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THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 246 • March 2019

Issue 246 March 2019

TRADE MAGAZINE

Mobility’s movers & shakers Find out more about six newcomers making waves in the industry

Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

MORE ABOUT…

RETAILERS’ GUIDE TO...

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welcome

…from the editor Ahead of this year’s Naidex, it is a bumper edition of THIIS as we highlight some of the companies and products to check out in March at the NEC. This issue also contains our in-depth powerchair report, with key players in the powerchair sector discussing one of the most competitive areas of the mobility industry.

A

particularly interesting aspect of our powerchair report is the industry’s thoughts relating to the continued rollout of Personal Wheelchair Budgets, as CCGs give more control to individuals over the devices they use for their mobility. Towards the end of February, the Department of Health and Social Care announced plans to increase the number of people using Personal Health Budgets from 40,000 to 200,000 people by 2024. This substantial growth presents a substantial opportunity for both retailers and suppliers across all areas of the mobility industry, as well as fiercer competition. For suppliers and retailers, it will mean ensuring product and service offerings are refined and perfected, alongside searching for new ways to stand out in the market. Manufacturers across the spectrum are already investing and releasing new innovation in a bid to differentiate, such as Quantum’s Interactive Assist app, and as competition increases, so too will more innovation. With 2019 being THIIS’ 20th anniversary, we decided to visit another company that has reached this impressive milestone, speaking with Repose Furniture’s Managing Director Lisa Wardley to find out how the British, bespoke manufacturer has managed to survive and thrive over the last two decades. If you are attending Naidex this year and have a story to tell or a thought to share, get in contact. The THIIS team will be at the show and would love to meet up for a coffee and hear your thoughts, be it on something industryrelated or what you would like to see more or less of from us. Drop me an email at calvin@thiis.co.uk and I look forward to meeting you then.

Calvin Barnett Editor

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

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

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

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

TRADE MAGAZINE

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

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


contents

72 Powerchairs: The trade’s need-to-know report

Features 6 Hitting the road to reach retailers 12 Franchise fever 24 Living made easy Product Showcase: Powerchairs and scooters 50 The mobility market’s movers and shakers

Regulars 28 Meet… 30 More about… 44 The OT’s Perspective

66 Naidex guide

60 Retailers’ Product of the Month 84 Recruitment 86 Training Diary 4 | www.thiis.co.uk

44 The OT’s Perspective

30 More about... Repose


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HITTING THE ROAD TO REACH RETAILERS When it comes to events that bring customers and suppliers together, the mobility industry is in no short supply, with a myriad of exhibitions and events for manufacturers to exhibit at and retailers to attend. Recently, however, there has been a growth in the number of manufacturers running additional, smaller and more localised events for dealers on their own. Towards the end of January 2019, THIIS attended TGA Mobility’s first Dealer Day to find out more about the company’s ambitions and motivations behind its inaugural trade roadshow 6 | www.thiis.co.uk


THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE ROADSHOW Event locations in the mobility sector largely tend to remain the same. London, Birmingham and Manchester prove to be popular locations for the South, Midlands and North of the country, often due to access to event spaces and good transport links. TGA Mobility, however, has decided to turn off the beaten track and run its own events in lesser frequented localities. With the first Dealer Day taking place in Bristol, followed by its second in Runcorn, the inaugural TGA Trade Roadshow is part of the mobility supplier’s strategy to increase its facetime with its dealer network and the level of support it provides retailers in the industry. With the Bristol event held for mobility retailers in the South West of England and Wales, the company says it sees this condensed and regional format as a key way forward for the company to engage with its network of dealers. Speaking with Tim Ross, National Sales Manager for TGA Mobility, at the Bristol event, he highlighted that the new strategy is the result of an in-depth study the company recently completed, providing valuable insights into what dealers want from the mobility scooter supplier.

TGA is making a determined effort to form strong relationships with its dealers

PUTTING FACES TO NAMES One of the key goals behind the new events is increasing TGA Mobility’s transparency to its dealer network emphasised Tim, noting the essential role personal connections play in the retailer/supplier relationship. “Putting faces to names is extremely important, particularly in the industry we work in,” he underlined. “The very worst thing you want in business is an anonymous face of a company where you don’t know the people. We want to build those faceto-face relationships, building trust and long-term connections with the

“It is all about making the products more accessible and easier to work with for our retailers” TIM ROSS

Discussing the motivation behind the event, he told THIIS: “Retailers are under intensifying pressure, both in terms of time and profitability, so we want them to know that we understand and that we are here for them. “This event is really about us going to dealers and showcasing that this is TGA, this is what we stand for as a company, this is how we can help and these are the people in the organisation.”

people we do business with.” Importantly for TGA, this means having retailers meet all areas of the business, rather than just their sales representative for a given area. “When our dealers ring up to talk to us, we want them to have a name, rather than feeling it is an abyss or a hole,” continued Tim. “That is why having our service engineers attend and spend time with the dealers, taking them through the products and answering queries is

such an important element of our new events. “They do not often get a chance to go out and meet the dealers so having dealers and our engineers meet at these events means our dealers will have a name to speak to when they contact us and helps establish a more personal relationship.” THE THREE-ZONE APPROACH Aiming to deliver an exhibition it describes as more focused on dealers’ goals and offering greater added value, TGA’s Bristol Dealer Day featured three zones dedicated to a specific trade service. Consisting of a product showcase of its latest range, a servicing and technical workshop and a marketing/ PR support area, the event aimed to give dealers knowledge and tools needed to gain a competitive edge in the market. Explaining the concept, Daniel Stone, Managing Director of TGA, commented: “The main message of the day was our various offerings and meeting the team. “We are different to all other mobility product suppliers and take pride in delivering a package of support that is second to none. Our new roadshows focus on this holistic approach which includes excellence in engineering, warranty management, online services and marketing support – levels that are simply not available from any other supplier.”

www.thiis.co.uk | 7


and display to gain attention. The chart also makes the devices easy for retailers to sell, providing those important upselling opportunities,” said Tim. “It is all about making the products more accessible and easier to work with for our retailers.”

The day saw dealers walk away with new point of sale material and giveaways

For Tim, it was an opportunity for the scooter and wheelchair supplier to reinforce the steps it has taken to make working with TGA easier for its dealers. “We showed dealers how to use their trade login, order parts and how to see live data about all the different parts we have available,” he explained. “It helps add that extra element of transparency so dealers know what parts are available and which parts are not, helping them manage the expectations of their customers. We also provided more information and clarity around our warranty system and how that works as well.” Whilst trade logins and warranties may not seem like the most headlinegrabbing features of an event, Tim says it is features like these that the company has identified as being of real importance to its retailers. “We want to make it nice and easy for dealers to work with us and things like warranty can be such a potentially negative issue, particularly when people do not understand the system, the process and more. It can complicate things, leading to frustration and a poor experience for all parties involved,” he commented. GETTING UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THE PRODUCTS Alongside dealer tools, TGA exhibited a selection of products from its portfolio, including the Breeze S4 with canopy, Zest car boot and Minimo

8 | www.thiis.co.uk

folding range of scooters, as well as the WHILL Model C powerchair and Strongback wheelchair with the TGA Powerpack range. Rather than just demonstrating the products, TGA’s service engineers were on hand throughout the event, sharing helpful tips and answering dealers’ queries surrounding the technical aspects of the product portfolio. “On the day, we had some spanners and screwdrivers in hand so dealers could get hands-on with the products and ask us about any problems or difficulties they are finding,” he said.

MORE THAN A PRODUCT EXHIBITION Beyond just offering retailers the chance to learn more about its product range, the event also saw dealers gain valuable marketing advice and support. “The dealer days are not only about supporting our dealers on the product side of the business but also sharing our marketing resources to help dealers acquire more business,” said Tim. “One of the things we as a company do very well is branding. We have a strong, recognisable brand in the market and a good name which puts us in a great position to help dealers to promote themselves. “Realistically, full-time marketing operations are not cheap and some of our dealers simply do not have the resources to invest heavily in this area so sharing our resources and

“It is one of the things we identified in our research that retailers wanted more of and so we have delivered. There is also more to come.” TIM ROSS

“We also wanted to introduce dealers to our entire range so they understand how the whole TGA portfolio works together to enable possibilities to increase sales revenue.” In particular, the company demonstrated how its versatile UKmade powerpack combines with the Strongback wheelchair, as well as providing attendees with a convenient Powerpack fitting chart for dealers. “This makes it become far more of a retail-friendly product and one that dealers can have in their showroom

providing easy to implement tips has proved very popular amongst attendees.” Retailers in attendance spent time with Dom Walbanke, Marketing Co-ordinator for TGA Mobility and iDIS Creative Marketing Partnership’s Jon Nock, PR Consultant for TGA, discussing strategies and disclosing pearls of marketing wisdom. From advice surrounding PR and advertising to a new collaborative scooter safety event that dealers can host with TGA, the two marketing professionals had some interesting


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Dealers were introduced to new launches and product features, including new WHILL C colours

and effective ideas for retailers looking to gain a competitive edge in the market. “In particular, we had many dealers who showed a lot of interest in the safe driving days, which we would attend and help run at their dealerships,” added Tim. EMBRACING SCOOTER SAFETY AS A MARKETING STRATEGY The scooter safety driving days will see TGA bring their scooter safety equipment, as seen at industry trade shows such as Trade Days and Naidex, to individual dealer showrooms across the UK, encouraging end-users to visit the store to find out more about using their devices safely. In addition to helping run the event and provide training, TGA says it also helps with the publicity and press liaison – areas foreign to many SMEs – as well as photography, marketing advice and safe driving certificates. “Several dealers showed strong interest during the day,” Jon told THIIS. “Others were really interested. They understand that it is a different angle, positioning themselves as a caring business, as well as experts in mobility. It combats negative press and gives confidence to end-users so they can go out and about safely.” Above and beyond the education aspect and positive publicity, the safe scooter driving days also make good business sense, raising awareness of a retailer’s store and brand amongst end-users, as well as encouraging increased footfall. According to TGA, this free scooter safety collaboration is unique, with no other supplier offering this addedvalue to its retailer network.

10 | www.thiis.co.uk

MAKING A POINT OF POINT OF SALE Naturally, it wouldn’t be a dealer day without giveaways, with those that attended walking away with a variety of branded accessories. These included, for every visitor, free premium debossed pads, quality fleece tops, USBs with imagery for retailers’ websites and, importantly, up-to-date point of sale materials, including brochures and pull-up banners. “We have three new banners; one for the WHILL, one promoting the S4 Breeze and one for the Strongback,” explained Tim. “It is one of the things we identified in our research that retailers wanted more of and so we have delivered. There is also more to come.” Attending the Bristol event was Will McLean, Managing Director of Dorsetbased retailer Freedom Mobility, who told THIIS the event and materials had come at the right time for his company. Discussing the event, Will said: “It was interesting, especially checking out some of the offers on the day. It was great timing for us as well, as we are preparing to launch a new showroom in the next couple of months.”

first standalone event and it was exploratory. Simply dipping our toe into the water to see how well we got on and it was really well received. “The number of people that showed up tells us there is a real appetite for these kinds of initiatives in the market and, as a company, we want to be leading this and making the effort to work with our retailer network.”

A WORTHWHILE ENDEAVOUR Organising and hosting successful events are no small feats, requiring a substantial investment of time and money, however, for TGA’s Managing Director, it was an investment worth making. “We believe in putting the interests of our dealers and their customers first – a truly client-centred approach with genuine personality. This is why we are investing in roadshows, not only to make access to our product more convenient but to offer a more focused outreach programme,” stated Daniel. According to the company, around 30 visitors attended during the course of the day at Bristol, with some dealers visiting from as far away as Oxfordshire. Reflecting positively on its opening dealer day, Tim said: “This was our

As part of TGA’s dealer outreach strategy, the organisation is offering dealers the opportunity to benefit from the PR advice of TGA’s mobility specialist consultant Jon Nock. According to the company, dealers receive access to the following vital PR resources: • Free press release writing and distribution • Free local press liaison – TV, radio, newspapers and magazines • Free guidance and ideas to gain press coverage • Free social media guidance • Free pre- and post-show publicity • Photography and art direction

MORE TO COME With one more event in the calendar to be held in Dublin, the mobility scooter specialist is confident this more tailored, condensed trade event format will become one of the cornerstones of its dealer outreach strategy. “I would encourage dealers to attend our next event to discover why choosing TGA will strengthen dealer reputations and deliver sustainable success,” finished Daniel. www.tgamobility.co.uk

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FRANCHISE FEVER With companies such as Ableworld and Scootamart having ran franchises in the sector for a number of years, the model is not new in the world of mobility retail. A West Midlands mobility company however has recently thrown its hat into the franchise ring, with ambitions to become “the major supplier” in the mobility market.

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stablished by founder and owner Daniel Griffiths in 2001 and starting life with only one small retail store in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Easy Living Mobility has enjoyed sustained growth over the past 18 years. Now operating around 13 stores across the West Midlands and Staffordshire region, including superstores in Telford and Walsall, the mobility retailer is now planning to launch its own franchise network, declaring its aim “to become the major supplier of mobility products and services in the UK.”

Emphasising that the company is well-established with a record of steady growth and profitability, Easy Living Mobility says it will now employ the same retail model used in its existing Midlands store portfolio as the basis of its franchise model. The franchise package will consist of three elements, according to the company; a franchise license, franchise manuals, and a package of support items described as getting franchisee’s operational quickly. Alongside access to professional business and product advice, the company says franchisees will also

gain access to its “suppliers for all products with preferential trading terms.” With smaller, independent mobility retailers in the sector already under considerable pressures, with many highlighting eroding margins and online competition, the announcement of another national mobility retail player in the market is sure to add to the strain. In addition to preferential trading terms from suppliers, the company confirmed franchisees will also receive a protected territory – with owners able to apply to buy further

Easy Living Mobility’s Key Management Team

12 | www.thiis.co.uk


Leading franchisor confirms relaunch plans in March

territory if it is available after one year of successful trading – as well as ties with Motability, providing the opportunity to supply, service and repair equipment for the popular, national leasing scheme. An initial investment of £22,815 is required by owners looking to join Easy Living Mobility’s franchise network, with the company approximating that the total capitol needed is close to £75,000, depending on the size and location of a showroom. Following Easy Living Mobility’s franchise launch, Ableworld, the UK’s leading mobility franchise operator, praised the mobility retailer for adopting the model. Speaking to THIIS, Mike Williams, Managing Director of Ableworld, commented: “It is flattering to see someone else following in our footsteps where other franchise groups have tried and failed. We believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of franchisees to help drive growth in the mobility sector and it is good to see Easy Living sharing this passion.”

ABLEWORLD CONFIRMS RELAUNCH PLANS Following a period of consolidation within its own franchise network, Ableworld confirmed it is currently in the process of reviewing its own franchise offering, with plans to announce its relaunch at the Ableworld Business Conference in March. Boasting 34 stores across the UK, the national mobility retailer says it has

network, Mike told THIIS: “As the leading and most successful mobility franchise operator in the UK, retailing is in our DNA. “With a senior management team with over 150 years of combined retail experience – many of which is from the mobility sector – Ableworld is uniquely placed to provide franchisees with a strong foundation on which to grow their business. “We understand franchise owners

“It is flattering to see someone else following in our footsteps where other franchise groups have tried and failed.” MIKE WILLIAMS

invested substantial time and money developing its franchise business support structure, highlighting its first franchise store to have recently reached over £1million annual turnover. Discussing Ableworld’s franchise

invest large amounts of their own money and time in their business and that selecting the most suitable partner to assist in this journey is vital.”

www.thiis.co.uk | 13


round-up

RETAILER BRINGS NEW INVENTIONS TO THE SCOOTER MARKET Having been in the mobility market since 1997, Bristol-based mobility retailer Marks Mobility has combined ingenuity with experience to secure patents for two new innovations – a scooter fan and a bumper stop.

D

iscussing the accessories, Mark Mobility’s Mark Davies told THIIS: “It’s a new three in one heater/demister/cooler and a must-have for a mobility scooter with a canopy.” The easy to install device has an independent battery pack, allowing a user to take it into the house for charging – removing the risk of draining a scooter’s battery – and is ideal for end-users that feel the cold, according to the inventive retailer. Alongside providing heating for end-users, the device can also demist a canopy, as well as blowing out cool air during hot periods. “We have sold a few of these with really good feedback, one guy has two for both of his scooters,” added Mark. In addition to the mobility scooter fan, the company is also planning to launch the Bumper Stop to the market soon. Fitting onto an existing scooter’s bumper, the device will stop the scooter immediately on impact, disabling the device from working until it is reset. “This will stop the problem when the driver freezes or panics and is unable to release the throttle. We have all heard or seen accidents where this has happened,” continued Mark. “We have just had confirmation from the patent office to be able to advertise this product so we need to now cost-effectively source the parts etc.” www.marksmobility.co.uk

14 | www.thiis.co.uk

The charity plans to make the first wheelchair baby carriers available in 2020

NEW PRODUCT AND LOAN SCHEME TO AID DISABLED PARENTS

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esign charity Designability is developing a new wheelchair baby carrier and is seeking input from wheelchair users to help with the design. Fiona Cromwell, Marketing and Fundraising Officer for Designability, said the charity had previously designed a wheelchair baby carrier a number of years ago and was now relaunching it with a more accessible and fit for purpose design. “We hope to look at launching a loan scheme service whereby parents are able to have them for free for as long as they need them,” she said. The charity is now appealing for parents who have experience of a using a manual wheelchair, as well as healthcare professionals, to help shape the outcome of the new product. For more information, contact Nina Evans at ninaevans@designability.org. uk or call on 01225 824107 www.designability.org.uk


AddSeat arrives in the UK Now in search of Dealers/Distributors

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AddMovement one of the ”Top Ten” Sustainable Mobility Startups in Europe

Distributed in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, USA, and Canada, AddMovement is now bringing its innovative, gyro-based wheelchair & unique seating system to the UK and is on the lookout for dealers. The AddSeat was developed in 2010 in Sweden by AddMovement AB. The product’s innovator Marit Sundin – a Paralympic Gold Medallist – was selected as Female Innovator of the Year in Sweden in 2014/15 and AddMovement was chosen by the EU as one of the Top 10 Sustainable Mobility Startups in 2018. Our mission is to provide easier access to all aspects of life so people can be an active part of society.

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guest article

IS IT TIME FOR YOUR COMPANY TO PARTNER WITH AN AGENCY? With competition so fierce in the industry, standing out in an increasingly crowded marketplace has never been so difficult, nor so important. Specialist marketing agencies offer brands an opportunity to inject extra firepower into their campaigns, however, there are often misconceptions surrounding what working with an agency actually entails. Dispelling the myths, Accord Marketing’s John Corellis gives six reasons why working with an agency could give mobility brands that competitive edge 16 | www.thiis.co.uk


believe, you need a marketing agency (like Accord!) in 2019.

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We provide a strength and depth of expertise that is second to none. Everything we do is influenced by our deep understanding of the consumer path to purchase. From awareness to booking through to experience and advocacy, we understand what drives people's decisions – their likes, dislikes, motivations and inspirations. With this insight, we can devise compelling campaigns based on what is right for your audience, your brand and your budget.

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We offer a unique perspective. While an in-house marketer will know their brand inside out, a marketing agency has a deeper understanding of the wider market and competitor landscape. For each brief, we look to innovate, start afresh and trial new methods – but our process always starts with research and insights tailored to provide unique solutions.

3 BY JOHN CORELLIS, SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER AT ACCORD MARKETING We hear it all the time. Companies are nervous to start a conversation with an external marketing agency because they think it's the beginning of the end of their in-house marketing team. Or, more often than not, the inhouse team recognise that they could really use the help of a fully integrated agency but fear that pitching the idea to their boss may mean pitching their own replacement! At Accord, we feel the exact opposite should be the case. After all, marketing is hard work. It requires a deep understanding of audiences, markets and competitors and, in order for it to be effective, collaboration is key. So, here are some reasons why, we

Our buying power. As an agency of 30 years’ standing, we benefit from excellent, wellestablished relationships with all of the key media, including national press, regional titles, trade press, digital and radio. Indeed, they’re so good we prefer to call them partnerships. And whilst our recommendations will always be unbiased, we pro-actively (and unashamedly) use our “buying power” to regularly negotiate and secure preferential rates.

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Your brand’s assets are your own personal marketing kit – from your name, logo, visual style, fonts, icons, colours, tone of voice. It includes everything that communicates your mission and purpose. And the challenge of brand management lies not just in creating these guidelines but keeping them consistent across many different formats. Working with an agency will almost certainly result

in a brand management system that will give you instant easy access to a library of the latest approved assets.

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First impressions mean everything in business. Website design is the key to exploiting this. It’s your first chance to reach out and grab your audience, to push the meaning and purpose of your brand, to create a tone and personality. But it doesn’t need to cost the Earth! So, we offer a web design service that is perfect for businesses whose main priority is not breaking the bank, but who still want to have a visually beautiful website that creates a lasting impression, improves sales and strengthens your brand.

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We talk numbers all the time. You have financial goals to hit – we completely get that. That's why we focus on data to drastically improve the metrics that matter – engagement, conversions and sales. Plus, our tried and trusted methods for capturing and attributing data provide the foundation for accurate and consolidated performance reporting. Today, an agency must think flexibly, learn fast, respond swiftly, collaborate widely, nurture technology, amplify ideas, read data and operate at the very heart of businesses. It must sit at the intersection of data and ideas. At Accord, we work hard to become an extension of our clients’ in-house teams and deliver integrated marketing campaigns that really get brands noticed. We’re on hand to deliver a variety of work from simple marketing collateral to complex crossmedia campaigns. If you’re interested in learning more, please just get in touch today. Accord Marketing is an integrated marketing agency specialising in the mature market, helping manufacturers and retailers get the most out of their marketing. Contact John on 020 7395 9632 or john.corellis@ accordmarketing.com to find out more

www.thiis.co.uk | 17


SHINING A LIGHT ON HOME LIFT SAFETY As homelifts continue to increase in popularity in the market, Stiltz Homelifts has launched a new ‘safety first’ campaign to inform dealers about the different safety features between different products.

G

ino Farruggio, UK Trade Sales Director of Stiltz Homelifts, said the campaign provides dealers who may be selling more than one type of homelift with “all the key information they need to make an informed choice about the type of product they want to sell.” Stiltz’ safety campaign comes as lift company Orona and landlord company Synergy Housing were fined a total of £1.5 million following the tragic death of five-year-old Alexys Brown in 2015. The young girl was travelling in a faulty lift from an undisclosed manufacturer in the family home when she put her head through a damaged Perspex door, resulting in her head being trapped between the lift and the ceiling. With no emergency key or handle to manual free her, the young girl sustained head, face and neck injuries described as “horrific” and was pronounced dead at the scene. Highlighting the measures taken by Stiltz to ensure its product’s safety, Gino explained that conventional lifts tend to have an upper safety edge which only activates at the point a body part becomes trapped, whereas the Stiltz’ homelift immediately stops when the light curtain is breached as it

18 | www.thiis.co.uk

is fully enclosed with no safety edges. Additionally, conventional lifts have open sides which further increases the risk of accidents pointed out the homelift specialist, whilst a Stiltz Homelift can be used standing or perching, rather than having to be seated. Emphasising the company’s Trio+ Homelift wheelchair model is now BS5900 compliant and includes a fire seal, Gino added: “While this is not a mandatory requirement, it enables

the Trio+ to tick all the boxes required for a local authority Disabled Facilities Grant.” The UK Trade Sales Director finished by noting that all Stiltz lifts also include a telephone system as standard, in the “unlikely” event of a user experiencing issues whilst using the lift. www.stiltz.co.uk

RENEWED CALL FOR INDUSTRY QUALIFICATIONS The tragic case of Alexys Brown prompted Ray Hodgkinson MBE, former Director-General of the BHTA, to renew his call for qualifications relating to the sale and servicing of mobility equipment. Appealing for the industry to self-regulate before regulations and qualifications are imposed, Ray contends that “there needs to be a robust way of ensuring all those that advise, sell and touch vulnerable people clearly show their skills and have them qualified” to provide confidence to customers and providers. “My heart goes out to the Brown family and they deserve to know that Alexys’ tragic accident will lead to positive change and was not in vain,” Ray finished. “How many other accidents are waiting to happen because we did not take action to ensure we are the best we can possibly be!”


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SPORT KNEE SUPPORT £1.16

TISSUE HOLDER £2.75

SA-9401

SA-9512

£4.25

SOFT WHEELCHAIR CUSHION £2.45

WA-2553

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£13.20


PORTABLE ALUMINIUM RAMP L-7FT £65.40

WA-2602

3 WHEELED WALKER BASKET WA-3106-BASKET

ALUMINIUM SUITCASE RAMP W 30” x L 36” WA-2604 W 30” x L 24” WA-2605 W 30” x L 48” WA-2606 W 30” x L 60” WA-2607 W 30” x L 72” WA-2608

£49.65 £35.55 £58.80 £83.85 £99.70

FOLDING ESCORT HANDLE STICK £2.00

FOLDING CURVED HANDLE STICK GREEN PATTERN WA-3404-677 £3.95

WA-3403

£4.60

FOLDING WOODEN T-HANDLE STICK PURPLE PATTERN WA-3407-356 £3.60

3 WHEELED WALKER BAG WA-3106-BAG

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FOLDING CURVED HANDLE STICK WA-3404

£3.15

CURVED HANDLE STICK GREEN PATTERN 2 PIECE WA-3414-677 £3.15

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new to the team

CEO to accelerate product innovation Designability has appointed Catharine Brown as its new chief executive, bringing 15 years of third sector leadership experience in to the Bristol-based design charity. Having worked with a number of national charities, spearheading fundraising and marketing activities, Catharine’s background was in the commercial sector, working for brands including Marks & Spencer and The Economist. In her new role, she will steer Designability – a charity formed of engineers and designers aiming to create life-changing assistive technologies – as it launches new innovations, alongside generating funding for new workshop space.

PERMOBIL’S R&D EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT TO FOCUS ON MOBILITY OFFERING The Permobil Group has announced that Catharina Modahl Nilsson is to intensify innovation in its mobility portfolio as the company’s new Executive Vice President for Research & Development. Focusing on the Group’s development and cost position of its mobility aids including powerchairs, seating solutions, and power assist devices, Catharina will also be responsible for the newly formed global Group Research and Development function. Having spent a significant portion of her career at the Scania Group, her appointment follows the appointment of Bengt Thorsson – another former Scania Group senior manager – as Permobil’s CEO in June 2018. Discussing Catharina’s appointment, Bengt commented: “Her appointment and the formation of a central research and development function is part of our business strategy to bring innovation to our users and operational excellence.”

Do you have a new team member? Why not let the industry know? Just send us a short news item and photo.

ELECTRIC MOBILITY BOOSTS ENGINEERING EXPERTISE Jason Hunter has joined Electric Mobility as its new technical manager, bringing a broad range of experiences to the scooter manufacturer, including the development complex systems, equipment and avionics integration, large volume OEM design, and manufacture and production. Beginning his career in the design and manufacturing sector, Jason has worked on a diverse portfolio of equipment across the world, ranging from motorhomes to military. His previous projects include working as Chief Engineer Electrics on a ‘Flying Car’ prototype in Slovakia and, more recently, as Engineering Lead on a helicopter training simulator in Bristol. In his new role, Jason says he will use his experience to bring new ideas to the mobility industry and Electric Mobility’s Rascal brand.

From left: Mike Flowers, Jason Hunter and Jonathan Hearth

www.thiis.co.uk | 23


living made easy

POWERCHAIR AND SCOOTERS

With close to 1000 suppliers nationwide constantly releasing new products in the mobility and independent living industry, it can be difficult for retailers to keep track of what equipment is available on the market. Living made easy however is aiming to make retailers’ live easier each month with their product showcase, highlighting new, unique and popular products to busy retailers 24 | www.thiis.co.uk


A move away from the traditional type of scooter Manufactured by Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, the Sport Rider is a modern looking scooter that borrows technology from the motorcycle industry. It comes with all-round suspension and telescopic front motorbike suspension as standard and has a top speed of 8mph. The throttle lever includes an automatic safe-braking system and there’s an additional handbrake for added security, whilst the illuminated controls feature a twin dial digital dash and a trip computer with odometer that measures the distance travelled. The seat comes with a sliding and reclining facility, while the headrest and arms can be adjusted to suit the user. All-round lighting, including a large headlight, front and rear indicators and rear brake lights, are designed to ensure high outdoor visibility.

A COMPACT FOUR-WHEELER Roma Medical’s Shoprider Sovereign 4 scooter can travel up to 20miles per charge. Features include an automatic braking system, five position angle tiller, direct drive sealed transmission/gearbox, freewheeling device and an off-board charger. There’s a detachable fold-down, lockable four position padded swivel seat with forward, back and height adjustment and angle adjustable fold down arms. Finished in red, the Sovereign 4 is fitted out with a chrome front bumper, headlights and side reflectors. The scooter dismantles for transport and storage.

info@dlf.org.uk 020 7289 6111 www.thiis.co.uk | 25


living made easy

New suspension TITAN POWERCHAIR The front wheel drive Titan from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare is designed for indoor and outdoor use. The controller mount is length adjustable and the backrest folds for storage and transportation. Featuring padded upholstery and a height adjustable reclining seat that swivels to aid transfers on and off the chair, the detachable armrests and flip-up footplate are both height adjustable. Front tip wheels are fitted as standard and the solid nonmarking tyres are designed to be low maintenance and provide durability. It features de-clutch operation and a Dynamic Shark programmable controller. The Titan Powerchair has a maximum speed of 4mph and a range of up to 19miles on a full battery charge.

The Edge 3 from Quantum boasts an upgraded Smooth Ride Suspension (SRS). Optional iLevel is available at 4.5mph, with up to 12 inches of power adjustable seat. Long life front and rear LED fender lights, mounted above each drive tyre, are fitted as standard. A USB charger and drive wheel colour accents are also included. The Edge 3 comes in 14 colour options, with an addition of seven new colours.

THE LUGGIECHAIR Launched at the end of 2018, the LuggieChair is the latest addition to the Luggie mobility scooter range. This foldable scooter has been designed to be compact and lightweight and includes a wide footplate, wide padded seat, adjustable armrests and a controller which can be fitted on either side.

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

26 | www.thiis.co.uk


Unfold and go The folding i-Go electric wheelchair from Pride Mobility is designed to fit into small spaces. Standard features include built-in front suspension, a durable padded seat with storage space and a flip up foot platform. It can reach a maximum speed of 3.7mph with a maximum range of 6.2miles.

Please contact us for our trade catalogue: www.classiccanes.co.uk

www.thiis.co.uk | 27


meet...

MEET… DAVID LAHIFFE, MOBILITY SERVICE SALES MANAGER FOR PICKERINGS LIFTS What does your position involve? I’m responsible for growing mobility servicing at Pickerings Lifts, going out to meet customers, finding out more about their requirements and creating tailored service contracts for moving and handling equipment including stair lifts, hoists and slings.

Lifts in the lift service team, so being promoted to the mobility side of the business was a huge personal achievement. It’s been great seeing the mobility side of the business grow and evolve over the years and I work alongside an exceptional team that work so hard.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Knowing that the equipment that we look after makes such a difference to people’s lives and can enable them to live independently. I also enjoy talking to the staff on the front line and the people who use the equipment – they have so many interesting stories to tell.

What’s the biggest changes you have seen in the industry? Primarily a larger demand for equipment due to an ageing population, especially for older and disabled people who are using the equipment to keep living at home. Over the last few years, I’ve also seen an increased popularity in frameworks, with a lot of different organisations coming together to get better buying power.

What is one of your proudest moments in the industry? Being promoted to my current role, I originally worked in at Pickerings

Quick-fire questions! Describe yourself in three words Friendly, fun, helpful.

If you had to do any other job in the world, what would it be? An archaeologist – if it’s good enough for Indiana Jones it’s good enough for me!

If you could bring one new innovation to the market, what would it be? A sling with GPS built into it – you’d be surprised how often they go walkabout in buildings! What are your interests outside of work? Gardening and travelling. I celebrated a significant birthday recently so I’m currently in full health-kick mode and have started jogging too!

What’s your favourite song? Fool’s Gold by the Stone Roses. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Time travel, so I could get next week’s lottery results! Favourite place in the world? Limerick in southern Ireland, I have a lot of family there and visit twice a year.

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About Pickerings Lifts Supplying, installing, repairing and servicing a wide range of mobility products, including stairlifts, hoists, through floor lifts, platform lifts, and medical beds, the independent company works alongside care homes, councils, the NHS and businesses and services over 3,000 mobility units across the UK.


Proven technology matched by ultimate customer service We believe that our customer support should perform to the same level as our world-class mobility products. With same day despatch up until 15.30 of our entire range of mobility batteries, chargers and tyre products, you can rest easy that Strident will ensure your customers mobility equipment is up and running in no time. Please contact our knowledgeable, friendly sales team who will be happy to discuss how Strident can supply and support all your mobility consumable requirements.

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Head office address: 50 Turbine Way, Ecotech Business & Innovation Park, Swaffham, PE37 7XD


more about…

REPOSE FURNITURE

STILL STANDING STRONG IN SEATING AFTER 20 YEARS Reaching a two-decade anniversary is no small feat in the world of business (if we do say so ourselves), however, reaching a 20th anniversary as a British bespoke manufacturer during a period when domestic manufacturing has faced tough times is all the more impressive. THIIS took a trip to Repose’s Cradley Heath factory to speak with Managing Director Lisa Wardley and discover how the bespoke seating manufacturer has managed to stay true to its commitment to quality over the years, as well as what it has planned for the years to come. THE SPECIALIST SEATING MARKET SAW A LOT OF ACTIVITY IN 2018, HOW IS REPOSE FAIRING IN IT AT THE MOMENT? We’ve just had our best trading year ever which is a fantastic way to enter our anniversary year. We will need to hold onto that as I think this year will be a harder one in the market. I can’t quite put my finger on why I feel it but it may have something to do with Brexit and the uncertainty around it. ARE YOU STARTING TO SEE ANY IMPACT FROM BREXIT ACROSS YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN? The majority of our suppliers are based in the UK, with many sourcing their parts from Europe. They are trying to hold more stock,

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There does seem to be a slow down in orders though and it almost seems as if buyers are holding off at the start of this year. I think Brexit uncertainty might have a part to play.

Repose’s Lisa Wardley

however, there is only so much stock they can hold financially before it starts affecting their business. As a manufacturer, we are in a similar boat. HAS THERE BEEN A DOWNTURN IN DEMAND FROM CUSTOMERS? In our sales office, there really does seem to be no end to requests for pricing and quotes from both existing and new accounts which is brilliant.

IN OUR JANUARY ISSUE, WE SPOKE WITH STUART MOBILITY WHO SANG YOUR PRAISES AS A SUPPLIER. HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH GOOD RELATIONSHIPS WITH RETAILERS? Stuart Mobility and Justina are a great retailer to work with because they are very proactive. If a potential customer called and said they needed a chair, she would drive hours on a Friday afternoon to see them because she believes the customer requires a professional and quality solution as soon as possible.


20 years and counting for the West Midlands’ bespoke seating manufacturer

That kind of drive and dedication makes the company a great retailer to work with. We are very fortunate to work with many such dealers. It’s all about communication, trust and loyalty between both suppliers and retailers. We truly consider our retailers as partners – if they grow, we grow. For example, if we get leads in an area, we’ll pass them on to those

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? We are not quite sure. Every month we change the offer to try and match it to trends happening in the market so that it gives our retailers more value to offer to their customers but I think there still needs to be that added push. We do have some dealers that take up the offers almost on a monthly basis however. They will see it in the magazine or online and without fail, certain retailers will send in orders using the discount code to get take advantage of half-price warranties or other additional features. DO YOU THINK SOME DEALERS MIGHT BE MISSING AN OPPORTUNITY TO USE THESE PROMOTIONS TO SELL? The dealers we see engaging with the promotions are often the ones that tend to sell more of our chairs because they are incorporating the savings and offers into their offers and promoting it to customers. We really would encourage more dealers to engage with the offers as they do provide that additional added

“We completely changed the business and moved fully into this sector and it has been a rollercoaster of a ride, with ups and downs but always enjoyable.” LISA WARDLEY

retailers within that area. In some instances, we have designed new seating solutions with retailers in response to an opportunity they have spotted in the marketplace. We also try to offer dealers additional support through our retailer support program that we have been running over the years. HAS YOUR RETAILER SUPPORT PROGRAM BEEN WELL RECEIVED BY YOUR DEALER NETWORK? We’ve have had some uptake but not as much as we would like.

value that can help secure sales. As a supplier however, there is more we can do to really highlight these offers to our customers as well. We have had times where we have emailed a monthly offer and discount code to customers, only to

see customers placing orders in that month that are applicable but not using the offer. On one occasion, the offer was for an additional 10 percent off and a free, up-to-date swatch book for their shop floor! We are really trying to think hard about what we can do to really try and engage and communicate with these dealers. ALONGSIDE PASSING ON LEADS, WHAT ELSE DOES REPOSE DO AS A SUPPLIER TO SUPPORT ITS RETAILERS? We try to do a lot of work behind the scenes, such as attending events, engaging with OTs, working on our branding and more. WHY IS REACHING OTS SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU AS A BESPOKE, SPECIALIST SEATING MANUFACTURER? Building our brand awareness amongst healthcare professionals is extremely important because it helps us to pass on specialist seating enquiries that come into the office straight onto those professionals with the skills to offer the right solution. Getting the information out to the healthcare professionals about our products is needed so they understand that we can offer a solution for their clients. That way, they will use our name and brand to request products through whatever dealer network they use in their community. For the last four years, we have been working with Kate Sheehan, a well-known OT in the health market. She has worked with us on the design of our chairs, the quality of our healthcare literature, and training, as well as writing health care articles for

About Repose Furniture Beginning life in a small manufacturing unit in Cradley Heath, Birmingham, back in 1999, the company was started John Elcocks and his son David. Now led by his daughter Lisa, Repose has grown significantly, operating from a 23,500 sq. ft. facility – still in Cradley Heath – and selling its range of bespoke homecare and healthcare seating solutions through a network of over 200 retailers across the UK.

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more about…

The newly available Protac range is the company’s first step into sensory products

key publications and their impact on sourcing quality seating solutions. ARE YOU GOING TO FOCUS MORE EFFORTS TO REACH HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS GOING FORWARD? We are definitely going to strengthen the brand amongst this audience more this year and people may see us doing more ‘lunch and learn’ type

market, as well as two new models we launched at the end of last year that we are really going to be pushing this year. We have the bariatric independent tilt that we took to the OT Show in November 2018. The response from healthcare professionals for that was massive so we have just finished the imagery and literature for that product so we can bring it to the market. IS THERE A GROWING DEMAND FOR BARIATRIC PRODUCTS IN THE HEALTHCARE MARKET? Yes, especially with the multi-positions that the seating can get a bariatric person in to. We’ve seen that there hasn’t really been an independent tilt in space recliner chair in the market for bariatrics. We have an action that can elevate the legs independently, tilt the person independently, recline the

“That’s the moment I realised that I was an MD of a brand that could get a recognised celebrity to work with it, which felt great.” LISA WARDLEY

days with OTs in certain pockets of areas to try and get them specifying Repose. We’ll also work to establish more input and engagement from our retailers in those areas as well, connecting the two parties so they are able to get a foot in the door. As a supplier, we think it is important to bring everybody together to ensure end-users receive the best solutions possible. HOW WILL THESE EVENTS RUN? They will largely be small, exclusive events at OT practices and specialist health chair providers across the country. WHAT NEW PRODUCTS DO YOU HAVE IN THE PIPELINE? We have two new models which are aimed more towards the healthcare

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user’s independently, as well as stand them to their feet. Bariatric people have a lot of weight in the midriff area, so that tilt function will actually allow them to transfer their weight more and help with pressure.

It is called the Arden and is available now. WHAT OTHER NEW PRODUCTS REPOSE WILL BE OFFERING CUSTOMERS IN 2019? We have the Haven which is more targeted at the healthcare marketplace. It includes a complete air system with air bags in the back, the seat, and the footrest area. It will come available in three sizes, with two different types of mechanism movements, and it has constant contact with the VP down the centre section for pressure care. We will also be introducing the Protac range of Sensory Stimulation Products which we will be selling through our UK dealer network. The range of products includes sensory seating, as well as other products, all of which are already well established amongst healthcare professionals across Europe. It’s the first time we will be selling products that we haven’t manufactured ourselves, but we are confident that it will be successful and look forward to building on an already established European brand. HOW DOES THE PROTAC SENSORY SEATING WORK? It is extremely unique and something that really must be tried out to truly appreciate how it works. Essentially, the chair aims to give a calming effect to users that may need additional sensory input.

Make a point of visiting Repose’s operations After being a tour of Repose’s Cradley Heath factory, it is hard not to be impressed with seeing the UK mobility manufacturing operation in the flesh. It is something Repose are urging more of its dealers to do, to gain a full appreciation of each process involved in the production of a bespoke chair and the steps the company takes to ensure its quality. “We would love for more dealers to come and visit us,” commented Lisa. “It would be great to show more of our retailers exactly what they are buying when they purchase one of our chairs, why our lead times are what they are, and how intricate these chairs can be.” The company is now inviting retailers to take a trip to the West Midlands and get a full tour of its production facilities.


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more about…

Focusing all attention on the healthcare and mobility market has proven to be gamble that has paid off for the company

It is for people with a range of conditions including autism, ADHD, dementia, Parkinson’s, MS – really anyone that can benefit from improved sensory integration. IS THIS A PRODUCT THAT REPOSE WILL MARKET ACROSS THE UK? Yes, we are going to be the one of the UK’s main dealers for this going forward, selling it for both the retail and care markets. WHAT POTENTIAL BENEFIT COULD IT OFFER RETAILERS? For our dealers, it opens up new markets for them that they may not have considered before, such as charities, hospitals, and, in particular, schools. The product is aimed at adults and children across a range of health conditions, so it could be an interesting new opportunity for retailers.

We have already put a Protac chair in our local hospice and they have just taken on a number of other Protac products for their residents to try out and use for day visits. The response so far has been great so we are really excited about the potential of the sensory market. WITH PROTAC BEING THE FIRST RANGE YOU HAVE DISTRIBUTED THAT IS NOT MANUFACTURED BY YOURSELVES, HOW DIFFERENT HAVE YOU FOUND THAT SIDE OF THE BUSINESS? It is very different for us. We are used to our processes that we have been working to over the years -taking an order, programming it in to be made etc – so there is a learning curve there. In February, we haven’t really shouted about the range to the market yet because we’ve only just

“We are really trying to think hard about what we can do to really try and engage and communicate with these dealers.” LISA WARDLEY

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finished building the webpages for it and learning all there is to know about the range ourselves. From March however, we will be really moving ahead with this. WITH A LOT OF NEW PRODUCTS BEING RELEASED, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT AS A COMPANY TO INNOVATE IN THE SEATING MARKET? We don’t stand still. We are always looking at the market and listening to our distributor network to see what is needed and what people are looking for. If we can do it within safety guidelines, we will. We will do whatever we can do to meet the needs of our dealer network and their customers and that naturally means we are always innovating. 20 YEARS IN BUSINESS IS A BIG ACHIEVEMENT FOR ANY COMPANY, DO YOU HAVE ANY MOMENT THAT PARTICULAR STANDS OUT FOR YOU? We were originally set up on the 14th March, 1999, and there have been so many great moments during that time. For me, when Dr Hilary Jones came onboard to work with us for 12-months back in 2014, that was a big eye opener to me. All of a sudden,


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more about… I had a business where a celebrity I used to watch on TV was now sat in our office and working with us to promote our products. That’s the moment I realised that I was an MD of a brand that could get a recognised celebrity to work with it, which felt great. Other than that, we are just so proud to be where we are today and if it wasn’t for the fact that in 2005 when I joined the company, we made that decision to actually concentrate on the healthcare and homecare marketplace through a distributor network, rather than supplying directly into the domestic market, things could have been very different. We completely changed the business and moved fully into this sector and it has been a rollercoaster of a ride, with ups and downs but always enjoyable. HAVING BEEN IN THE MOBILITY AND HEALTHCARE SECTOR SINCE 2005, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS CHANGED SINCE YOU ENTERED IT? Fairly early on, when we first entered this sector, there was a period of time when Chinese imports were popular and box shifters were supplying chairs at very low prices and low quality. Over the years, we really have seen a shift away from this, where people really do not want cheap chairs. They want British-made products and they like the fact that it comes from a family business that has been going generations so we really use this to strengthen our brand. I think quality has done a complete 180 and people really do want highquality, British-made seating again and are willing to spend that little bit more for it. WOULD YOU SAY THAT INFLUX OF CHEAPER, CHINESE-MADE CHAIRS WAS A CHALLENGING PERIOD FOR THE COMPANY? It was a very challenging time for the company and largely drove our decision to leave the domestic lifestyle market and focus on healthcare.

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We simply couldn’t compete against the DFSs and HSLs of the world and we already had a handful of customers who were in mobility, so we decided to be brave and throw all our efforts behind this market. SO, THERE ARE NO PLANS TO MOVE BACK ACROSS INTO THE DIRECT DOMESTIC MARKET OR ESTABLISH YOUR OWN RETAIL OPERATION? Never. There is no interest at all in opening our own shops up or setting up our retail proposition. We believe in supporting our established network of dealers and continue to see this as our major route to market.

whilst still offering that same quality and support to our retailer network. HAVING REACHED THIS IMPRESSIVE MILESTONE, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL THE TRADE? I would like to say a huge thank you to our distributor network for all they have done over the last 20 years. We are also proud to say that some distributors have been with us since we started, such as Ronnie McDonald at Newlyn Healthcare. www.reposefurniture.co.uk

WITH 20 SUCCESSFUL YEARS BEHIND YOU, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE THE COMPANY TO BE AT ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY? I would hope 20 years on from now, the Repose brand would be even more established and recognised compared to what it is at the moment, Repose’s high-quality, in-house manufacturing capability has enabled it to remain competitive through the economy’s ups and downs

Dealer offer of the month from Repose From March 1st and March 31st, Repose Furniture is offering a free upgrade to pocket sprung seating. This promotion is worth £30 per unit ordered and is available on all seating from the company’s standard homecare range. To qualify, retailers need to quote MAR19 when placing their order.


ALERTA 3 IN 1 AQUA CHAIR SHOWER, COMMODE & TRANSFER CHAIR

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+44 (0)3452 088 097 | www.alertamedical.com | sales@alertamedical.com


20 years of THIIS

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

M A R C H

2010 AN INNOCUOUS EMAIL LEADS TO PR MASTERSTROKE

Back in 2010, THIIS ran a story in its popular weekly news bulletin email about the Red Wheelies (a group living with MS and also a ‘Scooter Formation Display Team’) looking for some donated scooters to help with a fundraising initiative. From that acorn of a story, a rather substantial PR campaign grew for Quingo. Quingo’s Mark Nicholls saw the appeal and decided to get in touch about their project to complete the first ever Hadrian’s Wall trek. He supplied the Red Wheelies with Quingo mobility scooters for their 10 day, 84-mile journey and the project proved a publicity hit! It gained significant press traction, including TV appearances on the BBC and ITV, and was estimated to have reached millions through various channels, with Quingo gaining impressive product awareness.

“When you get involved in something like this, you are always a bit concerned about how much it will end up costing and whether there is a viable proposition in terms of a PR opportunity. It’s always a risk, but to say that this developed into something better than we had anticipated is an understatement.” MARK NICHOLLS IN MARCH 2010

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M A R C H

2012 MOBILITY RETAIL EXPOSED… NO LONGER A MYSTERY In 2012, the results of an in-depth, three-year study into the retail mobility industry was carried out by Ricability and Assist UK, with funding from the

Department of Health, with mystery shoppers visiting retailers across the UK. The overall feedback seven years ago was that the mobility retail environment often fell far short compared to the rest of the high street, with accessibility for shops selling products aimed to improve independence and access being deemed poor in many shops. Clutter, lack of accessible toilets, and, importantly, insufficient information for consumers to make informed choices were all flagged by the report. The main point however was pricing, with the report noting that

MEDITEK MOVES IN PURSUIT OF FUTURE GROWTH… THIIS covered stairlift Meditek’s move to a new factory in 2013, with the company having outgrew its 10,000sq. ft factory in Fishburn, County Durham. The company moved to a new facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and launched two new models. The launch of the factory led to the created of 15 new jobs at the time and was opened by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, with the company forecasting growth in the future. Exactly half a decade on in March 2018, THIIS reported that Meditek was no longer trading.

prices were often incomplete and in a quarter of cases, inspectors found no information was given upfront at all, with some retailers not being forthcoming to display prices on products. In addition, 45% were not given information about VAT, 43% were given no information about delivery charges, 44% were given no information about fixing charges and 46% were given no information about repair and servicing charges. Over the years, the industry and reputable retailers have worked hard to shake this image, aiming to become more modern and professional.

M A R C H

2013 “The decision to relocate our new factory and the decision to build two new products is the culmination of a £1.1million investment. We forecast to grow the company turnover to over £10million by 2014.” PHIL RICE, MEDITEK’S MANAGAING DIRECTOR, IN MARCH 2013

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20 years of THIIS

M A R C H

2014

A TIME BEFORE BREXIT? They say a week is a long time in politics, so four years must be a lifetime! It seems difficult to remember a time before Brexit dominated political or business conversation, however, back in March 2015, the country was gearing up for an important General Election. As is always the case, MPs were on the campaign trail, visiting companies, shaking hands and giving speeches.

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SIMPLYHEALTH RETAIL PROPOSITION GREW WITH NEW DROITWICH STORE With ambitions to grow in the mobility retail market, Simplyhealth opened a new store in Droitwich, making the number of outlets now at seven across the UK, adding to its outlets in Andover, Bristol, Burnham, Manchester, Salford and Leeds. The new store was opened by Paralympic archery medallist Mel Clarke and the company ran a promotion that saw the first 50 customers receiving a £10 voucher to spend in store when they spent £50 and over. Eventually, the SimplyHealth Independent Living stores would go on to be rebranded The Unlimited Company, a new retail proposition by the provider health cash plans, private health insurance, dental plans and self-funded health plans. In 2017 however, to the industry’s shock, the company decided to abandon its new retail proposition and pull out of mobility and independent living retail completely. One of the company’s former employees who was made redundant in 2017 decided to open his own retail store recently and is one of THIIS’ Movers & Shakers (check out page 53)

In Wales, Mangar International welcomed the then Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague, along with the Conservative candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, Chris Davies. THIIS reported that the topics discussed in the MPS visit included skills shortages and interestingly, the effect of a weaker Euro on export sales. Fast forward four years and the political and business climate has shifted, with the weakening of the

M A R C H

2015 pound now dominating discussions. At the end of 2018, Mangar Health was acquired by French medical devices supplier WinncareAt the beginning of 2019, the company’s inventive founder, David Edmund Talbot Garman OBE, passed away.


POWER TRIPS


20 years of THIIS

M A R C H

2016 “In this instance, the event was a little like a buffet – you might not have picked up everything that was on offer but there was enough of interest to leave you feeling more than satisfied.” SHARRON CUTLER, MARKETING MANAGER, IN MARCH 2016

DEALER DAY’S BUFFET OF CONTENT HAILED AS SUCCESS Having held the third of its now renowned ‘Dealer Day’, Handicare decided to review the content portion of the event with the goal of providing a good, varied selection of content that all dealers in attendance would benefit from. The Dealer Day was the first ran by the company following the sale of its mobility division in 2016 and featured presentations on Contract Design Management, selling regulations, digital strategy and HR. In last year’s Handicare Dealer Day, the company made a point of addressing the elephant in the room, that being the relationship between Handicare and its direct selling arm Companion. A brave and well executed move on the stairlift specialist’s part.

A SPRING REFRESH FOR RETAILER’S BRANDING In 2017, THIIS covered Ross Care’s vibrant, modern new branding, alongside the relaunch of its refurbished retail outlet in Leeds’ White Rose Shopping Centre. Explaining its vision to develop a space beyond that of a conventional mobility store, where people could receive expert help and guidance alongside products, the company’s refreshed store featured signage encouraging conversations around users’ needs, as well as its new, wheelchair-free logo.

“The [new] logo serves as a reminder that, ultimately, the caring manner in which we provide our services and the benefit the equipment provides to an individual’s life is of prime importance.” ALASTAIR RONALDSON, MARKETING AND SALES MANAGER AT ROSS CARE, IN MARCH 2017

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M A R C H

2017


RISING FROM THE ASHES In March, THIIS highlighted the devastating Heartway Medical fire, which saw the giant Taiwanese 3000sq. metre manufacturing facility completely burn down. The Taiwanese manufacturer exports an extensive range of products, including wheelchairs, powerchairs and mobility scooters, producing ranges for wellknown brands such as TGA Mobility and Pride. According to the both brands at the time, there were no substantial supply shortages, with the Taiwanese manufacturer bouncing back quickly. Only two weeks after the fire, the HeartWay team in Taiwan moved into a new and improved 7000sq. metre, five-floor factory, increasing its global output.

M A R C H

2018

“From its 15-year relationship with Heartway, TGA has complete confidence that this trusted manufacturer will be fully operational soon through its robust recovery process which is already well underway.” DANIEL STONE, TGA’S MANAGING DIRECTOR, IN MARCH 2018

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

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OT perspective

TIME TO RECLINE? How do you know which chairs are right for your customers? Ask an occupational therapist…

C

hairs, they’re pretty important. Very important in fact. No matter what walk of life you’re in, no matter your job or your personal situation, sitting home in a comfortable

chair at the end of the day is an experience we all want and need. And for those with disabilities and mobility issues, a chair that is comfortable to sit in and also makes

Strengthen your sales with Strongback wheelchairs ■ Advanced lumbar support ■ Easy Powerpack fitting ■ Lightweight frame ■ Up to 21 stone user capacity ■ Quality attendant-controlled and self propel models

44 | www.thiis.co.uk

transitions & movement easy is even more important. That’s where recliners chairs come in.

NEW 20” SEAT WIDTH


WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER SELLING CHAIRS FROM SPECIALIST SUPPLIERS LIKE RECLINERS? Speaking as an OT, I can tell you that recliners chairs have made the lives of many of my clients much, much better. When a client finds it difficult to get up, down, and around, life can be a lot more difficult, so anything that makes those everyday movements easier is worth investing in. HOW CAN YOU HELP CLIENTS CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHAIRS? Making sure your client gets the right specialist chair is vital. Here are a few pointers on how to do it: Ask them what difficulties (if any) they are having with their existing furniture • Is it too high, too low or too hard? • Are they finding transfers difficult? • Do they suffer from pressure ulcers? • Has their medical condition changed, making their current furniture no longer appropriate? Asking these sorts of questions will help you to understand what it is the client needs from a chair and, therefore, which chair is most appropriate for them. Ask an occupational therapist Yes, I might be an occupational therapist but that isn’t the reason why I’m suggesting this! You see, OTs are the guys ‘on the ground’, working with your customers (our clients) and understanding exactly what their clients’ needs are, so speaking to them really is invaluable.

COMPACT FOLDING

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That’s exactly what Recliners did at the end of last year, booking our clinical team to review a selection of their chairs and help them to understand the markets that would most benefit from them. Together with Recliners, we put together a list of associates to attend this ‘review day’, consisting of OTs from all sorts of different backgrounds – private, NHS, social services, and charity – with all sorts of different types of expertise including learning disability, elderly, children, young people & families, clients who lack capacity, sensory loss, and neurological deficits. The associates were able to review and discuss the domestic range and home care range of chairs and focus on the multi-care and eco-flex

specialist chairs, as these are the chairs likely to require clinical input when prescribing for our clients. These associates provided huge value to Recliners, allowing them to truly understand the pros and cons of each chair for each client group, improving the targeting of their marketing and future product innovation. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know, so rather than producing a product that you’ve got no idea whether anyone’ll buy, do the work up front and get more minds on it – it’ll pay dividends in the long run! For more information about Recliners, check out www.recliners. org.uk or email matt@recliners.org.uk

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).

Call to find out more

01787 882 244 or email info@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk THS010319

The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985

www.thiis.co.uk | 45


focus

New Gerald Simonds owners plan expansion

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ne of the UK’s most established retailers and distributors of manual and powered wheelchairs, add-on powerdrives and wheelchair seating systems, Gerald Simonds Healthcare has been sold to the Borrum Healthcare Group. The Motability-accredited importer and distributor of principally high-end, custom-built manual wheelchairs has been in the market since 1983, being the first UK distributor of the original Swede 24 wheelchair – one of the first lightweight rigid framed wheelchairs in production. In a statement released by Gerald Simonds Healthcare, the company

says the sale to Borrum was triggered by the retirement from active duties of founder Gerald Simonds, who has led the business since its inception. Established in November 2018, Borrum Healthcare Group is headed up by Richard Boys-Stones and Bob Darke, both Partners of management consultancy & strategic investor firm Borrum Partners. Following the acquisition, the new owners have indicated that the Aylesbury-based mobility provider is set for major growth, with Borrum stating it will now be bringing its resources to bear on growing Gerald Simond Healthcare’s existing business by increasing its geographic coverage.

Well known in the market for its expertise in innovative lightweight manual, powered and standing wheelchairs, the new owners also plan to expand the company’s product offering, developing into new and complementary product areas as part of its growth strategy. Key figures Doug Robinson, Managing Director, and Tony Phillips, Financial Director of Gerald Simonds Healthcare, remain with the company, as do all other current personnel. www.gerald-simonds.co.uk

Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or 02921 900402

September 18-21, 2019 Rehacare – Dusseldorf www.rehacare.com

June 17-18, 2019 COT Annual Conference – ICC Birmingham www.cotannualconference.org.uk

September 18-19, 2019 The Emergency Services Show 2019 – NEC Birmingham www.emergencyuk.com

June 26 – 27, 2019 Health+Care – Excel London www.healthpluscare.co.uk

October 6-7, 2019 Trade Days – NEC www.tradedays.co.uk

March 21, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Middle – Coventry www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk

July 4, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Wales & West – Bristol www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk

March 26 & 27, 2019 Naidex – NEC, Birmingham www.naidex.co.uk

July 10, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Reading – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org. uk or 02921 900402

October 9-10, 2019 The Care & Dementia Show – NEC Birmingham www.caredementiashow.com

diary dates March 14, 2019 QEF Kids Equipment Open Day – QEF Mobility Services, Carshalton www.qef.org.uk

April 17-18, 2019 Medtrade Spring – Las Vegas www.medtrade.com April 24, 2019 Weetwood Hall, Leeds – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org. uk or 02921 900402 April 31, 2019 Imperial Hotel, Torquay – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org. uk or 02921 900402 May 15-16, 2019 Med-Tech Innovation Expo 2019 – NEC, Birmingham www.med-techexpo.com May 16, 2019 Kidz to Adultz South – Farnborough International Centre www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk June 12, 2019 Hallmark Hotel, Cambridge – OTAC (Occupational

46 | www.thiis.co.uk

July 15 – 17, 2019 Posture & Mobility Group Conference – Telford International Centre, Shropshire www.pmguk.co.uk July 14, 2019 28th Disability Awareness Day – Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington www. disabilityawarenessday.org.uk August 7 – 8, 2019 DLF Moving & Handling People – De Vere Beaumont Estate, Windsor SL4 2JJ www.training. dlf.org.uk/moving-and-handlingpeople-south-2019 September 11, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Southampton – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or 02921 900402

October 22, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Newcastle – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org.uk or 02921 900402 November 6, 2019 The Spa Hotel, Kent – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org. uk or 02921 900402 December 4, 2019 St David’s Hotel, Cardiff – OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) www.otac.org. uk or 02921 900402 January 27–30, 2020 Arab Health – Dubai World Trade Centre www.arabhealthonline.com March 3-5, 2020 Medtrade Spring – Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Las Vegas www.medtrade.com


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movers & shakers

MOBILITY’S MOVERS & SHAKERS

NEW BUSINESSES AND THE INDIVIDUALS BEHIND THEM MAKING WAVES IN INDUSTRY Starting a new business is a tough prospect in the competitive market of mobility. The industry has seen a growth in the consolidation of large suppliers, as well a rise in the number of established retailers building national portfolios, however, new entrants are still springing up and finding success. Combining good ideas with heaps of personal grit and determination, THIIS has highlighted six movers and shakers the industry should keep an eye out for.

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Dominic Goldsmith Style Mobility Opening in September 2017 on the doorstop of well-established competitors, East Coast-based Style Mobility has experienced the challenges and successes of mobility retail. OPENING HIS OWN STORE After doing sales in a different industry and wanting something new, Dominic applied for a sales role advertised in a local newspaper for a mobility shop near him. Having stayed with the retailer for a year and a half and inspired by the industry, Dominic decided the time had come to run his own store his way. Dominic, with his business partner Simon, put some money together and started Style Mobility on the shores of Great Yarmouth. SECURING SUPPLIERS Having enjoyed success in just over the year since its doors opened, the journey has not been all smooth sailing for the coastal retailer, with Dominic recalling getting accounts with main suppliers being a biggest initial challenge. “Normally, if you wanted to buy something off a company, they’d be happy to sell it to you, however, in the mobility industry it’s not as straightforward as that,” he explained. “We had to fight for accounts and prove ourselves before suppliers

would let us sell their products.” Persevering, the retailer now has a number of suppliers on board, including some big fish it had set out to net when first launching. IT ALL STEMS FROM GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE When asked about what makes Style Mobility stand out, Dominic put it down to great customer service and making what he described as a “big fuss” over customers. “A lot of these scooters cost several thousand pounds and a lot of the customers are elderly or vulnerable, so if they are choosing us, they deserve to be looked after and well taken of,” he said. BE PROACTIVE The determined director also said that being proactive has also helped the retailer establish itself locally. “We don’t just sit here and wait for the work to come to us,” highlighted Dominic. “We do a lot of outdoor promotions in town centres and marketplaces.”

RETAILER MOVER AND SHAKER

Dom’s top start-up tip: Avoid greed: “Not to be greedy with your pricing,” states Dominic.

What does the future hold? The retailer intends to employ more sales people to work from one central hub, continuing with a more focussed approach. After that, another store opening could be on the horizon. www.stylemobility.co.uk

www.thiis.co.uk | 49


movers & shakers

David Wilson and Peter Wilson Brigg Mobility Often, those launching a new business in the sector are doing so having worked or been involved in the industry beforehand. For brothers David Wilson, Commercial Director, and Peter Wilson, Financial Director of Brigg Mobility, this was not the case. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Despite having no first-hand mobility experience, the pair launched Brigg Mobility in September 2018, bolstered by their comprehensive knowledge of the local community. “The location of Brigg Mobility, which is in Brigg in North Lincolnshire, is an area that we know very well,” explained David. “Both my brother and myself have in excess of 30 years of retailing experience in the town through a variety of different industries.” It was whilst sipping a coffee that the pair decided on their new business venture in the market town. “We were sat in a coffee shop one day and in just one hour of sitting outside, we were passed by about 27 mobility scooters,” recollected David. “Seeing this, as well as having a lot of friends and relatives that are in their later years that are housebound and unable to afford new £2,000-£3,000 scooters, we thought to ourselves that we’d give Brigg its first mobility shop.”

gobsmacked at how rapidly the word had got around about Brigg Mobility and there were large volumes of people wanting repairs and services.” Whilst some would say being too busy is a good problem for a startup to have, the mobility newcomers felt the strain of trying to maintain the levels of service with the sheer amount of demand in those early days, with staff having to work particularly hard.

TAKEN BY STORM Opening the store in the last week of September, David and Peter thought things would start slow, giving the company time to build a customer database and positioning itself ready to grow come the busy spring season. According to David however, this was far from the case: “We were

LOOKING FURTHER AFIELD Alongside thinking outside the box, Brigg Mobility has begun branching out to neighbouring villages, running local roadshows to introduce mobility equipment to the community and raise awareness of the shop, which David confirmed has served the business well.

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THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX Discussing what makes the mobility retailer unique, David told THIIS: “Me, Peter and our technical manager Andy constantly review our business and brainstorm ideas. “We look at how we can improve or go back to our suppliers and say, for example, “you’re delivering me this but can you get me a bottle holder for a rollator.” It’s little things like that and we’ve had suppliers come back to us and say: “thanks for that, we’re actually going to put that into production now”.”

RETAILER MOVER AND SHAKER

David’s top start-up tip: Patience is a virtue: To see success in the mobility industry, David believes the key is to be patient with customers.

Looking to the future

“The future for Brigg Mobility is to become the number one place for the Brigg and the immediate community to shop,” concluded David. “Ultimately, we want to become a community hub for people to come to for help, support and advice.” www.briggmobility.com


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movers & shakers SUPPLIER MOVER AND SHAKER

George Goodger and Adam Wright Lovocco When George Goodger accidentally scratched the car of his lifelong friend Adam Wright, a mobility company and new innovation was born. WHAT IS LOVOCCO’S SILLSAVE? Aiming to prevent scratches and dents caused to a car’s door sill by wheelchairs, the SillSave is a lightweight travel accessory that folds over the door sill, allowing wheelchair users to transfer in and out of their car with confidence of not damaging the sill. SILLSAVE’S STORY The company’s joint founder Adam Wright, explained how SillSave came into existence: “The idea of SillSave first came about when George accidently scratched the sill of my new car when he was trying to transfer from his wheelchair. “Although we joked about the situation, I could not believe that there was nothing suitable in the market that would help to avoid this Lovocco’s SillSave

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Adam Wright and George Goodger

happening. It made us think about how the problem could be solved.” After thoroughly researching and discovering that this was a common and unavoidable problem amongst wheelchair users, the idea of SillSave was born. WINNING ROUND RETAILERS Similar to how Dominic from Style Mobility said one of the main challenges for him was getting accounts with suppliers, Adam said that getting the acceptance for SillSave from retailers also proved difficult at times. “It’s very difficult to win over retailers with a product that has never existed and therefore not yet been proven,” he described. FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE When asked about what makes Lovocco unique, Adam attributed it to the company’s strong ethics and values. “We have first-hand knowledge and experience of the challenges of day to day life in the disabled world,” he underlined. “Our whole purpose is to make life

easier for others who are experiencing the same, as well as enabling them to feel good about themselves at the same time.”

Adam’s top start-up tip: Gather feedback: If Adam could give one tip to a mobility start-up, it would be to gain as much feedback as possible from users and their market.

The future for Lovocco

In the future, Lovocco hopes to continue creating new products, continue improving the lives of people with reduced mobility and make a positive difference in as many ways as possible. www.lovocco.com


RETAILER MOVER AND SHAKER

Danny (third from left)

Danny Frendo DF Mobility Starting in the mobility industry 18 years ago, Danny Frendo was a service engineer for Totally Active, before progressing into the role of area sales consultant when Totally Active was acquired by Simplyhealth. When the organisation abandoned its retail operations at the end of 2017 however, Danny was made redundant. Keen to continue working in the industry he loves, Danny decided to use his money to launch his own store – DF Mobility THE WORK/LIFE BALANCE One of the major problems people have in life is striking the right balance between work and leisure. For those running their own business, finding this balance becomes even harder explained Danny. “Since launching the business, we have dealt with some challenges, namely the lack of a work/life balance as I don’t think people realise what a personal investment starting and running a new business is and being ultimately responsible for answering the big questions,” he said. “There is no management to

escalate issues to as you are management!” A GENEROUS GIFT Reflecting on one his proudest moments in business, Danny mentioned being able to donate a £2,000 sensory kit to a local special needs school in Andover, Hampshire, as a Christmas gift. According to the new retail kid on the block, DF Mobility wanted to give back to the community and make “some children’s Christmas a little brighter.”

Danny’s top start-up tips: Danny advised that the recipe to success is knowing your products and your customers’ requirements whilst keeping overheads to a minimum and pricing fair and transparent. www.facebook.com/ dfmobility

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movers & shakers

Tim Mills Motion Healthcare Established in 2016, Motion Healthcare was set up to import and distribute what it describes as the revolutionary Foldalite range of folding powerchairs. The company saw a gap in the market for lithium folding powerchairs and worked hard to help design and import the perfect range of products to fill the gap. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES When asked what has been the most difficult moment for Motion Healthcare so far, Tim Mills, Head of Business at Motion Healthcare, said that launching into the UK dealer network with already well-established suppliers has been a challenge. “That said, I have found that our

Tim’s top start-up tip: Build on solid foundations: For a new company entering the competitive world of scooters and powerchairs, becoming an established and prosperous brand is no small feat. Tim pointed out, however, that success is built on some solid, fundamental foundations. “The key to success is to offer innovative products that offer end users something different and helps them in ways current products on the market do not,” he explained. “Equally important is ensuring the quality of these products is high to ensure that once sold, everyone is happy with the reliability and performance. “If you pair this with excellent customer service, I believe that is the perfect combination for success.”

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combination of unique, innovative products and our commitment to be simple and enjoyable to do business with has helped massively grow the number of partners we work with in the last year,” he described. ADDING A PERSONAL TOUCH Alongside offering unique and innovative products and being an easy supplier to work with, Tim feels that there are other elements to Motion Healthcare that sets it apart from its competitors. “I believe what sets us apart from other suppliers in the trade is by being a smaller supplier, allowing us to apply the personal touch to the way we do business,” he said. “This helps us to go above and beyond on a regular basis to ensure we are simple and enjoyable to do business with.”

SUPPLIER MOVER AND SHAKER

What the future holds for Motion Healthcare

“Our objective at this stage is to continue to bring innovative products to the UK market whilst we grow our network of dealers to the level where we are comfortable that our nationwide coverage is adequate,” concluded Tim. “We will also be looking to grow our business with these partners through continued support and new products. I truly believe that the model of working with a smaller number of committed, long-term partners who are focused on maintaining margins and supporting endusers the correct way is a much more successful long-term plan than the high volume, low margin model previously adopted in the industry.” www.motionhealthcare.co.uk


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movers & shakers

Gemma Hirst MyWren Having revolutionised the product offering of a local independent manufacturing business in the early 2000s – bringing several products to market that are now everyday items in the mobility sector – Gemma was faced with the prospect of leaving the industry last year. With a passion for mobility and design however, she decided to start up her own business.

O

riginally designing new bags, covers and holders whilst employed, an abundance of low-cost products entering the mobility market led to Gemma being made redundant in 2018. Loving her work, she decided to set up MyWren, a manufacturer of aesthetic wheelchair and mobility scooter accessories. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY Discussing her journey from employee to owner, Gemma noted that one of her biggest challenges was the responsibility of running her own business, where all decisions for the future of her fledgling start-up lay on her shoulders. Additionally, she underlined that funding for stock and reaching retailers across the UK had also

proven an initial difficulty. “Thankfully, retailers quickly appreciated the quality, price point and trusted in the values of MyWren,” Gemma said. “I had to keep telling myself that MyWren was not going to be drawn into price wars, sticking to the business plan of better quality being worth paying a little more for and not trying to supply every shop in the market, especially where lowest price is their business plan.” TURNING PLANS INTO REALITY When asked about her proudest moment with MyWren so far, Gemma said that seeing her products come to life was exciting. “When my first delivery of products

SUPPLIER MOVER AND SHAKER

arrived, that was incredible!” she remembered. “It really made the months of planning and investment come to life and made me realise that anything is possible with the right support and the confidence in yourself.”

The future for MyWren: The manufacturer is now offering customised embroidery and plans to increase its range across 2019. www.mywren.uk

Gemma’s top start-up tips: Keep it consistent: To be successful in the mobility industry, Gemma says that consistent advice and integrity keeps customers coming back and recommending her products. “When starting MyWren, we embraced the efforts of our retailers who are the front line of the industry,” she added. “Without their appreciation of MyWren products and support, we would not be growing as we are today.”


round-up

FIRST LIFT LIFETIME SPARES WARRANTY LAUNCHES

A

ccess BDD, a division of thyssenkrupp Access Ltd, has introduced the first manufacturers’ lifetime warranty on curved and straight stairlifts. Available on all new Flow2 and HomeGlide stairlifts, Access BDD dealers will receive a lifetime warranty on spare parts for that lift for a simple one-off payment made at the time of purchase. Andrew Warbrick, Managing Director of Access BDD, explained the initiative reflected the company’s confidence in the reliability of its range. “It’s also a mark of the confidence we have in our partner network,” added Andrew, “as we know that our authorised partners keep our stairlifts maintained to the highest standards.” To retain the warranty, the stairlift must be serviced at least once a year, giving partners the opportunity to offer the warranty as part of an annual service contract. The free 24-month warranty that Access BDD have always offered on its lifts will also continue and for cases where the stairlift might only be needed for medium-term use, there is also the option to take out a five-year warranty. www.accessbdd.com

INDUSTRY, COUNCIL AND NHS COMBINE TO COLLECT UNWANTED AIDS NRS Healthcare has joined Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust’s ‘Hand it Back’ campaign, encouraging patients to return unwanted equipment and stop unnecessary equipment waste.

T

he initiative aims to prevent thousands of walking aids, wheelchairs, crutches and beds from being discarded when they are no longer needed, cutting down on landfill and finding new homes back in the community. “We ordered 6,300 walking aids last year to be loaned to patients with mobility issues at a cost of nearly £56,000,” described Jo Burns, Clinical Manager for Physiotherapy at Wye Valley NHS Trust. “This equipment has been loaned to patients, but sometimes people don’t realise it can be re-used.” NRS Healthcare is offering a free collection service to help retrieve the unwanted aids from the community. www.nrshealthcare.co.uk

58 | www.thiis.co.uk


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pick of the month

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

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Karen Sheppard, Managing Director of People First Mobility

Pick of the month: Adult Bibs

This month I have chosen the adult bib as a product of the month. It is not something that you would normally think would sell well but demand for bibs has increased

over the winter. “There are different sizes and makes on the market and on doing some research, you can even buy ones that look like waistcoats if the person wants to feel smart for an event but still have the protection of a bib against spills. “The one pictured here has been one of the best-sellers that we have found when testing a few. It is an attractive, tartan, full-length bib offering good protection for the wearer’s clothes from drooling & dribbling difficulties and even

from food spillages while eating or feeding. It is also practical for when sat in a chair or when in bed. The longer length is something that the customers and end-users appreciate as a feature of the bib. “It fastens around the neck with hook and loop so it can be adjusted easily and is comfortable to wear. Not having a pop stud like many designs also makes it easier for people with limited dexterity to be able to fasten it. “It has a waterproof backing with a hardwearing polycotton outer and it is fully washable. A worthwhile addition to the showroom.

www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk

Michelle Mossford, Senior Marketing Manager of Ableworld

PICK OF THE MONTH: DRIVE’S HURRYCANE

I think we’ve all witnessed a situation where a customer has placed a walking stick down for it to immediately fall over. Unlike traditional canes, because of the wide, 360-degree pivot base on this walking stick, the HurryCane doesn’t fall over and stays in situ wherever placed. “This walking stick offers users full support and ensures incredible balance when moving from a sitting to a standing position and stabilises, pivots and bends depending on the situation.

“The Hurrycane is a height adjustable and foldable walking stick with a wide base for added stability. It has three-point contact base for steadiness and traction giving it the same amount of stability as a foot which can help users with even the toughest of terrains. “A must-have, easy to use walking stick made from aluminium in four vibrant colours, the Hurrycane has eight height adjustments and folds into three for storage or transport. This walking stick also features a wrist strap for added safety and a storage bag.

www.ableworld.co.uk

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pick of the month

Craig Topping, Business Manager & Senior Seating Specialist for Better Mobility

Pick of the month: Progeo’s Yoga wheelchair

The Progeo Yoga Active wheelchair mixes technical engineering with Progeo’s famous stylised design to create a chair with a smooth, accessible and simple folding action. “This single-handed, quick folding feature and compact frame makes storing and transporting the wheelchair incredibly easy for any user on the go. Both the user and family or friends can fold and transport the Yoga with limited training and effort, making it an ideal investment for anyone who’s looking for a wheelchair to suit the fast pace of life today. “With its unique mechanism, the Yoga can go from a compact, folded wheelchair to an active rigid chair when opened for use, making it a true innovation in wheelchair design. “Progeo truly put the user first with their huge selection of components for their range of chairs and bespoke designs to make each chair unique to the individual. “The Progeo Yoga is an innovative and unique wheelchair that we find very popular with our clients in 2019.

www.bettermobility.co.uk

PICK OF THE MONTH: STRIDENT’S BATTERIES Dominic Goldsmith, Director of Style Mobility

Although not they’re not directly a mobility product I would like to shine a light on Strident batteries this month. As a mobility retailer, batteries are an essential. “If all mobility companies and suppliers took as much care of their customers and offered the same unrivalled levels of customer service and quality of products as Strident, it would make life incredibly straight forward. “From day one they have delivered the highest quality batteries, tyres and tubes to our door (normally the very next day) coupled with a polite, helpful sales team you really can’t go wrong!

www.stylemobility.co.uk

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INTRODUCING 2 NEW INVENTIONS TO OUR MARKET... 3-IN-1 HEATER/ DEMISTER/COOLER The 3-in-1 heater/demister/cooler a must have for a mobility scooter with a canopy, it has an independent battery pack that can be taken in house for charging (thus not draining the scooter battery) ideal for people who feel the cold as well as demisting the canopy enabling all round vision, and during a hot spell just flick the switch and cool air comes out. Easy installed in 6 simple steps.

COMING SOON... THE BUMPER STOP A bumper fits onto existing bumper, when on impact the scooter stops immediately disabling the scooter from working until it is reset. This will stop the problem when the driver freezes or panics and is unable to release the throttle. We have all heard and seen accidents where this has happened.

MARKS MOBILITY SERVICES AND REPAIRS LTD 52 Satchfield Crescent, Henbury, Bristol BS10 7BG Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

0117 9155 253

marie@marksmobility.co.uk www.marksmobility.co.uk


pick of the month

Alastair Gibbs, Managing Director of TPG DisableAids

Pick of the month: Joerns Healthcare’s Oxford Switch

Inevitably, when offering products for the elderly and disabled, you will come across clients with a tremendous variety of disabling conditions. Some of which are simple and easy to accommodate with ‘mainstream’ products such as scooters, basic wheelchairs, riser recliners or profiling beds, etc. “But some conditions are pushing the boundaries on where shop staff and showroom assistants are comfortable. These are often related to limited mobility and lack of ability to transfer from one seat to another. “Whereas I do not think everyone needs to be a manual handling expert or be adept in the use of hoists and slings – which is often highly specialised and needs greater skills

and confidence to be safe whilst carrying out transfers – I do think that the use of first stage transfer aids is a very logical step into the safe transfer of clients and into the products you are already selling. “To that end, we have always stocked and sold transfer aids and stand aids, but a new entry to the market is proving to be a real winner, The Oxford Switch from Joerns Healthcare. “This simple and effective design is the ideal way to help users make safe transfers into the chair or bed you are offering for sale, for those customers that are only mobile with assistance. It encourages their participation in the transfer and can actually help their long-term mobility by encouraging this

minor form of exercise. “Additionally, of course, it is an easy add on sale to the original product as well as maybe the first step into manual handling products for the purely mobility showroom.

www.tpg-disableaids.co.uk

PICK OF THE MONTH: SUNRISE MEDICAL’S QUICKIE KRYPTON Darren Macey, Business Development Manager for Lifestyle & Mobility

As a specialist mobility dealer, we at Lifestyle & Mobility are always looking for exciting new products that come to market. So, we have chosen the Quickie Krypton as our product of the month. We thought the product was so great, we even built its very own website www.quickiekrypton.co.uk “Our customer is not just interested about what the product

64 | www.thiis.co.uk

looks like anymore, they are also interested in the story behind it and how it is made. I love how Ryan Hirst and Mike Prosser at Sunrise Medical have brought this product to market; you can really tell they wanted the customer to feel the whole journey on how the product was made and have taken the customer back to the 1980’s when the first quickie chair was made. “In the Quickie Krypton, they use and unique manufacturing process in wheelchair technology called ‘x braid’ which ensures strength,

rigidity and constant quality. This has therefore given us revolutionary material and a wheelchair that is stronger, stiffer and lighter than ever before – bringing the weight down to 3.65kg. “Our customers love them, we love them and that why this is our product of the month.

www.lifestyleandmobility.co.uk


The answer is YES!

Now, what was the question?

Primacare manufacture in the UK an extensive range of bespoke Rise & Recline chairs including Bariatric chairs, Care chairs and Porter chairs.

Do you need your chair quickly? It could be made and delivered to you within days! Without comprimise on quality or options, choose from; 2 styles, 3 sizes, 4 fabrics and 3 different actions to make the chair you need now! Ask your Primacare Dealer for full details.

Seating Experts in Assistive Technology

Primacare ltd Unit 26, Heads of the Valleys Industrial Estate Rhymney, Tredegar. NP22 5RL

British made for comfort, quality and reliability.

telephone (01685) 845900 info@primacare.co.uk www.primacare.co.uk


Guide to Naidex

NAIDEX 2019

THIIS RETAILERS’ GUIDE TO NAIDEX It’s that time of the year again. At Hall 6 and Hall 7 at the NEC in Birmingham on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th March 2019, suppliers, charities, consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers will come together for this year’s Naidex.

W

ith so many different stands to see and people to meet, knowing the right places to invest time can be tricky for retailers in the trade on the hunt for the next best-selling product for their business. To ensure that potential star product does not slip through the net, THIIS has signposted some suppliers keen to talk trade with retailers, highlighting the need-to-know products and need-to-meet people at Naidex 2019.

STAY UP TO DATE WITH THIIS’ GUIDE ONLINE THIIS will keep updating its guide online, pointing out which products and services might be of use to retailers in the industry. Check out www.thiis.co.uk/thiisretailers-guide-to-naidex throughout March to stay in the know.

STAND NUMBER: N13035

STAND NUMBER: N10030

BRITISH HEALTHCARE TRADES ASSOCIATION 0207 702 2141 • info@bhta.com www.bhta.com

COSYFEET 01458 448888 • wholesale@cosyfeet.com www.cosyfeet.com

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT THE BRITISH HEALTHCARE TRADES ASSOCIATION Founded in 1917, the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is one of the UK’s oldest and largest healthcare association, with close to 500 companies employing over 17,000 people. Representing companies that make or sell healthcare products that help people live independently, the Association ensures its members commit to high levels of customer care that go above and beyond their legal obligations via its Code of Practice. The only one in the sector overseen by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), the BHTA’s Code of Practice helps ensure customer safety, allowing consumers to buy with confidence.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT COSYFEET There’s wide fitting footwear and then there’s Cosyfeet! Specially designed to fit swollen feet, the company’s footwear is up to four fittings wider than average footwear. Cosyfeet also have an extensive selection of extra roomy socks and hosiery. Made with more material in the foot and leg area, it fits swollen legs in comfort and is easier to get on and off a swollen foot. The company is a popular choice for mobility retailers as its brand is well known and great for increasing footfall into stores says Cosyfeet. Visit its team on stand to find out more.

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STAND NUMBER: N7080

STAND NUMBER: N4162

MOTION HEALTHCARE 0800 011 6922 • enquiries@motionhealthcare.co.uk www.motionhealthcare.co.uk

MONARCH MOBILITY 0800 9100 538 • trade@monarchmobility.com www.monarchmobility.com

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT MOTION HEALTHCARE Highlighting that it works with high quality and reliable factories around the world to source, develop, import and distribute innovative mobility products to its network of approved dealers in the UK, Motion Healthcare is always at the forefront of innovation. With a solid functional base, all of the company’s ranges are designed with the user in mind to provide what it describes as unrivalled features to ensure they are regarded as the best in their area of the market. Built on three core values – customer focus; trust and honesty; and innovation, quality & functionality – Motion Healthcare strives to ensure these are maintained in everything it does, ensuring it achieves its ultimate goal of being an enjoyable and simple supplier to do business with. New this year will be its eDrive automatic folding scooter, alongside its 26-mile lithium car boot scooter and Foldalite range of folding powerchairs.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT MONARCH MOBILITY Monarch Mobility has been looking forward to the 2019 Naidex Show. As a manufacturer and supplier to both trade and retail, the company will be showcasing many innovative products not yet seen in the industry. These products include its new Atlas4 portable hoist, a new range of folding scooters, and very competitive range of 8 mph. The team will be on hand to meet with all dealers to discuss ways Monarch and dealers can work closer to help grow their businesses and build good relations with new retailers. Monarch Mobility says it looks forward to seeing you all at its stand this year.

STAND NUMBER: N13090

STAND NUMBER: N1120

AURIGNY HEALTHCARE +44 1234 712249 • info@aurignyhealthcare.com www.aurignyhealthcare.com

OSPREY HEALTHCARE 01257 425 623 • sales@ospreyhealthcare.com www.ospreyhealthcare.com

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT AURIGNY HEALTHCARE Connecting good manufacturers with good dealers worldwide, Aurigny Healthcare is now the distributor for the new range of INNOV’SA Comfort Chairs in the company’s home market, the UK. Made with a touch of French class in the Champagne region, the seating solutions are built for comfort and convenience, with every part being machine washable and all components being easily replaceable. According to the company, fabrics are Crib 5 tested, come available in a range of stylish colourways and are described as luxurious, whilst a silicone fibre filling evenly distributes pressure points, reducing the common risk of pressure ulcers. Additionally, the range is side transfer/ hoist access friendly, with unique retractable/removable arm rests.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT OSPREY HEALTHCARE Described as the must-have travel companion of the 21st century, Osprey Healthcare’s WheelAble shower/commode chair is lightweight, compact and made of strong moulded plastics designed to be folded away in six simple steps. Capable of fitting over any standard toilet, Osprey guarantees the stainless-steel internal components are 100 percent resistance to rust. Complying with airline regulations, the company says whether it’s a weekend away in the car or a long-haul flight to far destinations, the Wheelable will be there. The chair has a two-year warranty and safe working load of 125kg, alongside an optional carry case marked with Blue Badge and other available accessories. Visit the company’s stand to find out more.

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Guide to Naidex STAND NUMBER: N10082

STAND NUMBER: N1120

Ardoo Caresafe 0115 7180676 • info@ardoohoists.com www.ardoohoists.com

AddMovement +46 70 250 7551 • dealersuk@AddMovement.com www.addmovement.com

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT ARDOO CARESAFE Ardoo Caresafe is on the lookout for distributors. The Ardoo 140 portable hoist ticks all the boxes, says the company. Described as the lightest, folding hoist available, it’s unique lifting boom facilitates placement in front / rear seats of a car. Additionally, its small footprint allows use in restricted spaces in the home, whilst the device is also able to fold to fit in boot of a car or aircraft, making it an ideal travel companion for users. A simple hook on optional footplate also converts the hoist to a Stand Aid. Visit the company’s stand to discover more.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD CHECK OUT ADDMOVEMENT Emphasising its mission is to provide easier access to all aspects of life so people can be an active part of society, AddMovement says it is repositioning mobility. Distributed in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, USA, and Canada, AddMovement is now bringing its innovative, gyro-based wheelchair & unique seating system to the UK and is on the lookout for dealers. The AddSeat was developed in 2010 in Sweden by AddMovement AB. The product’s innovator Marit Sundin – a Paralympic Gold Medallist – was selected as Female Innovator of the Year in Sweden in 2014/15 and the company was chosen by the EU as one of the Top 10 Sustainable Mobility Start-ups in 2018.

STAND NUMBER: N10103

STAND NUMBER: N10103

Karma Mobility 0845 630 3436 • info@karmamobility.co.uk www.karmamobility.co.uk

Karma Mobility 0845 630 3436 • info@karmamobility.co.uk www.karmamobility.co.uk

WHY DEALERS SHOULD CHECK OUT KARMA’ S VIP2 On stand N10103 Karma Mobility will be showcasing the VIP2, featuring a 35-degree tilt and available with either a backrest with fixed recline positions or an adjustable reclining back of 30 degrees. With the recline angle of the fixed backrest adjustable from -5 degrees to 15 degrees, the VIP2 comes with an adjustable headrest providing a greater range of position options while other enhancements include a deeper seat for taller users and a tension adjustable backrest which were very popular options on the VIP-515.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD CHECK OUT KARMA’S E-FLEXX The E-Flexx powered wheelchair is one of the lightest foldable powered wheelchairs currently available and features lithium batteries. Standard features include reinforced double cross braces for increased levels of user comfort and safety and comfortable air mesh upholstery. Additional features include foldable push handles to help with folding, swing away footrests which enable the chair to be used in confined spaces and to get close to a chair or bed, and an angle adjustable backrest for increased comfort. In addition, the chair has height adjustable flip-back armrests with integrated locking system for transferring. Optional extras include attendant steering handles and parallel swing away joystick controls.

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STAND NUMBER: N10103

STAND NUMBER: N5132

Karma Mobility 0845 630 3436 • info@karmamobility.co.uk www.karmamobility.co.uk

Proactive Mobility Ltd 0330 555 5225 • mark@proactivemobility.com www.e-goes.co.uk

WHY DEALERS SHOULD CHECK OUT KARMA’S BLAZER The Blazer powerchair will also be on stand, boasting a folding backrest that reduces the chair’s size when users want to get it into a car. The compact indoor/outdoor powerchair can easily be adjusted to meet the specific requirements of the user and, according to Karma, is perfect for use in confined spaces due to its 60cm overall width and 100cm length dimensions. Alternatively, its standard large front castors and rear wheel suspension means the Blazer is equally at home when being used in an outdoor environment. There are two speed options on the Blazer – 4mph and 6mph and in addition to the standard batteries, larger versions are available should users require an increased range.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT PROACTIVE MOBILITY FreedomChair are the originators of the folding powered chair and are always at the top in terms of design, innovation and quality of manufacturer says Proactive Mobility. Described as the premium brand in this sector of the market, all chairs in the range fold in a couple of seconds and fit most car boots, making a larger or specially adapted vehicle often unnecessary. Each of the two sizes of chairs come in standard 10” rear wheels or larger 12” versions, with more powerful motors for challenging surfaces. Ideal for days out, shopping trips and cruises highlights the company, FreedomChair will set free end-users’ personal mobility.

STAND NUMBER: N11082

STAND NUMBER: N11140

Trilift UK 0191 492 8216 • info@trilift.co.uk www.trilift.co.uk

Direct Mobility Supplies Ltd 020 8001 6823 • jason.street@dms-ltd.com www.dms-ltd.com

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT TRILIFT UK Bringing what it describes as the next generation in mobility scooter and wheelchair transportation to the UK, Trilift UK is keen to speak to the dealers about its unique and innovative product. Fitted to almost all UK registered vehicles, the Trilift allows mobility scooter & powered wheelchair users to safely and easily transport their device on the rear of their vehicle without the loss of rear seating and boot space. Following its launch last year, Trilift says it is set to take the UK by storm, citing the ease of use as a major factor in its’ success to date. To discover what lucrative opportunities are available to dealers, visit the company on its stand.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT DIRECT MOBILITY SUPPLIES Direct Mobility Supplies is bringing the FDI Crutch range into the UK and is interested to introduce the range to retailers. The company brought the SmartCRUTCH to the UK market and now the FDI range of crutches. Direct Mobility Supplies has been appointed agents for the FDI Crutches and, in particular, the flagship model, The ErgoDynamic, which has a range of unique selling points, including spring compression, super lightweight, soft grips, stylish design, as well being priced lower than its competitors and giving good margin to the retailers. Direct Mobility Supplies says dealers looking for something new and exciting to add to their showroom which their customers will love should visit them on stand to find out more.

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Guide to Naidex STAND NUMBER: N12102

STAND NUMBER: N7071

Electric Mobility Euro Ltd 01460 258100 • sales@electricmobility.co.uk www.electricmobility.co.uk

Secret Access 0333 772 2012 • contact@secretaccess.co.uk www.secretaccess.co.uk

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT ELECTRIC MOBILITY Electric Mobility is back at Naidex 2019! The company’s knowledgeable Sales and Support team are on hand at Naidex to build strong business partnerships and support its Authorised Dealer Network. Electric Mobility provide high-quality, innovative and functional mobility products that it says offer choice, value and comfort to enhance independence. The mobility specialists are returning to Naidex to showcase popular products including the Vecta Sport 8mph performances scooter, Rascal Rio 4mph compact powerchair and the P327 Mini Seat Lift with 7.5inch column lift, plus its new UK made riser recliner The Ambassador. Visit the company’s team and experience first-hand its extensive range, plus the unveiling of newly launched 2019 products.

WHY DEALERS SHOULD VISIT SECRET ACCESS Offering a sleek, hidden alternative to big, bulky metal or concrete ramps found in the market or what it describes as “heavy metal or rickety wood that is classed as portable, aiming to provide access,” Secret Access is aiming to change the future of access solutions. Describing itself as an ultimate and innovative company, Secret Access provides its own access solutions that are concealed within an entrance step, maintaining the appearance of an establishment, place or building. The company’s access solutions provide permanent access but leave no permanent trace. Discover more about the innovative company on its stand.

OTAC Events 2019 • OTAC Leeds

• OTAC Southampton

• OTAC Devon

• OTAC Newcastle

• OTAC Cambridge

• OTAC Kent

• OTAC Reading

• OTAC Cardiff

Wednesday 24th April

Who else wants their product in front of HUNDREDS of occupational therapists? OTAC is the UK’s only FREE occupational therapy and adaptations conference, giving retailers valuable opportunities to showcase their products, and OTs crucial knowledge of products that can make their clients’ lives better? To talk to us about exhibiting at OTAC, call us now on: 02921 900 401 or email karen@promoting-independence.co.uk

Wednesday 1th May

Wednesday 12th June

Wednesday 10th July

Wednesday 11th September

Tuesday 22th October

Wednesday 6th November

Wednesday 4th December

Featuring:

Sponsored by:

Technical Roadshow Media Partners:

All 8 Events Proudly Sponsored by:

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

www.otac.org.uk


See the KYMCO family at NAIDEX 2019 Stand No N2100


powerchair special

POWERCHAIR SPECIAL

POWERCHAIRS: THE TRADE’S NEEDTO-KNOW REPORT In the world of mobility, powerchairs are big business for suppliers and dealers alike. With a global market estimated to reach close to £2billion by 2022 and a domestic private sector boosted the introduction of personal wheelchair budgets, powerchair manufacturers and retailers are working hard to secure their place in the sector and win over customers. Examining the powerchair segment in detail, THIIS investigates what is driving this competitive marketplace, what it takes to be a successful powerchair dealer, and what the future holds for those operating in the sector. 72 | www.thiis.co.uk


Ottobock’s Juvo powerchair is now available in a mid-wheel drive version

WHAT DO END-USERS WANT? With more choice in the domestic market than ever before, suppliers are busy working on trendsetting devices to grab retailers’ and end-users’ attention. All this choice however, can make it difficult for retailers to decide which products are worth their time and money. Amongst all players in the market however, there are two elements widely acknowledged by retailers and suppliers as being fundamental when selling powerchairs. Quality above all else According to key retailers and manufacturers, product and service quality are always at the heart of any successful powerchair operation, with the two going hand-in-hand. Simon Tempest, Head of Mobility at Ottobock UK, noted: “We find as a manufacturer that customers are looking for all the things you would expect in a powerchair — functionality, comfort, adaptability — but they demand quality.” In a market with large, established players and disruptive new entrants, there is little room for a product lacking in quality, with dealers and customers not short on alternative

options should one fail to deliver. It is a point upheld by TGA’s National Sales Manager Tim Ross, who told THIIS that comfort, postural support and particularly product reliability continue to be major considerations in end-users’ buying decisions. He added: “Dependable performance needs to be backed up by servicing and maintenance that is efficient and responsive, so independence is not compromised if a fault arises or replacement parts are needed.”

Precision Rehab’s Director Matthew James described that first and foremost, end-users are looking for dealers that know the market inside out. “The most important thing that endusers are looking for is a professional and understanding service from start to finish,” he said. “This includes product knowledge, knowledge of the end-user’s disability and requirements and understanding how to manage this and come up with a satisfactory solution. Most important is aftersales care – this must be

“I think Personal Wheelchair Budgets might open the market up for retailers and suppliers to market our products to a wider audience” MARK DUFFIELD

Beyond demands for the right product, suppliers and retailers note that customers demand the right level of service, be that in terms of supporting marketing materials, staff knowledge and aftersales support. Selling to both end-users and the trade, specialist powerchair provider

carried out in a timely fashion, with UK parts and fast response times.” Invacare, one of the largest powerchair manufacturers on the market, also noted that service quality was just as important as product quality for end-users. Invacare’s Melanie Scrivener pointed out:

www.thiis.co.uk | 73


powerchair special “Product reliability and durability rank highly, as well as buying from a recommended and knowledgeable dealer.” For dealers to provide this high level of service desired by customers, the obligation is on suppliers to supply the necessary levels of support to their retail network, with high levels of supplier support being as crucial as high-quality products to encourage retailers to promote and sell a product. A founding partner of lightweight wheelchair, powerchair and seating solution specialist Motus Medical, Chris Taylor stated that above all else, service support is what separates good suppliers from bad suppliers and largely determines which products his company will work with. “Most importantly, it's the backup we get from suppliers on spares and support on problem solving that really matters,” he said. “To be honest, we don't have many major issues as we are very selective with suppliers as the ones we do use are very strong in that respect. It's very important for our clients.” This importance for service has not gone unnoticed by suppliers in the industry, with Karma’s General Manager Mark Duffield pointing out that the company invests in a large

stock of spare parts and accessories to ensure it can meet the rapid response required by dealers for their customers. Amongst the key suppliers THIIS spoke with, all highlighted supporting their respective dealer networks as a priority, with Karma, TGA Mobility, Ottobock UK, and Invacare all emphasising the significant investments they make in marketing and brand support, as well as product training.

“These days, it’s all about customising the chairs” CHRIS TAYLOR

Training for increasingly complex products With a market growing constantly more competitive, suppliers continue to hunt for new ways to distinguish themselves in the market through technological advancements, with chairs becoming all the more complex. For dealers, this means continuously training service engineers to be able to work with these more intricate and complicated devices in order to meet the exceptional service demanded by the market. It is one of the driving forces behind

Motus Medical says customisation is growing increasingly popular in the powerchair market

74 | www.thiis.co.uk

suppliers in the market investing heavily in their training offer to dealers. Ottobock’s Simon Tempest highlighted how much of a role training played in the company’s retailer support offering: “We spend a lot of time visiting dealers up and down the country, providing general support, training courses on our products and any bespoke follow-up training whenever it’s required.” Invacare and TGA also emphasised that training was one of the

cornerstones of their dealer offer, with TGA’s Tim Ross explaining that the company ensures its dealer network has access and regular communication with the company’s technical staff. “TGA helps dealers to achieve servicing excellence through regular updates to engineers and technicians so maintenance and repairs can be completed proficiently,” he stated. With only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week however, there is a growing likelihood that dealers will specialise their complex powerchair offering, adopting a similar structure to that of Motus Medical, working with a limited number of key suppliers. It has led to some suppliers investing in new technology to benefit not only end-users but dealers as well. One such example is Quantum’s new Interactive Assist app, allowing dealers’ service engineers to access a chair’s diagnostic data remotely. As competition and technological developments expand, it may well be those suppliers that make life easier for burdened dealers that may see the most success with their retail network. HOW ARE SUPPLIERS DIFFERENTIATING IN THE MARKET? With the need to differentiate in a fiercely competitive market, there is a growing need for suppliers to add more unique selling points to their


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powerchair special powerchairs, with a raft of new features appearing in the market over the years. The rise in interconnectivity With end-users living more interconnected lives and more everyday technology talking with each other, the same is expected from modern powerchairs. Invacare’s Melanie pointed out: “Consumers are increasingly looking at technology that connects with their chair, particularly Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to use apps via a mobile phone.” With apps that allow dealers and retailers more access to the devices – such as Quantum’s new Interactive

positioning themselves as modern, high-tech innovations. “If effective technology and appealing design are successfully leveraged, any historic stigmatism can be lost as assistive products are accepted more in society,” claimed Tim Ross. “This widens the sector to younger customers and those who value style as well as function.” Matching style with substance Continuing with the idea of aesthetics, TGA Mobility’s National Sales Manager maintained customers are looking beyond functionality, prioritising style along with substance.

“When supplying powerchairs, face-to-face assessment is 100 percent essential” TIM ROSS

Assist technology for dealers and TGA’s WHILL C’s ability for users to move the device using their smartphones – some powerchairs are challenging the product’s older associations with disability, with some

designs that combine contemporary aesthetics with modern materials – helping to increase pride, inclusion and self-confidence.” It is a point emphasised by many in the industry, with specialist wheelchair dealer Motus Medical’s Chris Taylor explaining that one of the foundations of his company’s success is it engineering department’s use cutting edge moulding technology to adapt shapes for clients. “These days, it's all about customising the chairs,” he stressed. Simon Tempest shared the view, noting that customers are increasingly expecting more freedom to tailor the chair to suit their own sense of individuality. “Their chair is their independence and it’s also a reflection on their personality, so additional features like a choice of colours, power sources for mobile phones, lights and more are also becoming more popular.”

“End-users are becoming more style conscious and hence seeking powerchairs that look good as well as deliver effective mobility”, he commented. “There is a demand for streamlined

Lightweight powerchairs becoming heavyweight players Whilst the technical development of powerchairs for complex disabilities continues to rise, one of the quickest growing areas in the powerchair

FIVE BESTSELLING ACCESSORIES TO CONSIDER SELLING… One of the most attractive aspects of selling powerchairs and scooters for retailers is the opportunity to crosssell add-ons for the devices, with no shortage of accessories in the market for retailers to consider stocking. Supplying the mobility retail market for over 15 years, THIIS asked Able2’s Chris Houlker which five powerchair accessories are proving most popular.

SPLASH CRUTCH / WALKING STICK BAG

SPLASH POWERCHAIR CAPE

This strong durable bag is ideal for most powerchairs and scooters with or without a headrest. There are two side sleeves to place crutches or walking sticks in and it has one main compartment, a small zipped front pocket and a front net pocket. Available in black and grey, there is also a reflective strip for safety.

This universal size cape is designed for chairs with electronic joystick controls on the left or right side. The cape covers the user and the chair. A clear panel ensures that the chair’s controls can be seen by the user. A brushed cotton lining provides additional warmth.

www.able2.eu

Able2 Code: PR34051

Able2 Code: PR34029

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market is the rising demand for lighter weight and more compact chairs. Often designed for and marketed at those with less complex needs, Karma’s Mark Duffield noted: “Some users are looking for a light model to lift in and out of the car, others might need a compact chair to hoist into the car,” he observed. “Users also might want to travel sitting in the product in the car. Karma have new products and designs to help with all of these requirements.” Shining a light on this increasing demand for lighter weight options, TGA’s Tim Ross said: “Designs that are transportable continue to grow in popularity as individuals want to travel further afield, nationally and internationally. “Powerchairs that are lightweight or can be dismantled for storage in a car boot, plane or train, deliver a significant advantage as seamless transfers are possible from home to destination, without the need to hire unfamiliar products on arrival.” This demand for lighter, more compact chairs has seen new entrants such as E-goes JoyRider powerchair, Karma’s eFlexx and Motion Healthcare’s Foldalite enter the

powerchair arena and proving popular with dealers looking to extend their powerchair portfolio for end-users who may be just need additional mobility support, rather than having a complex requirement. Tighter turning in tighter spaces Alongside lighter weight, manoeuvrability is another feature used by suppliers to differentiate their products on the market and is largely in response to the more restricted spaces users are using the devices in, according to TGA’s Tim Ross. “In terms of manoeuvrability, powerchairs need to be able to cope within reduced space these days as properties become smaller and pedestrian numbers increase,” he commented. “Being able to move around an un-adapted home seamlessly or access shopping malls, lifts and offices, without awkward adjustments, reduces transit time and increases convenience.” Manoeuvrability is one of the key elements TGA highlights relating to its WHILL C powerchair, boasting a unique wheel system that allows for a very tight turning circle.

TGA are not the only company to emphasise manoeuvrability however, with Ottobock’s Stuart Wheatley also making the case for the

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Available in two sizes, this practical, fully zipped hooded cape will cover the user and the scooter. A clear panel at the front allows the lights to be visible, plus the user can see their control panel instruments. Slots at the side allow wing mirrors to sit outside the garment.

Able2 Codes: PR34004/S and PR34004

Able2 Codes: PR34006/S and PR34006

Able2 Codes: PR34003/M and PR34003/L

A dealer’s perspective: What powerchair features are customers after? Describing what he feels are the most important features for his customers, Chris Taylor, Founding Partner of Motus Medical, told THIIS: “Our clients are more on the side of technology that matches their lifestyle needs and its ability to empower them; that’s our challenge. “Price is more and more cropping up but when you drill down, it’s service and reliability that they are really after.”

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powerchair special manufacturers’ latest range. “Combining the convenience and manoeuvrability of a mid-wheel drive powerchair with the outdoor performance of a rear-wheel drive version has been a conundrum for manufacturers for many years,” he said. “However, Ottobock’s new torsion drive system on its Juvo B5 and B6 powerchairs manage to achieve this.” HOW TO RETAIL POWERCHAIRS EFFECTIVELY With an increasingly ageing population and with more CCGs introducing Personal Wheelchair Budgets throughout 2019, demand in the private market is only expected to rise in the years to come, making powerchairs an attractive product area for dealers. For dealers that may have only sold mobility scooters in the past or operate strictly online-only business

Knowledge is power For dealers interested in selling powerchairs, Precision Rehab’s Matthew James elaborated that to carry out assessments, staff need to about the products and the disabilities they are likely to encounter. “There are many things that retailers need to have in place to effectively prescribe powerchairs, however, we feel the most important are the fast, effect aftersales care; parts in stock; and experienced assessors that know their products inside and out,” stressed Matthew. “They should also know their clients’ disabilities and postural requirements, along with all the legal requirements and restrictions based on the powerchairs classification.” Discussing the process of assessments in more detail, Motus Medical’s Chris Taylor told THIIS how his team of powerchair experts work with end-users to identify the right

“They should also know their clients’ disabilities and postural requirements, along with all the legal requirements and restrictions based on the powerchairs classification” MATTHEW JAMES

models however, Tim Ross cautioned that the requirements to retail powerchairs effectively are different. “When supplying powerchairs, faceto-face assessment is 100 percent essential. The needs of each potential customer must be thoroughly checked to ensure the right product and adaptations are supplied – hence resulting in maximised independence,” advised Tim. “Often people seeking powerchairs have more complex needs than mobility scooter customers – therefore purchasing via the internet alone may not be an appropriate route to market.” Additionally, Tim says a structured assessment process, combined with actively listening to an end-user, will result in a better outcome for endusers.

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TGA’s WHILL C is an example of players using technology to differentiate in a crowded market

chair for their needs. “It's really all about our employees and their passion for finding technology to match client needs and demands,” described Chris. “We use a client information sheet to create a contract with the clients, taking them through all of the hazards and benefits of becoming a powerchair user for the first time, updating existing clients on the new-fangled versions, or regulatory criteria.” The importance of providing assessment for customers is echoed by Karma’s Mark Duffield, who pointed out that for powerchair dealers, having the skill to assess and the facility to service are two valuable aspects for a successful powerchair dealer. “The ability to assess and identify the right product for a user is vital,” he explained. “Having somewhere the user can come to have the chair tweaked and maintained is invaluable for the user and often underrated.” Backing up Mark’s point, Ottobock’s Stuart also discussed the advantages afforded to dealers that have the space to offer end-users a range of


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powerchair special options, however, pointed out that a physical space is not a prerequisite to being an effective powerchair dealer. “It is important customers can see the products they are interested in, so it is important retailers have plenty of options on display, together with supporting marketing material so the customer can make an informed choice on what’s right for them,” underlined Stuart. “And as mentioned before, it is vital retailers have comprehensive knowledge of the products so they can answer any questions a customer may have. “Finally, it’s important for retailers to be flexible – some customers may not be able to visit the showroom so a home visit might be suitable, while an easy to navigate website would also be a plus.” For specialist powerchair dealers Motus Medical and Precision Rehab, both emphasised that their business models do not rely on physical showrooms, noting that suitability for an end-user is best established by having them use their chairs in the environments they will be used in on a daily basis. Motus Medical’s Chris Taylor said: “We don't operate out of a showroom as we seldom sell basic products and we stress to clients the need for seeing them in the home environment, so even though we have had people at HQ from time to time, we always need to see where the product is being used, even so much as going to the local park or cafe with them.” The point was echoed by Precision Rehab’s Matthew James, adding: “We do not believe a showroom is always necessary as any client will need to try the powerchair in the environment in which they will be using it. This is vital to ensure the powerchair works where it needs to, be at home, at their workplace, in their vehicle (either as a

Market expansion

Precision Rehab’s Matthew James says thorough powerchair knowledge is vital for success

passenger or driver), along with being suitable for any hobbies and interests the user may have. “These cannot be tested and checked in a big showroom.” THE IMPACT OF PERSONAL WHEELCHAIR BUDGETS One of the biggest opportunities in the private market for both manufacturers and dealers alike is the continued spread

£

According to Wintergreen Research Inc’s 2016 report “Power Wheelchairs: Market Strategies and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2016-2022,” the powerchair market was estimated to be worth £1.2billion in 2015, with growth anticipated to reach £1.9billion in 2022.

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of Personal Wheelchair Budgets, with CCGs up and down the country adopting and rolling out the scheme designed to provide end-users with a greater say in the powerchairs they choose. “I can only see this as a benefit to both the dealer market and the end users as it's freedom of choice, what could be better than that?” said Motus Medical’s Chris Taylor. The mobility dealer’s optimism was shared by all players THIIS spoke with, encouraged by the idea of more end-users engaging with the private market. “I think Personal Wheelchair Budgets might open the market up for retailers and suppliers to market our products to a wider audience,” reaffirmed Karma’s Mark Duffield.


His hopes were echoed by Ottobock’s Stuart Wheatley, with the Head of Mobility noting that Personal Wheelchair Budgets will enable users the opportunity to access features sometimes previously unavailable to them through the NHS. “I believe personal wheelchair budgets could have a positive effect on the market when individuals may have unmet needs. An example would be when a seat riser option is used on a power wheelchair for reaching high cupboards or transferring to different seat surfaces,” he explained. “This option is not always available through state funding but with the Personal Wheelchair Budget there may be more flexibility in the provision. This could then enable individuals to access this option and therefore enhance their level of independence.” With a market already experiencing fierce competition and an influx of new, discerning customers with the freedom of choice at their fingertips, it is likely that the pace of innovation will only quicken as suppliers seek new ways to distinguish themselves in an increasingly saturated segment. “As end users obtain greater control of their own budgets, we believe there will be a demand for more choice within the market,” suggested TGA’s Tim Ross. “New technologies and innovations will need to appear so that independent mobility can be achieved for a wider range of lifestyle and disabilities.” The National Sales Manager for TGA went on to say that whilst price will remain a major factor in endusers’ decision-making process, customers are often willing to spend more to get the right chair for themselves, whilst popular leasing schemes such as Motability will continue to provide customers with an alternative to private ownership. The race to establish brand loyalty Trust and loyalty are two factors more prevalent in mobility than in many other markets, with mobility products and powerchairs in particular playing a vital role in the quality of an end-user’s life.

A dealer’s perspective: What powerchair features are customers after? Selling specialist powered wheelchairs through both a direct sales channel and a dealer network, Matthew James, Director of Precision Rehab, explained which powerchair features are proving popular: “The most in demand features or functions are electric seat lift (with low floor to seat height) and electric tilt in space for pressure relief. “End-users are also looking for excellent build quality, reliability and product longevity.”

across the UK throughout the year, Market research carried out by whilst TGA’s recent regional Retailer Nielsen in 2016 found that disabled Roadshow reflects its desire to get in consumers are more loyal to brands front of dealers face-to-face. than almost any other consumer “TGA’s trade programme includes group, with a consultant from AdWeek free outreach roadshows, marketing, highlighting that disabled consumers PR and point of sale – all aimed are more likely to be advocates for the at supporting powerchair sales for businesses and brands that they love dealers,” commented TGA’s Tim because they are hungry for products Ross. that work for them. “This regional activity is bolstered by This loyalty is largely driven by national brand building and continual the high-degree of trust afforded to social media and press coverage brands of powerchairs by end-users, which focuses on evidence-based who rely on the devices to fulfil one testimonials.” of the most important facets of their With a potentially new, untapped lives, their mobility. customer base soon to enter the Suppliers and retailers that do private market through Personal a good job are rewarded by endusers who are more likely to sing a products’ or business’ praises to friends and family, spreading awareness through valuable word-ofmonth recommendations. For competitors, trying to entice consumers away from brands they are loyal to is a difficult task, hence the importance of being first to establish brand loyalty with end-users. It has led to a significant investment in marketing by key players keen to raise brand and product awareness of their products amongst both endusers and retailers in the market. As Karma’s Mark Duffield explained: “We spend a lot marketing our products to generate interest in our products and brand.” Whilst often not selling to end-users, powerchair suppliers Karma Mobility’s Mark Duffield can often be found at notes lightweight models are growing in demand shows and exhibitions

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powerchair special

Ottobock’s Simon Tempest says product quality is not an option but a necessity

Wheelchair Budgets, alongside the ever-popular Motability scheme, marketing and advertising in the industry is likely to see as much growth as product innovation. For manufacturers and retailers, establishing loyalty with customers early on is vital to avoid having to try and attempt to sway committed consumers away from their favourite brands and dealers further down the line. ON THE HORIZON With a population that continues to age, a national personal budget initiative encouraging end-users to consider buying privately, and an extremely loyal customer base, it is no surprise that the powerchair market is one of the most hotly contested areas of mobility. It is a market not without its challenges however, with TGA’s Tim Ross indicating that as supplier and retailer competition increases, ensuring end-users are not taken advantage of becomes all the more crucial. “One of the main challenges will always be signposting people to the right powerchair supplier. It is essential that accurate and objective information is available, particularly online, that helps individuals make an informed decision,” cautioned Tim. “Customers need to be in control of the purchasing process and to be able to talk to specialists with genuine

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expertise – not pushed into buying a product that only suits the dealer. “As the market expands, without regulation, more suppliers can appear who are not ethical or have a true understanding of conditions. Therefore, it is imperative credible businesses continue to improve assessment processes and access to accurate information so end users make the right choice.” In the more immediate future, Brexit concerns could spell trouble for suppliers and dealers in the industry, particularly in relation to quick access to vitally important spares needed for servicing and new chairs to meet growing demand. Distributing the Paravan range of powerchairs from Germany, Precision Rehab’s Matthew James discussed what effect Brexit could play on his company: “As most of the Brexit agreement is unknown, it is a hard question to answer, however, we predict it will slow our delivery times from the EU by around 2 weeks and increase the amount of administration dealing with import paperwork required for customs clearance and duties. “Hopefully the euro exchange rate will settle and the pound will return to rates before Brexit as then prices would be better for the end users.” Whilst Brexit is often spoken of as the troll lurking under the bridge for many UK businesses, Karma’s Mark stated that it is the level of competition in the UK market that is the real challenge for suppliers, stressing the need to stay one step ahead with innovation. “Competition is the biggest challenge but fortunately Karma are constantly striving to improve their products and designs to satisfy demand, so they’re a great supplier to work with,” he remarked. Despite the challenges ahead, players in the market remain largely optimistic and those that continue to prioritise the two core foundations of product quality and service quality will be well-placed to reap the rewards on offer in the expanding powerchair market.

Saving dealers time and money – there’s an app for that Aiming to save dealers time and money by cutting down the number of trips made by service engineers, Interactive Assist is a new app from Quantum providing technicians the ability to receive a chair’s full system and diagnostic information remotely. Recently released, the app provides a direct, real-time connection from a powerchair’s electronics to a dealer’s programming station, allowing technicians to pinpoint the root cause of a service call without being onsite. By identifying the problem remotely, technicians can complete service calls on the first trip, bringing the necessary parts with them the first time, rather than wasting a trip to carry out an initial evaluation. Customers can download the Interactive Assist app for free from the App Store or Google Play for either an Apple or Android smartphone and can connect their phone to the chair using Bluetooth, with the app then connecting to a technician’s programming station. Quantum dealers interested to find out more can contact sales@quantumrehab.co.uk


T WO A M A Z I N G O F F E R S AT L A S 4 H O I S T NEW TO THE MARKET

• • • •

Lifts up to 40KG Portable Self-Assembled Can be used in most hatchbacks • Remote controlled • Portable Power Supply Available • No Drilling or Bolting Required TRIDENT • • • • • • • •

MOTABILITY APPROVED Range Up to 21 Miles Weight Capacity 23 Stones Anti-Tilt Device Bluetooth Front Hydraulic Disc Brakes 800 Watt Motor Class 3 Mobility Scooter

We will have a new range of Folding Scooters and 8mph Scooters on Show at Naidex, stand N4162 TRADE ENQUIRIES 0800 9100 538 WWW.MONARCHMOBILITY.COM trade@monarchmobility.com


recruitment

Senior Account Manager Good Basic with OTE of £50kplus + car + pension Company laptop & mobile provided Mobility Products North Birmingham – Preston/Leeds (You must reside within the territory)

Membership Engagement Manager To proactively support sections and committees within the BHTA Group in line with our overall strategy KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

• Assisting occasionally at exhibitions & events

• Providing end-to-end support for meetings (scheduling, arranging facilities, agenda preparation, taking minutes, uploading relevant information to the BHTA website, carrying out actions) in line with governance requirements

• Attending external forums and meetings relating to areas of responsibility, representing the BHTA Group, and reporting back to senior management and members

• Researching & preparing documents relating to issues / actions & strategy • Drafting communications / briefs for senior management team and BHTA Group boards

An opportunity, due to retirement, has arisen to sell mobility products to the NHS and also too dealerships across the North of the country. Working as part of a small team you will be responsible for your own day to day territory management including making appointments and demonstrating / selling exiting and new exciting mobility products to current and potential customers.

• Liaising with members of the BHTA secretariat on key issues, administrative matters & fulfilment of actions

If you can gain access to Wheelchair Services in the NHS , have wheelchair experience or expertise and think you have what it takes to help us grow our business of our new range of exciting products and existing products please send your CV and cover email to ahill@managementanswers.co.uk

• Develop future opportunities for members and the BHTA Group in line with strategy and member needs

• Supporting section / committee officers: building links and facilitating contact with relevant external parties as appropriate (eg civil servants, politicians, healthcare professionals, charities) • Establish an in-depth “political” and detail understanding across all areas of responsibility

• Keeping sections and committees up to date regarding key events, meetings & other useful information • Working with our membership / retention team help establish & build relationships to secure member renewals & win new prospects

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE • Ability to absorb a brief • Excellent written and verbal communication skills • Ability to research issues in the healthcare and assistive technology sector • Ability to work flexibly, under pressure and meet tight deadlines / targets • Strong inter-personal skills and ability to build relationships at all levels • Experience of developing and managing projects • Drive, enthusiasm, self-motivation • Highly organised, good diary management, ability to multi-task Note: The role is home based but with regular visits to our London and Wellingborough (Northamptonshire) offices. Regular travel to meetings (predominately Midlands and Wellingborough) as well as occasionally overnight stays will also be required. A full driving licence is a prerequisite.

OTHER DUTIES • Assisting marketing with news and feedback from members

managementanswers.co.uk

Suite 4.6, 4th Floor The Loom 14 Gowers Walk London E1 8PY 020 7702 2141 www.bhta.com

11:01 9102/10/42

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS Immediately looking for the Midlands (Flexible location base, so could be based from Worcestershire (West), Staffordshire, Birmingham, Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire regions). Various other UK regions available and with some European locations considered. Remuneration Details: £28-£35k basic plus High OTE, company vehicle and IT package and pension contribution included. Additional benefits on offer. We have fantastic opportunities for the very best Business Development Managers, who alongside a great team, can make things happen. If you wish to join a forward thinking, pressure care manufacturer in changing but opportunistic market conditions, you should call the best. We are currently concentrating on the Midlands location as a priority to join our highly trained and valued Business team. However, we are equally open to discussing the geographic regions of exceptional candidates, regardless of location.

BHTA DG.indd 1

• Ensuring regular communication occurs with the management structure. Herida Healthcare Group of Companies is a fast-growing British manufacturing company, providing a truly global pressure ulcer management equipment solution. Based in Leeds, it was established by a well-seasoned management team with many years of combined experience within the global pressure care and moving and handling markets. By engaging this vast knowledge, alongside key and proven sector opinion leaders with a true understanding of pressure ulcers and their causes, we have been able to create an outstanding range of proven products, which offer total value for money. Visit our website or social media pages for further information about our company and truly dynamic product range:

The role(s) will involve:

Web: http://heridahealthcare.co.uk/

• Finding new sales prospects without conflict to our OEM partners. Following up on business opportunities and establishing daily meetings with clients within the NHS, Community Equipment Service sector, Dealers, Private sector and that of *nursing and residential settings (* via our partners serving this group).

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heridahealth

• Extensive Travel or a minimum requirement to meet the needs of our valued customer base (current and prospective). • Preparing and delivering sales presentations (power-point etc.) but mainly product demonstrations / overseeing local trials. • Promote our clinically proven range – Taking further market share • Introducing new product developments and ideas to existing and prospective clients • Writing some basic reports – CRM, sales forecasting and diaries are expected to be completed on a weekly basis. • Closing identified sales prospects

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Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/ heridahealth/ Are you are one of life’s “go getters” and feel you have what it takes to work in an exciting and fast-moving, progressive organisation with the very best in Industry? If that’s the case, then in the first instance send your up to date CV and current package details to sue.dolman@heridahealthcare. co.uk or our Human Resources (HR) team on admin@hedidahealthcare.co.uk .

1 ddni.GD ATHB

Check the ‘Jobs On Offer’ section of the website for more opportunities 24/01/2019 10:11

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

Also, feel free to contact HR on UK Freephone 0800 193 6030 or +44 800 193 6030 from overseas for further details. Call us or mail today in what could be your smartest move of the year for you and us!

www.thiis.co.uk


Mobility Showroom Manager Leeds

Mobility Showroom Manager Milton Keynes

OTE £27k-£30k pa

OTE £27k-£30k pa

Position Type: Permanent

Position Type: Permanent

Required: An experienced Mobility Showroom Manager for our New CareCo Showroom opening in Leeds.

Required: An experienced Mobility Showroom Manager for our New CareCo Showroom opening in Milton Keynes.

We are looking for someone with a strong managerial retail background, and ideally experience in the mobility industry, to make our new showroom in Leeds a success, and build upon the CareCo (UK) Ltd name.

We are looking for someone with a strong managerial retail background, and ideally experience in the mobility industry, to make our new showroom in Milton Keynes a success, and build upon the CareCo (UK) Ltd name.

You will be responsible for, and be part of, a customer focused team, ensuring delivery of sales targets and KPI’s whilst ensuring our exceptional company service standards are maintained.

You will be responsible for, and be part of, a customer focused team, ensuring delivery of sales targets and KPI’s whilst ensuring our exceptional company service standards are maintained.

Job Description:

Job Description:

• Managing and motivating the team to achieve sales targets.

• Managing and motivating the team to achieve sales targets.

• Maintaining and improving operations by initiating, coordinating and ensuring compliance to policies and procedures.

• Maintaining and improving operations by initiating, coordinating and ensuring compliance to policies and procedures.

• Managing showroom stocks, layouts, pricing, and promotions.

• Managing showroom stocks, layouts, pricing, and promotions.

• Ensuring staff have the product knowledge to sell effectively and enhancing this knowledge as required through effective communication and training.

• Ensuring staff have the product knowledge to sell effectively and enhancing this knowledge as required through effective communication and training.

• Planning day to day operations and reviewing results.

• Planning day to day operations and reviewing results.

• Obtaining, interpreting and acting upon sales information.

• Obtaining, interpreting and acting upon sales information.

• Training, coaching and appraising staff.

• Training, coaching and appraising staff.

• Promoting the business by liaising and engaging with relevant local bodies

• Promoting the business by liaising and engaging with relevant local bodies

Skills:

Skills:

• • • • • •

Leadership Sales driven Commercial awareness Confidence, drive and enthusiasm Good numeracy and IT Initiative

• Eye for detail • Good verbal and written communication skills • Customer focused • Staff Training • People handling

• • • • • •

Leadership Sales driven Commercial awareness Confidence, drive and enthusiasm Good numeracy and IT Initiative

• Eye for detail • Good verbal and written communication skills • Customer focused • Staff Training • People handling

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk

Full-time Showroom Assistant Leeds

Full-time Showroom Assistant Milton Keynes

OTE £21k-£25k pa

OTE £21k-£25k pa

CareCo provide top quality mobility products at the UK’s lowest prices. Our showrooms are designed so that out our customers not only have an amazing shopping experience but also by getting the right advice from our fully trained sales advisors on mobility products suitable for their needs, enables them to promote their independence and quality of life both around the home and outside.

CareCo provide top quality mobility products at the UK’s lowest prices. Our showrooms are designed so that out our customers not only have an amazing shopping experience but also by getting the right advice from our fully trained sales advisors on mobility products suitable for their needs, enables them to promote their independence and quality of life both around the home and outside.

As a leading independent distributor with over 13 years’ experience within the mobility industry as a group, we, at CareCo, pride ourselves on our growing reputation for supplying quality products, value for money and excellent service.

As a leading independent distributor with over 13 years’ experience within the mobility industry as a group, we, at CareCo, pride ourselves on our growing reputation for supplying quality products, value for money and excellent service.

Due to our rapid expansion, we are looking to recruit a full-time Mobility Advisor in our new Leeds showroom, and we provide extensive training to enable you to develop a rewarding career in the mobility industry.

Due to our rapid expansion, we are looking to recruit a full-time Mobility Advisor in our new Milton Keynes showroom, and we provide extensive training to enable you to develop a rewarding career in the mobility industry.

Hours of work are 9am to 5pm, five days a week including weekends.

Hours of work are 9am to 5pm, five days a week including weekends.

Core Functions:

Core Functions:

• Promote, sell and secure orders from existing and prospective customers through a relationship-based approach.

• Promote, sell and secure orders from existing and prospective customers through a relationship-based approach.

• Demonstrate products and services to existing and potential customers

• Demonstrate products and services to existing and potential customers

• Assist customers in selecting the best products to suit their needs.

• Assist customers in selecting the best products to suit their needs.

• Answering Showroom calls.

• Answering Showroom calls.

• Keeping the showroom to the correct standards, including general housekeeping.

• Keeping the showroom to the correct standards, including general housekeeping.

Requirements:

Requirements:

• Ideally have a sales background, but not essential as training is provided • Good Customer Service Skills • Good interpersonal skills – Day to day interaction with customers from all ages and all walks of life • Ability to organise own time and multitask

• • • • • • •

Good telephone manner Computer literate Polite Flexible Be driven to succeed Strong team player Excellent verbal and written skills

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk

www.careco.co.uk

• Ideally have a sales background, but not essential as training is provided • Good Customer Service Skills • Good interpersonal skills – Day to day interaction with customers from all ages and all walks of life • Ability to organise own time and multitask

• • • • • • •

Good telephone manner Computer literate Polite Flexible Be driven to succeed Strong team player Excellent verbal and written skills

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk


training

round-up

Training Diary

Mobility performs strongly as Invacare’s global sales float under $1billion

If you are providing training for the trade, then simply send us the details of the course, the date, any costs, the venue and the contact for booking places and we’ll include it in the Diary. Email info@ thiis.co.uk with any details you have. March Direct Healthcare Group – Seating Awareness Day – 5th March – Blackpool – FOC Jiraffe – Training for Life – Sleeping, Standing and Mobility Course – 6th March – Sheffield – FOC Jiraffe – Training for Life – Seating and Toileting Course – 13th March – Sheffield – FOC Blatchford – Complex Seating Training Day: Pelvis is Key! – 21st March – Kettering, Northants – FOC

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

May Disabled Living Foundation – Trusted Assessor: Assessing and Adapting the Home Level 4 – Wandsworth, London – 1st & 2nd May – £420 Direct Healthcare Group – Seating Awareness Day – 21st May – Bournemouth – FOC Disabled Living Foundation – Trusted Assessor: Assessing and Adapting the Home Level 4 – Warwick – 20th & 21st May – £420

June Disabled Living Foundation – Trusted Assessor: Assessing and Adapting the Home Level 4 – Wandsworth, London – 5th & 6st June – £420 Electric Mobility – Engineer training for Electric Mobility retailers – 12th June – Ilminster, Somerset – FOC (only available for Electric Mobility retailers)

Contacts for bookings Electric Mobility – Call Rebecca Bateson on 01460 258158 or email rebecca.bateson@electricmobility.co.uk Jiraffe – call +44 (0)114 285 3376 or email marketing@ jiraffe.org.uk Blatchford – Contact tracy.minor@blatchford.co.uk Simple Stuff Works – Contact Simone McCarthy at Trainingadmin@simplestuffworks.co.uk or call 01827 307870 Direct Healthcare Group – marketing@ directhealthcaregroup.com or call +44 (0) 800 043 0881 Disabled Living Foundation – training@dlf.org.uk or call 020 7432 8010

86 | www.thiis.co.uk

In its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2018, Invacare has reported a less substantial operating loss of $18.3million for the year, down from $21.9million in 2017, having enjoyed strong performance in Europe

“E

urope continues to be the largest and strongest part of our portfolio,” explained Matt Monaghan, Chairman, President and CEO of Invacare. “We realised net sales growth in the fourth quarter despite strategically reducing sales of less profitable products across Europe during the year.” According to the company’s full year financial report, net sales increased by 0.6 percent to $972.3 million, however, constant currency net sales revealed an overall drop of 1.8 percent compared to 2017. The company attributed the drop in its North American region to declining sales of respiratory and lifestyle products, however, noted the loss was offset by eight percent growth in the region’s mobility and seating products. Matt confirmed in 2019, the company predicts continued growth in Europe, driven by recent new product launches in its mobility and seating portfolio. www.invacare.co.uk


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