes in the product. The new junior people will likely not be from the industry and will enter the business at entry level so that we can train them. WHY SPEND THE TIME AND EFFORT TAKING ON ENTRY LEVEL STAFF AND TRAINING THEM UP RATHER THAN BRINGING IN INDIVIDUALS FROM THE INDUSTRY? As a rule, we like to bring in new staff at entry level so that we have a clean slate to work with. There can be pitfalls to hiring people from the industry as they can come with a certain amount of baggage and engrained ways of working. This isn’t always the case of course and we have been fortunate recently to have a fantastic member of staff – specifically, Andy Weston, our powerchair specialist, join us with tons of industry experience; he really

“We want dealers who have invested in their staff, their premises and care about customer service.” JEANETTE WARNER

TO BRING THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT YOU WANT TO BRING TO THE DEALERS YOU WORK WITH, WILL YOU HAVE TO INVEST IN ADDITIONAL RESOURCES? Yes and no. We will be hiring more staff but these new members of staff will not be employed to deal specifically with Pandhora. Rather than hiring new staff to handle a new product, we are actually moving staff up and over, ensuring that the team going out to set up and support the dealer network for Pandhora will be people with 15 plus years of experience. This means dealers will not be seeing new faces to the industry arriving at their stores. It will be

is exceptional, and a fabulous fit with our company. There is a significant lack of young people in the industry though, so it is up to us in the position to do so, to make these entry level positions available and start training them for the future! IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE REALLY JUMPING INTO THIS WITH BOTH FEET. WILL BETTER MOBILITY BE DISTRIBUTING MORE NEW PRODUCTS IN THE NEAR FUTURE? We have discovered some other interesting products and are currently in talks with an American company. All I will say for now is it is not for a

wheelchair and to definitely watch this space. The process takes time though and it is not easy bringing a brand-new product to market so we are focusing on our first foray with Pandhora for now. It sounds like a really exciting time for Better Mobility. What would you say has been the most important factor for the company’s success? Without a doubt, it is my team, I am blessed to have the best team in the entire industry working with me and they are the reason we are able to do this. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE MAIN QUALITIES NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE INDUSTRY? Patience and empathy are the two qualities needed to be a good retailer. These are, for me, the main aspects of customer service and if you haven’t got customer service, you haven’t really got anything. I don’t care if you are selling apples or wheelchairs, customer service is crucial. This is completely reliant on how good the team is, so developing and instilling the right motivations and behaviours in a team is the key to success. WITH BETTER MOBILITY SCALING UP ACTIVITIES WITH DISTRIBUTION, ARE WE GOING TO SEE MORE STORES POPPING UP SOON? That has been the conversation at our weekly meeting for 15 years! It is hard to say. There is money in franchising and that is the way a lot of the big companies have made their fortunes but that isn’t what we got into this for and it isn’t what we are in it for now. Unless we could ensure that any other site displaying the Better Mobility name and logo was providing the absolute same level of customer service as we do now, then I couldn’t do it. I am not saying ‘no’, but we do not have any immediate plans to open one and hence us wanting to work with other like-minded dealers rather | 23

retailer spotlight than just selling the Pandhora brand exclusively ourselves. WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MADE TO THE INDUSTRY? I think closer collaboration. During my role in the BHTA as chair of the mobility group section, I have really championed the idea of working together and I would say it has come a long way. Before, people would sit in the meetings and be reluctant to share best practice or their problems and I couldn’t understand why they were

not working together more closely because there is clearly room for everybody in the industry. We have been working hard to change the perception of retailers seeing each other as competition at BHTA meetings and over the years, we have seen a big positive change. DO YOU THINK COLLABORATION IS THE KEY FOR HELPING TACKLE SOME OF THE ISSUES FACING RETAILERS? Undoubtably. I think many of us retailers have spent far too long

thinking that we were the only ones in a situation. Whether that was with a particular product, the behaviour of a supplier or a Government issue, nobody talked to anybody else so often you had a lot of small retailers struggling in silence. I think collaboration is crucial for moving the industry forward on every front and ultimately, we all need to work together.

Better Mobility…

The new Pandhora Evo available from Better Mobility

THE PANDHORA EVO The lightweight, compact and ergonomically designed Evo features a unique, patented backrest, shock-absorbing seat pan and a maximum load of 120kg. Designed to allow for multiple adjustments without adding extra weight to the chair, the unique backrest is able to recline to various angles from 0° to 300° with just one hand of operation. According to the company, this allows users with good upper trunk control the ability to turn themselves in the chair and use the backrest as a leg rest. “For those of us who have worked in the industry for a while know, there are incredible active chair users out there who do not want to be stuck in a 90/90 position all the time as it is not good for our bodies,” said Jeanette.

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Priding itself on customer service, the independent Hertfordshire-based retailer was born out of the frustration of struggling to find informative, easy to access advice and guidance for director’s Jeanette and Lee Warner’s son. Realising this frustration was not theirs alone and was instead a too common situation that many parents found themselves in, they set about working towards offering a better service 15 years ago. Now the company sells an extensive range of highquality products across a wide spectrum of mobility and independent living needs. 12 Henry Wells Square, Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 6BJ, UK

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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 /

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Stay in the know Sign up to our weekly email round-up to keep up to date with the latest industry news, jobs and products. Subscribe at... 26 |

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NEW DIRECTOR-GENERAL SAYS IT IS TIME TO TACKLE INDUSTRY CHALLENGES Mandie Lavin, a practising barrister with a clinical background, has been appointed as the British Healthcare Trades Association’s (BHTA) new Director-General as the organisation looks to actively tackle the challenges facing the healthcare industry.


aking over the role from interim Director-General Andrew Barker, the Association says Mandie’s extensive healthcare, trade Mandie Lavin, association BHTA Director and legal General experience make her the ideal candidate to lead the organisation. Her wide-spanning career has seen Mandie work in various NHS Trusts as a nurse in a number of surgical specialities before holding the position of director in prominent associations, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and the Bar Standards Board. Commenting on the importance of the BHTA, Mandie commented: “The

healthcare and assistive technology sector is growing due to demographic changes but faces many challenges ahead. The BHTA has an essential role to play in helping to fairly promote the interests of nearly 500-member companies and ensuring that they have a very high reputation for serving the interests of their many vulnerable customers.” In January 2015, she became the chief executive officer of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, a leading training organisation and membership body for lawyers. Most recently, she re-joined chambers, changing from being an employed barrister to a self-employed barrister, having previously spent a period at the helm of a leading funeral trade association “The BHTA needs to speak up loudly and effectively on their behalf in order to support their successful

growth and ensure that people can continue to buy with confidence from BHTA member companies,” she added. Mandie also holds a number of nonexecutive roles in several high profile legal and medical associations. Alastair Maxwell, BHTA Chair, added: “The challenges the healthcare industry faces in an ever-changing political and economic landscape can’t be underestimated and I firmly believe that the BHTA, led by the Director-General, is best placed to assist its members in facing those challenges head-on.” The appointment comes following the resignation of former DirectorGeneral Tracey White, who left the Association to become the CEO of the Institution of Lighting Professionals at the end of March 2018.


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SIGNIFICANT MANAGEMENT CHANGES AT AKW Following the buyout of accessible solutions provider AKW in March, the company has appointed Nick Parsons as Group CEO and Ruth Ingledew as Managing Director. AKW was acquired on the 14th of March by funds managed by PennantPark Investment Advisers, with the investment company partnering with Nick Parsons, the former CEO of AKW until 2011. Having also worked for AKW until 2012 as Marketing Director, Ruth went on to spend six years as CEO of myaware, a UK charity focusing on the condition of myasthenia. Commenting on the appointment, Ruth said: “I am very pleased to be back at AKW and also to be playing a part in the next stage of the company’s development.” As Managing Director of AKW, Ruth will look to continue the development of the brand in the mobility sector.

Ruth Ingledew

Mature Marketing Association’s Chair to ramp up organisation’s services The Mature Marketing Association (MMA) has made Sally Winfield, CEO of marketing agency Accord Marketing, its new Chair. Having gained much of her marketing expertise whilst working for the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) as the Group Classified Director of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard and Metro, Sally Winfield is now the CEO of Accord, a marketing agency specialising in the mature market. She will now be tasked with


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growing the MMA’s current portfolio of services including research projects, best practice seminars and regular networking events. Aiming to address the issue of organisations ignoring and misrepresenting the UK’s ageing population in marketing, the Association says its purpose is to become the voice for the often-under-exposed area of marketing.

Sally Winfield

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new to the team

New CFO for Ottobock as it prepares for IPO On the 15th August, Philipp Schulte-Noelle joins Ottobock’s management team as the new CFO, focusing on growth targets ahead Philipp Schulte-Noelle of a possible IPO. Philipp’s new role will involve speeding up reporting and complying with the International Financial Reporting Standards, as well as being responsible for risk management and finance. The 41-year-old has held senior financial roles in a number of large German multinationals, as well as working as a financial analyst at investment bank Goldman Sachs International in London. Philipp commented: “I am very pleased to drive the development of Ottobock as part of the team under Dr Oliver Scheel and the shareholders. “Getting a family company that has been helping people recover their mobility for nearly 100 years ready for an IPO is an exciting challenge.” Became CEO of Ottobock in January 2018, Dr Scheel added: “With the new CFO, we have put together a new management team within half a year, enabling us to work on our profitability and growth targets with a full line-up in the third quarter.”

NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER LOOKS TO DRIVE GROWTH Having held business development and Nicki Nalton with account management roles across various Sue Dolman industries, Nicki Nalton has joined Leedsbased Herida Healthcare as its new business development manager. Working with Herida’s existing customers, Nicki will be focused on creating greater awareness around its range of mattresses, cushions and various accessories to help treat and prevent pressure injuries. Nicki commented: “I have enjoyed my first few weeks with Herida and am looking forward to growing the business with the support of a friendly and customer focused team.” Sue Dolman, National Sales Manager at Herida Healthcare, told THIIS: “Our rapid growth has given us the opportunity to expand our sales team even further to continue to support our customers and provide a first-class customer service experience.”

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RETAILER EXPANDS ENGINEERING TEAM AS IT PURSUES GROWTH GOALS Daniel Bartlam has independent retailer TVM Cheltenham as a new engineer, bringing six years of industry experience to the company. Having held various roles in the healthcare sector, including storeman, technician, service engineer and operations supervisor, the company says both Daniel’s hands-on and officebased experience will be a real asset to the busy team. Daniel said: “I am excited for a new chapter in my career and look forward to my future with TVM Cheltenham.” Kevin O’Leary, Managing Director of the Bristol-based independent mobility solutions provider, commented: “We welcome on board our new engineer, Dan, who is settling in well. We have been able to draw on his previous experience and we’re certain he will prove to be a valuable addition to our working and growing TVM family.”

Daniel Bartlam

For Further Information Visit Or Please Contact Us: Head Office: Able2 UK Ltd. Moorgate Street, Blackburn, BB2 4PB Tel: 01254 619000 Email: Fax: 01254 619001

new to the team

New Quantum specialist to cover the Northwest and Ireland


ith over eight years’ experience of prescribing powered wheelchairs and seating systems in the retail sector, Martin Ross has joined Quantum as its new product specialist. Providing support to dealers and the NHS in the Northwest and Ireland, Martin gained his experience working closely with the NHS and private clinicians in the provision of both manual and powered wheelchairs. Commenting on joining the company, Martin said: “I’ve always seen Quantum as an innovator with

features such as iLevel and the new 4Front front wheel drive power chair. “I’m looking forward to demonstrating these unique features, seating solutions and alternative drive controls to the dealer and NHS networks in the Northwest and Ireland.” Kevin Atkins, Senior Sales Manager for Quantum, added: “I am very pleased that Martin has joined the team. His experience and knowledge make him the perfect fit for Quantum.”

Martin Ross

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New brochure to showcase retailer range beyond the showroom


orkshire Care Equipment has released a new comprehensive brochure – The Complete Care Equipment Collection – promoting the company as a one-stop-shop to customers and healthcare professionals. Designed in-house, the brochure boasts over 130 carefully selected products representing a broad spectrum of its offer.

George Hulbert, Director at Yorkshire Care, said: “We find that people aren’t always aware of the sheer volume and variety of products we supply. We wanted to give people a sort of ‘definitive guide’ to all kinds of mobility and care equipment, all in one place.” Yorkshire Care’s Showroom Advisor, Gary Hornsby-Shawe, added: “It’ll also be useful for us here in the

INDUSTRY PUBLICATION ENDS AMIDST RISING COSTS Tradepoint Magazine, a mobility and independent living sector trade publication that has been in production since 2014, has ceased trading. A statement released by 2A Publishing, the group that publishes the magazine, confirmed in a statement to readers and clients that the magazine would no longer be published in print or digitally. Citing rising paper and distribution costs, the company said it was no longer financially viable to continue the magazine and says it will focus on its other publications. 2A Publishing confirmed that the website will be taken down in due course.

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showroom because whilst we have a huge range of stock here, it’s not everything that we offer by any means. The brochure will give us the ability to sit and show customers so many different options available to them.”

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Barend ter Haar argues tariffs will result in a lose-lose scenario

Following an announcement by the US administration to impose a 25 percent duty on the import European steel and a 10 percent duty on European aluminium, BES Corporate’s Barend ter Haar shares his thoughts regarding the potential impact for importers and exporters in the industry.


n early June, new tariffs were introduced by the US on steel and aluminium, resulting in higher import charges for anyone importing metal to the United States from the EU, as well as Canada and Mexico. Originally the EU and UK were exempt from the tariffs introduced by President Trump, who imposed the tariffs on grounds of national security, to allow time for ongoing negotiations. The exemption ended at midnight on the 31st May however, leading to the new taxes to take effect as of the 1st June. In response, the EU introduced duties on €2.8bn (£2.4bn) worth of US goods on the 22nd June 2018, particularly impacting products such as bourbon whiskey, motorcycles and orange juice. In retaliation to the move by the EU, the US President threatened to escalate the tariffs, imposing a substantial 20 percent tariff on all imported EU cars.

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INDIRECT IMPACT As more countries continue to respond with retaliatory tariff and duties actions of their own, Barend considers what effect the current steel and aluminium taxes may have on UK suppliers of mobility equipment. Discussing the impact of the tariffs on BES Corporate, Barend ter Haar told THIIS: “Since most of the products we handle are medical products, they still benefit from zero rated duties in both directions across the Atlantic. “However, it is the indirect effect

of the new import tariffs that will be noticeable.” In particular, Barend highlighted the impact of the announcement of tariffs on the prices of commodities such as steel, as well as the effect on global currency rates, with market fluctuations occurring almost immediately. “We have been bringing in industrial sized equipment washers, the AquaPhase, for loan stores and hospitals for over 20 years from a specialist company in Wisconsin. We

“ The post-Brexit pound revaluation and the steel tariffs have combined to make these US products barely competitive in the marketplace and we have turned to a German company as an alternative supplier” BAREND TER HAAR

were first hit immediately after the Brexit referendum, when the pound’s fall against the US dollar meant our costs went up over 25% overnight,” he explained. “The washers are made from Stainless Steel. When President Trump first indicated the introduction of tariffs, the cost of the steel rose 40 percent overnight. This raised the cost of the products we were importing by a further 20 percent. The post-Brexit pound revaluation and the steel tariffs have combined to make these US products barely competitive in the marketplace and we have turned to a German company as an alternative supplier.” Whilst many medical products are exempt from duties, a large proportion of the components sourced from across the globe to create the products are not, with increased costs at the beginning of the supply chain being felt all the way along..

“LOSE-LOSE” In the wake of the American tariffs and the EU’s counter-measures, the looming threat of a trade war amongst the world’s largest economies looks ever-more a worryingly realistic scenario. For Barend, he argues the US tariffs will not have the desired effect of protecting US steel producers. “Where Trump is being shortsighted and unrealistic – and this happened some years ago when the US Government last introduced steel import tariffs – is that the US steel producers closed down years ago, and those that still existed did not have means to make the specialist steels most sought after in the US,” he noted. “Thus, the imposition of tariffs has made US raw materials more expensive for US manufacturers, and will make their domestic products and exports more expensive. A lose-lose game throughout.”

What is a tariff?

It’s a tax on a product made or sourced abroad. Introducing taxes on another country ’s products is used as a means of increasing the imported products’ prices, making people less likely to buy them at home. It is often associated with a form of ‘protectionism’, encouraging people to buy local, cheaper products and protect a particular sector.

What is a trade war?

When countries try to influence and impact each other’s economies or business sectors through taxes, duties and quotas. One country will raise tariffs, causing the other to retaliate in a tit-for-tat response, leading to escalation.

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PRIDE HITS THE ROAD AHEAD OF BUSY SUMMER SEASON Throughout July, Pride Mobility will be visiting five venues across the UK for its Summer Roadshow, promoting new models to dealers ahead of the busy summer scooter season, as well as offering dealers exclusive pricing offers.


n particular, the company will be demonstrating its new Revo 2.0 mobility scooter, featuring a maximum weight capacity of 26 Stone 7lbs and unique design to allow for easy disassembly for enhanced portability. Additionally, Pride will be exhibiting the Dorchester, a new model from its Hudson range. According to the company, the chair is the first British

manufactured lift chair to feature a 10-inch powered headrest, powered lumbar support and independent dual motors controlled via a simplistic control system. Paul Clayton, Senior Pride Sales Manager, commented: “There will be some outstanding offers on all products for those dealers that attend the show so make sure you don’t miss out.”

Each event will run from 9.30am until 4pm and will include free drinks, lunch and onsite parking for delegates, as well as a raffle which will be drawn on the 1st August 2018. Delegates should confirm their attendance by the 11th July by contacting their Pride area manager.

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WHEELAIR: TURNING A GREAT IDEA INTO A GREAT BUSINESS For many, the idea of launching a new company with an original, innovative product designed to solve a relatively unknown problem whilst simultaneously studying for a Master’s degree may sound like an impossible task. For Corien Staels however, she has proven that the impossible is most certainly possible, successfully bringing her unique cooling cushion to the market in 2017. THIIS spoke to the CEO to find out what challenges she faced, what would she change if she could do it all over again and what does the future hold.

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A MOMENT OF INSPIRATION, MONTHS OF DETERMINATION Innovation often comes from a eureka moment and for the young Belgian businesswoman, her eureka moment came whilst studying in Amsterdam for her undergraduate degree in fashion. It was during a conversation with her dissertation supervisor, a wheelchair user, that she was introduced to a problem that many people in wheelchairs face but had never been effectively addressed. “We were brainstorming about what I could potentially do for my dissertation and eventually we got onto the problem of overheating for wheelchair users,” explained Corien. During her studies, she had been introduced to different medical and technical textiles but at that time, she was unfamiliar with the world of disability and mobility. “I didn’t have any wheelchair using friends really and so it was completely unknown to me but it really intrigued me,” she continued. “I had a car so I just drove around Belgium and the Netherlands for the next six-months, talking to everyone I could; both wheelchair athletes and regular wheelchair users.” Soon into her research, she realised that a majority of wheelchair users and particularly those undertaking physical activities had experienced issues of overheating, turning to some drastic measures to try and cool down. Astounded by tales of strapping ice packs to their bodies or spraying themselves with water hoses postexercise, Corien resolutely decided that she would bring an unobtrusive solution to users. It was a decision that would change the course of her life. After spending time researching possible solutions, she came up with the wheelAIR in 2015, a cooling backrest designed with inbuilt fan technology to help cool the back and reduce a user’s core temperature by taking away excess heat and moisture. FROM CONCEPT TO COMPANY In 2016, she moved to Glasgow to begin her Master’s degree and founded Staels Design, thus

beginning her long journey into the world of business. The following years have been a steep learning curve for the young entrepreneur as she learned more about business, branding, mobility, funding, prototypes, production and all the other facets of turning a good idea into a sustainable and successful company. The amount of effort sounds daunting, especially whilst still studying for a degree at the same time, but for Corien, the experience has been far more rewarding than it has been arduous. “I wouldn’t say I could ever work myself to death because I love every minute of it,” she commented. “There is no way I could continue to work so much on it if I didn’t absolutely love it.” Now, just under two-years on, wheelAIR has made an appearance on the BBC’s Dragon Den, won multiple awards and secured key brand ambassadors, as well being adopted by retailers such as John Preston Healthcare and used in a trial at Edinburgh Airport.

Corien winning the Converge Challenge in 2017

overheating amongst able-bodied people. “Many people, including some dealers, are unaware of the problem of overheating so we are not just trying to inform people that our cooling cushion is on the market but actually educating them that the issue exists at all,” the ambitious CEO continued. “It is not always easy to reach a

“We have been trying out different things and the buzz has really grown from it” CORIEN STAELS

THE CHALLENGE OF EDUCATION To call Corien’s entrepreneurial journey an ongoing success would be no exaggeration, however, it is one that she says has its fair share of difficulties. “I don’t think there is anything that hasn’t been a challenge!” she professed. “I think the biggest challenge is education. Wheelchair users who have overheating issues are sometimes unaware that there is a solution available and instead take around little spray bottles and ice packs with them.” Additionally, Corien says that whilst the problem is one that is known by users, there is little awareness of

large audience so having to reach a lot of different people to both promote a product and raise awareness is a real ongoing challenge.” MULTI-CHANNEL APPROACH TO MARKETING Traditionally, a communication campaign of this scale would be reserved for multinational organisations with multi-million-pound marketing budgets, however, the fledgling business decided to use modern channels to grab the market’s attention. “We use various media channels and one of the ones we are most active on is social media,” explained Corien. “We interacted with some great | 41

more about... product is doing. It is nice to stand still for a moment and appreciate what we are doing here.”

Michael Kerr – wheelAIR brand ambassador

ambassadors for the company on social media and really started growing our network.” Along with social media, the company used more conventional means such as events to network with people in the industry, with Corien highlighting the importance of meeting people face-to-face. “I came to Scotland not knowing anyone so I started going to wheelchair events and was fortunate enough to make some great contacts who introduced me to more great people. Before I knew it, there were a lot of people in Scotland who I knew and who knew me,” she said. “I found that the disability community is very tight-knit, so messages spread quickly and it really helped raise the product’s awareness in the early days.” Perhaps most valuable for raising the company’s profile to a wider audience was its effective public relations campaign, providing rafts of imagery and information to magazines and blogs who quickly got behind the company’s drive to tackle the issue of overheating. THE MARKET’S RESPONSE With brand recognition and product adoption increasing, the industry newcomer says experimenting with different channels has been vital for its growth. “Really, we have been trying out different things and the buzz has really grown from it,” she reflected.

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“People have really been engaging with the product and education is definitely working. It is really cool because it started as just a graduation project and now people at this year’s Naidex were approaching us and saying that they had heard of us or that their OT had told them about us. “That is a great feeling.” Importantly, Corien underlined the value in meeting with prospective and current users face-to-face when launching a new product, giving customers a chance to interact with the product and the company a chance to receive crucial feedback.

LEARNING THE TRADE One of the key elements to any successful business is establishing a strong, supportive retail network to help bring the product to market. For Corien, it proved one of the areas with the steepest learning curve. “I think one of the trickiest things is the number of dealers in the UK, especially because many have their own specialities,” observed Corien. “Coming in completely new to the industry meant that it was tough to find out which dealers would fit with our brand and really run with the product. At the same time, I learned so much from the dealers.” With the company close to finalising its dealer support package, Corien was keen to emphasise Stael Design’s primary goal of providing comprehensive support to retailers. “Customised marketing that is seasonal and effective will be one key aspect of the support package,” she confirmed. “We want the pack to have everything, including every design decision that was made with the product, case studies and more, so dealers can really understand the

“If I had half a million at the start of this journey, I would have arrived where we are today a lot faster” CORIEN STAELS

“We found at Naidex that some people are still sceptical about the cushion, however, every time a wheelchair user actually saw and touched the product, they all left the stand saying how impressed they were and complimenting us on its design and function,” she said. “That feedback is invaluable because starting a business is so hard and takes up a tremendous amount of time and effort, which can sometimes make you lose sight and stop appreciating the good the

product when they sell it. “Again, it all comes back to the education. I want people to want to sell it and to have the same passion for providing this solution that I have. The more information I give, the more they can understand my vision and hopefully get behind it.” In spite of having only been in business just under 24-months, Corien says she understands the importance of having good retailer/ supplier relationships and what it takes to achieve them.

“Listening to each other is essential so that both parties can meet their needs,” she commented. “Being flexible is important and if there is a problem, solving it as quickly as possible on our side. Vice versa, it’s important for retailers to pass on feedback from the end-users to us so we know what improvements can be made. “I can only improve the product over time with the feedback of those who are actually using it on a daily basis, so having that relationship with dealers who are able and willing to share this is hugely valuable.” IF SHE COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN… Commenting on what she would do differently if she had the opportunity to start the whole journey over again, Corien discussed the topic of funding for new companies. “I think I would do everything differently. My biggest difficulty at the start was a lack of money, which impacts a lot of the decision making, such as which companies to subcontract out,” she highlighted. Funding for any start-up is always a difficult aspect to manage, with the costs associated with establishing and building a new company being high at the start whilst revenues are at their lowest. “It is great that I was able to build up my funding through grants, competitions and investments but it was hard finding the balance of when to seek investment,” added Corien. “If I had half a million at the start of this journey, I would have arrived where we are today a lot faster.” Using the benefit of her hindsight, Corien shared some candid and helpful advice to other would-be entrepreneurs planning their first business venture. “A key tip for anyone preparing to launch a new product is to take your time and do the research,” she stressed. “I didn’t have any money to spend on product development so I spent the best part of half a year doing market research whilst doing my Master’s degree. It really helped me refine my proposition which is important.”

AND THE WINNER IS…. With funding playing such a key role in any new start-up, wheelAIR managed to secure a large proportion of its early capital through winning a host of important innovation awards. In its trophy cabinet, the cushion specialist can boast a £100k prize in Scottish Edge, a £31k prize in the Converge Challenge, as well as Corien personally winning Entrepreneur of the Year at Glasgow University’s Knowledge Exchange and Engagement Conference. Despite all of these prestigious prizes, the young CEO’s proudest award was also one of her earliest. “I know this might sound ridiculous but I think my proudest moment was winning a £250 Amazon voucher whilst at university for the wheelAIR idea,” revealed Corien. “It was the first prize I had ever won, coming second in the ‘Big Ideas’ awards. I bought myself a pasta machine. “That was when I thought somebody believes in me and my idea; it made me feel really proud and even when I won £100k, it felt great but it never reached the same level of excitement that the very first award gave me.” WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS Having learned a tremendous amount in such a short space of time, Corien’s journey with her cooling backrest cushion is just heating up and, like any true entrepreneur, the young determined Belgian CEO has big plans on the horizon.

“On top of building our business in the UK, we are also looking to export globally and working on building an international distributor network to get wheelAIR to help as many people around the world as possible,” she stated. “I have so many products in my mind that we are keen to start developing, so once wheelAIR is running smoothly, we will start to invest in them and hopefully create an entire cooling range for the mobility industry.” Not lacking inspiration, Corien hopes her immediate goal of fully establishing the wheelAIR in the UK market will help drive her ambition to create more innovations. For now, she is eager to build a larger UK-based retail network and is encouraging dealers to share in her vision. “I think wheelAIR would be a great addition to every retailer because not only is it a really easy sell if they are selling a wheelchair already, it also gives retailers an opportunity to go back to customers that they have sold a wheelchair to and inform them that this solution is available as well,” finished Corien. “It is such a new product that people want to see it, touch it and feel it and for that, we need the dealers because the more accessible it is to people, the more wheelchair users will want to adopt it.”

At her recent TEDx Talk, Corien asked the audience to pause and imagine life from the perspective of someone with a disability | 43

more about...

NEW COLLABORATION HELPS WHEELCHAIR USERS TAKE TO THE SKY OmniServ, an airline and airport assistance services provider, is trialling the wheelAIR cooling backrest cushion at Edinburgh Airport as part of its efforts to improve the experience for passengers requiring special assistance at UK airports.


aunching in early June, the collaboration has seen wheelAIR team up with mobility retailer FastAid Products – part of the John Preston Group – who provided an active lightweight wheelchair to enable customers to try the wheelAIR cushions. Samantha Berry, Head of Innovation and Regulatory Compliance at OmniServ, said: “We are constantly looking

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Focusing currently on chairs and beds (central UK) RIPE FOR EXPANSION and stairlifts (nationally) Stairlift lead generation systems alone currently produce in excess of 50 enquiries weekly. Huge client and prospective client data bases Tel 0800 832 1355 01606 950215 • 01785 390193 Email: 44 |

Representatives from Edinburgh Airport, Omniserv and wheelAIR

at new innovations and technologies that enhance the endto-end passenger experience. “We are delighted to partner with wheelAIR to trial this solution to help passengers in wheelchairs travel much more comfortably, particularly as we enter the hottest summer months.” The project will give OmniServ the opportunity to gain feedback from passengers using the cushion and if successful, could see the specialist cooling cushion purchased for a variety of airports across the UK. Speaking on the launch of the trial at Edinburgh Airport, Corien Staels said: “We are delighted to be working with OmniServ in helping people stay comfortable whilst at the airport. Like OmniServ, we are committed to providing a high-quality experience for our customers.”

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Anatomical Positioning System (APS)

State-of-the-art system aims to revolutionise positioning Described as perfect for carers who may find physically moving a person more challenging, the new Anatomical Positioning System (APS) from Simple Stuff Works brings users positioning at the touch of a button using Comfier technology. The state-of-the-art positioning system places inflatables around an individual linked to a pump system, which are then inflated or deflated around the person depending on the position the carer is trying to achieve. Combined with a specific pressure relieving mattress topper, the APS completely takes care of pressure care and postural care issues according to the company, making it one of the most cost-effective products on the market. Due to the ease of positioning an individual using the system, the APS reduces the need for multiple carers and also mitigates moving and handling risks as the inflatables do all of the work. 46 |

ADAPTABLE SEATING SOLUTION GROWS WITH CHILD The Tarta Kid is an innovative seating solution designed to correct and maintain postural alignment for children aged between eight months and three years old. Using a combination of design, materials and technology, the system is devised to be adaptable to each individual child during their growth and physical development whilst at the same time, minimising physical effort and discomfort and maximising efficiency. Several base options make the Kid seat unit a flexible supportive seating solution perfect for a range of situations; from highchair to pushchair or dinner table.

FOREVER BLOWING BUBBLES… Aimed at helping young children with disabilities that find smaller switches and buttons difficult to use, MERU now offers a range of bubble machines adapted for use with large accessible switches or buttons. Teaching the cause and effect of ‘if I do this, then this happens’, an important stage of development, the devices provide children with the opportunity to interact with their environment by producing a cloud of beautiful bubbles. The bubble machines cost from £13.

Lightweight powerchair to keep kids’ spirits high Described as lightweight and versatile, the Esprit Action 4NG Junior from Invacare aims to provide youngsters with excellent performance whilst boasting a narrow, +17cm seat width. According to the company, the Espirit Junior delivers a powerchair that is as comfortable outdoors as it is in tight indoor environments. In particular, the ability to strip the chair down for transport sets it apart in the market says Invacare, with the heaviest component weighing 15kg. Additionally, the Espirit Junior provides users with the option to remove the e-fix drive wheels and replace them with self-propel wheels, allowing children to remain as active as possible and charge around under their own steam. Available in a range of seat sizes from 12-inch to 15-inch, the chair comes available in all the Action range colours or a unique RAL colour and has recently been successfully crash tested, allowing it to be used as a seat during transportation. | 47


Aid for motorists with mobility problems looks for retailers nationwide


yHailo, a new wireless fob that allows drivers with mobility problems to call for forecourt assistance from their vehicle, is seeing widespread adoption across the UK. A beacon in the petrol station kiosk allows drivers to clearly see that staff have acknowledged their request, turning from red to green to signify help is on the way and saving drivers

from having to use their horn or wave their hands out of the window to summon an attendant. Endorsed by the charity Disabled Motoring UK, the new assistive technology has a network of almost 500 petrol stations nationwide, with an interactive map available online for users to easily identify which petrol stations are signed up.

Currently exploring new applications for the technology, including introducing the system into banks, Contacta, the company that produces MyHailo, confirmed that it is keen to work with more mobility retailers.

DEALER SUPPORT CONTINUES INTO JULY… Repose Furniture is offering retailers a Coolform pressure management seating upgrade for £99 (excluding chairs above 22” seat width) when they quote JULY2018 up until July 31st. Normally costing £140 for the standard rise and recliners and £155 for healthcare chairs respectively, the offer comes as the company continues its retailer support campaign throughout 2018.

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According to the company, the Coolform cushions use the latest medical grade silicone gel technology allowing pressure to be evenly distributed across the gluteal muscles and is ideal for those sitting for long periods with specific comfort issues such as a high risk of pressure sores. The gel conforms to the shape of the body and equalises to body temperature for comfort and

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A MULTI-MILLION EXIT FROM MOBILITY RETAIL In October 2017, Simplyhealth took the decision to close down its retail proposition, immediately closing the doors of its retail brand The Unlimited Company. In the months that followed, the company went on to close its remaining retail stores in a move that surprised the industry. In its annual report published for 2017, the organisation has revealed just how much exiting the retail sector cost. GETTING OUT OF RETAIL Having been operating in mobility retail since 2005 under its own whollyowned subsidiary, Totally Active Limited, Simplyhealth rebranded its retail proposition into The Unlimited Company in March 2016. Describing the new brand as bringing a unique, modern approach to mobility retail, Simplyhealth reopened a total of seven stores across the UK under The Unlimited Company moniker over the 16-month period that followed. On the 17th of October 2017 however, following a review of current and expected trading performance, the board of directors took the decision to shut down its new retail brand, leading to the closure of 10 stores. At the time of the closures, Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth, commented in a statement: “Unfortunately, it has become clear that physical shops are not a viable way forward for Simplyhealth and from a business

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viewpoint, we have to ensure we look at better ways of providing people with the support they need.” On the 24th November 2017, the directors closed the remaining five retail stores operated by Totally Active Limited, operating under the Care and Mobility banner and continued to trade online until cessation of trade in February 2018. THE FULL EXIT COST According to Simplyhealth’s annual report for 2017, the total cost of exiting the retail business was £5.2

million, with a cost of £1.2 million to cover the redundancy of staff. The closure of the retail business affected over 80 employees from more than 10 retail outlets across the UK. The largest cost associated with the closures however were lease provisions at a cost of £2 million, as well as impairment of goodwill, tangible & intangible assets equally a combined total £1.5 million. Additionally, £400,000 was attributed to a reduction in stock to net realisable value.

“Large mainstream retailers are now providing mobility products and daily living aids, and customers are purchasing these products in new ways, different from the model that we had developed.” BEN KENT

THE CHANGING RETAIL HEALTHCARE LANDSCAPE Discussing the shift in the marketplace, Ben Kent, Chief Financial Officer at Simplyhealth, wrote in the report: “At the end of 2017 we made the difficult decision to close The Unlimited Company, because although we still saw a need to support customers to maintain their independence, the retail landscape had changed. “Large mainstream retailers are now providing mobility products and daily living aids, and customers are purchasing these products in new ways, different from the model that we had developed.” Reinforcing this point, Raman Sankaran, Chief Commercial Officer told THIIS back in October that the entrance of larger, national players in the marketplace such as Argos, Amazon and Lloyds Pharmacy had caused the company to review its future in the industry. “For those consumers looking for an effective route to get what they need, both in terms of cost and delivery, the

large general and online retailers have invested a lot of money in making sure they have the best infrastructure to be able to supply that and do that very well,” explained Raman. “There is also a place in the market for the smaller, dedicated mobility stores that operate on a more local level. However, I also believe that there is a growing unmet need for professional guidance and advice, as well as information and education on what is available to ensure that you, your loved ones or patients have the best solutions.” With high street mainstays in

different sectors such as Toys’R’Us, Maplin, Debenhams and House of Fraser folding or struggling, Simplyhealth’s exit from mobility retail emphasises the importance of having the right proposition to effectively service customers whilst remaining competitive. Underlining this point, Raman noted that Simplyhealth would continue to keep an eye on the market: “We didn’t have our proposition quite right for the current market but we will continue to explore how we can add value in this area.”

Retail closure costs


Redundancy costs


Property costs


Professional services


Impairment of tangible fixed assets


Impairment of intangible assets


Impairment of goodwill


Reduction in stock to net realisable value


Total Cost

5.2 | 51

OT perspective


HOW WE CAN HELP ENABLE CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES Paediatric occupational therapy is hugely important and when OTs and manufacturers work from the same page, they can change lives, writes Stuart Barrow. Discussing a recent complex adaptation, he is involved with, the experienced OT shares how the industry can help work with occupational therapists to improve the process.


n my years as an OT, I’ve done my fair share of CYPF (Children, Young People & Families) occupational therapy work. It’s hugely rewarding – equipping and enabling young people to have as independent a life as possible is an extremely worthwhile endeavour, so this month I wanted to focus on how occupational therapists and manufacturers can work together to make that happen. I was recently asked to visit a child with cerebral palsy. As he is growing, his family home is no longer appropriate for them all and they require relocating. As a private occupational therapist, this was some challenge. With no immediate access to the NHS, social care and GP records, I had to do a lot of the fact finding myself. To make things more complicated, the child cannot talk which meant I relied heavily on his relatives to help me conduct the assessment. Being honest, it is one of the more challenging projects I have worked on and my hope is that by sharing

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some of my thought process with manufacturers, retailers and installers, I might be able to help the industry do their bit more effectively, be that supplying specific products to OTs who are involved in adaptations or in some other capacity. THE LOCATION OF THE PROPERTY A number of properties have been found by the housing association but for the following reasons, have been declined: 1. Too far away from important family members 2. Too far away from family GP 3. Too far away from specialist services 4. Too much excavating to create facilities 5. No parking nearby 6. No local amenities These are key considerations for any OT looking to help a family with young children relocate, so it’s worth bearing this in mind, whichever role in the process you play.

THE TYPE OF PROPERTY Given the child’s mobility challenges, a one-floor property like a flat or a bungalow would be the first choice, however, it isn’t as simple as that. For a start, there are no bungalows available in the region under the ownership of the housing associations and no flats of sufficient size to house the whole family & carers that are required. Consequently, having considered and dismissed those options, the only realistic choice is to adapt a house that is large enough. And we’ve found one but it’s not perfect. This is where understanding the scope of the adaptive work is vital, as well as finding the right suppliers to get the jobs done quickly – the last thing the family wants is to move in and then find that there is still lots of work to be done to get the property right. This is where equipment providers, mobility stores and manufacturers come in – the more they’re able to make OTs aware of the products, the easier the job is for us!

This particular house has three main problems that will need equipment and adaptations to solve: 1. Steps to the front door Potential solutions: ramp, step lift, platform lift, wheelchair lift or reforming the steps 2. All bedrooms on the first floor Potential solutions: through floor lift, stair lift, extension to build downstairs bedroom 3. Very small bathroom on ground floor and no firstfloor bathroom Potential solution: extension Furthermore, there are a number of other considerations that I took into account when making my assessment: Kitchen: The layout of the kitchen must allow any carer to see the client and an open plan layout will allow the family to eat together Rear garden: A wheelchair accessible space will need to be created Parking: I analysed how easy it will be for the client to get from the car to the house and vice versa and thankfully, this is possible with onstreet parking – some other projects may require construction of a drive Door widths: Wheelchairs and walking aids must be able to comfortably fit through all doors so my recommendation in this case was to widen all doors to at least an 838mm clear door opening, with ideal being 900mm

HERE’S THE FULL LIST OF WHAT WE AGREED ON: • External wheelchair lift • Internal through floor lift • Extension for a bathroom to include height adjustable bath with integral changing table, wash hand basin (height adjustable), showering facilities and toilet • Level front and rear access • Wheelchair accessible play area • Safety flooring I also considered a ground floor double bedroom and a shower room extension. This was decided against for several reasons, including planning considerations, cost, bedroom tax and the removal of a large part of the garden, compromising leisure and play. In order for this work to be completed, I require the following services: • Shower cubicle provider • Through floor lift provider • Bath supplier • External lift supplier • Flooring supplier for safety internal flooring and shower / bathroom flooring

General builder/property maintenance company for extension

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THEIR CLIENT? • Can you provide this service as an all in one agency? • Can you support occupational therapists with drawings? Contour Showers (amongst others) offer a free bathroom survey and can incorporate other manufacturers kit – in this instance an Abacus bath - to enable me to detail the layout, sizes and specifications required to the fund holder • Do you provide one product, i.e. one through floor lift option, or go to the entire market to find a solution? This is really important as occupational therapists need access to multiple options to ensure the right product is sourced for their clients

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). | 53


Collaboration leads to vital solutions for children in need


unique partnership between adjustable bed specialist Theraposture and disabled children’s charity Newlife is providing much-needed equipment to disabled children. Working through the charity’s ‘Emergency Equipment Loan’ Service, Theraposture supply loaned specialist cots and beds to children at serious risk of injury or in urgent need due to shortened life expectancy. On receipt of an emergency application, Newlife commissions Theraposture to deliver the specialist equipment, with the company typically turning around the request within a 72-hour period, whilst also installing and maintaining the beds once in situ as well With the loan periods generally lasting six months, the collaboration has been called unique in the UK and is completely free for families. Once the loan has ended, Theraposture can organise to have the bed or cot collected from the family’s home if it is not required permanently. The two organisations will highlight the collaboration at July’s Kidz to Adultz Wales & West show at stand A20, circulating a free information guide outlining Newlife’s Emergency Equipment Loan Service.

LIFT COMPANY RISES TO PREMIER PARTNER Following its first successful installation of a Stiltz homelift into a 17th century Shrewsbury home, Belvidere Lifts has become the latest dealer to become a Stiltz’ Premier Partner. After struggling to climb the stairs in his two-bedroom, Grade-II listed cottage, 81-year-old Maurice Allen opted for a homelift after discovering a stairlift was not possible due to the property’s very narrow, turning spiral staircase The installation was the final step for Belvidere Lifts to fully complete the Stiltz’ Installer Partner Programme, having also finished the free training course held at the Stiltz Lifts HQ in Kingswinford, West Midlands. Now the company will be able to enjoy the benefits of becoming a Premier Partner, including being able to control the entire sales and installation process. The homelift manufacturer offers three partnership tiers for dealers, starting at a Referral Partnership level where dealers can receive up to £1,000 commission for leads passed on to the Stiltz sales team which result in a successful sale and installation. The second tier is its Affiliate Partner status, allowing dealers to complete the sale with their customer, whilst the final tier is the Premier Partner.

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Manufacturers of bespoke rise and recline chairs and handcrafted adjustable beds for the mobility and healthcare market

Delivery in 7 - 10 days* For furniture offering comfort, independence and a higher standard of care, contact;

Tel: 0115 913 3572

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Business Development Manager

Check the ‘Jobs On Offer’ section of the website for more opportunities

£30k plus commission Bush Healthcare was established in 1980 and is a leading retailer of mobility equipment through its 13 stores but also provided the installation of stairlifts, hoists and through floor lifts as well as easy access bathrooms to local authorities and the public. The successful candidate will be proactive in building new relationships with local authorities and associations as well as engaging with existing customers. Have experience in the development of sales in this sector and the ability to negotiate contracts at the highest level. Be able to identify new business opportunities and submit tenders for new business. This role will also work closely with the rest of the management team and also oversee the running of both stairlift and bathroom sections of the business.

Take a look at the recently added positions Regional Product Specialist Contracts/Bid Writer Manager Operations Manager Area Sales Manager Product Specialists

The candidate will professional and have excellent communication skills, be organised and able to manage others. Be able to build long term relationships with clients and have good judgement and decision making. Experience in this sector would be an advantage but not essential. Applications to

Mobility House, Aberaman Prk Ind Est, Aberdare CF44 6DA

Area Sales Manager – East Anglia and East London £31k Basic Salary with expected O.T.E of £35-50k Do you enjoy variety in your daily work? Do you enjoy helping people? Do you have experience of working with the NHS, Charities or in the Education Sector? Would you like to work for an Innovative British Manufacturer who has been delivering Innovative, ‘Game Changing’ products to the Healthcare sector for over 50 years? This will be a career move that will be both challenging but rewarding on a daily basis and is a career move for the long term. You will be joining a successful team and a Company that rewards hard work. Symmetrikit Postural Care is a Division of The Helping Hand Company - the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of Aids to Daily Living and the Market Leading Innovator in providing Specialist Solutions to Children and Adults with Complex Physical Disabilities.

We sell to the NHS, Social Services, Charities and also to Private individuals. Experience of selling in these areas would be preferred but not essential as full training and ongoing support will be provided. To meet an increase in demand and underpin our planned expansion, we are seeking a self-motivated, dynamic individual to become part of a successful team. The successful candidate should be a highly motivated professional with a proven track record of success in a number of key areas within a field sales environment. Should be a team player, flexible and should possess the ability to develop relationships. The role involves all aspects of selling but also includes the successful applicant being involved in physical assessments, setting up/commissioning of products, presenting courses and training

START DATE: To be mutually agreed Please apply with full CV to:

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customers and supplying market leading, British manufactured, Specialist products to Vulnerable and Physically Disabled people of all ages.

A FULL UK Driving Licence is necessary. Additional Benefits: •

The role is made much easier by using a van and our top of the range vans are more than suitable for the role.

Laptop, I-Pad and Mobile Phone

All expenses will be met by Symmetrikit Postural Care

Competitive Salary with Uncapped Bonus Scheme

We have a Company Pension available.

Holiday entitlement is 23 days per annum.

After each 5 years’ service, you will be entitled to an additional 15 days holiday in the following holiday year. This will repeat in every 5 years following.

A comprehensive, full training package is offered to the successful applicant. This is an Area Sales Management Role - A small number of evenings away from home each month will be essential for this role. Specific Healthcare sales experience is not essential but the following skills are: Key Skills: •


Consultative selling skills

Negotiation skills

Presentation skills

Time Management

Journey Planning

Learning ability

trusted recruiter

Head of Mobility London - A base salary of £40k negotiable plus bonuses Our client is a London-based specialist mobility supplier. They offer a range of powerchairs and mobility scooters throughout the South East of England. Having been established for 10 years and become a market leader in the industry, an excellent and unique opportunity has arisen for the right person. They are now looking to grow their mobility offering by taking on a Head of Mobility to oversee the mobility division, including four fieldbased assessors, and take the lead for all prescriptive enquiries. You will take ownership of specialist mobility enquiries that are passed on from the customer service team, and offer your expert knowledge to understand the customer’s needs, in turn allocating this to an assessor or OT for assessment. Following the assessment, you will guide the customer through the prescription process, including offering quotations from the office, finally liaising with the manufacturers to produce the equipment. You will also provide aftersales technical support as necessary, assisting the workshop with diagnostics and technical problem-solving. While the role is primarily office-based, there will be the requirement to visit clients when assessments require more technical knowledge, for example when special controls are needed for a powerchair. You will also work closely with the MD to launch new products and services in the mobility field as the company continues to expand. This is a big role for our client and you will be a key player in the business and the face of the mobility division. The ideal candidate will have experience of working with powerchairs, for example from a technical role within Wheelchair Services or from a mobility dealer or manufacturer. You must have excellent communication and customer service skills, as well as a full UK driving licence. A base salary of £40k negotiable plus bonuses, pension, 20 days holiday plus bank holidays rising 1 day for each additional year’s service. For more information please send your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. including reference: Thiis472Business Development Manager

Product Specialist Northern Ireland Our client is a leading supplier of Rehab products to care homes, retailers, schools and hospitals across the UK and Ireland. With well over 50 years in existence and maintaining a family run working environment. You will be promoting their range of Adult and Paediatric rehab products which include Physiotherapy and, Moving and Handling devices. Into end users and healthcare professionals. You will be responsible for delivering product training and demonstrations. Territory covered will include the whole of Ireland. The ideal candidate will be based in Northern Ireland. You will ideally come from a role working within Mobility or Rehab although other healthcare related backgrounds will be considered. Salary is negotiable for the right person and based on experience. 20 days holiday plus bank holidays, van, phone, laptop.

National Sales Manager NHS – Midlands or Centrally based Ideally Midlands or Centrally based £50k to £55k plus OTE £10k-£15k Our client is a global company and a leading manufacturer and distributor of mobility and daily living aids to retailers, NHS and Local Authorities. They are now seeking an experienced National Sales Manager to lead their UK based NHS team. You will be responsible for managing a team of nine talented and professional individuals across the UK, Scotland and Ireland. Ensuring key objectives and targets are met. You will also have strategic input and manage Key accounts for the company. Coaching and Mentoring the team as a whole. The ideal candidate will importantly have a can-do attitude and be able to pay attention to detail. As well as have some excellent coaching and man management experience in order to look after an important part of the business. Would suit and open-minded and adaptable individual. Candidates with experience of a similar role working with the NHS or wheelchair services will be advantageous, however, those with managerial experience and the right attitude will also be considered. Salary of £50k-£55k plus monthly/Quarterly and yearly commission Yearly OTE of £10k to £15k, Company Car, Phone, Laptop, 25 days holiday plus 8 bank/public holidays, private Healthcare and pension. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. Including job reference 468 to discuss further.

Business Development Manager North West or North East - £30k basic plus commission Our client is a manufacturer and seller of pressure care products into care homes and the NHS. Due to growth, they are currently seeking a Business Development Manager with experience of selling into Local Authorities and care home groups. In brief, you will be responsible for growing the business for the territory by qualifying leads and researching to generate new leads. Carrying out product demonstrations and arranging client visits. This will also involve attending conferences and meetings. Products offered will be pressure cushions and pressure mattresses. The ideal candidate will have experience of having sold into local authorities and care home groups. Product experience is not essential, but a healthcare-related background is a must. Salary of £30k plus generous commission of 10%-20% of sales. Company vehicle, phone, laptop, pension, 28 days holiday Inc bank holidays, increasing each year. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. Including job reference 467 to discuss further.

Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. Including job reference 471 to discuss further.

0333 0144 014 | 57

diary dates July 5, 2018 Kidz to Adultz Wales & West - Bristol www.kidzexhibitions. July 11, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) -– Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli www.otac. or call Sally on 02921 900402 July 15, 2018 27th Disability Awareness Day annual event - Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington www. July 23-25, 2018 Posture & Mobility Group Conference - Manchester Central September 12, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - La Mon Hotel, Belfast or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 26, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Imperial Hotel, Torquay or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 26-29, 2018 Rehacare – Dusseldorf October 7-8, 2018 Trade Days – NEC October 15-17, 2018 Medtrade – Atlanta October 17-18, 2018 The Care & Dementia Show – NEC www. November 7, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - The Spa Hotel, Kent or call Sally on 02921 900402 November 28, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hilton Hotel, Newcastle or call Sally on 02921 900402 December 5, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hilton Hotel, Southampton or call Sally on 02921 900402 January 28–31, 2019 Arab Health - Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre www. March 21, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Middle – Coventry www.kidzexhibitions. 26 & 27 March 2019 Naidex – NEC April 17-18, 2019 Medtrade Spring Las Vegas

58 |

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 with any details you have.



Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - July 11th -Stradley Park Hotel, Llanelli

Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 7th November 2018 – The Spa Hotel, Kent – Free of charge

Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 11th July 2018 – Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli – Free of charge

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - November 7th - The Spa Hotel, Kent

September Sunrise Medical - JCM Postural Management Workshop: Specialist Seating – September 4th 2018 - Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Sunrise Medical - JCM Technical Training – September 5th 2018 - Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Electric Mobility – Servicing / Maintenance & Fault finding for Rascal Mobility Products – September 5th 2018 – Ilminster - FOC including Lunch. Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - September 12th - La Mon Hotel & Country Club, Belfast Pride Mobility - Service Training – September 19th & 20th – Bicester Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - September 26th -Imperial Hotel. Torquay Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 26th September 2018 – Imperial Hotel, Torquay – Free of charge

Electric Mobility – Servicing / Maintenance & Fault finding for Rascal Mobility Products – November 7th 2018 - Ilminster. FOC including Lunch Jiraffe - Training for Life – Sleeping, Standing and Mobility – 6th November Sheffield – FOC Jiraffe - Training for Life – Seating and Toileting Course – 13th November Sheffield – FOC Pride Mobility - Service Training – November 21st & 22nd – Bicester Sunrise Medical - JCM Postural Management Workshop: Specialist Seating – November 27th 2018 - Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Sunrise Medical - JCM Technical Training – November 28th 2018 - Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - November 28th - Hilton Gateshead, Newcastle Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 28th November 2018 – Gateshead Hilton, Newcastle – Free of charge

Contacts for bookings Benmor Medical – Contact Katie Rowsell – 0333 800 9000 – katie.

Careflex – Call Julieanne Fewings on 01626 831 843 or email julieanne.

Invacare – Call Joan James on 01656 776283 or email jjames@invacare. com

Disability Trading Company John Balshaw – 01925 240064 – uk

Pride Mobility – sales@pride-mobility. or contact: 01869 324600 Electric Mobility – Call 01460 258158 or email marketing@electricmobility. JCM – Contact Martyn Davis on

Jiraffe – call +44 (0)114 285 3376 or email Simple Stuff Works - Contact Simone McCarthy at Trainingadmin@ or call 01827 307870


The new VIP 2 is the updated version of the VIP series of folding tilt in space wheelchairs, building on many years of experience of design and development. As well as 35 degree tilt it now has either fixed or adjustable recline.








It also now comes with an improved headrest design and a deeper seat.


a 35° Tilt-in-Space

a 30° Anti-Sliding Recline

a Foldable and Durable

Tilt-in-space system further enables attendant to tilt the chair up to 35 degrees, allowing user to change to the most comfortable position helping to reduce the potential of developing pressure ulcers.

Sliding has always been one of the greatest concerns for people in a standard reclining chair. The VIP2 solves this problem by locating the reclining pivot point of the chair close to the human hip joint, which synchronizes the motion of the body and the chair.

The VIP 2 is light and folds fitting easily into a car boot. The lateral push-bar strengthens the durability of this foldable chair and makes it easier to push the chair.



The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985

NEW FOOT PEDAL to unlock folding mechanism without bending over





Profile for THIIS

Thiis July 2018  

In the July issue of THIIS magazine, Better Mobility discusses its new journey into the world of distribution and how its retail experience...

Thiis July 2018  

In the July issue of THIIS magazine, Better Mobility discusses its new journey into the world of distribution and how its retail experience...

Profile for thiis