Patient organizations as key partners
About the company
The best innovations are often caused by dissatisfaction with existing solutions or no solutions at all. This is how Alu Rehab and Netti wheelchairs came to life.
In the late 1980s a group of friends on the Norwegian west coast came to the conviction: “This can be improved!” One of the friends had a family member who was wheelchair bound. He was touched by the challenges that the family and wheelchair users faced daily. They began to develop a completely new chair with sophisticated adjustments focusing on a comfortable sitting position. With mutual help and the inspiration and ideas from the family they developed a chair with innovative solutions. Through support and relief of the body the chair gave the brother a sense of well-being. It was important to have the possibility to change position, due to many hours of sitting every day, to prevent damage such as distortion and pressure ulcers.
The wheelchair increased the joy of life of the mutual friend so much that they decided to establish Alu Rehab to also offer other wheelchair users the same relief and joy of life. In 1989, Alu Rehab rolled off the assembly line, so to speak. Our motto till today: To adapt the chair to the user – and not vice versa.
Alu Rehab looks back on 30 years of experience with comfort wheelchairs and offers the market the largest selection of comfort wheelchairs and accessories. The motto is still the same. In collaboration with users, therapists, doctors, engineers, and designers, we want to create a comfort wheelchair with unique solutions. The many adjustment options on the chair and numerous accessories provide the perfect sitting position for every user.
The Alu Rehab Group today consists of 3 companies.
- Alu Rehab AS which is the parent company with offices in Klepp municipality with 17 employees,
- Alu Rehab ApS in Ry, Denmark which is a logistics center with customer service and sales units in several countries in the EU with a total of 35 employees, and
- Alu Rehab Xiamen, China which is the production company with 66
Alu Rehab AS is a manufacturer of high-end quality products, meaning we need to make sure that the buyer of our product understands the value which is in the product. Compared to low margin high volume products this can be e.g. understanding the durability, safety etc.
We sell our products into about 60 countries and have as customers:
- Direct end-user
We can only be successful as long as the buyer understands the “total cost of ownership” value. A country like Norway, where we have only 1 large customer, being NAV via the tender, has a totally different focus. They buy with the “being good enough” thought in mind.
The good enough thought has many negative side effects for the user of the product/wheelchair.
This focus of the buyers means that there is often too little:
- Skin protection
- ADL and social interaction
This means increased expenses to treat pressure ulcers, pain and discomfort and decreased overall health issues.
Patient organizations as key partners
In Norway, NAV is the purchasing partner on all national tenders. The decision process of NAV relies heavily on internal resources and specialists, who are working with the tender products on a daily basis with users and therapists. As a manufacturer or distributor, you can gain access to these decision makers from time to time through evaluation meetings or, on some occasions, 1:1 meetings. It is however challenging to influence these as a selling party. Most major patient / user groups do however have organizations who fight for their cause. Some are more active than others, some are more professional than others, but they all try to utilize lobbyism as a way to gain influence and improve conditions for their members.