When did you start?
Where are you located? Bandel Innovations, LLC is located in Lake County, IL just north of Chicago. Our manufacturer, Granger Plastics, is located in Middletown, OH.We have distributors Globally See http://www.waukboard.com/distributors/
Who is your target market? Fire Departments, Ambulance Services, Hospitals, Homeland Security , and Disaster Agencies . Basically, anyone who moves patients in the supine position.
What is your mission or vision statement? IMPACT the FIRE and RESCUE service in a way that will reduce ON THE JOB INJURIES that Firefighters or Paramedics Suffer moving Larger Patients in tight spaces
Did you experience any failures & how did you overcome them? Many. Some of the more significant failures that we had to overcome were;
1 - We originally started out with the intention of licensing our product to one of the seven major manufacturers of backboards in the U.S. After two years of efforts in that regard we ultimately decided to have the product manufactured for us. It took 6 months to find and reach agreement with our current manufacturer. Probably our very best decision.
2 - We intended to have one of the 7 major manufacturers market and distribute our product. After 6 months of efforts we decided to conduct the marketing ourselves. We are 18 months into that process and are steadily learning what is required to successfully market and sell the WauK(TM) board.
3 - the first version of the WauK(TM) board was not stiff enough. We spent five months determining how to stiffen the board sufficiently. We worked with our manufacturer, others in the fire service, a professor with a PhD in material science and ran many prototypes until we were satisfied. This also requires our manufacturer to modify our mold. The stiffened version was available in May of 2012.
4 - The second version of the board had a manufacturing flaw which caused us to redesign how to attach the insert that keeps the patients heels off the floor. This required us to remove some units from the market and again modify the mold.
5 - We discovered after a short time in the market that the WauK(TM) board was too long for some ambulances. We ultimately decided to build a second mold and created a compact version of the WauK(TM) board. This process took 10 months and considerable unplanned expense.
6 - We applied for our patent in November of 2008 and were awarded the patent (and all 20 claims) in May of 2012. The process took a long time because we applied for a utility patent rather than a design patent. However, we now have patent protection through October, 2030 and will be the only U.S. manufacturers and distributors of a rollable backboard in the U.S. until 2030. Another critical decision.
Is there anything I haven't covered that you would like to address? Our greatest reward is to work together as a family to create something that can make a positive IMPACT in one of the Greatest professions!