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This month, THIIS asked suppliers from the mobility and access sector about what they have learned about themselves as a business leader in 2021, and their thoughts on what 2022 might hold for them.

All thoughts were submitted to THIIS in February 2022.

Paul Stockdill, UK Sales and Marketing Director for HandicarePaul Stockdill Handicare

“If the last year has taught us anything, it’s just how much is beyond our control – staff shortages, global supply chain issues, and lockdowns have posed greater obstacles than any of us expected. We’ve needed to make sure our businesses are adaptable and resilient by focusing on what we can control, to be prepared for the hard times as well as the good.

“In terms of leadership, this has taught me the importance of inspiring our teams to be proud of everything we’re achieving. Last year that meant giving recognition where it’s deserved, and support where it’s needed.

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“The launch of our Partner Programme offered clear reciprocal benefits that are transparent for every business we work with. We hosted a virtual Partner Day to thank partners for the incredible work they’ve been doing to keep our essential mobility solutions supplied to end users throughout the pandemic.

“We also launched Ignite, our internal global sales programme, to inspire and support our people, which is already delivering great results.

“Our message throughout 2021 has been ‘You asked. We listened.’ In October we launched the Two Way Powered Swivel on our Freecurve stairlift in response to partner feedback, and we were blown away by its success.

“That message will remain at the heart of our business this year – collaboration will continue to be key as we keep up that dialogue with our partners and with our extended Savaria family.

“Being part of the Savaria Corporation will strengthen our business and increase our product portfolio. We’re going to be bigger, better and stronger for 2022 and I’m excited about what we will achieve together over the coming year.”


Mark Duffield, General Manager at Karma Mobilitymark duffield karma mobility

“I learned that I spend too much time worrying about things I had no control over last year, and it has given me more grey hairs than I needed to have.

“My careful plans for a recovery, prepared in the winter of 2020 not really knowing what to expect but hoping for the best, didn’t work out as expected. In the past we have been spoilt by having a reasonable idea of what will happen based on what happened in that period the previous year, this went out of the window in the last two years.

“However, one of the best things about working with Karma, apart from their great products, is that we place regular orders, and they supply them on time, when there isn’t a pandemic to contend with that is.

I am not sure what next year will bring, but we will start the year with good “stock levels from the end of this month, we have learnt to factor in unexpected delays to shipments.

“The situation with containers looks as though it will continue into this year with suppliers fighting for space on ships.

“Hopefully we can all get back to some sort of normality in 2022, people regain their confidence to get out and about and the economy will continue to recover.

“Unfortunately, I do not predict as much pent-up demand as there was last year, although if we are allowed to travel more freely, so I might be wrong, let’s hope so.”


Hans Fraeyman, General Manager of mo-visHans Fraeyman

“In 2021 we saw results from projects we had been working on for quite some time. It reaffirms for me that, as an entrepreneur, you sometimes have to invest time and energy in less pleasant things, but which then produces results that you can be proud of. In our case, this is on the one hand our rebranding, which has given us more of a ‘face’ and brings us closer to the customers.

“On the other hand, we have also invested a great deal of energy in recent years in our quality system and in complying with increasingly strict regulations for medical devices. This has allowed us to make products on a larger scale that are safe and well thought out.

“It also opens doors with larger companies that – rightly – impose very strict quality standards. As a result, our products are now available for just about every wheelchair brand and wheelchair electronics. And that has always been our goal: to help as many people as possible with our innovative solutions.

“The biggest challenge of 2022 will be the worldwide scarcity of components. We know that our products can make a world of difference for some customers. That is why we hope that – as always – we will be able to help our customers as soon as possible.

“Our own hope for 2022 is that it may be an inspiring year, entirely devoted to the development of new and exciting products, with the help of all our stakeholders (customers, end-users, healthcare institutions).

“If the pandemic allows, we also hope to be able to share some of these innovations with the world in the second half of the year. We are already looking forward to it.”


Matthew James, Director of Precision RehabMatthew James, Precision Rehab

“Well, we had high hopes at Precision Rehab for 2021 as it seemed that Covid19 was starting to come under control as customers and professionals started to come out of lockdown and shielding requesting assessments and service work, we were also encouraged that events including Naidex were finally going to take place.

“While Naidex was not as busy as pre-pandemic shows, the people that did attend were very interested in our products and this lead to a successful show. Unfortunately then we were we all hit with the new variant Omicron that saw a fall in enquiries due to clients going back into shielding, however with a lot of thinking outside the box we learned and adapted our assessments and service work so clients felt comfortable in the knowledge that they would be safe with all our staff wearing PPE, and using antibacterial sprays and social distancing measures around clients.

“All in all we had a successful 2021 and now continue to offer all our services with the same level of PPE and caution in 2022.  So far the levels of enquiries have started well in 2022 and we feel finally we can move forward and grow as a business over the coming 12 months , we will continue to be innovative and come up with new ideas to reassure our clients and professionals that we offer a safe and professional service.”


Carol Stanton, Distribution Director of Sandpiper ShoesCarol Stanton

“I think one of the key learnings we at Sandpiper have taken from the last 2 years of trading is something we always believed and it has been proven correct, don’t be afraid to change and adapt your business to keep it healthy in future.

The main focus for Sandpiper since early 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has been how we can adapt to help support our wholesale, mobility retailers to sustain sufficient sales levels.

“One of the key services we have continued to develop through 2021 to help retailers overcome restrictions has been our dropship service. This allows more of their sales to be carried out online, helping them to overcome reductions in sales caused by reduced footfall to their physical stores.

“Drop ship orders are despatched from our warehouse here at Sandpiper direct to the customer as if from the mobility retailer, including full customised shipping and returns paperwork.

“The benefits to our mobility retailers are clear. Mobility retailers can offer the full range of Sandpiper products online to their customers, even when their physical stores are closed or customers are not visiting in person. There is no physical stock-holding required and retailers do not need to set up their business up to despatch parcels direct to customers themselves.

“At Sandpiper we are always open to doing business in new ways to benefit both ourselves and our customers and during the last 2 years and into 2022 that has been, and will continue to be more important than ever.”


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https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/what-to-do-with-negative-review-spend-time.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/what-to-do-with-negative-review-spend-time-150x150.jpgLiane McIvorAnalysis & InsightsNewsroomTrade Thoughts2021,access,Business,leaders,MobilityThis month, THIIS asked suppliers from the mobility and access sector about what they have learned about themselves as a business leader in 2021, and their thoughts on what 2022 might hold for them. All thoughts were submitted to THIIS in February 2022. Paul Stockdill, UK Sales and Marketing Director for...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals