Drive Medical

For the road ahead

Have you experienced the ‘Drive’ difference?

Drive Medical, one of the world’s fastest growing global distributor and manufacturer of home medical equipment (HME) products, was established in 2000 and serves the world with distribution centres situated in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Romania, China, and Taiwan. In 2011, the company added six acquisitions to its offering, an achievement it attributes to its robust M&A strategy to strengthen its lineup of quality brands and innovative products.

Kathy Sarafian, CEO of Drive Medical Canada, has channeled her business acumen and leadership style into turning around the Canada-based extension of Drive Medical that came into existence only a few years ago. Sarafian spoke with The Canadian Business Journal this month about her leadership of the company and its ‘double bottom line’ – a work purpose. Sarafian detailed, “We ensure that the people hired into our organization have a purpose that goes beyond a pay cheque, and that they’re passionate about making a difference.”

In summarizing the products and services offered by Drive Medical, Sarafian said, “We give the gift of independence to the vulnerable citizens of our community. With 14.8 per cent of our population now being seniors and healthcare budgets under pressure, we see our products offering quality and affordability, as part of the solution.”

Robust Growth

The team at Drive Medical Canada is passionate not only about its products, but its customers. Under Sarafian’s leadership, Drive focuses on the ‘wow’ factor, aiming to ultimately provide a ‘wow’ customer service experience that takes customer loyalty to a new level. “It’s a journey”, Sarafian asserted. “We have come a long way in Canada in the last two years I have been with Drive and we still have a long way to go. Most importantly, we now have a team that is responsive, focused on learning and improving on a daily basis.”

Sarafian added, “All the way up to our Chairman and Founders, Drive Medical has a passion to produce products that make a difference. We want to serve our customers and earn their business by helping them grow profitably and have a very pleasant ‘experience’ dealing with Drive.”

Product sourcing is the core competency of Drive Medical. This has led the company to offer better value and competitive pricing to the market. “Our goal is to offer better products at the same price, or the same products at a lower price,” Sarafian commented.

Drive Medical recognizes the impact of demographics, and the lifestyle needs of seniors. Baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are gradually entering this age group with a growing expectation for products that offer comfort and address their lifestyle needs. It’s a growing trend that has Drive Medical well positioned.

Innovative Product Offering

“Our products, as simple as they are, make a huge impact on the end user’s independence,” Sarafian said. “The biggest challenge we have is awareness and education since a lot of people are not aware of our products and the difference it could make in their daily lives.”

Among its extensive products is the premium Bellavita Bathlift, the market’s lightest lift that offers the highest reach for deep tubs, and the lowest lift and furthest recline for a full bath experience. Drive also offers a range of quality products for the bathroom, where 60 per cent of falls occur. Seniors with poor equilibrium or balance issues are susceptible to falls that could potentially lead to surgery or permanent damage. Drive Medical works to achieve greater awareness of this fact in offering products that make your bathroom environment safer. Drive products were the first to be tools-free, in variety of colours or some even designed by an architect Michael Graves to make the products more aesthetically pleasing.

Additionally, Drive Medical focuses on products that offer an easier or safer mobility experience. Its Glow ‘n Go cane illuminates to assist users both indoors and outdoors, while other products like the Polyfly two-in-one wheelchair and transport chair offers convenience and best value to the user. Drive Medical will also soon be launching its PowerCare campaign of mobility products (scooters), with the industry’s best warranty, “Peace of Mind” protection plan, “Center of Excellence” tech support combined with timely delivery of free parts.

Drive Medical products retail in smart, trilingual packaging that educates the consumer on additional complementary product offerings to help customers further build product awareness. Another Drive Difference: providing newsletters, educational and business building tools to its customers to help improve their customer service and business to their end users.

Improving Delivery Times

As a global distributor, Drive Medical has established a key partnership with UPS to achieve its logistical goals. Sarafian commented on the relationship, “UPS has been great partners for us. We’ve had regular meetings where they listen carefully to our business challenges and come back with solutions. We offer our customers a competitive freight policy and we have and will be significantly improving delivery times on products and parts because of this partnership.” And since Drive Medical is the largest provider of home medical equipment and daily living products, the company further provides saving for its customers in freight and soft costs through consolidated shipments.

Offering quality products at affordable prices makes Drive Medical indeed the solution in the challenges of providing home medical equipment to the growing segment of seniors. This has been reflected in Drive’s success which has enjoyed a whopping 25-plus per cent growth rate globally year-over-year in a tough economic climate.

“Our mandate is to set new standards in home medical equipment and to continue partnering with our customers for the road ahead,” Sarafian said of the new philosophy and focus at Drive Medical Canada. “Our customers are now happily ‘experiencing’ the new Drive.”