Targeting pressure ulcer avoidance worldwide, dynamic air mattress specialist, Rober Ltd. has the right bedside manner for innovation.
Working with De Montfort University (DMU), graduate Ben Smith has just completed an exciting Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. The goal was to develop cost effective pressure ulcer relief solutions for Third World countries. The two-year project also looked at expanding product development capabilities within Rober, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of pressure relief innovation. Following the KTP, Ben explains more.
What exactly is a KTP?
A KTP, or Knowledge Transfer Partnership is a UK-wide programme helping businesses. The aims are typically to improve competitiveness and productivity. As the name suggests, a KTP does this by transferring new knowledge from the university and embedding it into the company. Ultimately it’s hoped to identify innovative solutions to help businesses like Rober grow. A KTP also encourages research activities and collaborative working. The outcomes are often increased profitability through improved quality and operations, increased sales and access to new markets.
New markets? What did your KTP specifically focus on?
The main purpose of the KTP project was to introduce further R&D capabilities internally within Rober. This included introducing appropriate procedures and culture. The focus was to expand Rober’s existing product range of pressure relief mattresses with the intention of entering developing markets. Pressure ulcers and bed sores are a global problem and as a company, we want to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to pressure relief equipment.
Why did you choose “Third World” countries?
Rober is determined to ensure that its ulcer prevention technologies can be accessed by healthcare providers around the globe, even from the poorest of countries. Rober’s technology has the potential to stop millions of people from getting pressure ulcers as they are cared for in hospital. It is our quest to make sure our products are affordable, whilst still offering patients the highest quality of care.
Why are pressure ulcers such a global problem?
Pressure ulcers dramatically increase the cost of each patient’s care bill and are linked to prolonged hospitalisation, pain, social isolation and in worst cases, death. Each pressure ulcer adds an additional £4k onto the overall care costs of a patient, this is simply not viable in developing countries! With the right technology, training and support, 95% of pressure injuries can be prevented.
What impact has the KTP had on Rober’s R&D processes?
The project combined the university’s knowledge and skills with Rober’s pioneering technologies to help drive forward innovation. As part of the project we reviewed Rober’s design processes and helped develop new product ideas. As a UK MedTech company Rober is flying the flag in the field of ‘zero pressure’ technologies and I hope the KTP has played its part.
Has the KTP been a good opportunity for you personally?
This platform has allowed me to put the knowledge and expertise I have learnt from the University into practice in my everyday work environment. The KTP has enhanced my skills in project management and collaboration. I hope I have made a valuable impact on the company’s long-term design culture and capabilities, as well as their manufacturing processes. Alongside the KTP, I have also been studying on an MBA and partaking in a PRINCE2 project management course, becoming an IED member and gaining my Certified Solidworks Associate qualification.
What’s next for you and Rober?
Being based at Rober for the past two years, I have built good relationships with the management team, employees, customers and suppliers. I have learnt a great deal in the time spent here, but I still have a lot to give. Now the KTP is complete I will be joining the Rober team as Product and Innovation Manager and hope I can play my part as the company goes from strength to strength. In my new role I am happy for customers to contact me with new ideas, specific demands and unmet needs within the pressure care industry. The company has a track record of developing mattress solutions that help to avoid pressure ulcers for different patients and different circumstances. Collaborating with healthcare professionals makes it a very rewarding environment to work in, especially as we can ultimately benefit patients globally.