Permobil improves position

‘Our goal is to have the most comprehensive seating and positioning portfolio possible’
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Friday, October 20, 2017

LEBANON, Tenn. – Permobil announced this month that it had acquired Bozeman, Mont.-based Comfort Company, doubling up on its previous acquisition of The ROHO Group, and adding entirely new products and new sales channels.

Comfort Company and Belleville, Ill.-based ROHO, which Permobil acquired in 2015, both manufacture seating and positioning systems.

“Our goal is to have the most comprehensive seating and positioning portfolio possible,” said Tom Borcherding, president of Permobil seating and positioning systems. “Comfort Company takes us a long way down that path.”

Comfort Company and ROHO have a number of complementary products, but Comfort Company also brings new products to the portfolio, including foam and fluid seating.

Additionally, where ROHO focuses on the complex rehab market, Comfort Company focuses on the long-term care market.

“One of the attractive aspects of Comfort Company has been leveraging what they do in the long-term care channel and bringing ROHO and other products into that channel,” Borcherding said.

In turn, Permobil plans to introduce Comfort Company products to a larger audience.

“Comfort Company has really become a significant player in the U.S. market in the past three to five years,” Borcherding said. “Now we want to drive that success in the U.S. through to our global channels.”

Permobil will maintain Comfort Company’s recently expanded manufacturing facility in New Berlin, Wis., which Borcherding describes as “state of the art.”

“It has a lot of capacity for growth and as we expand their business globally we’re going to fill that capacity quickly,” he said.

Helping to achieve that growth will be about 20 sales reps from Comfort Company who will join Permobil’s about 60 sales reps, with the former focusing on seating and positioning products and the latter focusing on mobility products. This is a departure: When Permobil acquired ROHO and TiLite in 2014, it didn’t bring onboard the sales reps of those two companies.

“I think we wanted to make sure there was enough focus on seating and positioning,” he said. “Now that the portfolio is so much larger, there was enough of a business base there to keep both sales forces.”