by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | November 04, 2014
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“I travel frequently and it never fails, every time I am out there I hear stories about the wrong part being sent, it was a used part or, a previous generation,” says Schwarzwalder. “While the initial price may attract attention, it is really the long term cost that needs to be considered. Also by using OEM STERIS parts you are assured that it will not void the warranty.”
For facilities tapping STERIS for service, the company technicians start with more than 250 hours of initial training on STERIS exclusive equipment. That’s followed by yearly specialized and new product training, which may equal as much as 80 hours. On average, company techs have been working at STERIS for more than 12 years. Trucks also carry a market specific inventory of replacement parts. The goal is to provide customers with service coverage 24/7, powered by more than 850 field technicians, customer service and training programs, according to the company. This has helped spawn the phrase used by some techs, “call us by lunch and we’ll be there by dinner,” in regard to their response rate.
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It’s not just the techs in the field going the extra mile though. STERIS has 20 in-house service engineers who continually evaluate data from field repairs as well as data fed through their ProConnect Response Center which all helps determine if adjustments are needed for the company’s proprietary preventative maintenance check list.
For a hospital’s checklist, at least when it comes to negotiating service contracts, Schwarzwalder cautions against quick comparisons of just labor charges. Instead, make sure to look at the entire picture and all the potential expense that entails. That includes not only labor, but parts costs, response times, travel charges and the timeliness and quality of the service provider’s preventative maintenance program.
Siemens guarantees customers will keep their cool
Siemens Healthcare, like STORZ, has strict requirements when it comes to who can service equipment under warranty, with service by non-Siemens personnel resulting in a voided warranty. But Jon Matthews, senior director of Siemens Healthcare service business management says there’s good reason for that.
Matthews gives the example of a customer with a Siemens MR system. He cites the exorbitant cost of helium and the importance of a well-maintained chiller to prevent issues that could result in helium loss. “Siemens offers a service whereby if our technicians do the maintenance and Siemens parts are used, and for any reason there is a service event due to chiller-related issues, we will not only waive related billable service events including components, but we will also cover any helium lost as a result of the service event,” he says. “Another company could certainly handle the preventive maintenance of the chiller, but in this case, if a service event occurred, the customer would not have the opportunity to have the chiller service that would cover not only the parts but the cost of helium lost as a result.”