Parts and service customers are increasingly sophisticated

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Parts and service customers are increasingly sophisticated

August 04, 2015
From the August 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Nowadays people want things on demand and the parts and service industry is no exception. “Our customers have a growing expectation of that kind of responsiveness whether it’s onsite service, remote service or the availability of parts,” says Joe Shrawder, president and CEO of global services at GE Healthcare.

But GE cannot respond to that challenge economically by having a service engineer at every customer’s door in case they get a call, or by having a full complement of parts around the corner from every hospital. Instead, the company aims to optimize its network of people, parts, IT networks and remote capabilities so they can best accommodate the customer’s needs and expectations.

Trend toward in-house service

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Shrawder has noticed that health care organizations are starting to go in different directions when it comes to service. Some organizations in urban areas have achieved scale as a result of consolidation and are developing their own in-house teams. About 10 years ago, the industry had a poor opinion of the in-house model. “They would say that these guys are just trying to save a buck and in the end they will come back for help, or that they won’t be able to do it and will end up going to some third-party service,” says Shrawder. But the industry is now acknowledging that it is a legitimate model and many of the equipment manufacturers are looking to partner with organizations to provide technical support, remote support, parts agreements and education and training. Shrawder says that in the future, they will provide more of an “a la carte offering.”

More comprehensive service relationships
The health care organizations that are not ready for in-house, but don’t want to deal with a plethora of service providers, are going with big companies that have the capability to provide comprehensive service across their whole network. Managing multiple service relationships with different vendors is now becoming a thing of the past. Some organizations prefer to focus more on providing health care and improving patient outcomes, and want to leave servicing in the hands of the equipment manufacturers. Some of the biggest for-profit health care organizations globally have turned over most or all of their servicing to GE.

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