Stairclimbing solution company Stanley is a firm that holds R&D in high regard. The nature of its products demands that it invests time and money in developing the most up-to-date equipment available on the market.
For Alistair Munro, sales manager at Stanley, this means carrying out in-depth market research into different industries to discover new trends and analyse the problems that businesses and consumers are facing daily.
Another opportunity for Stanley to glean new intel is its attendance at mobility shows. This year it successfully exhibited at the Naidex show, which it saw as a way for its mobility advisors to speak to dealers, the public and healthcare professionals about the processes and products it is currently using.
Stanley will continue investment in R&D so that it can develop and introduce tailored solutions for existing markets. Munro explains that the firm has found significant success with its current R&D strategy and plans to continue to invest in mobility trade shows, educational talks and studies to strengthen its understanding of the mobility issues faced by end-users. It is not just money but time Stanley will be investing.
Munro believes that it is vital that retailers and dealers work with suppliers committed to R&D as the technology and business landscapes are developing at a rapid rate: “For example, thinking back 10 years, it was commonplace for phones to simply call, text and if you were particularly fortunate, access the internet. That’s now been flipped on its head, and smartphones are capable of nearly anything a desktop computer is. It shows that if suppliers don’t make the necessary investments in R&D and ultimately the future there is a real risk of being left behind in the industry.”
Drawing on the example of the NuDrive Air, Munro notes how it is a cutting-edge piece of technology which many people have been intrigued about. As it claims to be 50% more efficient than a traditional wheelchair, and offers many health benefits, it delivers an alternative solution for those who have difficulty with operating their regular wheelchair. Stanley’s flexible relationships with its manufacturers mean it is consistently developing its products to ensure they are the best on the market, according to Munro.
“Our range of mobility stairclimbers comes with a range of bespoke attachments and can even be customised to suit a company’s brand of colours. We ensure we work with customers to design the product which benefits all their needs, whether it’s systematic or aesthetics,” he explains.
But Munro is aware that R&D is not without its challenges, especially in the mobility industry, where equipment is highly complex. He comments: “Ultimately, the key challenge exists in the literal act of transporting people with limited mobility. The equipment itself needs to be reliable, efficient and it needs to command user trust. Improving the quality of life should be the key focus for manufacturers, retailers and suppliers alike.
However, machines that are developed for benefitting those heavily disabled need to be safe and fully compliant. Training is another aspect, if you do not know how to use a piece of equipment properly this could raise potential risk. For this reason, Stanley ensures all of its machinery is LOLER certificated before use and all the relevant training is carried out to prevent any misuse of equipment.”