Active Controls clears hurdle

Friday, February 28, 2014

SEWELL, N.J., and EXETER, Pa. – A strategic alliance announced last week will make it easier for providers to offer Active Controls products on Pride Mobility/Quantum Rehab power wheelchairs.

Per the alliance, providers can order a Pride/Quantum power wheelchair with, say, an Active Controls JoyBar already installed.

“That was the greatest hurdle we had in the U.S. market,” said Jordan Flowers, general manager at Active Controls. “Providers were reluctant to install the products themselves or they didn’t have the technical capabilities. This is something that will help overcome that.”

When providers order Pride/Quantum wheelchairs with Active Controls products, Pride/Quantum will ship the wheelchairs to Active Controls for installation and then to providers fully assembled.

The alliance with Pride/Quantum is a natural fit for Active Controls, Flowers says, because the majority of the company’s products end up on their wheelchairs, particularly the Q6 Edge.

“We’re compatible with pretty much everything, but the bulk of our wheelchairs have been Pride and Quantum,” he said. “They’re one of the biggest players in the industry.”

For Pride/Quantum, the alliance allows them to tap into a growing demand for Active Controls products. The JoyBar, for example, has the allure of allowing users to drive a power wheelchair much like a scooter, using a steering bar and both hands.

“We started to get more and more requests,” said Jay Brislin, vice president of Quantum. “They’re in a stage where they’re starting to get a groundswell.”

Both companies plan to leverage the co-marketing and co-selling opportunities that the alliance creates.

“It advances both sides,” Brislin said. “It’s all about getting clients some good devices and making them more independent.”

Active Controls, which will mark its third year in business in April, hopes the alliance will give it the boost it needs in the U.S. market, where most of its products aren’t paid for by Medicare, but sometimes by other payers like Medicaid and Veterans Affairs.

“Europe accounts for more than 50% of our business right now,” Flowers said. “Over there, the industry isn’t in as much upheaval as it is here.”