Flow X: 2021 Retailers Product of the Year Award

By Bethany Ward on 29th June 2022

As some of you will remember, our Flow X was awarded the 2021 Retailers Product of the Year Award in THIIS magazine after being nominated by Alastair Gibbs of TPG Disable Aids,  a reputable Access BDD dealer. We caught up with Alastair to find out more about his relationship with Access BDD and why he nominated the Flow X.

How long have you been an Access BDD partner?

TPG Disable Aids has been a partner/distributor for the Thyssen products far longer than Access BDD has been in existence. We started off selling and installing the Gimson brand in the mid to late 1980’s. Gimson was then purchased by Thyssen in 1991 but continued to use the existing brand name. Then in October 1997 Thyssen changed to their own name as Thyssen Stairlifts Limited, with whom we continued to trade. So, the natural evolvement in to Access BDD from Thyssen stairlifts saw us continue the relationship.

Why did you vote for the Flow X as THIIS product of the year?

The experience we have gained with a whole range of stairlifts from various manufacturers has given us a lot of insight into what works and what does not work. But often stairlifts are seen as just functional pieces of necessary equipment. The Flow X steps above that brief and considers design and style as important factors in its production. Rather unfortunately stairlifts are usually seen as a ‘distress’ purchase, where they are the last resort before living downstairs or moving house. The Flow X goes some way to dispel this theory as it is a machine that clearly has all the functionality covered but also delivers it with style and panache.

Has the Flow X been well received by your customers?

The Flow X has been extremely well received by our customers. In fact, it is rapidly becoming one of our best sellers in the curved rail market and in the private market the style sells itself.

Access BDD shares your ethos of always maintaining and when possible improving industry standards.  Do you make a point of only working with manufacturers that share this philosophy?

I have always strived to raise industry standards whenever possible, but to do that in a commercially attractive way that removes objections from doubters. It is often false economy to take short cuts for quick wins, doing the project correctly often takes little longer but has better long-term outcomes. As a company we do try to make a point of working with those that are prepared to work with us as partners rather than a rigid seller to buyer relationship. For that reason, I will often get involved in R & D or field trials with our suppliers as this will clearly have long lasting benefits for us both.

How do you find Access BDD as a company to deal with?

Access BDD have always been a company that requires a special type of understanding. The individuals with whom I have contact are of the highest quality

and ethics. I make a point of being open and honest in all my communications and dealings and I would hope that the ascending levels of management recognise that. The understanding comes from appreciating how multinational manufacturers operate and the protocols that need to be followed. This is a manufacturing giant that has structures and procedures in place for very good reason.

To conclude It is without doubt a completely different industry now to what it was when we first started selling and installing stairlifts in 1985. There have been ma

ssive improvements in functionality and safety over the years. I would hope the Flow X marks the next generation of adding style and design to that functionality. There will, in my opinion, always be room for true partnership working with any supplier that is prepared to open their hearts as well as their technical files to the trust that is required.