Graham Ewart, the Managing Director of Direct Healthcare Services, explains how you can not only succeed but thrive as a British manufacturer by focusing all aspects of your business on your customer
Following a period of sustained growth since forming in 2009, Direct Healthcare Services once again bucked the trend of most UK manufacturers last year when they increased their turnover by more than 40% and expanded their customer base by 50%. That left them in a position where they were ready to embark on the next stage of their strategic plan, to strengthen the management team and plan for future growth. Graham joined Direct Healthcare Services as Managing Director in May 2012 after five years with healthcare multinational Stryker.
“I was immediately attracted to Direct Healthcare Services by their unremitting focus on customer needs which to me, is what sets them apart. Now as an insider, I can see even more clearly how the team’s refreshing and uncommon customer-centric approach manifests itself in every aspect of how we do business.
This coupled with the fact we are a young business means there is a real energy and passion for getting it absolutely right for the customer – the whole team genuinely care about delivering solutions that don’t just tick the basic requirements but provide personalised solutions for the customer.
Traditional supplier relationships tend to focus on the economic transaction but we simply don’t believe this goes far enough in terms of delivering genuine value to customers. We begin by seeking to understand more about the day-to-day challenges our customers face, which range from what a product needs to do, to understanding how individuals and departments are targeted to measure quality.
By taking the time to understand the issues our customers face we can find different ways to support them, from working together to assist clients in the buying process to improving our product design in response to feedback and even supplying one-off solutions.
Our manufacturing and R&D facility was designed not only to ensure quality and efficiency at every stage of the process but also with the need for personalisation in mind and so we have the flexibility to design and craft bespoke products to meet a client’s precise requirements.“
World class service and best value solutions
Great reputations aren’t earned overnight and Direct Healthcare Services’ has been built on a sustained track record of listening
to our customers and giving them what they want, when they need it.
In order to achieve this, we invest a great deal of our time in listening to our customers so that we can be fully responsive to their changing needs. Sometimes these are unexpected, perhaps in response to a problem they have or a short-term healthcare requirement that has presented itself. In such circumstances it is critical that our customers know we are there and that they feel supported.
By listening and learning, we can also be sensitive to the ever-present budget and regulatory pressures and we recognise the on-going requirement to deliver not only a superior product, quality and market-leading service, but also the very best value for our customers.
Investment in innovation
Delivering excellence is, of course, as much about what you don’t do as what you do. To this end we don’t just bring ‘me too’ products to market. Our relationship-based approach means our products only see the light of day after careful research and close consultation with our customers about the specific challenges they face and their requirements.
Continual product analysis and customer feedback is also critical to on-going product design. Our facility in South Wales is fitted with a full range of analytical tools using dedicated software that enables us to create better pressure area care solutions for patients. Using these facilities in conjunction with the invaluable information gleaned from our customers has helped us create award-winning products such as the Mercury Advance mattress and our latest range of Dynamic mattresses.
Ongoing investment in a robust Research and Development programme also ensures continued delivery of the best, most innovative products in the market. For such a young, ambitious business we are fortunate to boast a wealth of industry experience and knowledge. Company Chairman Jon Lewis and indeed many of the people who actually make the products at Direct Healthcare Services have a track record of developing and manufacturing some of the most innovative products in the pressure care market in recent years.
Delivering the promise
It’s an exciting time to be British. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a team who are pro-actively creating local employment by setting the highest industry standard. And I’m proud of all the people who want to support British manufacturing and are glad they have the opportunity to do so because it makes the best commercial sense for them.
At Direct Healthcare Services the future is firmly focused on further growth and building on our unrivalled reputation for customer service. We will achieve this by retaining our single-minded focus on customers and continuing to deliver our promise – setting the highest standards in product quality and service, all delivered at the best possible value.