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The Art of Parts: How DirectMed Imaging Ensures Quality Medical Imaging Parts

Mar 6, 2020 | Articles, Siemens

Even a well-maintained Siemens medical imaging machine will eventually need to have parts replaced. But, imaging engineers might not always be anticipating a part’s failure, or know who to contact for help replacing it. So, when the urgent need to replace a part occurs, the replacement process might not go as smoothly as expected.

For instance, an imaging engineer might go straight to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), which seems like a logical move. But since OEMs are focused on delivering quality, complete machines, individual replacement part prices from an OEM can be high.

Conversely, an engineer might be looking to save their department some money, so they do a little research online and order from the cheapest source, only to receive something that looks like it came from the junkyard. With the part’s remaining life being questionable, and the likelihood of more downtime on the horizon, the engineer can’t help but ask, “Did this part save us any money?”

Extreme Care and Expertise: The DirectMed Imaging Difference

When a machine arrives at DirectMed Imaging, its parts begin a complex process of transformation. In a typical scenario, a machine comes off a truck and into our facility to be harvested. Once the machine arrives in the harvesting area, we remove all usable parts to be inventoried in our 72,000 square foot warehouse.

From there, these parts go through labeling and get entered into our custom-designed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. This software provides up-to-the-minute inventory accuracy for customers who might call in for particular parts, even if they aren’t yet listed on our website.

Many parts arrive in great condition, but all are tested to double-check their functionality. If a part needs to be refurbished, it heads to our Technical Engineering department. If a computer board from a machine isn’t working properly, our Technical Engineering department rebuilds it. All parts are then installed into a live system and retested to make sure they are functional within a machine’s regular use.

Once functionality is confirmed, parts are sent to the paint shop to get repainted if their appearance needs a refresh.

The final step in this phase of the process is parts packaging. We have a department that does nothing but build custom crates for specific parts to be shipped in. We know that certain parts require extra care during shipment. Rather than put them into an over or under-sized stock box, we build crates that have precisely the right dimensions to accommodate the particular part, as well as the special foams and fillers we use to help protect them. Ordering an expensive part that is needed to get a machine up and running should not arrive DOA due to shipping damage. Our custom crating helps ensure that parts are delivered in the best condition possible.

When customers receive parts from us, they can expect more than a typical used part. Our entire process is more akin to refurbishing than simply moving a part from a harvested machine into a shipping box. This whole process is part of what we consider to be the art of parts.

But there’s more.

Looking Deeper: The Importance of Parts Analysis

Parts arrive from around the world, on a variety of systems, and each has a different condition. By our own strict standards, not every part can be refurbished, and part of the art is examining and understanding the inherent quality of a part, as opposed to merely polishing up junk in order to sell it.

If a part arrives to us in really bad shape and we already have a stock of them in the warehouse, we’re not even going to send that part through the usual process. From our perspective, there’s no need to spend the time to try to make something in terrible shape presentable to sell it. Our customers need a high level of quality, and that is what we focus on providing. All parts must meet our standards to be sold and delivered to our customers. Those standards are in place for all parts, regardless of their price tag.

We also analyze parts to understand their remaining life. For example, we analyze tubes based on scan seconds. In one instance, we might get a system that has a relatively new tube with only 10,000 scan seconds. In another case, we might receive one that has 200,000 scan seconds. Both of these parts will receive the same level of attention, but the sales price will differ based on the value the tubes have left in them, not merely their part type. Our review of parts doesn’t make assumptions that our customers pay for. We do not practice a one-price-fits-all approach.

Other parts providers don’t actually inventory and quality review all of their parts, even though they have them listed on their website. When orders come in, they source the parts at that time. To expedite the process, they have the parts drop-shipped from the source supplier. When the customer receives the part, it might be in a condition other than what they expected, or possibly the wrong part altogether. Since the seller didn’t conduct a quality review of the part before it was shipped to the customer, they weren’t able to verify the accuracy, condition, or the remaining value in that part.

For both the seller and the customer, ordering parts without any quality control is taking a big chance on a potentially expensive order that’s needed quickly. A customer might find cheaper prices with this kind of option, but is questionable quality worth it? Saving some money initially only to have to replace the part a second time isn’t saving money after all, considering the total expense and downtime involved.

skeletal xray of hands in a heart

The Art of Service: The Technical Side of Parts + The Human Touch

Our Support Team is available 24-hours, 7-days per week, and we work with each caller to figure out precisely what they need and get it delivered to them quickly and safely.

In some cases, an inexperienced engineer will call us but won’t know the exact details about which part to order. Or, they’ll think they’re working with one type of machine, but through conversation with our Support Team, we’ll discover that it’s an entirely different machine. If our approach were merely to take orders, not listen to customers, and not understand precisely the help they needed, we would not necessarily be providing the right part to solve their issue.

Instead, whenever there is an issue with a machine, we encourage people to contact our Support Team. By talking through what’s happening with the machine, we can help identify exactly which part or parts are needed to fix it. Then, we can even walk people through the installation of those parts once they arrive, to make sure that the machine is back up and running smoothly.

Once a part is ordered, based on our custom-built ERP, we know everything that happens to the part, from throughout our process, to FedEx, to the time it gets to the customer. Our ERP is connected to our CRM, so if a customer calls about a part while it is somewhere within the process, we can see everything about the part and inform the customer on its precise status.

If a customer feels they are in over their head and needs hands-on help, we can even offer on-premise service by a trained Technical Support member. We want to make sure that after putting all the attention we do into our parts that those parts genuinely do provide the solution needed.

From answering questions via phone or email to installation and service check-ups, our support is integral to the art of parts.

Trust the Art of Parts

The next time your machine is down, do you roll the dice and hope the cheap parts supplier’s option to fix it doesn’t arrive DOA or with barely any life left in it? Is downtime and lost revenue even something to take a chance on?

Put your mind at ease and talk to a trusted partner that exists solely to help keep your machine running. Our focus on quality parts every step of the way, from arrival, to shipment, to support, has put our customer’s trust in our art since 1997. Contact us today and experience what the art of parts is for yourself.

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