Q&A: Mobility manufacturer’s island hop is ‘no issue for distribution partners’

Malcolm Cooke, Cortech Healthcare’s chairman, spoke at the opening of its new manufacturing base.

Mobility manufacturer Cortech Healthcare relocated to a new base on the Isle of Man just last year and now it is in the process of establishing a distribution network to carry its patented product range into the UK market. Alastair Demick, sales and marketing director, explains what’s behind the drastic move and what role dealers will have to play in its latest chapter.

What was behind Cortech’s move to the Isle of Man?

Our initial interest in setting up Cortech Healthcare’s (CHL) design, development, manufacturing and assembly base on the Isle of Man was inspired through the introduction of the EDS funding available to companies such as ourselves. However, the thought process during our research, which has been cemented with our move to the Island, was that the Isle of Man provides CHL with resources, support and collaborative working unavailable elsewhere in the UK. The Isle of Man has a wealth of electronic, technical and aerospace design and engineering knowledge which, per square metre, is unrivalled anywhere else in the UK or Europe.

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All of these specific attributes are an ideal fit for CHL as we bring our product concepts through the design process into physical products ready for market launch. Similarly, the passion and enthusiasm to encourage inter-company collaboration from commercial bodies as well as the Isle of Man government is helping us to develop excellent working relationships to the mutual benefit of all companies as well as for the Manx people.

The government are accessible, knowledgeable and proactive in helping companies of all sizes meet their full potential through design and manufacturing as well as identifying appropriate sales avenues to those most in need of healthcare products such as CHL provide. These factors, combined with the enthusiasm and passion of all CHL staff, has helped to make our first six operational months on the Isle of Man a success and an excellent indicator of the success to come.

We are proud that CHL is a Manx company and recommend companies in similar situations to investigate the potential of locating there.

Does being based on the Island present any challenges for the manufacturing hub or distribution partners?

From a manufacturing viewpoint, having our base on the island with such a tight design, development, engineering and manufacturing community has proved even more beneficial than we could have envisaged. The work we are doing with the Manx BioMed community, the Engineering Section of the Chamber of Commerce and the Aerospace Cluster, is concreting our decision to move there and is advancing our commercial proposition. With regards to distribution, we have not yet encountered any issues with the transportation of any of our products on and off the island. We are aware of the hazards the weather can bring to any island-based company and we have built in methods to reduce any impact on Cortech Healthcare and its distributor partners.

The BHTA’s former director general, Tracey White, attended the official opening.

Can you tell me about the new line of mobility products you are developing?

The initial product line is a range of electronic commodes and electronic commode shower chairs. These products utilise a patent-protected movement system which creates an arc of movement allowing the user, the individual or the care provider, to customise the product in a way that provides assistance in movement which mimics human movement. The purpose of this is to encourage the body to move as it is intended to when in a standing or sitting position, while increasing the level of dignity and independence for the patient and reducing the physical impact on care providers.

You specialise in beds, chairs and commodes, but will Cortech Healthcare eventually look to branch out into other product categories too?

Due to the endless movement capabilities of the patent-protected system the product variants are similarly endless. At present we are keen to focus on our core ranges and to develop along with the expectations and requirements of the market.

What will be your UK distribution strategy? Which channels will you be going through?

We are in advanced discussions with several UK distributors who we will aim to work in partnership with to ensure that their customers and other end-users are able to access our products and equipment and the positive benefits we believe they can provide at a cost-effective level.

What kind of support can Cortech offer its distribution partners?

Cortech will work with all partners on a joint relationship basis. Cortech will provide all marketing support and training and the purpose of the relationship is to ensure that Cortech provides its partners with the right products, at the right prices to meet the needs of their customers.

Cortech recently embarked on a new chapter moving to the Isle of Man. How is it looking to expand from here on?

Currently we are keen to further establish our base on the Isle of Man and to grow the design, development, manufacturing and assembly team there. Additionally, we are working hard to establish the Cortech product range in the UK independent living products market as soon as possible.

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