Different Equipment, Different Service Requirements
Not all equipment is created equal. Neither are service companies for that
matter and certainly not service requirements. Different types of equipment
require different technical expertise, response times, parts requirements
and preventative maintenance.
Cost savings is an ever increasing partner in lab management - no less
important than proper staffing and quality control. Any lab manager faced
with decreasing budgets and increasing requirements knows that you have
to make more with less.
You have several choices when it comes to maintaining equipment
• In house facility maintenance people
• Asset management companies
• Third party service agencies
Each option comes with its values and benefits but each also comes with its
obstacles and costs.
In house facility maintenance people – First and foremost, their response
time can’t be beat. They’re right there. In house people can be priceless
when it comes to quick diagnosis, simple repairs, and associating with
manufacturer’s technical assistance departments. They can be trained in
many types of equipment, becoming a generalist on all aspects of facility
and lab maintenance and repair. The downside is that with any generalists,
you get a little knowledge about a lot of things. But they may not ever be
experts in much. However, their quick response time and ability to diagnose
and repair minor faults can save thousands of dollars and countless
unnecessary hours of downtime. For labs with high numbers of specific
brands or machines, consider training courses for a few facility maintenance
engineers so each specialize in one area or another…. depending on the size
of your organization.
Asset management companies – If you are interested in a fixed
maintenance cost, then asset management companies offer you just this.
For one price they will cover any and everything in your building. You are
generally free to include or exclude different types of equipment which
obviously will affect the price of your contract. Typically, the company will
employ onsite technicians, providing you with the benefit of having in house
manufacturers for more difficult lines of equipment. Like any insurance
policy, your rates and premiums will be evaluated year after year based on
your usage of the policy.
area that there are laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and biotech
firms. They range from small one man operations to large complex
organizations that have the ability to repair most everything in your
only paying for service when you need it. Diligent maintenance of your
equipment will aid in preventing breakdowns. Compared to an in house
necessary. The downside is that you have less control over response time
which can be anywhere from less than an hour (they could already have
someone in your building when the service call is phoned in), to possibly
weeks. A good service agency will be able to offer your facility or lab
manager some preliminary technical support via telephone to see if it is a
minor issue that can be addressed quickly and easily. And you should expect
to speak to a representative sooner rather than later. As far as expected
response time goes, no longer than 3-5 working days is acceptable.
Anything longer than that and you should evaluate the relationship you
have with this vendor. It also helps to have the same technician dispatched
to your lab as they are the person familiar with previous repairs and
OEM manufacturers – The manufacturer’s service organization is likely to
have the access to parts and literature that may or may not be harder to
come by for the previous 3 options. They will, however, be limited in the
scope of repairs they can handle thus creating an environment where you
have to control a much larger number of contacts and relationships.
Manufacturers tend to charge a premium for their labor and parts costs are
inevitably higher. No different from using the dealer for your vehicle (maybe
different dealers if you have cars from different manufacturers), or a one
stop shop no matter what you have.
So which option is right for you? That’s not an easy answer. Just like you
manage the employees in your facility, so too must you manage your
equipment and maintenance. Not all employees are alike and you may need
to use different resources and techniques in managing and motivating them.
Your lab equipment may also require different resources in geographical
location of your service agency or manufacturer, skill level of your in house
service technician and dependability of your equipment and its role in your
lab’s production output.
Written by Debra Inger, co-owner of NTS Laboratory Equipment, Inc.
Debra obtained a BS in Accounting from University of Central Florida in 1986 and an
MBA from University of Central Florida in 1989. After working for The Trane
Company, a leading HVAC manufacturer from 1988-2001, Debra worked for Genevac
as the Business Manager and Service Manager from 2001 until July 2007.
This article may not be distributed or reprinted without the written permission of the
Website powered by Network Solutions®