As the World Para Athletics Championships flew out of the blocks last month it was clear that the event was as much a showcase for high-performance mobility equipment as it was a stage for sporting prowess. Spectators and the wider mobility trade were treated to a feast of high-tech, incredibly light and precision-engineered wheelchairs, prosthetics, blades and everything in between.
Athletes require perfectly maintained equipment to ensure they match their rivals and in last month’s competition, the importance of the maintenance teams was clear as competitors were kept in action in spite of the massive strains piled onto their equipment. Behind the scenes a small army of expert technicians, made up partly of dealers, worked non-stop alongside Ottobock to ensure equipment was pristine and the competition kept on running.
The Ottobock Technical Service Repair Center was staffed by a team of highly experienced technicians fully equipped with specialist tools, machinery and spare parts. Similar to the pit lane in motorsport, technicians wasted no time in returning para athletes to training and competition, repairing every type of equipment, from throwing frames to racing wheelchairs and running blades.
One of the dealers partnered with Ottobock was Recare, which supplied its skilled technicians to the repair centre. Speaking to AMP, managing director, Richard Holland-Oakes revealed the work and challenges that went on behind the cameras.
“Our role here at Recare was to support the Ottobock technical services team in the repair and maintenance of all mobility equipment for all the competing athletes. We used our technical experience to assist the team and ensure our positive customer service was brought to the games, enabling the maintenance of our positive reputation,” explains Holland-Oakes.
He adds: “It was a great privilege for all here at Recare for Ottobock to draw on our experience and for us to be invited to offer our services. We were really touched to be asked to join Ottobock at this event, as we see this as a great opportunity for two family businesses to work together, achieving the same goal regardless of the size difference.”
Luckily for Recare’s technicians, their skills have been honed by the firm’s technical support training meaning even a challenge as large as this was surmountable. Holland-Oakes puts Recare’s level of support down to experience with both technical and power products in the industry. Because of its distribution deals with various major manufacturers the dealer is experienced with a range of mobility and seating products — not least with orthotics and prosthetics, given Holland-Oakes started out in this field.
Even so, meeting the demands of multiple athletes needing constant servicing on high performance kit and everyday mobility aids is no easy task, even for well-versed technicians. In response, Holland-Oakes says: “We were able to cope with the demands presented at the games by finding solutions for the necessary repairs we came across. Here at Recare we have built a reputation on finding solutions where there isn’t an obvious answer. The secret is we love a challenge, and the satisfaction of completing what seems to be an impossible task is unbeatable.”
Not only was the sheer volume of repairs a challenge, but Recare was working on manual and power chairs from all around the globe, experiencing a wide range of engineering from various companies. One of the biggest challenges was the pressure of completing the repairs and finding solutions to meet the level of standard in the available timeframe. For Holland-Oakes though, Recare was able to take these challenges in its stride.
He concludes: “Recare’s customer service continues to be the best in the industry, proven by the many awards we have received from some of the major manufacturers in the industry. This reputation is what we thrive to maintain here at Recare as we are a family business dedicated to improving customer experience and ensuring their needs are met with each and every service we offer.”