by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | November 04, 2014
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Ken Sandifer, as the president of Healthcare Technologies at Aramark Healthcare, has no shortage of references available to speak with potential customers. The company manages more than 1.7 million multivendor assets on behalf of over 550 North American hospitals and health systems everyday according to Sandifer.
That large network of customers has given the company the leverage of scale that has helped it to gain valuable insight regarding equipment reliability and performance, which the company uses to determine the right service solutions for customers.
“Like most organizations, we are optimizing our supply chain through national agreements that leverage our scale,” Sandifer says.
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The company has centralized its specialized program development, training supply chain, call center, parts and corporate functions within a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, known as the Technology & Innovation Center, and continues to invest in technical training, tools and resources for its staff.
Sandifer sees that investment in innovation as a necessity, especially in these days of health care reform. “Healthcare reform is driving a fundamental shift in how and where care is delivered,” he says. “At the same time, the medical equipment and environments that we serve are becoming more complex and more networked every day, which requires a shift in our talent profile. The needs of our customers are changing and will change even more in the next five years.”
Parts as a piece of the puzzle
While many companies offer service solutions and some sell parts in addition to offering service, fewer concentrate solely on the parts side of the equation, with companies in that group often specializing in specific products or manufacturers.
Josh Glas, president of PhiGEM Parts is among that smaller group delivering parts when and where they’re needed. According to Glas, navigating the parts arena requires dedication to the business. It is fast-paced with purchase decisions occurring quickly— usually within minutes or hours or at the very least within the same day as an equipment’s failure. The pressure increases when the stakes are high with some equipment downtime amounting to literally thousands in lost revenue each day.
PhiGem generally supplies about 60 percent of the parts they sell to third-party brokers with the remainder going directly to in-house service engineers.
While Glas acknowledges that endorsements by customers can be useful, one of the true litmus tests for determining a parts provider’s ability to deliver relies on their infrastructure. “The ability to truly test parts plays a role in ‘being better,’” he says. “However, if a provider does not have test bays for everything, ask about their pre-deinstall inspections and deinstall procedures. How are they removed and transported and them disassembled and stored? These are all important questions to get answers to prior to deciding to purchase from one vendor or another,” he says.