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THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 240 • September 2018


Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Issue 240 September 2018


Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

It is almost time to trade Top Trade Days tips for those visiting and exhibiting DIRECT-TOCONSUMER GROWTH


also inside... STAND OUT STANDS

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

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

To discuss how the programme can work for you, email or call Gino on 07940 437835


…from the editor What does a rise in manufacturers exploring a direct-to-consumer retail model mean for retailers in the industry?


his is the question tackled in this month’s issue, discussing why some manufacturers are investing more into reaching consumers directly and what impact this could have on retailers already feeling the pressures of the shifting, modern mobility retail landscape. The topic is complex and highlights the ever-growing need for retailers to ensure they have the right proposition to remain competitive, built on foundations of quality customer service and a strong, positive reputation in the localities they operate in. Also, Trade Days, one of the biggest days in the trade event calendar, is almost upon us. THIIS will be on stand TE20 and will be running a competition and interviews throughout the day for both the November issue and THIIS online, so be sure to stop by and see us or contact calvin@thiis. to schedule a time to meet. We look forward to seeing you at the show.

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

Editor Calvin Barnett 01933 278086

Calvin Barnett Editor

Advertising Karim Uddin 020 7702 2141​

Sub-editor Sarah Sarsby


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

You can find THIIS on Twitter at: wwwthiiscouk | 3


48 The rise of the direct-to-consumer retail model

Features 6 A page out of the automotive industry’s book 8 Power of video to promote scooter possibilities 26 The end of Bartrams

38 How to make a stand stand-out at exhibitions


Regulars 22

Deal On!


Round Up






Training Diary

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10 Trade Days preview

34 The OT’s Perspective

28 Meet Carl Drake

The Heartbeat of your

AGM Mobility Over One Million Batteries Sold in the UK!

• More Plates, More Power • Up To 46% More Capacity • Vibration Proof Design • Extra Long Cycle Life • Full Range Held in the UK

Tel: 01536 203030 Website: Email:

Ask about our other ranges

TAKING A PAGE OUT OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY’S BOOK Progeo, the Italian manufacturer of high-spec manual wheelchairs, has launched a new online feature allowing customers to customise elements of their wheelchair in realtime before placing an order.


he configurator enables users to select different options relating to a Progeo wheelchair, such as measurements, armrests, backrests and colours, and see how it changes the look on a three-dimensional representation of the model. After a customer has configurated the chair to their chosen specifications and dimensions, they are able to print off the configuration and visit a Progeo dealer to place their order. The ability to visually represent changes to the device online is something commonly used by car manufacturers to allow individuals to see how their vehicle will look with specific customisations and added features. Marco Nosella, Export Manager for Progeo, commented: “Having a tool that allows the customers to have a real representation of what they are going to order is a plus that a manufacturer like Progeo needs to have because our range of wheelchairs is focused on the active and made-to-measure models.” Highlighting that the program

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was created in such a way as to reduce the possibility of error for customers, Marco says it is this type of investment in innovation that is

example of this approach and really is an incredible opportunity to distinguish our company and our services from the competitors.”

“An incredible opportunity to distinguish our company and our services from the competitors” MARCO NOSELLA

helping Progeo gain a competitive edge in the market. “We have a big R&D Department that allows us to introduce always improvements and innovations in the products and services with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction,” he continued. “The new configurator is a great

Meet our Retail Specialists

Grant Abrahams Retail Director

Paul Kendall R&D Technical Manager

Putting the customer at the heart of everything we do! Seb Webster Head of eCommerce

Alan Sullivan Retail Marketing Manager

Dan Thaxter Product Management & Development

Come and see us at Trade Days!

We’re on STAND TC50 - book your appointment with our specialists by emailing your details to

Chris Dawson National Sales Manager

Adam Naylor Head of Inbound Sales

Amanda Thomas Product Management & Development

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ELECTRIC MOBILITY USES POWER OF VIDEO TO PROMOTE POSSIBILITIES Electric Mobility has launched a professional new promotional video for the Vecta Sport, demonstrating to dealers and customers alike who have yet to see what the scooter can do.


aunched at last year’s Trade Days, the Vecta Sport has remained a talking point in the industry because of its unique features and an effective marketing strategy by the company. The new video looks to continue this marketing momentum by clearly and effectively exhibiting the ease & usability of the Vecta Sport to prospective users and retailers. Available to view on Electric Mobility’s website, the promotional film shows how the Vecta’s unique features, including RunOn run flat pneumatic tyres, MaxGrip limited slip differential gearbox, and waterproof USB port, allow customers to enjoy all aspects of everyday life with the support of the 8mph performance scooter. Working with a local, south westbased design agency, Elaine Leighton, Marketing & Communications Manager at Electric Mobility, highlighted the importance of using positive messaging to emphasise all the possibilities the scooter opens to consumers. “A common misconception with our consumer audience is that mobility scooters are exclusively for the older generation - it’s a real barrier within the industry,” explained Elaine.

“Some younger people’s lifestyles suffer as a result if they are unwilling to consider a mobility scooter as an everyday living aid option. “Our consumer-focused video emphasises that a modern, compact and attractive mobility scooter such as the Vecta Sport can seamlessly become a part of someone’s life and change it for the better.”

brochures, professional photography, POS & marketing support for the Vecta Sport which has been highly visible throughout our dealer’s showrooms, but the video reinforces the overall Vecta Sport performance. What customers really need to see is the manoeuvrability and capability on all terrains.” With the video forming just one

“A common misconception with our consumer audience is that mobility scooters are exclusively for the older generation - it’s a real barrier within the industry” ELAINE LEIGHTON

Rather than focus on restrictions, Elaine says the Vecta Sport promotional video emphasises the possibilities of what users can do and how they can lead enriching lives, every day. The video highlights customers socialising with friends, enjoying a hobby and swiftly manoeuvring around the town & countryside, all of which cannot always be done without the support of a mobility scooter. Elaine continued: “We have

aspect of the multichannel marketing campaign for the Vecta Sport, the company underlined the benefit producing high quality marketing campaigns has for helping generate consumer sales leads for their dealers. For those interested in becoming an Electric Mobility dealer or wishing to place an order for the Vecta Sport, contact 01460 258120 or email | 9

trade days preview


Tasty treats and deals


ny dealer that has attended Trade Days knows that the Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare team pull out all the stops at the show and this year promises to be no different. The company will be showcasing a variety of new products, marketing and POS collateral at the show, whilst the specialist retail team will be on

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hand to discuss ways the company can work together with dealers to grow their business. In addition, Drive DeVilbiss’ breakfast butties will be making a return by popular demand, as well as two days of exclusive trade deals. With appointments currently being scheduled, visitors are encouraged to

contact one of the specialist team at to secure a meeting between 10am – 12 noon or 2 – 4pm. Visit stand TC50

COMPACT AND CAPABLE According to the Freerider, its Land Ranger HD combines the capability of the largest of Class 3 scooters with the size and price of a much smaller model. Available in red and silver, this 36 stone capable 8mph scooter is built for strength yet is also light to manoeuvre. Described as a perfect all-rounder with a compact size providing a heavy duty without the bulk, the Land Ranger HD includes standard fit solid tyres and big delta bar handles with easy turning. See it on stand TC20

Flexel’s flexible rollator range


he Mobilex range of rollators from Flexel Mobility has a solution to suit all users’ needs, according to the company. From standard models to ultralightweight versions, an off-road product and rollators specific for bariatric and rehabilitation use,

each model is made with the same exacting standards from the highest quality materials, says Flexel. All models have common features including a unique locking mechanism, easy pull brakes and a well-balanced smooth ride. Additionally, customisations such

as single hand braking or speed reduction wheels can also be added to tailor for a specific requirement, and a well thought-out selection of accessories completes the package. View the range on stand TB55 | 11

trade days preview


S AIMING TO SET A NEW LIGHTWEIGHT STANDARD Following the success of its awardwinning eFOLDi mobility scooter, SunTech UK will be unveiling more attention-grabbing products at Trade Days 2018. Keeping within their ethos of folding lightweight travel products, the company is introducing an ultra-light magnesium framed wheelchair to the market. Available for delivery later in 2018, in both manual self-propelled and transit variants, these latest magnesium frame designs are over 30 percent lighter than an equivalent aluminium frame according to the company, setting new standards in terms of lightweight. The complete transit wheelchair with attendant brakes comes in at just 9.5kg, while the self-propelled version is fractionally heavier at 10.5kg – almost 5kg lighter than a comparable aluminium chair, says the company. Find out more at stand TB56

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cooterpac is back at Trade Days once again and showcasing its visually striking Cabin Car Mk2 to mobility dealers. Now manufactured in the UK, the company says the cabin car boasts a range of innovative and unique features and benefits that makes it a popular choice amongst disabled users. In particular, Scooterpac claims no other scooter has parking sensors, central locking and a fully insulated fiberglass body. Additionally, the Cabin Car Mk2’s heater helps provide users who are often cold on their mobility scooters in winter comfort and relief from the ailments, says the company. As well as being protected from the elements, the device also offers protection against attacks and theft thanks to a remote central locking system. See a fully loaded model with all the options available at stand TD20

trade days preview



ow incorporating fire seal protection when the lift is parked at the upper or lower floor and interlinked with smoke alarms, Stiltz will be showcasing its newly-released BS5900 compliant homelift at this year’s event. Described as a spacious, luxury wheelchair-accessible lift, the Trio+ has been designed to accommodate a full-sized wheelchair or comfortably carry up to three passengers.

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Having undergone extensive development, the Trio+ is now fully compliant with BS EN 81-41 and BS5900 accreditation, which the company says enables trade dealers to offer a practical and stylish mobility solution to local authorities and the consumer market with confidence. Additionally, for wheelchair users, an automatic door option is also now available and the lift has also been uprated to a higher carrying capacity

of 250kg, helping widen the spectrum of users. As well as showcasing its Trio+, the company will also be displaying its contemporary, compact and elegantly-curved two-person Stiltz Duo+ Homelift. Find out more on stand TA02



TV Optional lithium battery for extra range

Foldable, transportable, road legal and available in 3 colours, the new Monarch Mantis Mobility Scooter is a marvel of technology! Capable of handling all terrains, this amazing mobility scooter takes roads, pavements, curbs, cobbles, gravel and steep inclines in its stride, easily negotiating standard doorways and tight corners. The Mantis is equally at home on challenging terrain such as mud, wet grass, snow, sand and uneven, rocky areas.



trade days preview

SEATING SOLUTIONS TO ENHANCE RETAILERS’ BUSINESSES Offering optimum comfort, support, excellent pressure re-distribution/relief for wheelchair and day chair users, Ultimate Healthcare’s seating range offering will be on display at this year’s event.


he company will be showcasing its new, cost-effective Ultra-Cline cushions, specifically developed to be used on existing rise recliner chairs, alongside its new Gravity II (tilt-in-space) wheelchair. The company is encouraging dealers to speak to the team on stand and collect its latest brochure to learn more about its various range. Visit our stand TA20

Don’t spill the beans


or those with limited grip or the use of only one hand, working in the kitchen, and particularly opening bottles and jars, can be very difficult. The Spill Not from Gordon Ellis has been specifically designed with these problems in mind. A single unit with three rubber cones holds anything from a small pill bottle to a two-litre bottle of soft-drink, with a further three opener cones included to make opening tricky jars easier. The rubber base ensures the Spill Not remains steady on smooth surfaces, allowing the user to open and spoon out contents without spillage. The unique device allows users to open jars and bottles of various shapes and sizes, including childproof medicine containers and can be fixed permanently onto a worktop or contained in a drawer. Check it out at stand TE50

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Alerta Medical offer a comprehensive range of alternating pressure relieving mattress systems covering all risk levels.

NEW IMPROVED Pump & Battery Life A b A b A b A



Alerta Mobile New improved battery powered alternating pressure relieving cushion system for effective prevention and treatment of patients at high risk of developing a pressure ulcer. The Alerta Mobile pushes the boundaries of pressure relief by promoting self-determined living and takes the users beyond the usual restrictions of the indoors! Large stocks for next day delivery Unparalleled distributor marketing support Attractive distributor pricing structure Buy at manufacturing prices without having to buy large quantities Add the Alerta Mobile to your product range. Contact us today to discuss further.

+44 (0)3452 088 097 | |

trade days preview

Could membership benefit your business? The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is encouraging members and non-members to visit its stand at this year’s show to discuss how membership could help visitors’ businesses. As the largest trade association in the industry, the organisation says many of its members see significant savings on their business insurance, exhibition stand costs and member’s benefits programme for all their staff. Importantly, the association

says it helps in a difficult retail environment to be part of the industry, network with piers at section meetings and share knowledge that can shape the legislation that effects the healthcare market and beyond.

WHAT’S NEW FROM KARMA Karma Mobility will be showcasing several new products including the Ergo 115 Tall and 125 Tall at this year’s Trade Days. (see page 36) Also on show will be the second generation VIP2 folding tilt-in-space wheelchair with its new recline feature and headrest design, as well as the recently launched Star 2, a stylish new wheelchair with a patented footrest hanger design for added user comfort. See all new products on stand TB01

Learn more at stand TA10

First Floor, Forum House 41 - 51 Brighton Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 6YS W +44 1784 608 100

Who takes care of the risks your business faces? ICB has worked with healthcare trades for over 15 years. Our customers value the market-leading cover, combined with quality service, resulting in long-lasting, effective ICB Group have been working together with BHTA working relationships.

for over 15 years, providing an exclusive insurance scheme to their members

E: T: +44 (0) 178 460 8148 M: +44 (0) 77 8834 0477


Fabric Collection

Riser Recliners as individual as your customers!

Are you offering a premium selection of Riser Recliners?


Choose our furniture with confidence All riser recliner chairs are tested by FIRA The leading authority in furniture safety by design.

Waterfall Back

Riser Recliners available from STOCK in the following fabrics

Seasons Mink

Seasons Oatmeal

Seasons Plum

Seasons Cocoa

2 or 3-Seater static sofa available on Made to order

Colours may vary slightly from images shown which are for illustrative purposes only.

Main Features:




New Ambassador


the UK The Walden Cosi Chair is a in relaxing single motor wallhugger chair with a pocket sprung seat base and a deep fibre filled Waterfall backrest. The key feature is it can sit very close to a wall or solid object (with a distance of 4”) and still offer a full recline, it manages this by the whole wooden frame moving over its own axis. This chair is ideal for small rooms or confined areas where space is limited.

Wallhugger Single-motor


Walden Size Guide: Seat height Seat width Seat depth Arm height Back height Overall width Overall height Weight limit

A 3 button power on hand control Waterfall Back design Pocket sprung seat base Scroll arms with wings Arm covers and Antimacassar included Other fabrics are available Made to order 2 or 3-Seater static sofa available Made to order 5 Year Guarantee on frames, mechanisms and all electrics Quality Craftsmanship, BRITISH MADE

Local Cosi Chair Retailer:

One size 50.8cm / 20’’ 50.8cm / 20’’ 50.8cm / 20’’ 19.1cm / 7½’’ 68.6cm / 27’’ 83.8cm / 33’’ 110.5cm / 43½’’ 25 stone / 158.8kg


ORDER Due to a policy of continual improvements, Electric Mobility Euro Ltd reserve the right to change specification without prior notice.

New Sales & Marketing Materials available to support Point of Sale in your showroom.

Medina Dual-motor Variety of back options


Up to 25 stone weight capacity Choice of luxurious fabrics




Call the Marketing Team on 01460 258158 & request yours today!



To place an order & uplift your showroom, call the Customer Service Team now! BRITISH


Quality Craftsmanship Tested by FIRA




Guarantee Riser Recliners

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Also Available Matching Sofa

E. and O.E- v 1 Final March 2018

diary dates September 12, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - La Mon Hotel, Belfast or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 26, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Imperial Hotel, Torquay or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 26-29, 2018 Rehacare Dusseldorf October 7-8, 2018 Trade Days NEC October 15-17, 2018 Medtrade Atlanta October 17-18, 2018 The Care & Dementia Show NEC November 7, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - The Spa Hotel, Kent or call Sally on 02921 900402 November 28, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hilton Hotel, Newcastle or call Sally on 02921 900402 December 5, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hilton Hotel, Southampton or call Sally on 02921 900402 January 28–31, 2019 - Arab Health - Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre March 21, 2019 - Kidz to Adultz Middle Coventry 26 & 27 March 2019 Naidex - NEC April 17-18, 2019 Medtrade Spring Las Vegas March 29 30 2019 Limitless Living - Sandown Park, Surrey May 16, 2019 Kidz to Adultz South Farnborough International Centre July 4, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Wales & West - Bristol www.kidzexhibitions. June 17-18, 2019 - COT Annual Conference ICC Birmingham June 26 - 27, 2019 Health+Care Excel London - July 15 - 17, 2019 - Posture & Mobility Group Conference - Telford International Centre, Shropshire July 14, 2019 28th Disability Awareness Day annual event - Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington

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Event aims to become focal point for prosthetics & orthotics sector Independent event organiser The Positive Event Partnership has launched a new annual lifestyle event specifically aimed at prosthetics and orthotics users, presenting a wide range of products, services and opportunities for an improved lifestyle.


upported by the British Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Amputee Rehabilitation (BACPAR) and national charity Limbcare, the Limitless Living UK event will include an exhibition, as well as a demonstration and content programme. According to the organisers, the event will provide an opportunity for manufacturers, charities, service organisations and clinics to meet and present innovation and information to prosthetics and orthotics users, as well as potentially conduct research and network with professionals. Taking place at Sandown Park, Surrey on 29th – 30th March 2019, the organisers claim that despite its end-user focus, the event does not preclude access to the trade.


To start referring your stairlift and bathing leads, or to find out more information, give us a call!


0800 620 0826

trade deals

DealON! Looking for a deal? Then this is the place to come. Deal On features the best trade deals you will find this month. Just pick up the phone to take advantage... All offers are valid until September 30th 2018 unless otherwise stated.


Two Free Home Delivery Smartphone Apps (worth £750)*

UNIQUS® iRetailer. Stock & barcode management software specially designed for the VAT complexities of mobility retailers. Affordable subscription. No big initial outlay. Fully integrate your quotation, sales, purchasing and stock process on one platform. Cloud based and paperless, iRetailer CRM will help you gain efficiency, save time and increase sales opportunities. See our advertisement in this issue or visit *Requires Windows Smartphone. Order before end of September 2018 to qualify.

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

Free Haze smart charger... ...with your first order of four or more batteries (18Ah and bigger) Please call Easystart on 01536 203030 or email for more information

Repose has announced its September retailer promotion - a heat only system for £99 (subject to model of chair) normally retailing at £155 The system comes with two heat modules, one is fitted into the seat area of the chair and the other comes as a loose cushion heat pad that the user can position for their own comfort. Quote ref SEPTEMBER2018 during September to benefit from this offer.​ For more information call us on 01384 567401 or visit

Stay in the know Sign up to our weekly email round-up to keep up to date with the latest industry news, jobs and products. Subscribe at... 22 |

International Trade Fair for Rehabilitation and Care


Trade Days: Stand TB41 Or please contact us for our new trade catalogue:

Member of


The Supplier of Choice for Care Professionals




We have the solutions to enhance your business

International Trade Shows Link Ltd. (UK Representative of Messe Düsseldorf) Exhibition House _ 12 Hockley Court _ Hockley Heath _ Solihull West Midlands _ B94 6NW Tel: +44(0)1564 781871 _ DDI: +44(0)1564 781864 E-mail: _ Website:


Bob Oliver demonstrating an AirRise hoist unit

THIRD NHS CONTRACT WIN FOR INNOVA THIS YEAR Innovare Care Concepts has been chosen to supply and install numerous ceiling track hoists at the new Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, Wales.


he £205,000 contract is the third NHS contract the company has won in the past year, having been assigned to supply hoists to both Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham and Orkney’s Balfour Hospital. The Yorkshire-based supplier will provide 47 X-Y ceiling track hoist systems that will be inset to the ceiling itself, helping the hospital maintain good levels of infection control. Bob Oliver, Senior Contracts Manager at Innova, said: “We worked closely with BDP Architects on this project to ensure that all the

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plans would tick all the boxes for an environment as demanding and important as the critical care centre.” With the new hospital planning to also treat bariatric patients, a key consideration of the Trust’s selection was a supplier who could provide systems and equipment capable of accommodating larger weights. According to the company, Innova was the only supplier who could deliver this, with its AirRise500 hoist units capable of lifting up to 500kg in weight. Tom Hulbert, Managing Director of Innova, said: “We went that step

further than any of our competitors and designed a hoist system that ticked all the boxes of the hospital in terms of infection control and weight limits. “Big contracts like this will help us achieve our vision to become the most sought-after brand in the healthcare sector.” Beginning work in 2019, the newbuild, £350 million specialised critical care centre for south-west Wales will boast 560 beds and is due to be completed in Autumn 2020.

THE END OF BARTRAMS ASSOCIATES Having appointed Administrators in early July, Bartrams Associates has announced it has ceased operations after no offers were received to save the company.


aving been in the industry since 1990, the Ely-based manufacturer, retailer and maintainer of mobility and pressure care aids employed around 60 members of staff including engineers, occupational therapists and head office staff. Despite having launched new subdivisions as of last year, as well as commencing a new wheelchair services project, the company appointed insolvency practitioner SFP Group on the 4th July after attempts to steady the business had failed. With supply, maintenance and modification contracts for Primary Care Trusts and Hospital Trusts wheelchairs, the established company held numerous contracts in the public sector and recently launched a new subdivision, PRM Solutions, providing products for use in airports & large venues. It is understood that other providers on the NHS framework will now pick up the contracts previously held by Bartrams. Additionally, the diverse company operated in a range of other areas which included a pressure care manufacturing arm, a retail outlet in Ely which also leased to Motability customers, an e-commerce retail proposition, and a subdivision renting

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mobility vehicles to events called Mobility Hire 4 You. The news came as a shock to many in the industry, whilst a source at SFP confirmed that all subdivisions of Batrams have ended and investigations into what led to the organisation’s collapse are ongoing. “Warranties cannot be honoured.

commented: “Despite our best efforts to save the business and support customers with enquiries, a purchaser could not be found for Bartrams.”

“Despite our best efforts to save the business and support customers with enquiries, a purchaser could not be found” SIMON PLANT

Anyone with a financial claim should SFP at,” stated the Administrators. SFP had conducted a marketing campaign to attract a buyer for the business which received strong initial interest, however, no offers came forward and decision was taken to cease trading on the 11th July 2018. Simon Plant, Director of SFP,

The Administrators’ efforts are now focused on maximising realisations from Bartram’s residual assets.


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

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

Tel: 0115 913 3572

email: *On a wide range of products


MEET… CARL DRAKE, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF RISE FURNITURE AND MOBILITY What does your position involve? Everything from sourcing new suppliers to serving customers in the showroom or in their homes. I have been known to make a mean cup of coffee too... What do you enjoy most about your job? Changing people’s lives by making a difference with the products and services we offer. One customer returned to the showroom one day to thank me, as he thought his days of walking up to shops with his wife were over. “My new rollator has made walking so much easier, I’ll be walking to the shops for years” he told me. I’m flattered by the incredible reviews customers are posting online. It’s immensely satisfying when a new customer says we were recommended to come and see you. What is one of your proudest moments in the industry? Being the first and only mobility retailer ever to win National Retail Business of the Year. Because no other mobility company has managed it but to do so in our first-year trading is unprecedented.

What’s the biggest change you have seen in the industry? It has to be the Care in the Community Act. Allowing people to take control of their finances and social care is enabling them to maintain their independence and stay in their homes longer. If you could bring one new innovation to the market, what would it be? Some kind of affordable wearable technology that continually monitored your health. Visits to your GP or medical professional would still be necessary but they could download the information to diagnose early onset dementia, cancers and other conditions without invasive biopsies and reduce waiting lists. What are your interests outside of work? Spending quality time relaxing with my wife, dog and cat. We’ve an old Bothy, only accessible by 4x4 at low tide by the side of a remote Scottish loch. With no television or mobile phone signal it’s a great place to relax. I’m also a keen England Rugby fan so watching the Six nations is the highlight of my year.

Rise Furniture and Mobility Having only opened its doors in the Autumn of 2017, Harrogate-based retailer Rise Furniture and Mobility, the brainchild of Carl and Angel Drake, has enjoyed considerable success in a short amount of time. The mobility retailer was crowned ‘National Retail Business of the Year’ at the national ‘Best New Business Awards’ earlier this year.

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Quick-fire questions! Describe yourself in three words? Tenacious, dependable, competitive What’s your favourite song? I don’t have one. There have been many favourites; from Northern Soul allnighters at Wigan Casino, to Genesis, Del Amitri, Crowded House to Tech House music in Ibiza’s Super clubs. What was the last movie you watched? Mission Impossible Fallout. A great movie but ripped off scenes from all four Daniel Craig Bond films and a bit of Jason Bourne thrown in for good measure. Daniel Craig is the best Bond, so looking forward to seeing how he signs off in Bond 25. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? To be invisible. There’s no end of possibilities I would get up to. Favourite place in the world? I’ve already mentioned the Scottish Highlands so Sydney, Australia.

If you had to do any other job in the world, what would it be? I would have liked to have been signed by a world rally team. I drove semi-professionally for three seasons but the offer never came. I qualified in Furniture design and have spent a lot of time travelling and working all over the world; America, Europe, Southern Asia and the Far East. But if I had my time again, I probably would have studied law and become a Barrister or solicitor.



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marketing advice


USING CONTENT MARKETING TO INSPIRE AND ENGAGE Chances are any business leader and marketeer has heard the phrase ‘content is king’, but what does it mean? John Corellis, Senior Account Manager at Accord Marketing, discusses the importance of content marketing and provides top tips for how mobility retailers and manufacturers can use their content for commercial advantage.


ith an estimated 58 percent of over50s expected to have long-term health problems or a disability by Accord 2020, a question Marketing’s we are often asked John Corellis at Accord is how to engage with this audience in an authentic way - especially in the digital sphere. Content marketing is always at the top of our recommendations as it offers brands a great opportunity to build a following of loyal supporters, climb online search rankings and capture the interest of those who are already in the

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market for a mobility product. But where should your brand begin when developing a mature-inclusive content strategy? Here are our top tips: Don’t fall into the trap of stereotypes With 79 percent of those aged 50 and above feeling misunderstood and misrepresented, it is integral that your content steers clear of outdated stereotypes and assumptions about ageing. After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to mature marketing. Instead, it is complicated, ever-evolving and too complex to second guess. In general, the over-50s are more active, digitally-engaged, and adventurous

than ever before – and your content should reflect this. It is an audience that possesses a wide range of interests and motivations. And the same can be said about those who have mobility impairments; rather than focus on what they can’t do, brands must focus on the wide range of things that can be achieved by using their products. So, narrow down which audience segment you want to target specifically and base your content strategy around up-to-date insights, data profiles and buying habits. Consider things from the audience’s perspective By understanding your potential customers’ needs and concerns, you

inspire and engage. This kind of user-centric approach will not only drive incremental traffic to your website but will also position your brand as thought-leading and knowledgeable

Keep accessibility in mind Finally, if you’re offering customers mobility solutions, it follows that any content you produce must be user-friendly and accessible. By implementing adjustable text sizing

“By understanding your potential customers’ needs and concerns, you can offer productrelated solutions and useful advice, without adopting a “hard sell” approach.” JOHN CORELLIS

can offer product-related solutions and useful advice, without adopting a “hard sell” approach. In other words, you can tell a good story and tell it well. For example, with recent data showing that 62% of over-50s worry about preserving their physical health, a blog piece on lowimpact exercises that will help those with limited mobility to maintain fitness would be a great way to inform,



lasgow-based start-up wheelAIR has secured model, athlete and influencer Samanta Bullock as the company’s second brand ambassador. Originally from Brazil, Samanta is

Promote your content via the right channels While mature audiences are digitally active, they engage with certain channels more than others so it is imperative that you carefully choose the right channels. For example, as more than 80 percent of over-50s use Facebook; this platform is preferable to Snapchat, which has a significantly younger age base. Another great way to promote your content is through influencer collaboration. By arranging partnerships with established bloggers, charities and associations, you can strengthen your validity and drive brand awareness, whilst also developing exciting and informative content.

a former Paralympic tennis player, successful model and style icon, as well as a key representative for many disability inclusion groups. Benefiting from Samanta’s substantial following will help the wheelAIR reach and engage with fashion and style markets says Corien Staels, Founder and Managing Director of wheelAIR, underlining that she designed the cushion to be stylish, sustainable and functional. “Samanta is a style icon not just for the disabled community, but for our community as a whole,” emphasised Corien.

across your blogs, introducing closed captioning into your videos and using legible colour palettes across your website, you will ensure that every piece of on-site content reaches the widest audience possible. Accord is an award-winning marketing agency that specialises in the mature and mobility sectors. If you would like to know more about how we can help you develop a targeted content strategy, please get in touch with our expert team today or arrange to meet us at Trade Days on 7th-8th October. The Silver Travel Industry Report 2018 – Silver Travel Advisor news/2017/10/26/those-aged-50-and-overfeel-they-are-inaccurately-/

“The fact that she wants to represent us is a huge vote of confidence in the appearance of the design, which I am ecstatic about!” The innovative backrest cushion uses inbuilt fan technology to cool the user’s back and core by taking away excess heat and moisture, as well as providing support. Samanta and Corien hope to work together to further spread awareness of inclusivity, accessibility and why keeping disability products fashionable is important. | 31


Dolphin reaches the premier tier


olphin Lifts Midlands has reached the highest level of Stiltz three-tier dealer programme after successfully installing its first domestic lift into Worcestershire property. Pensioner Stephen Kimberley contacted the independent provider and installer of stairlifts after having to be rescued from his stairlift by the fire brigade when he became stuck on it for the third time in a week. After stating he was frightened of the situation occurring again, Dolphin Lifts Midlands installed the new home lift from Stiltz as an alternative solution, fulfilling the last criteria to

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become a Premier Stiltz Partner. As a Premier Partner, Dolphin Lifts Midlands will now be free to take control of the purchase process, from marketing and sales all the way through to installation. Steve Wilson, New Sales Manager at Dolphin Lifts Midlands, highlighted ease of installation and visual design as key factors in the company’s decision to become a Premier Partner. “It has given us access to the growing through floor market and we look forward to building a strong partnership with the brand,” said Steve.

Stiltz offers three partnership tiers for dealers: Referral Partnership level, Affiliate Partner Status and Premier Partner status. Referral Partnership allows dealers to receive commission for successful leads passed onto Stiltz’ team. Affiliate Partner status lets dealers complete the sale with their customer whilst the Premier Partner level enables businesses to control the entire process, requiring dealers to complete a free training course at the Stiltz headquarters.

Repose retailer offer heats up in September Continuing its retail support programme into September, Repose is offering dealers a heat only system for ÂŁ99 (subject to model of chair) which normally retails at ÂŁ155. The system comes with two heat modules; one is fitted into the seat area of the chair and the other comes as a loose cushion heat pad that the user can position for their own comfort. With the ability to unplug and store the device with the handset in the chair side pocket when not in use, the heat pad offers real flexibility to the user. Both the pads are controlled independently, with a simple to use handset which has two temperature settings and running costs as low as 1p an hour. Retailers should quote ref SEPTEMBER2018 during September to benefit from this offer.

OT perspective


THE FIVE STEPS TO ENGAGING SUCCESSFULLY WITH OTS AT EVENTS For many manufacturers and retailers in the mobility, engaging and forging relationships with occupational therapists is a must and, often, it is at events such as OTAC where companies look to reach out to the healthcare professionals. In his OT’s Perspective for September, Stuart Barrow gives his top tips for successfully connecting with OTs.


s you probably know, in addition to our OT practice, we run events all over the UK, all with the aim of helping to upskill occupational therapists and help make them aware of products and services that can help them and their clients. They’re known as OTAC (Occupational Therapy and Adaptations Conference) events, and, after running one successfully in 2016, we ran four in 2017, and this year we’re running 10! Anyway, one of the most common

bits of feedback that I get from the OTs who attend is around how helpful and beneficial it is for them to meet with manufacturers and understand how their products work – it broadens their horizons and helps them to specify the correct equipment and adaptations for their clients.

With that in mind, I just thought I’d put together a quick five-step guide for manufacturers looking to engage with occupational therapists at events:


UNDERSTAND THE WORLD OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY Obviously you know how your product helps the end-user but one of the things I would urge you to do is develop your understanding of how occupational therapists work and how you can make their jobs easier. Talking to OTs at events can give


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you an insight into how products and services are specified and funded, which in turn can help you to get your product into more homes and help more people.


BUILD RELATIONSHIPS Everything is easier to sell when you’ve got a relationship with the person you want to sell it to and getting face to face with the people who can buy your product is the best way to build that relationship. That’s why it’s so vital for manufacturers and retailers to get out of the office and along to events – it allows you to really build relationships with people and reduces the friction in between you and the sale.

that person, and all of the hard work you’ve put in is lost. Whether it’s a straight forward ‘give me your email address and I’ll send you some more information’, or something more subtle like a business card draw, getting the data of the people most likely to buy from you is a vital step of all successful exhibiting.


SHOW THEM HOW IT WORKS We’ve all seen enough shopping channel TV to know that people are naturally sceptical of ‘gadgets’ and the like, and that’s why it’s crucial for you to make sure that you can communicate the power of what you sell to OTs. One of the best ways to do that is via live events – take your product along and you can provide them with a live demonstration.


BE VISIBLE You might have the best product in the world but if no OT in the world is aware of its existence, you’re unlikely to sell that many, and the knock-on effect is that you’re not helping as many people as you want. Getting along to events and building your brand visibility can ensure that people know who you are and what you do, which gives you far more chance of making the sales you want.


CAPTURE DATA One of the biggest mistakes I see at events is exhibitors not collecting the data of the attendees. They’ll have a great conversation, but without data it’s impossible to follow up on


20’’ seat width self propel version

I hope these tips can help you at your next exhibition, and remember, if you’d like to talk to us about exhibiting at OTAC, just give us a call on 02921 900402 or email stuart@ 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).

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KARMA RESPONDS TO MARKET’S TALL ORDER Featuring a maximum seat depth of 19 inches, Karma Mobility’s new S-Ergo 115 and S-Ergo 125 models boast seat upgrades to make the chairs ideal for taller users.

S-Ergo 125 Tall


he S-Ergo 115 Tall and S-Ergo 125 Tall are the latest in the company’s range to undergo a design update after receiving feedback from the market. Mark Duffield, General Manager of Karma Mobility, commented: “Following the success of the recent launch of the Flexx Tall, the design team at Karma Mobility’s manufacturing HQ in Taiwan took the decision to offer the same seating option for the S-Ergo models.” Both models are available as a transit or self-propel model and are made from lightweight aircraft grade aluminium weighing just 8kg (18lbs) and 9kg (20lbs) respectively, when broken down. Once the wheels and footplates have been removed for the chairs, the models are two of the company’s lightest crash tested wheelchairs, says Karma. S-Ergo 115 Tall

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trade days


HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR STAND AT TRADE DAYS With Trade Days coming up next month, exhibitors are getting ready to present their new products and services, meet new and existing clients, make an impact on the people they want to reach out to and, most of all, make sales. THIIS caught up with Carmela Coop-Rodia, Group Show Manager at CloserStill Media, to get her insights on what makes a good stand, the importance of making an effort, stand sizes, demonstrations and much more. 38 |

Drive uses its space to both showcase products and invite attendees to talk business

Clear, simple messaging Making the most of a stand is imperative for companies at exhibitions because it can attract visitors, attention and sales. It is the shop window for many brands and as such, should be a clear, precise and memorable glimpse into what that brand is all about. According to Carmela, one of the most important elements in creating an outstanding stand is delivering a clear, concise message to the audience.

Cavendish drew attention at last year’s show with unique products

does, what you’ve got to offer and why somebody should come to you, then people will know whether to visit or not.” If it’s not always apparent what the company is about or what they have to offer, there is more of a chance of people just walking by. Make an effort Putting effort into your stand is important, stresses Carmela, or else exhibitors run the risk of it reflecting negatively on their businesses. If it

“You don’t have to go for the run-of-the-mill exhibition stuff, you can get some cool furniture from IKEA and use it for display purposes.” CARMELA COOP-RODIA

It can be about a product or service, but showcasing what your company is trying to get across is critical, points out the exhibition expert, as some people are shy or don’t want to get bombarded with sales conversations unless it’s something they’re truly interested in. “People are looking to see ‘Is this product is relevant to me, is this service relevant to me?’ And then they’ll want to find out more,” said Carmela. “Therefore, if it’s really easy to identify what it is that your company

looks like a business is not making an effort, it leaves attendees wondering why they should make an effort with them. “A lot of companies don’t do anything; they may leave the back walls empty or just stick up a couple of little notices but you’ve got to be thinking about how that will reflect on your business,” remarked the show manager. For exhibitors, it is vital that their stands represent their brands and where they want to be positioned in the market. Importantly, Carmela

emphasised that it doesn’t have to be the biggest stand, but if a real effort is made, visitors will appreciate it. Is bigger better? It’s less about stand size and more about choosing the appropriate size for the objective the company wants to achieve at an event, says Carmela. “You can take a great big stand but unless you’re utilising it properly, it looks ridiculous, which can have a negative impact. Choosing the right size for what your activity is matters,” she explained. “If your stand is too small and you cram tonnes and tonnes of product on there, that’s also negative.” However, having a small stand can be far more inviting if companies just have a single product or service offering, rather than overly large, daunting space, giving visitors the opportunity to have more intimate discussions. Budget Highlighting another key factor in choosing a stand size is considering a company’s budget explains Carmela, affording the biggest stand possible to meet a brand’s objectives. “For example, if I’m a consultant selling some software, I’m not going to necessarily need a 100 sq. metre stand because what am I actually going to do with that?” she stated. | 39

trade days

Audience size How many people are visiting a particular show is also a crucial factor in deciding what stand size is best for a company. “If 50,000 people are expected at an exhibition, then that’s potentially a lot of people that could visit your stand at any given time,” continued Carmela. “In this case, you’re probably going to have a big stand to allow visitors to come and visit you, with 30 reps sitting around tables to really utilise that space.” Speak to the show organiser To get creative and really make the most out of an exhibition, Carmela recommends speaking to the show organiser, who can provide lots of tips, information and knowledge about how to make an impact, regardless of whether the stand is big or small. “There’s a whole host of different equipment that people can order through the exhibition organisers’ suppliers,” she suggests. “The show’s marketing team is always on hand to help with your preshow promotion; they offer product exhibition tool kits that include buttons, banners and personalised invites which you can use in your pre-show marketing to guarantee your time at the show is a success.” Exhibition organisers can also help tailor a company’s stand to achieve its objectives and provide some really insightful ideas.

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Consider IKEA One place which can provide some great display solutions, especially for people on a budget, is IKEA proposes Carmela; a place which not everyone considers. “You don’t have to go for the runof-the-mill exhibition stuff, you can get some cool furniture from IKEA and use it for display purposes, that can work really well.”

education are vital to visitors. “They want to find out about the products and services that you have to offer, otherwise they wouldn’t be visiting your stand. Think about what your prospective buyer would want to know about your products,” added Carmela. “As a customer, I’m asking myself: Why would I want this product or service? Where does it sit in the

“People like a bit of theatre and are drawn to crowds, so if you can create a crowd at your stand, people will naturally come over” CARMELA COOP-RODIA

Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes As a company, Carmela advocates thinking about what people would be attracted to when visiting an exhibition, such as giveaways and gimmicks. What would make someone come onto a stand? “Have friendly people on your stand with good graphics; display a clear message with key products showcased at the front; and make sure there’s enough room for people to come onto the stand without overfilling the space,” she summed up. Demonstrations and presentations Considering the exhibition experience as a whole, demonstrations and

marketplace? How’s it going to help my business? They’re the kind of things I want to know. “People like a bit of theatre and are drawn to crowds, so if you can create a crowd at your stand, people will naturally come over to find out what your company is doing because they’re curious. “I know some companies will do demonstrations or education sessions on the stand that are timetabled. I know some stands build mini theatres on there. It’s an extra dimension to your stand.” What sort of stands stand out the most? Having attended more shows

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trade days

Electric Mobility’s Mike Flowers showing the importance of being open and friendly at last year’s Trade Days

the event or promoting initiatives such as competitions or a free lunch. “Whatever you decide to do with your stand, you need to be incorporating it into your pre-show marketing campaign,” she added. Interested in exhibiting at Trade Days on the 7th-8th October? Contact Carmela on or call 020 7013 4975

than she can remember, Carmela discussed what stands have really stood out to her over the years. “For me, the best stands are the ones which have a really clear message, they’ve got the appropriate amount of space to showcase what they’ve set out to achieve, and they’re inviting stands. “I don’t feel scared about going on there, I feel like I can go on that stand without getting jumped on by a salesperson. I can see that this is something that I want to find out more about and it’s a space to talk business.”

your company is going to be doing, then you’re just relying on people walking around and seeing you,” she explained. “A lot of companies invest so much money into an actual event space but don’t do any marketing around it and that is where companies always fall short. “The difference between a good show and an amazing show comes down to the pre-show marketing campaign.” According to Carmela, putting in the ground work can pay dividends for companies.

Don’t forget… the importance of a pre-show marketing campaign When it comes to exhibitions, the age-old adage of ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ certainly rings true. For businesses to maximise the effectiveness of their stands, Carmela underlines that it is essential that businesses also promote themselves before an event. “You can have the best stand since sliced bread but the build-up to the event is equally as important because if you’re not talking about what

“A lot of companies invest so much money into an actual event space but don’t do any marketing around it and that is where companies always fall short.”

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trade days

A stand is a shop window for a brand. Fish Insurance’s bright, on-brand space ensures visitors are in no doubt who is exhibiting

CARMELA’S TOP PRESHOW MARKETING TIPS Contact people Companies should utilise their database and contact people, highlighting what event they’re exhibiting at, what they’re going to be doing there and what stand they will be at. “Every company has people that they’d love to go and see but can’t, so inviting them down to an event where it’s going to have a benefit to the visitor, or their potential target, is a good thing to do.” External publications “Companies need to make use of external publications, such as THIIS, to push out any new launches that will be at a particular show.” People also should get in contact with industry press with their press releases to promote that they’re going

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to be at a particular show, such as Trade Days. The show’s own marketing campaign How can you get involved with the show’s marketing campaign? “Speak to the organiser, give the organiser press releases or industry news that relates to your time there and they’ll often run it.” You can also ask them if there’s any additional sponsorship you can do at an event to get the edge on your competitors and stand out. Define your objectives Have some clear objectives before the event. “Often people will book a stand, they won’t market themselves before the show, and they won’t follow up;

they don’t know really why they’re there. “So, have some clear objectives: What are you there to do? Are you there to make some orders? Are you there to meet new customers? Are you there to meet with existing customers? Are you there to do a new launch? Think about those things before the event.” Other things to look out for • Update your exhibitor profile on the show website • Make sure you have the correct listing in the show guide • Use social media • Set up meetings before the show • Invite your prospects along to the event


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distribution deals

The new Maybury and Marriot chairs in all sizes

EXCLUSIVE CELEBRITY DEAL SECURED Nottinghamshire-based manufacturer Celebrity Motion Furniture and North Yorkshire mobility supplier Van Os Medical have announced an exclusive trading partnership.


vailable this autumn, Van OS will offer two new rise and recline chairs into its own range from Celebrity Motion Furniture, integrating the products into its current logistical system to ensure a quick and efficient service for its dealer network. Scott Crabtree, Sales Director of Van OS Medical, commented: “Our unique feature rich chairs will be introduced into our new logistical system and become available on a next day delivery service alongside all of our current range of products. “This partnership will see Van OS Medical invest in stock and spare parts to ensure that we meet tight deadlines and offer our customers the ability to access a bespoke piece of furniture on a level not before seen in the mobility industry.” According to Celebrity Motion Furniture, the manufacturer turned to Van OS to help reach the mobility sector, highlighting the supplier’s strong track record of providing

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service to its dealer network. Ian Hayes, Director at Celebrity Motion Furniture, said: “Celebrity Motion Furniture is a well-established brand within the furniture sector, however, we could see the demand rising for our riser recliner chairs from the growing mobility sector. “Our challenge was to meet the demands of this sector; high-quality products on short lead times. After initial conversations, we recognised


Van OS Medical’s commitment to investing in stock and providing excellent service to their customers.” With reports from Celebrity of Van OS’ initial orders having sold well, the furniture manufacturer says it is looking forward to developing its trading partnership in the sector.

n August, Cintique Furniture transferred its production to the Celebrity Motion Furniture site in Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire. The move will allow the Cintique brand to benefit from the investments that Celebrity has made in computerised cutting machinery and the expansion of its development team. Wayne Hollis, Managing Director for both Cintique and Celebrity, commented: “Both the Cintique and Celebrity teams are excited about revitalising the Cintique offering and I’d like to emphasise that there are no plans to merge the two brands.” Both brands are part of the JDP Group and already the same IT support and order systems, resulting in fewer disruptions, although the group confirmed there will changes to staff.

Motus Medical becomes a Precision Rehab dealer


otus Medical has signed an agreement with Precision Rehab to supply the Paravan and UPnRIDE range of specialist powered wheelchairs in the Midlands and north of England. Founded by Matthew in 2015, Precision Rehab has over 25 years’ experience in specialist powered wheelchairs and is an official distributor of the Paravan range of powered wheelchairs, as well as the exclusive supplier of UPnRIDE for the UK and Ireland. A dedicated wheelchair and seating specialist, Motus Medical operate nationally, selling an extensive range of chairs to private

Precision Rehab co-founder Matthew James

clients as well as working with the NHS, occupational therapist groups, charities and disability funds. Nathan Bevan, Co-founder of Motus Medical, said: “Working with so many leading names ensures we have an in-depth knowledge of current markets as well as a unique insight into any new developments and I believe this will only enhance our relationship with Matthew and the rest of team at Precision Rehab and benefit existing and new clients.”

Selling the Paravan and UPnRIDE powerchairs on a direct sales basis, Precision Rehab also works with select authorised dealer base throughout the UK and Ireland and says it prioritises a high standard of assessment, sales process, after sales care including service and repair coverage.

KLAXON CALLS FOR MOBILITY DEALERS Rehabilitation and mobility specialist Recare has recently been appointed as the sole distributor of the Klaxon Klick range of handbikes across the UK and Northern Ireland. The patented add-on to wheelchairs allows the handbike to be quickly connected and disconnected with minimal effort from the user, turning any wheelchair into a trike with an extra wheel at the front. Richard Holland-Oakes, Managing Director of Recare, says that this is a natural progression to the company’s plan to add value to its clients and customers. The retailer is now looking to set up its own dealer network within the UK and Ireland for the add-on and is encouraging dealers to get in touch at

Recare is searching for retailers for new wheelchair add-on | 47

retail models

US-based ROWHEELS is adopting a direct-to-consumer model exclusively for its new wheelchair


THE RISE OF THE DIRECT-TOCONSUMER MODEL Traditionally, retailers served as the go-between for manufacturers and consumers, offering the former access to local markets and the latter expert advice and value-added services. In recent years, however, there has been a growth in the number of manufacturers adopting a direct-to-market approach, fulfilling the retailer role. 48 |

A SHIFTING ENVIRONMENT In the past, manufacturers relied heavily on working through retailers to get their products in front of customers, with retailers having the infrastructure, expertise, manpower and retail space that many manufacturers could seldom afford to establish themselves. This is still very much the case in the world of mobility, with retailers still being the conduit to consumers, however, the dynamic has seen a shift over recent years with the internet making it easier for manufacturers to promote and sell their products directly to consumers. Whereas direct sales often meant brands would have to go out to find customers, the online world with the power of search engines signposting people to websites is leading to a shift where consumers now go to manufacturers. Recently, Gaurav Mishra, CEO of ROWHEELS and the former executive president and head of global sales of Ottobock, announced that the Wisconsin-based manufacturer is to shift away from its traditional dealer network model and will sell its newly launched ROWHEELS Revolution 1.0 wheelchair directly to US consumers as part of a new, online vision for the company. “With our ‘Ready to roll out of the box’ model, we provide a differentiated customer experience not

ROWHEELS CEO Gaurav Mishra intends to pursue a direct-to-consumer exclusive model in the US

yet seen in the industry, including ease of ordering, premium packaging and quick delivery,” commented Gaurav. “I believe we can lead the adoption of this innovative disruptive model across similar assistive devices and disability medical devices: cut the cost, pass the savings to the patients,

ROWHEELS PREPARES FOR GLOBAL ROLLOUT Despite adopting a direct-to-consumer model for its new ROWHEELS Revolution 1.0 in the US, Gaurav Mishra, CEO of ROWHEELS, explained that the company will explore different retail models outside its domestic US market. Providing more detail about the company’s export plans, he said: “After adequate penetration and roll out in the US market, the company plans to do a phased and controlled rollout in the UK, Europe and other countries. “Outside the US, the policy for the company’s sales channel will be strategized based on online sales, a distribution network and, in some cases, through retail or a mix of all the above.” Available for US consumers from October this year, the company confirmed its new wheelchair will be sold via an online shop and through Amazon with a retail price starting at just $999.

facilitate shorter waiting times and deliver a great patient experience.” On this side of the pond, companies such as Adjustamatic are investing more into establishing their own retail base, with the adjustable beds, rise & recliner manufacturer launching two new retail outlets in Southampton and Macclesfield this year. Discussing Adjustamatic’s retail approach, Darren Thomas, Head of Retail at the company, commented: “Establishing a retail presence has enabled Adjustamatic to develop a wider market, with people of all ages and mobility levels having the opportunity to try out our products and appreciate their general health and lifestyle benefits.” WHY SELL DIRECT-TOCONSUMER? Establishing a direct retail channel with consumers is undoubtedly a costly endeavour for manufacturers, however one that can yield a number of strategic advantages. | 49

retail models Prices and margins A key factor is price. Traditionally, manufacturers made low margins and sold on volume to retailers to make profits, allowing retailers in turn to make their margins by selling to the end-user and providing valueadded services, such as advice and assessments. Manufacturers looking to sell products nationally or globally, this trade model was the most costeffective means of distributing their products, as the expense and difficulty of establishing their own retail network that could profitably serve customers proved too expensive for all but the largest of brands. In the digital world of today however, the internet and, in particular, social media with its ability to allow companies to target and market cheaply to very specific demographics, has opened up a world of consumers all in one place. Increasingly, more manufacturers are developing their own retail shops on their website, with readily available and affordable online payment tools presenting brands an opportunity to enjoy margins conventionally reserved for retailers or offer lower prices to customers.

Clearwell Mobility’s Duncan Gillette (right) and Natasha Gillette (left) with the Brighton & Hove Mayor Denise Cobb (2013) riding a TGA Supersport. TGA says its future and focus lies in trade sales, despite selling direct-to-consumer as well

how that product is sold. By selling to a consumer directly on the other hand, manufacturers are able to gain more control over the customer journey. This, according to Companion’s sales and marketing director David Harrison, is one of the key benefits of a direct-to-consumer approach. “The main factor for us is control,” he said.

“I believe we can lead the adoption of this innovative disruptive model across similar assistive devices and disability medical devices” GAURAV MISHRA

Highlighting how the direct-toconsumer model allows consumers to enjoy lower prices, Gaurav commented: “ROWHEELS Revolution gives wheelchair users a better option at an affordable price via an ecommerce platform that challenges the inefficiencies of today’s healthcare system.” More control over the consumer’s retail experience For many manufacturers, when their products are sold through a distributor, they have little control over

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“Control in the respect that we are one hundred percent confident that the service being provided and thus the ongoing reputation of our brand is nothing but exemplary and protected. In short, the most important benefit to this approach is delivering first class customer service and satisfaction.” The direct selling arm of Handicare, Companion specialise in providing Handicare stairlifts and bathing solutions directly to customers. The sentiment is echoed by Tim Ross, National Sales Manager of mobility scooter specialist TGA.

“When selling direct we do have good control over quality and service, however, we continually strive to ensure dealers emulate or even exceed our commitment levels!” he commented. TGA started selling solely from its headquarters in East Anglia but as the business developed over the past 30 years, it has evolved into a nationwide scooter specialist reliant that says it is reliant on a dealer network. This ability to gain more control over the consumer experience including how the products are merchandised and sold also provides direct-toconsumer manufacturers access to invaluable and vital consumer data. Acquiring valuable data for longterm relationships For savvy manufacturers, it is the power of establishing in-depth, longterm retail relationships with end-users that makes the direct-to-consumer channel so appealing. Often when a manufacturer’s products are purchased through a retailer, the brand misses out on the valuable and potentially extensive consumer data that could be available to them, with that often being acquired by the retailer. Selling directly to consumers allows manufacturers to establish a direct buying relationship, maintaining

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retail models contact with a customer and providing the opportunity to upsell, repeat sell and gain more insights and feedback about their products. According to TGA’s Tim, even though direct sales makes up a relatively smaller part of the company’s operations, it is the feedback from consumers that the company truly values, even leading to the creation of a new and profitable range of scooters. “For our business to maintain sustainable growth, we must ensure our routes to market remain balanced. Direct purchases are only a minor part of our business when compared to trade turnover. Nevertheless, these sales allow us clearer communication and interaction with end-users so TGA can keep abreast of the latest mobility challenges,” he commented. “We have always taken pride in talking and listening to our direct customers. Hence our product line continually evolves to meet everdiversifying lifestyles and conditions. This pro-active approach resulted in the introduction of the folding Minimo family which continues to provide dealers with strong sales figures.” WHY DO SOME COMPANIES FOCUS ON THE TRADE INSTEAD? Despite more manufacturers exploring a direct-to-consumer approach, others such as Repose Furniture and Karma Mobility have forgone

establishing & promoting their own direct retail channels and instead doubling down efforts to develop their trade network. Commenting on the decision not to pursue a direct-to-consumer model and focus on its retail network, Lisa Wardley, Managing Director of Repose, explained: “We have built a very strong and we believe loyal network of key distributors with significant reach across the UK. We believe that by constantly supporting this dealer network, we have developed stronger partnerships.” “We understand the business models that our dealers are deploying to reach the marketplace. By working closely with them, we are able to understand their requirements for products, support and after sales service. We can help them in their pursuit of business.” A significant investment For Lisa, one of the key disadvantages to the direct-to-consumer model is the investment needed to establish a comprehensive retail base. “It is a model that we have considered many times,” she said. “It has some value to any organisation in our position but it also brings with it a different type of business model with a different or alternative infrastructure that would require significant investment. We are not overly convinced that this model would work for our business at the

Repose’s Lisa Wardley highlights that trade partners often have the relationships to access markets that the company would struggle to access itself

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For Karma’s Mark Duffield, retailers’ expertise in customer service is a key factor for the company pursuing a trade-exclusive retail model

moment in our planned development cycle.” Mark Duffield, General Manager of Karma Mobility, also acknowledged the costs associated with the model as being substantial, particularly for SMEs, adding: “As a small business, we could not possibly cover all of the work involved before and after the sale.” For many manufacturers, establishing a retail base is still an expensive and daunting task, with one of the largest and most important investments being the need for staff with the necessary knowledge and experience to safely sell mobility products. The need for expertise Whilst a direct-to-consumer model offers manufacturers the opportunity to have more control over the consumer experience, it also means that manufacturers have the responsibility to deliver a seamless, exceptional retail experience with the aftercare and expertise that accompanies it.

In this respect, the mobility industry is unique from other industries, with the nature of the products requiring a degree of expert advice and assessment in the sales process. Mobility scooters, wheelchairs, powerchairs, specialist seating and more all need an element of customer service, resulting in a greater emphasis on expert staff and knowledge required in the retailing of the products. Karma Mobility’s Mark highlighted that the customer service expertise aspect possessed by mobility retailers is the primary reason the company does not pursue a direct-to-consumer model. “We appreciate the assessments and aftersales care that retailers provide. These are often an afterthought for consumers but can lead to problems if not available,” he commented. “Assessments and aftersales care are the important benefits gained working purely through a retailer network, making sure that consumers get the right equipment and are supported after they purchase it.” Local legitimacy and reach Whilst the internet has created a myriad of means to reach out to specific consumers, be it through targeted adverts via Facebook or using Google AdWords to attract consumers searching specific keywords, the digital world is yet to replace the engagement consumers have with their local retailers. With TGA’s dealer network being the largest part of its business, Tim stressed the important role local dealers play in the company’s success. “Supporting our dealer network is absolutely critical for TGA growth. Without this localised access to our products across the UK, we would not be able to develop as a business. This is why we value all our relationships and invest time in building rapport and trust,” he explained. The view is one supported by Repose’s Lisa, noting the significance of retailers’ access to local markets. “Many of our distributors have

strong relationships in certain key geographical territories and within key sectors – so rather than us trying to penetrate these markets directly we can leverage our joint market positions and brands to better effect,” she added.

reviews lower this need for validation - particularly for those products on the lower-end of the price spectrum where quality and branding are less of a priority - for higher ticket mobility products such as mobility scooters, the desire to purchase through a

“The value of local knowledge should never be underestimated” TIM ROSS

With mobility products playing such a vital role in consumers’ quality of life, there is still a large degree of trust needed between end-users and those selling the products. Importantly, it is the good reputations mobility retailers have acquired in their local areas that makes the retailer channel so valuable for manufacturers. In the past, brands and manufacturers relied on retailers to add a degree of legitimacy to a product. If a premium retailer stocked a manufacturer’s brand, that brand would enjoy the reputational benefits associated with that retailer. It added a degree of validation and this is still very much the case today. In particular, Tim pointed out the key advantage of legitimacy TGA gain by working through established retailers in local areas. “The value of local knowledge should never be underestimated,” explained Tim. “This is why our dealers will always be able to offer good quality advice and have a better feel for local needs and trends. Being integrated into local societies, especially over a long period of time, adds real weight to the sales proposition, particularly for the older generation. “The presence of a bricks and mortar showroom, that is permanent and familiar, can provide a reassuring experience for purchasers. High street premises provide a place to visit for after sales and service along with the opportunity to talk through requirements on a face-to-face basis.” Even as online marketplaces such as amazon and online customer

trusted retailer is still very much present in the market. STRIKING THE RIGHT BALANCE For those manufacturers that employ both a direct-to-consumer and retailer network model, the importance of striking the right balance between the two cannot be understated. Many retailers will not wish to compete against their suppliers who will almost always be able to beat them on price and conversely, manufacturers do not want to damage the relationships developed with their retailers that may see their products relegated to the back of their retailers’ shelves. At Handicare’s recent Dealer Day, Clare Brophy, Managing Director of

Handicare’s Clare Brophy points out that its direct-to-consumer activities help enrich the brand benefiting its trade partners | 53

retail models

TPG DisableAids’ Alastair Gibbs says it is not the end for mobility retailers but the end of differentiating on price

Handicare UK, decided to tackle this issue head on with the company’s OneFamily initiative. Elaborating on how the company’s direct-to-consumer activities benefits its trade partners, she told THIIS: “Our direct-to-consumer sales activities can do a lot to enhance the brand’s reputation and make it more desirable so our partners also benefit from increased awareness amongst consumers. I’m confident we have the right balance between direct and partner sales. It’s all about trust. We have been open and honest about our goals and how important our partners are to helping us achieve them.” Explaining how Handicare works to strike this balance, Companion’s David Harrison said: “The most important aspect of our business has to be delivering market leading customer service, and this is true for customers looking to purchase a Handicare stairlift either directly or via our partners. “We can’t afford for unnecessary confusion between the two areas and as such, operate to some simple rules that protect our and our partner’s business and also provide clarity to prospective customers. “For instance, although it is actually

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quite rare for customers to enquire both with regional/local partner companies and also with ourselves, when this does happen, our commitment to all of our Elite Partners means that we will step back and allow the client to purchase from the partner. The end result being that the customer has the best stairlift for their need, with no confusion or conflict between two companies pitching the same product from different angles.” Reaffirming the benefit to retailers of enhanced brand exposure through direct-to-consumer activities, TGA’s Tim Ross commented: “Direct selling facilitates the need to advertise nationally. This in turn benefits dealers through greater brand recognition and higher numbers of customers entering showrooms requesting a TGA product. Familiarity with the TGA range aids the sales process which is bolstered by our national PR and networking, charity support, end-user stories and social media activity.” Tim also mentioned how the company manages to avoid competing against its own retailers on price, an often-delicate issue for dealers working with manufacturers that direct sell. “We are always mindful of not compromising our dealer’s business

prospects. It is not our intention to ever undercut our dealers and that is very rarely the case. We will always do what we can to support a dealer who is stocking our products and working with us,” stated Tim. “The reality is that actually there are incredibly few times when there is any conflict. Almost all dealers see the promotion of the brand and all that goes with that as a huge advantage for them. Even the most reluctant dealers still get a reasonable demand for TGA products because of the name that has been established in the marketplace.” According to Tim, TGA strengthens its dealer sales with local press support in regional newspapers and magazines, PR support for dealers, events and more, seeing trade as the future for the company. “Direct selling can deliver more margin per product however in terms of our overall strategy, we see trade sales as the main area for TGA growth. Greater turnover and volume are generated by increasing dealer supply so we always focus on improving our trade service,” he added. “From a commercial perspective, TGA will always look at business relationships from the dealer’s


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retail models perspective. This is why the benefits of being a TGA dealer far outweighs the disadvantages of us also selling direct.” Whilst some manufacturers such as Handicare and TGA use their directto-consumer activities to bolster their trade network and achieve more market share, it is a certainty that more manufacturers will adopt a more aggressive direct-to-consumer approach such as ROWHEELS in the years to come.

“TPG DisableAids is a multidisciplined retailer that places itself in the retail market as a ‘solutions provider’. Whilst we major on a few lines, such as stairlifts, hoisting equipment, bathing solutions and mobility products, we can and do supply, install and maintain many other products,” he commented. “We use many suppliers, some of which are trade only and some of which go to the retail market directly as well as through the trade.

“It disappoints me when I see public comment from a distributor saying that manufacturers or importers should not compete with them. This almost always is because that distributor has underperformed” ALASTAIR GIBBS

According to a 2017 report by financial advisory giant Deloitte, a key trend predicted for 2018 and onwards is the growth of the direct-toconsumer channel for manufacturers, as ever-improving means of targeting individual consumers online and cheaper fulfilment and delivery methods make the channel more accessible. WHAT DOES THIS TREND MEAN FOR RETAILERS? In the mobility industry, the rise of the direct-to-consumer channel will be seen with the lower priced products that do not require a high degree of expertise or assessment. As the channel continues to grow, however, it will be another pressure mobility retailers will need to respond to in an increasingly competitive retail environment. Move away from solely competing on price This does not spell the end for bricks and mortar mobility retailers says Alastair Gibbs, Managing Director of TPG DisableAids, stating that mobility retailers need to move away from using price as a means of differentiation.

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“Quite clearly if the offering were on price alone we would find it difficult to compete with manufacturers selling their own products. “However, as a company we would always be looking to enhance the value of what we sell. This may be the local service, it may be speed of response or it may be packaging the equipment with other products to give a workable solution. All of these little techniques make price less of an issue and value of far more importance.” Establish closer relationships with trade partners In particular, Alastair pointed out that for many suppliers, the desire to establish their own direct-toconsumer channels can be attributed to the difficulty they have traditionally faced working with retailers. “I think you often have to look a little deeper into why manufacturers choose to go direct,” he noted. “It is often because their chosen, or historic dealers have not shown the loyalty to the brand or worked with that supplier to improve the offering which in turn converts into more volume. “All too often, I see many retailers trying to offer every make of a

particular genre of product and this simply means they are insignificant to all of those suppliers. If they restricted their offerings to perhaps just three of four, then they would be able to represent them well and not tempt those suppliers to look for volume in a different route.” By reducing the number of brands on offer, Alastair says retailers can build closer relationships with trade partners, as well as be able to afford to keep spares on the shelf and have well trained engineers in the limited ranges it does stock. The sentiment of closer collaboration is one shared by Karma’s Mark Duffield, highlighting that the tradeexclusive company is selective regarding which retailers it works with. Discussing how the wheelchair specialist ensures it achieves good retail coverage without oversaturation, he told THIIS: “It is important that we have good coverage but also that the retailers we are working with are promoting our products, we see it as a partnership – not only for selling the products but also when there are problems.” The desire to work closer with trade partners was also mentioned by Paul Stockdill, National Sales Manager at Handicare, emphasising how the company’s trade network offers Handicare more than just reach and volume. “There’s no doubt that a bigger retailer network means greater reach and increased sales but we see our Partners as very much part of our OneFamily,” explained Paul. “Their market knowledge and experience are invaluable and help us to develop our customer service-led commercial strategy. Our customer service and support doesn’t stop when the orders have been completed and we’re keen to work more closely with both dealers and mobility retailers to make sure both their business and ours are being and doing the best they can.” How can retailers work closer with manufacturers? Working closer with fewer brands allows retailers and manufacturers the

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retail models space to offer more support to one another says Alastair. “The retailer can work with the manufacturer on marketing strategy and sales training to gain a mutual respect that is no longer price driven,” he highlighted. “My suppliers will recognise that we wish to work with them for our mutual benefit, rather than hop from one supplier to another when things are not going well. We will feed back any issues or problems and work with them to improve the offering.” In particular, manufacturers are keen to gather that to acquire that valuable consumer data that often retailers enjoy. For Repose’s Lisa, gathering this data from her retail network helps the brand support the work of the retailers she works with and improve the company’s product range. “Through a two-way exchange of information, we are able to gain significantly improved information on

the end-user market. This enables us to keep a leading edge in the development of new products,” she commented. “We have been able to develop new products in partnership with some of our dealers with the ability to target key audiences that these clients are approaching.” Gathering and sharing this valuable consumer data is an effective and worthwhile way for retailers to build closer ties and collaborate with their suppliers to enhance the trade relationship. THE NEED FOR CLEARLY DEFINED, DIFFERENTIATED PROPOSITIONS As more internet savvy customers continue to enter the market and ever-improving technologies allow manufacturers to better target and serve consumers cost-effectively, it is likely the trend of direct-to-consumer models for brands is one that will

continue to rise sharply in the coming years. Rather than see it as an omen of doom for the traditional bricks and mortar retailer however, TPG DisableAids’ MD sees it as something that retailers should prepare for and react accordingly to. “It disappoints me when I see public comment from a distributor saying that manufacturers or importers should not compete with them. This almost always is because that distributor has underperformed and has been trying to sell 10 different types of scooter rather than selling three or four types well,” finished Alastair. “Added to this is of course that they are trying to remove competition, which is illegal and damaging to the public perception of our industry. “There is space for us all in an expanding marketplace but those that do not differentiate on anything other than price will find it a very hard place to trade for the long term.”

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MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND INVESTMENTS SUNRISE BOOSTS PRODUCT OFFERING WITH MAGIC Sunrise Medical has extended its current mobility offering with the acquisition of Australian-based all-terrain power wheelchairs Magic Mobility.


he acquisition will see the inclusion of the Magic Mobility portfolio into Sunrise Medical’s offer made up of brands such as Quickie, Sopur, RGK, Zippie, Breezy, Switch-It, JAY and Whitmyer. Jim Barratt, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations who led the acquisition for Sunrise, commented: “The opportunity of offering our customers greater possibilities in

and experience we have at our disposal.” Founded in 1994 by a small group of rehab industry professionals, Magic Mobility has grown into a market leader in off-road and all-terrain powerchairs, with each chair being personalised for each customer. Discussing the acquisition, Jill Barnett, General Manager of Magic Mobility, said: “We are thrilled by this

“Magic Mobility will continue to play an increased role in the global power wheelchair marketplace” JOHAN EK

terms of power wheelchairs is at the heart of this acquisition.” Following the acquisition, Magic Mobility will continue to operate out of its Melbourne facilities and will benefit from the additional resources available from Sunrise Medical. “Magic Mobility will continue to play an increased role in the global power wheelchair marketplace,” said Johan Ek, CEO of Sunrise Medical. “Magic Mobility has a strong and dedicated team of people headed up by an excellent management team who will continue to run the business along with the new support, resources

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transition, which will ensure that the 24-year-old Australian brand can grow and develop even further for decades.

Our desire has always been to grow awareness and provide more access to our products and the Magic way of life. “We are excited to help facilitate the introduction of a global corporation into Victoria. The prospect of continuing to operate here in Melbourne and employing more local talent as we grow, is great for the Victorian manufacturing industry and the overall Australian economy.” Headquartered in Malsch, Germany and employing 2,300 associates worldwide, Sunrise Medical manufactures in their own facilities in the United States, Mexico, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Holland and China.



Substantial funding to improve accessibility of assistive technology for millions To make assistive devices more accessible to people with disabilities, the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub at University College London (UCL) has been awarded £10 million from the Department for International Development.


he funding will support the GDI Hub’s AT:2030 programme, an assistive technology scheme which aims to reach over three million people. Testing new approaches and discovering what assistive technology works for those who need it, the programme aims to lead to the creation of at least 30 new start-ups and 10 innovative, life-changing technologies by 2030. With ambitions of doubling the initial £10 million investment, AT:2030 is being delivered by a global partnership involving the World Health Organisation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, UNICEF, universities and disability NGOs and DPOs.

he Department for Transport has set out plans and a £300 million budget with a goal of making transport fully accessible for everyone by 2030. The funding will be used to make improvements to the transport network, enabling disabled passengers to travel easier and more confidently. A recent report by Scope found that 40 percent of disabled people have had difficulties using trains as well as other problems while travelling where people have received poor service or have been let down as a result of poor infrastructure. An extension of the Government’s Access for All programme, the Department for Transport outlined its Inclusive Transport Strategy, which includes investment in rail accessibility infrastructure, producing league tables which highlight operators that are delivering the best service for disabled people, and funding for Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations. An additional part of the inclusive strategy is an allocated £2 million for audio and visual equipment on buses and a £2 million passenger awareness campaign to spread awareness about disability and reduce hate crime. | 61


STYLISH TRADE CATALOGUE SHOWCASES EVOLVING BRAND Classic Canes has launched a new trade catalogue including a range of creative designs exclusive to the family-run firm.


mong the new products featured are a collection of adjustable and folding canes patterned with British wildflower designs, a range of fabric-wrapped adjustable canes, smart ‘Mayfair’ derby canes with sparkling crystal collars and canes printed with designs featuring cats, hearts and blossom. Charlotte Gillan, Managing Director of Classic Canes, commented: “Our new catalogue is a great opportunity

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to show our customers how the Classic Canes brand is evolving. We have many new designs that are exclusive to us and will give our stockists interesting new sales opportunities.” Featuring striking and stylish lifestyle imagery shot by renowned photographer Tim Mercer, the catalogue includes Classic Canes’ directors and their family modelling a variety of walking sticks in different

scenarios, highlighting the versatility of the products. Charlotte explained: “Tim’s beautiful photographs help explain that a walking stick is an extension of its user’s personal sense of style and that a walking stick is not just an aid to balance but also an important accessory and gift item.”

trusted recruiter

Product Specialist Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire - £35k plus commission Our client is a large, highly recognised manufacturer and supplier of mobility and rehabilitation products for both paediatric and adult markets. With over 50 years in business and with continued growth and internal promotions. As a Product Specialist, you will be responsible for working closely with occupational therapists and physiotherapists to carry out assessments and demonstrations of their seating and standing aid products. Going to schools, hospitals, care homes, local authorities and the end user. The ideal candidate will come from a background of having worked with seating and standing aids or other rehab equipment. Occupational therapy, sports therapy, physiotherapy candidates will be highly considered. Those from other mobility/rehab related backgrounds will be considered. Salary being offered is £30k plus commission, company van, pro rota holiday. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@ including job reference 479 in order to discuss further

Product Adviser x2 Midlands and Home Counties - Salary £26k-£32k OTE of £45k-£50k Location: Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire OR Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire Our client is a manufacturer of disability living aids with a global presence and having been established for over 30 years. Their products include seating, standing, walking, toileting, and bathing aids. Due to genuine continued growth, they are now seeking a Product Adviser to promoted and sell their range of mobility/disability products. Dealing with the NHS, local authorities, and schools. This will also involve carrying out product training and demonstrations with Occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Mainly to the paediatric area.

This is a great opportunity to work for one of the fastest growing companies in the sector. Candidates from a background in sports science, occupational therapy or physiotherapy will be considered. As will those who have sold mobility/ disability-related products into Local Authorities and the NHS. Those with paediatric product experience will be highly advantageous. Salary between £26k-£32k depending on experience, With an OTE of £45k-£50k, company van, phone, tablet, pension. You will be paid commission on every sale! Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@ including job reference 481 to discuss further

Field Service Engineer East Midlands – Salary negotiable Our client offers a wide range of products and services to the healthcare sector including patient handling, beds, pressure care, wheelchairs and other mobility related products. With ongoing service contracts and support. Based primarily from home, you will be responsible for servicing and repairing the range of products offered. Carrying our Loler testing and inspections across the East Midlands. Visiting schools, hospitals, care homes and customers’ homes. Hours are Monday to Friday 8am-4pm. You will ideally have experience of the repair/service of mobility products. Those with experience of working for a pressure area care manufacturer or distributor are highly advantageous although not essential. Our client wants someone with a can-do attitude. Must be willing to work in hospitals and challenging environments. Salary negotiable, company van, phone, tools, 28 days holiday, pension. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@ including job reference Thiis480 to discuss further.

0333 0144 014 | 63


Area Sales Manager Established in 1995 Freerider Corporation has grown to become one of the largest Mobility Scooter manufacturers. We are looking to recruit Area Sales Manager to join our sales team covering all parts of the South of England and South West. Main duties & responsibilities are: Making appointments to meet new potential customers. Maintaining and developing existing customers. Identifying new markets and business opportunities. Increase market share in existing market. Achieving sales targets for revenue, profitability and sales growth Skills & experience required: Proven communication and interpersonal skills. The ability to establish and develop new and existing business. Passion for quality and commitment to delivering a first class service. Need a structural approach to developing your sales area. Highly organised and able to plan and prioritise workload. Success in achieving targets and producing results Extensive travelling Nights away from home Driving licence essential In return we offer: Basic wage + commission, expenses, company van, mobile phone and laptop. To apply for this position please send your CV along with a covering letter to Closing date for applications is Monday 17th September 2018

Procurement Manager West Drayton

Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd is a dynamic and fast growing company with a turnover of £160m. Through a network of 18 depots and over 750 people located across the UK we work with the NHS, Local Authorities and social care organisations to supply and deliver independent living solutions. Reporting to the Procurement Director the role is to manage the relationship between Medequip and its suppliers managing the £50m spend on medical equipment. In addition you will be involved in managing key strategic projects including scrap, warranty, spare parts, repairs and supplier performance measurement. The Person: 1. Ideally a graduate with CIPS 2. Strong negotiator with excellent systems and data knowledge to manage supplier spend and cost pricing 3. Has the procurement functional/technical knowledge and skills to perform the role at a high level 4. Uses logic and proven methodology to solve difficult problems with effective solutions; can see hidden problems; looks beyond the obvious and doesn’t stop at first answers 5. Relates well to all kinds of people; builds appropriate rapport; builds constructive and effective relationships; uses diplomacy and tact; can diffuse even difficult situations 6. Can be counted on to achieve or exceed KPIs/ objectives; consistently a top performer; steadfastly pushes self and others Key Duties: 1. Negotiate supply and service level agreements with suppliers 2. Product Pricing Management: Establish the correct pricing of items procured and ensure that this is reflected within the systems of the business. Identify where incorrect pricing or changes to current pricing occurs and action.

Analyse the merchandiser and invoicing reports to identify errors or issues, and either take necessary corrective action or notify the relevant person to take corrective measures. 3. Supplier Assessment: Support the process of supplier assessment including with provision of qualitative and quantitative information on supply performance. 4. Contract Liaison: In partnership with others, identify opportunities to improve the product offering to those contracts assigned, both through beneficial pricing and/or functionality and performance. Organise, attend and support equipment assessment and selection with assigned contracts. 5. Manage key strategic projects such as scrapping, spare parts and repairs, warranties, supplier performance measurement and supplier consolidation 6. Travel and overnight stays are required in this role Benefits & Bonus Competitive salary Eyecare vouchers 25 days holiday + bank holidays Pension scheme Benefits and financial bonus following successful completion of probation period. CV’s to be sent to Georgia at georgia.donnison@ if you have any questions about this post please email.

Check the ‘Jobs On Offer’ section of the website for more opportunities Take a look at the recently added positions Regional Product Specialist Contracts/Bid Writer Manager Operations Manager Area Sales Manager Product Specialists 64 |

Sunrise Medical is a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of high quality mobility solutions that improve people’s lives. We currently have a number of exciting opportunities including... CLINICAL TRAINER

demonstration and sales of a range of manual and powered wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

Midlands with UK Coverage

Candidates will have a proven track record within business-tobusiness sales of a technical product; clearly some experience of sales through a dealer network would be a distinct advantage but is in no way a prerequisite.

Role - to develop and deliver the Sunrise Medical clinical education programme across the UK. You will deliver training to our internal sales / product managers as well as customers within the NHS / Social Services sector. Candidates will be suitably qualified Occupational Therapists or Physiotherapists who have a passion for improving people’s lives. Ideally you will be based within commuting distance to the Head Office in Dudley but there will be extensive UK travel and regular nights away from home.

AREA SALES MANAGER South East UK Retail Role - to be fully responsible for the profitable development of the South East region which covers Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey plus some parts of Middlesex. This consultative sales role involves generating business through a dealer network that needs to be developed, encouraged and enlarged - the role will involve the

We would also welcome applications from more junior graduate level (business / marketing / science) candidates with limited sales experience looking for their second step on the career ladder.

AREA SALES MANAGER North East UK NHS Role - to be fully responsible for direct sales into the NHS within the North East region which covers Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Yorkshire. As the NHS Area Sales Manager, you will drive sales by developing accounts through product training and demonstrations whilst offering clinical and assessment support. Candidates will have a proven track record within business-tobusiness sales of a technical product. Experience of the NHS and medical devices would be a distinct advantage but is in no way a prerequisite.

All roles offer competitive salary and benefits packages plus training and career progression. To apply or for more information please contact our retained consultant Gary Simpson, Managing Director, Simpson Recruitment. 01283 713832 / 07968 732744


Training Diary If you are providing training for the trade, then simply send us the details of the course, the date, any costs, the venue and the contact for booking places and we’ll include it in the Diary. Email with any details you have. September Sunrise Medical - JCM Postural Management Workshop: Specialist Seating – September 4th 2018 Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Sunrise Medical - JCM Technical Training – September 5th 2018 Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Electric Mobility – Servicing / Maintenance & Fault finding for Rascal Mobility Products – September 5th 2018 – Ilminster - FOC including Lunch. Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - September 12th - La Mon Hotel & Country Club, Belfast Pride Mobility - Service Training – September 19th & 20th – Bicester Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - September 26th -Imperial Hotel. Torquay Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 26th September 2018 – Imperial Hotel, Torquay – Free of charge

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

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - November 7th - The Spa Hotel, Kent Electric Mobility – Servicing / Maintenance & Fault finding for Rascal Mobility Products – November 7th 2018 - Ilminster. FOC including Lunch

Hilton Gateshead, Newcastle Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 28th November 2018 – Gateshead Hilton, Newcastle – Free of charge


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

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - December 5th Hilton Hotel Ageas Bowl, Southampton

Jiraffe - Training for Life – Seating and Toileting Course – 13th November Sheffield – FOC

SimpleStuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 5th December 2018 – Hilton Hotel Ageas Bowl, Southampton – Free of charge

Pride Mobility - Service Training – November 21st & 22nd – Bicester Sunrise Medical - JCM Postural Management Workshop: Specialist Seating – November 27th 2018 - Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Sunrise Medical - JCM Technical Training – November 28th 2018 - Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - November 28th -

Contacts for bookings or email marketing@electricmobility.

Balshaw – 01925 240064 – j.balshaw@

JCM – Contact Martyn Davis on

Jiraffe – call +44 (0)114 285 3376 or email

Pride Mobility – sales@pride-mobility. or contact: 01869 324600

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

Electric Mobility – Call 01460 258158

Disability Trading Company - John

Simple Stuff Works - Contact Simone McCarthy at Trainingadmin@ or call 01827 307870

Benmor Medical – Contact Katie Rowsell – 0333 800 9000 – katie. Invacare – Call Joan James on 01656 776283 or email

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








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


a 35° Tilt-in-Space

a 30° Anti-Sliding Recline

a Foldable and Durable

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

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

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



Front & rear suspension

The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985




THIIS September 2018  

The September issue of THIIS looks ahead to one of the biggest days in the mobility trade calendar, Trade Days. Key features include a previ...

THIIS September 2018  

The September issue of THIIS looks ahead to one of the biggest days in the mobility trade calendar, Trade Days. Key features include a previ...