Supplier Spotlight: Platinum Stairlifts on levelling up
Yorkshire-based Platinum Stairlifts has come a long way since it was founded in 1996. The manufacturer employs over 200 members of staff and ships over 10,000 stairlifts to a global network of partners each year. Now, in its 25th year, the firm has embarked on a multi-million-pound project that it hopes will double its production efforts. THIIS chats to Mark McNulty, Sales and Marketing Director about why 2021 is turning out to be an exciting year…
Platinum Stairlifts is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. A key highlight for Platinum during this time has been the steady growth it has enjoyed, particularly over the last 12 years when the firm has really boosted its new product development.
Mark McNulty, Sales and Marketing Director, says: “We have continued to innovate throughout this time with our products and established some real and exciting USPs such as the ‘Ergo’ chair on the Platinum Curve twin rail and Horizon straight stairlifts. The Platinum Curve now accommodates a 160kg weight limit.
“But the real jewel in our crown is the Ultimate single rail stairlift, which has industry leading features such as the ‘First Step Start’, ‘Forward Facing Travel’, 75 degrees max rail angle, tight flat 180 degree bends and also accommodates up to 160kg.”
For a ‘small’ company from Keighley, relative to the might of some of its competitors, to be able to develop such a fantastic product like the Ultimate was a real triumph, Mark recalls.
He should know, as since joining Platinum Stairlifts in August 2009 Mark has seen the manufacturer grow from strength to strength.
Prior to joining the company Mark had met the owners a few months earlier and they showed him the Platinum Curve, a stairlift which had been launched by the firm in August 2008.
At the time, he says, the stairlift market was crying out for a reliable curved stairlift and the Curve was designed to make a complex solution very simple.
Platinum did not have a sales department back then, he recalls. There were just 34 employees and the turnover was less than £2 million. But Mark saw an opportunity to build something special with the product.
“The owners’ ambition and my knowledge was the key attraction for me to join and maximise the opportunity for the business,” says Mark, whose career in the mobility industry started in 2003 at Bison Bede, which he says gave him a good introduction to the stairlift market.
Future growth plans
The manufacturer recently announced plans to open a new production facility in West Yorkshire, which is due to open in early 2022. The multi-million-pound project is set to help Platinum Stairlifts double its production efforts and improve its turnaround time for customers.
“We are proud to manufacture all our products fully in the UK, and to employ locally,” explains Mark.
“As we have grown, we have expanded now across six sites and have continually faced capacity constraints, as demand outstrips our supply capability.
“It was important for us to find the right site for our new manufacturing facility, allowing us to get all our manufacturing under one roof, and that site had to be close to our employees and also have improved transport links.
“We identified Foundry Park last year and took the decision to go ahead with that site as it met all our requirements.
“It will allow us to at least double our product output and create numerous efficiencies that will undoubtedly benefit our partners and allow us to continue to grow.”
Mark says that the majority of the manufacturer’s sales currently is in the UK and Europe, which is the firm’s focus for the short to mid-term.
Market driving demand
Platinum Stairlifts is committed to developing its colleagues, says Mark, and it sees apprenticeships as having real value. The manufacturer partnered with local Keighley College to create a pathway for apprentices to join straight from college and work for a local employer.
Mark believes that the UK’s ageing population is driving an increase in stairlift demand at the moment. He says: “With a strong focus on independent living. Increasingly, people want to stay in their own home, so they can maintain that level of independence and continue to play an active part in their multigenerational family unit.
“It is arguable that the pandemic has also made families reflect on the range of options available when caring for elderly relatives.”
In a competitive marketplace Mark admits that there is a need for manufacturers in the stairlift industry to differentiate themselves in the market.
“Our key differentiator is that we only sell our stairlifts through our Approved Partner Network meaning we do not compete against our partners, where most of our competitors do.
“Partnership is at the heart of everything we do. We care about our partners and are very selective when establishing relationships with new partners, as we believe less is more.
“We are continuously working on demonstrating our values to our partners and believe that the focus on quality, reliability and innovation of our products, backed with a strong partnership, provides a true competitive advantage.”
Mark reiterates that the firm is looking for “the right partners” however. “We want to work with people that understand the value that can be created from a supplier and a manufacturer working together with aligned goals achieved through supporting and developing their relationship.
There are many big sellers in the range, says Mark. “Ultimate has been so successful it has waiting list for new partners, the Platinum Curve is always popular as it is tried and tested, and Horizon due to its quality features.
“We pride ourselves on our products being innovative, of high quality and reliable and I believe our partners supply our products based on these core values.”
Some new features will be added in the coming months to the Horizon and Ultimate stairlifts to enhance user experience. To this end, Mark says that the Platinum’s R&D team are working closely with key influencers to inform its product development plans.
As for the coming months, he says, the firm will continue to see the ripple effect of how COVID and Brexit have affected the supply chain.
“We will achieve our goals by continuing to develop the Platinum products to meet market needs, working closely with our partners to ensure we maximise the value of our strong relationships, continuing to improve the facilities and attracting the right talent to join us on our exciting journey.”https://thiis.co.uk/supplier-spotlight-platinum-stairlifts-on-levelling-up/https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/ULTIMATE_918-3.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/ULTIMATE_918-3-150x150.jpgNewsroomSupplier NewsSupplier SpotlightTrade FocusAnniversary,Foundry Park,Platinum Stairlifts,production,StairliftYorkshire-based Platinum Stairlifts has come a long way since it was founded in 1996. The manufacturer employs over 200 members of staff and ships over 10,000 stairlifts to a global network of partners each year. Now, in its 25th year, the firm has embarked on a multi-million-pound project that...Liane McIvorLiane McIvorliane@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine