Invacare seeks disruptions

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

As Invacare continues its quest to reach $2 billion in sales by 2006, the Elyria, Ohio-based manufacturer is keying on
so-called “disruptive” technologies to induce converts to its product line.
At Medtrade this year, Invacare is heralding a number of new products - 40 to last year’s 38, and the previous year’s 50. The 40, according to one Invacare executive, are “not dinky little products,” but new from the ground up, or enhancements that are so significant that they qualify as new.

Chief among this year’s suite of new products is Invacare’s first home-grown line of sleep products and a highly maneuverable scooter that Invacare characterizes as so “disruptive” that the company won’t call it a scooter (see New Products).

Invacare also is continuing its campaign to develop brand name appeal among consumers, an initiative that the company’s competitors have not seized on. The reason, according to Invacare CEO Mal Mixon, may be a function of size.

“We feel we’re the only company that’s large enough to invest in brand,” said Mixon.

This Medtrade marks the beginning of Invacare’s third year with golfing legend Arnold Palmer as spokesman. While Palmer’s boosterism has principally worked to elevate the profile of Invacare’s power chairs, last month the golfing legend began touting Invacare’s Venture Homefill II oxygen system - a modality that Invacare also describes as disruptive.

“This is, without a doubt, the most major product that we’ve ever introduced at Invacare,” said Mixon.