As we recently launched our new Colorado Wide Arm Patient Recliner we asked Caleb Whiteside, Product Development Co-ordinator to take a few minutes out of his day to talk us through product development at Ocura…
First of all, who’s involved in new product development?
Ocura is totally focused on being at the forefront of the hospital furniture market and so product development is very much a part of our company culture. Every department has their part to play and we actively encourage everyone to suggest ideas and share their gems of inspiration.
We also understand that true innovation comes from great collaborations so we work in partnership with a wide external network of industry and health experts, designers and materials specialists.
It's very much a team effort then.
So what restrictions are there when it comes to new product development?
Each concept has to be analysed in terms of the potential value it presents to our customers. If it is clear that the development will sufficiently justify the investment of resource, then there aren’t any restrictions!
With such a broad range of products, talk us through the process for developing our existing ones?
We have a very clear five point criteria that each of our new products have to meet before we’ll start developing them. This includes delivering value for customers, being user friendly and being of robust quality to withstand constant use within a hospital.
Market research identifies potential for development of our existing products. The next stage is to define precisely what we want to achieve and how it will represent an improvement for our clients. Then we work with our designers and production, potentially through several iterations whilst we perfect the development, before rolling out through our internal systems and to the market.
Take the recent launch of our Sepsis 6 trolley for example, that was borne out of a clear demand from hospital teams we spoke to. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we used one of our existing and popular Clini-Cart hospital trolleys and re-modeled it.
It must be difficult to balance the need to develop new products, and to improve existing ones. How do you find the right balance?
It’s about analysing what is going to bring the most value to our market in the shortest possible time. Sometime you come up with an idea for an all singing all dancing piece of furniture that does absolutely everything but at the end of the day, what’s most important to our customers is simple furniture, that does what it needs to, is easy to clean and will last the distance.
Where do you get your inspiration from for new or improved products?
Inspiration comes through a number of different channels, but one of Ocura’s particular strengths is our ability to keep close to the market, engaging with hospital staff and users at all levels and continually learning about the environments and people that our products are designed for.
What piece of furniture from any sector has really impressed you?
It’s hard to pinpoint a single product, but the advancement of plastic moulding technology has opened up a wealth of opportunities for healthcare furniture. The properties of many types of plastic make them ideal for products designed for the hospital environment where robustness, hygiene and safety are paramount.
Do you find it rewarding seeing the final product go into hospitals?
It’s great to see the completion of a project and most of all to see our products making a positive difference for the hospital staff and patients we design for.
What’s your favourite product in the Ocura range?
We’re all very excited about our new wide arm recliner, as well as a couple of products we expect to launch in the not too distant future!
The new Colorado Recliner is just one of several new products Caleb and the team have been working on. Keep your eyes peeled new launches in the near future!