So the big news over the last couple of weeks is that the company I work for – Permobil – just acquired TiLite. To bring you up to speed; Permobil is a Swedish company founded in 1963 by Per Uddén, a Swedish Physician who, as the story goes, had a client come to him asking for a power wheelchair which would work well both indoors and out. Apparently Dr. Uddén and one of his physician buddies went downstairs in the hospital basement, cracked open a case of beer and began welding on power wheelchairs. Permobil was born.
Believe it or not, this was us then. And yes, it was very groovy baby! We’ve come a long way since the sixties and we now produce the best complex power wheelchair in the world. But our focus has never changed. We are still committed to providing the best mobility systems possible for our clients by utilizing the best technology available. We started as a company who first and foremost wanted to meet the mobility needs of individuals with disabilities, and we are still committed to the same goals today.
This is us now. We do one thing and we do it very well – and that is making the best complex power wheelchairs in the world. Which is what makes the acquisition of TiLite so exciting. They also do one thing and one thing very well. They make the best manual wheelchairs in the world. It’s a match made in heaven.
Spending the last week with the folks from Ti just illustrated how similar we were as companies. We are both driven by the desire to provide the best mobility systems possible, and now regardless of whether our clients need a power wheelchair or a manual wheelchair, we have the ability to take care of them.
The TiLite Factory is located in Pasco, WA. All of our sales reps from throughout the nation flew into Seattle, spent the night there and then hopped on a bus to Pasco. Four hours later, we got to see how TiLite rolls – pun intended. The factory tour and the chance to meet their staff was a great experience. Their commitment to excellence is reflected in every aspect of their process.
Every chair quote is turned into a CAD drawing which is printed at a 1 to 1 ratio. This drawing then becomes the blueprint for chair production. Titanium or aluminum rod is literally custom bent to match each drawing before being welded together and sent to paint and final assembly. The TiFit process of custom fitting their chairs in the same manner as you would fit a prosthetic to an individual is without comparison in the manual wheelchair world.
Today was the long bus ride back to Seattle where we celebrated our acquisition with dinner at Daniel’s Broiler in Bellevue. The food was fantastic, and apparently sitting at the same table as the president of the company carries some perks. We finished the evening with a glass of 20 year aged Pappy’s bourbon, which at $80 a pour doesn’t get much better! After all, as he said, “You only buy TiLite once!”
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