Service Contracts that Sell Themselves — How Medical Device OEMs Can Gain a Competitive Edge in Field Service
As radiology departments contend with constant pressure to reduce costs, OEMs and independent service organizations (ISOs) are upping the ante with new offerings to lure customers in a highly competitive market. --- Healthcare Technology Management, December 2011
When it comes to servicing CT scanners and other complex equipment, healthcare organizations can either pay the OEM to fix it, fix it themselves or hire an independent service organization (ISO). Healthcare Technology Management magazine wrote an interesting article about the changing services landscape for diagnostic equipment: “CT Service Contracts: In Flux.” According to the article, over 60% of healthcare organizations have a service contract with an OEM. However, the economics of healthcare is driving these organizations to cut costs and so OEMs are facing increased competition from ISOs. As ISOs start to offer more aggressive terms and pricing, OEMs must find ways to keep (or win back) their customers.
Medical device OEMs spend lots of time and money finding ways to optimize field service operations. They often pursue lean and six-sigma practices to provide faster service and improve first time fix rates (FTFR). And by implementing remote diagnostics with automated dispatch and parts planning systems, they can start to maximize uptime and improve customer support. However, these approaches are only part of the solution. The article quotes Jason Kreitner, administrative director of diagnostic imaging at Hackensack University Medical Center as saying, “You have to look at the caliber of staff that services your site. You want a seasoned individual who is comfortable with the technology...Service is all about people, bottom line."
Is service all about the people? Yes and no. Although it’s crucial to have talented service technicians, even the best of them are handicapped if they don’t have accurate parts and service information. Thus OEMs need to resolve two major issues:
- Keeping parts and service information up to date. OEMs often grapple with managing and publishing technical content. Technicians expect all service bulletins, maintenance manuals, parts lists or other technical data they use to be accurate. Software like Enigma InService® EPC can automate OEM tech pubs processes, eliminating delays in getting updated parts and service information out to the field.
- Making all information available, and easy to find, at the point of service. Service technicians spend a lot of time looking into multiple data sources (paper catalogs, online repositories, DVDs, etc.) for the service and parts information they need. Multiple systems, multiple data formats and multiple user interfaces all conspire to reduce productivity. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Some companies, like Toshiba America Medical Systems, have implemented Enigma InService EPC, which combines all product, service and parts content and delivers it online, offline and mobile. As a result, TAMS technicians have a complete and accurate technical library at their fingertips, wherever they are.
Providing complete and accurate service information, improves the OEM’s bottom line. Eliminating delays around service and parts lookup (and procurement) helps technicians work faster and deliver higher quality, which allows them to service more customers and equipment in less time.
In addition, better OEM service strengthens customer relationships and brand perception. Service contracts are easier to negotiate and renew when the OEM has a history of providing excellent product support.
These are just two of the many ways that Enigma’s solutions give medical device OEMs a competitive edge; for more information, click here to download the Enigma medical data sheet, and read a series of our previous blog posts on this subject.