Does anybody remember Craftsman tools? Superior tools, guaranteed for life. Never buy the same part again because you had a great product, and a company who stood behind it. Sure, you paid a little more for the Craftsman name and quality, but there never was a question that it was worth it.
Now, you can buy anything online. The Internet and Google can find multiple sources for anything you want to buy. And the main buying metric seems to be price. Everyone seems to assume that all products are created equal. Only if all products are equal does buying solely based on price make sense.
But all items are not created equal. I bought an iPhone charger cord for $1.27 from China, instead of $19.99 from AT&T. Actually, the price was so good, I bought five. Of the five that I bought, three did not work, and one lasted only three weeks. I am afraid to trust my iPhone to the fifth one.
It is similar with medical repair parts. There are a hundred places that you can buy a specific part or circuit board. Some are more expensive, some are cheaper. All of the boards are original manufacturer’s product – nobody makes original circuit boards. Everyone repairs broken boards. Even the manufacturer. So, if not price, what factors should you consider when faced with multiple options and varying prices for repair parts for medical equipment?
First and foremost, almost never buy from the manufacturer. They are always the most expensive. Just compare it to the cost of parts bought from the original manufacturer of your automobile. And I have heard of studies where the out-of-box failure rates from the original manufacturer are greater than from a good third party.
Next, probably don’t buy the very cheapest – it may well be sold by a person with a spare unit in their garage, with no way to test the function of the part, or accurately determine its compatibility in your system.
Now that we have removed the high and low sellers, it is time to examine the company. After all, it is your past experience with them combined with their industry reputation that determines the quality and likely functionality of the part that you are ordering.
Let’s face it, quality costs money. Redundant testing of parts, technical support, and a full staff of qualified technicians adds to the cost of doing business. Someone who simply pulls a part out of an old machine has none of these costs.
When you look for quality medical parts, I strongly encourage you to look at the company, ask about their quality control, and ask other biomeds about them. And don’t always go with the lowest price – it tears down the better providers and, in the long run, can only hurt the industry.
I work for a company which prides itself on higher quality and lower failure rates. But we are not always the lowest price. This article is an attempt to explain that the buying on price alone can be a false economy. Other factors should be examined.
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