Specialist equipment supplier Arjo is laying plans to work with more dealers to help end-users access its life-changing products. Strategic marketing director for the UK and Ireland, Martyn Elcocks, discusses how the best distributors can benefit from partnering with the firm and describes the kind of companies Arjo is seeking.
The global business grew 3% last year. Where has this growth come from and how important were UK markets to this expansion?
2018 was Arjo’s first year as an independent and listed company. The journey has had a strong start, with a global organic sales growth of 3%. The UK is an important market for Arjo and contributed to this growth in 2018. The NHS’ low levels of investment in healthcare over a prolonged period have led to an overall decrease in spending. At the beginning of the year, we developed an action plan to address and overcome the challenges in the UK market by increasing our market shares in specific areas and these generated positive results.
What is your strategy for the UK dealer market?
The strategy for the UK dealer market is to complete our geographical coverage. Our current dealers already cover a vast area, but we do have some areas we are looking to expand further. We expect that having several more Arjo approved dealers will improve our service to customers even further.
Which product areas is Arjo focusing on in the UK dealer market?
Our focus for the UK dealer market is primarily the provision of our safe patient handling equipment, more specifically overhead ceiling tracks and floor hoists. From our experience, our dealers have the knowledge and expertise to focus in on this area so they can provide the customer with the highest level of service resulting in an excellent reputation for Arjo. With the upcoming release of two new Maxi Sky 2 hoist variants, we will be further extending the dealer portfolio so we can offer more customers access to the most advanced technologies.
What does the ideal dealer partner look like for Arjo?
The work we carry out here at Arjo is based on genuine care for human health and well-being, and contributes to a sustainable healthcare system – always with people in mind. If a dealer did not share this same vision then it would be more challenging to have a successful, long term partnership. In terms of size and capability, we are looking for dealers who have the set-up to be able to provide equipment to local authorities and the private sector. This also requires the dealer to have skilled engineers who can install and maintain the products on a daily basis.
Why has the dealer market become an increasingly attractive area for Arjo? Have shrinking NHS budgets been a factor?
The dealer market has always been an attractive market for Arjo. The issue of bed blocking in the NHS highlights how critical integrated post-acute mobility services will continue to be. Our dealers have the means to supply products and install equipment to support the patient’s needs when they leave hospital. As a result, patients are able to return to their homes sooner which in turn can often reduce the length of their stay in hospital. Having a partnership with dealers who can provide this service remains important to Arjo.
What has the initial feedback been from mobility businesses working with Arjo?
Our dealers are confident they can rely on us to answer their queries and provide them with the necessary information needed to ensure the end-user is fully satisfied with the services that the dealer and Arjo supply. Here at Arjo we pride ourselves in having the experience and expertise to offer the correct solutions.
How important do you envisage UK dealers being to Arjo in the next five years?
UK dealers are and will continue to be extremely important for Arjo. Working together ensures we can capitalise on more business opportunities across the UK as the dealer network complements the direct sales structure of Arjo. From this collaboration we understand the high quality of our dealers, this will maintain the excellent reputation of Arjo and the service it provides our customers.
How can working with Arjo impact on a dealer’s business?
Working with Arjo has many positive benefits, from saving cost via our dealer exclusive price list, to having the most up-to-date technology available. Arjo have the resources available to help the dealers to grow their business. We are constantly looking to implement new ways to grow and with our latest Maxi Sky 2 offerings, we believe we have another tool to do this.
What kind of support can dealers expect from Arjo?
Here at Arjo we pride ourselves on giving excellent support to our dealers from start to finish. Our team is always available to take the enquiries and questions our dealers could have, via fast email replies and great telephone service. To ensure any technical queries are efficiently dealt with reducing minimal downtime, our technical department offers installation and service training, joint site surveys, drawing capabilities and day-to-day technical support.
Our experienced sales managers, who have years of product knowledge, are also readily available to give hands-on advice when it comes to finding the best modern solutions, we believe we offer a full range of support. Our overall aim is to do everything possible to make sure the dealer feels confident in placing orders with us, knowing that we will not let them down!
Arjo is known for its investment in innovation, with one subsidiary even winning a Queen’s Award recently. What is the company’s strategy when it comes to R&D?
Arjo holds leading positions in the areas in which we operate and we are actively looking at acquisitions and other investments, including partnerships in innovation, to further strengthen our competitiveness. Arjo also invests significant financial amounts in research and development and is continuously developing new products and technological solutions.