An engineer-turned-inventor is enjoying success after creating a new animal innovation that could prevent more than one million dog bites ever year.
David Daly has put his former aerospace engineering skills to good use by creating a range of “behaviour sleeves” that are attached to a harness or a lead.
The “Gizapaws” use a simple colour coding system to indicate the temperament of a dog, with green being ‘safe’ and red indicating ‘caution’.
The Wombourne entrepreneur, who has been assisted by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), has already received orders from responsible owners, training bodies and re-homing centres.
He has also used exhibitions, such as Crufts, Interzoo and Winners in Amsterdam, to generate demand from overseas clients in Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Spain and the US.
He said: “It all started about two years ago when I was at Baggeridge Country Park with my daughters.
“They went to stroke what appeared to be a friendly dog and the next minute it lurched at them – fortunately the owner was prepared for it and pulled the dog back.
“I got chatting to him and his words were ‘he’s fine with me but doesn’t like kids, I could really do with some way of warning people’.”
He continued: “This got me thinking and I went away and came up with several ideas to solve this problem, eventually settling on the Gizapaw concept due to its simplicity, yet effectiveness.”
Mr Daly used strategic support and mentoring from MAS’s New Product Development programme to help him in the early-stages before turning to Wolverhampton-based LS Manufacturing for production of the animal behaviour sleeves, which are reversible and embroidered on both sides.
More than 1,600 have already been sold via trade shows, www.gizapaw.co.uk and the Baggeridge Country Park shop, with Betterware placing a 1,000-strong order and a letter of intent received from the RSPCA for 4,500 units for their rehoming centres across England.
The idea is to help workers easily identify what stage of resettlement the dogs are at, which will help reduce the number of attacks and help the organisation negotiate a more cost-effective insurance policy.
If volumes continue to rise, Mr Daly has the long-term vision to bring the manufacturing in-house at a dedicated factory in the West Midlands.
He will also continue to hold discussions with the Army, RAF, West Midlands Police and NASDU (the National Association of Security Dog Users) to try to get Gizapaw used within all of these organisations.
Manufacturing Advisory Service advisor David Nuttall believes the future is bright for this innovation.
He said: “David has shown tremendous determination in taking an exciting idea and turning it into commercial reality. There have been lots of challenges along the way, but his single-mindedness – mixed in with support from MAS – has ensured that he has overcome these and is now selling the product globally.
“The best thing for me, however, is that the behaviour sleeves have the potential to reduce accidents around animals and play a key role in educating people on safety.
“David has even sent a sample to MP Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for the Environment, in a bid to nationally promote responsible dog ownership.”
MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains. Firms can take advantage of a free review that identifies key priority areas and if funding is available for improvement projects focused on increasing efficiency, developing new products, strengthening supply chains and boosting sales.