Product Talk

What Do Manufacturers Say About Each Other? It's not what you think!

There is a well-known quote by David Sarnoff that says, "Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people." That might not be true for the HME industry! In this exclusive story, Mobility Management asked manufacturers to tell us a product in the industry that they admire, but they couldn't tell us one of their own! Off came the marketing hats, and after a moment of puzzled hesitation, several courageous manufacturers responded. See? Competition can actually bring out the best in people, too!

Who Gets the Kudos? Moen's Bath Safety Line
Paying the Compliment: Medline Industries
"Moen bath has done a nice job with their bath safety products. They are well designed with the end-user in mind." —Dave Jacobs, president, Medline Durable Medical Equipment division.

Competition is a process or variety of habitual behavior that grows out of a habit of mind. -Willard Beecher

Who Gets the Kudos? Shoprider's Envirofriendly SGE Battery Technology
Paying the Compliment: Harmar Mobility
"One of the products I am excited to see is Shoprider's new Envirofriendly SGE battery technology. The battery promises to change how powered products are built and used due to the extremely light weight and high performance while being both safe and maintenance free. Envirofriendly SGE will allow lighter products to go farther and engineers to design more for style and function than merely packaging a powered mobility device around huge batteries." — Chad Williams, president, Harmar Mobility

Who Gets the Kudos? Permobil's Chairman Powered Mobility Base
Paying the Compliment: The ROHO Group
"Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 1992, I have followed with much interest and admiration the success of the Chairman powered mobility base from Permobil. From the beginning, Permobil has discarded conventional wisdom and pursued a unique pathway with the Chairman product. They have stood behind the values of innovation and quality, while maintaining a core belief that a top quality, top performance product that meets the needs of unique individuals is worthy of a premium price and premium market position. This core belief has led to the amazing growth and success of Permobil's U.S. operation — a tribute to Tom Rolick and others within the sales and marketing team at Permobil. Stay true to your core belief Permobil! It serves as an example to others who believe that quality and performance are more important than discounts and low prices!" —Tom Borcherding, senior VP, Global Medical Sales, The ROHO Group

The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage. -Arie de Geus

Who Gets the Kudos? The Falcon ACT Mini V from Falcon Rehab
Paying the Compliment: Merits Health Products
"The underlying need in seating systems for kids is the ability to grow. The mini-V doesn't put the clinician in the difficult position of having to anticipate what the child's needs will be five years out. The Mini V can be quickly scaled up to correctly match the user's needs. Without this scalability, the clinician either has to order a system too big for the client's current requirements and let the kid grow into it, or they face the daunting prospect of going back to Medicaid in a year and trying to get authorization for a new system." —Todd Aiazzone, director of marketing, Merits Health Products

Who Gets the Kudos? Motion Concepts
Paying the Compliment: Stealth Products
"A group of people who have really made a difference is Motion Concepts. Motion Concepts has broken barriers and led the way in the lowering of seat-to-floor heights. They did an excellent execution on their 'lateral' powered seating, and they help many individuals by providing extremely customized powered seating. Lastly, they are educating constantly, and even though they are [naturally] focused on their products, that body of education has benefited the entire industry." —Hymie Pogir, VP of sales and marketing, Stealth Products

Competition is the whetstone of talent. -Traditional Proverb

Who Gets the Kudos? Eye Response Technologies
Paying the Compliment: Permobil
"The opportunity to work with the ALS Association and the staff of the hit NBC show 'ER' also gave us the opportunity to work with Eye Response communication devices. Eye Response Technologies is located in Charlottesville, Va. and they produce a technologically advanced communication device for wheelchair users. Chris Lankford, Ph.D and chief technology officer, was very professional to work with and very knowledgeable about communication devices and their function with power wheelchairs. It was a joy to work with Eye Response and Chris on this very special episode of 'ER.' The Eye Response unit allows communication for individuals that have difficulty in speaking and or writing to communicate. This technology is very important for individuals in later stages of ALS and Eye Response is leading the way in its development." — Barry Steelman, marketing manager, Permobil, Inc.

Who Gets the Kudos? Altimate Medical's EasyStand
Paying the Compliment: Innovation in Motion
"The EasyStand is a quality product. It has been interesting to see the evolution of their products. I hear so many wonderful things about their products, and most importantly, what they do for people. They also have excellent customer service." —Rick Michael, VP, Innovation in Motion

When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn. -Tom Landry

Who Gets the Kudos? Bodypoint
Paying the Compliment: Altimate Medical
"Bodypoint has always made excellent positioning products. I particularly like the upper body positioning products because of their superior fit and function. Nice products with all around terrific quality." —Mark J. Schmitt, director of sales and marketing, Altimate Medical

Who Gets the Kudos? Blue Chip Medical
Paying the Compliment: PaceSaver/Leisure-Lift
"Blue Chip Medical's new lines of bariatric alternating pressure/low air loss beds are really unique. They use solenoids, good quality compressors instead of cheap blowers and microprocessor controls to keep the patient positioned correctly, extremely important to bariatric patients. The solenoid system means the mattresses stay inflated in case of an emergency, thereby protecting the patients delicate skin tissues. They can even make the mattresses in different heights on a custom basis so the bed has the same specifications as it did originally, which is extremely important nowadays to meet the FDA entrapment standards like 60601-2-38. Their separate side bolsters also prevent entrapment by remaining inflated and not compressing under a patient's weight. Not only are their systems unique and safe, they appear to have proved their level of quality over years of experience in the industry." —DuWayne Kramer, president, PaceSaver/Leisure-Lift

Who Gets the Kudos? Bruno
Paying the Compliment: Invacare
"Bruno's Caroni (an automotive access seating product whose seat can be mounted onto a wheelchair base) is an interesting product; it ends up being either a manual or a power chair. It's something that has a lot of promise and that makes a lot of sense." —Ben Kingery, group product manager, powered mobiity products, Invacare Corp.

Who Gets the Kudos? Altimate Medical
Paying the Compliment: PDG
"Altimate Medical primarily because they started working in an area that really needed attention in terms of standing. They have a really dedicated group of people. I really admire the work they have done in an area that is definitely under-funded and not a lot of education out there, they really came to bat with really good education manuals, really pushing the envelope in terms of getting people to understand the benefits of standing, and they have a great product. In the last year of so they have completely revolutionized their product to make it even better. But the biggest thing is recognizing a true rehab need, figuring out what needs to be done about it and coming up with a product esp. in these days with very little funding base and K-codes and such to work with, they pushed forward and made a success of the thing. —Phil Mundy, president, Product Design Group (PDG)

Who Gets the Kudos? TiLite
Paying the Compliment: PDG
"There are lots of lightweight chairs around, from a lot of the bigger companies but TiLite pushed the envelope. Lots of people early on said, 'What's the difference with the chairs, how can they be that much better,' but they are that much better! Taking a few pounds off a chair makes a real difference for people with rotator cuff injuries and shoulders and all of the things that tend to slow down people who want higher function. I know it may cost more, but TiLite said, 'we want the highest quality we can get and we want to deliver the very best independence and mobility we can provide.'" —Phil Mundy, president, Product Design Group (PDG)

This article originally appeared in the March 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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