This year, significant challenges have been thrown at businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Despite the doom and gloom, we’ve also heard remarkable stories of innovation, resilience and diversification.
Unprecedented Times Lead To Unexpected Innovation
Total Uniform Solutions Group is no stranger to innovation – with uniform customisation, fabric technology and uniform management software development being core strengths. However it was during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak that the Brisbane-based team watched with concern as their client’s businesses began feeling the impact.
Seeking to utilise existing experience servicing the healthcare sector, and combined with their global procurement and logistics expertise, Total Uniform Solutions rapidly expanded their PPE sourcing arm – which was typically only reserved for clients.
HygiMed Australia was born to provide quality, in-demand products to private and public hospitals, Government stockpiles, aged care facilities and other businesses including Queensland Government, Mater Hospital, The Wesley Hospital, QScan, Healius and Queensland Police. Part of the Total Uniform Solutions Group, HygiMed has quickly become a known brand in the healthcare sector.
“During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a clear gap in Australia for specific products of a certain quality that were vital for medical testing.” explained Dean Templeman, Director of Total Uniform Solutions Group.
“Diversifying the business into specialist PPE was ramped up very quickly. As soon as the industry heard we could get specific products into Australia, the phones were ringing hot. And they haven’t stopped to be honest!”
HygiMed’s most recent story of innovation began as a conversation with a large hospital client seeking to procure an alternative to a face mask and separate face shield to be used in COVID-19 testing. Global restrictions of face shield stock forced the team at HygiMed to look at the situation differently. Where most companies would accept global non-supply as the reality, the HygiMed team kept pushing for a way forward to solve the client’s problem.
The discussion quickly turned to what was needed, how the medical devices were used in the field, and what specific standards the solution needed to meet The R&D team got to work researching potential manufacturing partners and re-engineering a product that could meet the hospital’s clinical needs – a surgical mask with visor.
Dean added, “Through a very rapid, but comprehensive R&D process, our team worked out that by changing the way the visor was attached to the mask, it would allow us to pivot the shield component by up to 45 degrees. This was important as we’d learned from our client that clinician’s wearing glasses found the typical fixed visors very restrictive and uncomfortable. When we brought the idea to our manufacturers, they were enthusiastic about it, and after some rapid prototyping we refined the mechanism and had one of the biggest break-throughs in the development of this new product.”
What resulted was PivotPro – a Level 3 Tieback Surgical Mask with Adjustable Visor, which can be adjusted to fit the wearer. Unlike traditional masks with fixed visors, the PivotPro visor can tilt forward up to 45 degrees accommodating different face shapes and glasses, giving an individualised fit. The medical device has a patent pending.
In addition to the pivoting visor, other key features of the device were improved in response to front-line feedback. Features such as extra-long reinforced ties, larger and thicker visor for increased stability and protection and in-built comfort features to improve the wearability for clinicians.
Dean explained, “The PivotPRO is a great quality product, and the flexibility for our client’s clinicians is particularly helpful. We’re getting positive feedback from our client’s front-line workers. I see this product being a mainstay item for the healthcare sector.”
Behind the scenes, the development of not only a new brand but the diversification and resilience of the existing team is testament to the design-thinking approach that led to the innovation under unprecedented conditions.
Despite all the challenges in global manufacturing and logistics right now, HygiMed Australia is dedicated to putting Queensland-owned innovation on the map. The in-house R&D team is currently working on a handful of new innovations. The team is excited about the future and continuing to roll out PivotPRO and their product range to leading hospitals and government departments across the country.
To find out more about HygiMed Australia and PivotPRO, visit www.hygimed.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.