As technology advancements improve visibility into medical equipment performance, equipment manufacturers have found that customer expectations are also rising. Customers expect more than just a piece of equipment. Now they want strong service agreements and a lasting maintenance relationship to go along with it.

This trend toward lasting customer relationships presents a strong opportunity for medical equipment manufacturers to capitalize on revenue after the initial sale. Service agreements are the best way to take advantage of the opportunity for post-market profits.

More than other industries—like construction equipment or HVAC—medical devices need to work every time. Often times it’s literally a matter of life and death. With that in mind, medical equipment manufacturers have even more to gain by offering trusted service contracts that ensure the equipment and devices used in healthcare settings are reliable and accurate.

But establishing customer-centric preventive maintenance (PM) programs isn’t going to happen overnight. Here are some ways you can get started:

1. Automate Service Contract Management
With service management software in place, medical device manufacturers can automate alerts throughout the organization. An events manager with alerts, escalation, and workflow features helps service departments avoid the clerical nightmare of managing service contracts on paper. A service management system automates the following tasks:

  • Alerts for expiring contracts.
  • Tracks inventory for service contracts.
  • Sets up automated email campaigns and workflows to sell contracts.
  • Alerts technicians when a PM visit is coming up and updates any changes to their schedule.
  • Sends alerts to managers when contracts aren’t profitable.

2. Repair Equipment before Problems Occur
Some service contracts are set up around calendar dates. For example, a service technician visits St. Mary’s hospital every month to check the performance and change the battery in the MRI machine.

With the advent of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) in the manufacturing space, companies can now set up service contracts based on equipment performance. IoT sensors in the equipment activate a work order automatically when a part isn’t working right. As the work order is generated, the system orders parts and schedules a preliminary service call. When the parts arrive, a service truck is dispatched to the site to perform the PM. Each of these steps is done automatically in seconds since no human interaction is required.

Customers appreciate this sensor-based PM approach since it prevents equipment down-time. The service organization repairs the equipment before any problems manifest to the customer.

3. Ensure Equipment Use is Equally Distributed
The main purpose of a PM visit is to keep equipment running. An added bonus is improving equipment efficiency. Service organizations can extend the life of equipment by making sure certain devices aren’t overused. IoT sensors reveal how long, how often, and how well machines are used. If one device is continually overused, while another is rarely used, service companies can rotate the machines so each receives equal wear.

4. Analyze Data to Improve Equipment Performance
IoT sensors provide an endless flow of data from device to manufacturer. With this influx of data, companies receive insights into how equipment can be modified or upgraded. . Access to troves of equipment performance information can inform equipment production best practices and guide more effective preventive maintenance programs and service contracts.

5. Improve PM Scheduling Accuracy
With IoT sensors built into each part in a company’s inventory, schedulers can see who has which parts and use that information to make scheduling decisions so techs don’t waste time returning to the warehouse to get the parts they need.

And, because schedulers now have real-time access to technician location and availability, they can also optimize routing efficiency to get the right tech on the jobsite at the right time.

By adding automated preventive maintenance programs to your 2015 business strategy, you’ll soon realize the long-term benefits of building a satisfied and loyal customer base, not to mention the extended life and improved performance standards you’ll contribute to the medical industry.

Rather than struggling to meet high sales quotas just to stay afloat, medical equipment manufacturers are discovering the benefits of loyal customers, gained through effective service and preventive maintenance programs.

As advancing technologies—like IoT equipment sensors and data intelligence—become more sophisticated, insights and alerts from connected equipment will become the next standard in service. Will you have the tools at your disposal to meet your customers’ changing service needs?