One Mission; One Team – How Two Different Services Organizations Leveraged Third Party Resources into Their Field Technician Force (Part 1)

[This is the first in a two-part Case Study-based series of Blogs that describe how two different medical instrumentation and device companies, with two different sets of challenges and needs, found success through the use of outsourced, third-party field maintenance services. Part 2 will follow in about one week.]

Many services organizations have found that it simply does not make much sense (i.e., either geographically or financially) to provide direct customer service and support to their total customer installed base – especially if it seems to be expanding in increasingly dispersed geographical concentrations all across the country. In fact, one of the more common examples of this is a bi-coastal scenario where the company is headquartered somewhere in the Mid-West, but is being called upon to support an ever-expanding installed base that is concentrated on both the East and West Coasts (and oftentimes, everywhere else inbetween).

In cases like these, the old model of “We should provide direct support to our entire customer base, because we can” is being replaced by “What if we leveraged the field technicians of a qualified third party services organization into the overall mix of our support team?” Companion questions, such as “How much more could we expand our geographic coverage by doing so?” and “What cost savings could we realize by offloading some of our basic support services (e.g., Preventive Maintenance/PMs, or other scheduled services) to a qualified third party?”

For many services organizations, even the thought of outsourcing, or offloading, any component of their field service and support activities would have been deemed blasphemous just a few years ago. Why? Because the outsource model was not yet fully tested; there were not enough qualified third party services organizations from which to choose; and – well, it simply wasn’t done!

However, things have changed in recent years – both on the supply and the demand sides. First, there are now some (although not very many) qualified third-party services organizations offering field service and support on a nationwide basis; second, the stigma historically attached to outsourcing or offloading key services activities has long since been deflated; and third, research has shown that most customers do not care who performs their basic service and support activities – they simply want them to be performed as scheduled, by a qualified and competent field technician, and on a fairly consistent basis over time.

One company, MMS Field Service 360, has certainly taken advantage of this shift in market sentiment by establishing a significant and growing presence in the medical device service and support market. It has listened to the needs of the marketplace, and has built a portfolio of services offerings that are designed to assist services organizations in their ability to “fill in the gaps” in their customers’ service coverage with consistent levels of performance (and subsequent customer satisfaction), regardless of the type of service required, or the geographic location of the customer’s installed system.

We’ve all heard that in Real Estate, the three main selection factors are usually cited as “Location, Location, Location”. However, the selection of the best qualified Third-Party Services Organization relies more on an evaluation of the prospects for:

  • Maintaining a high level of performance quality,
  • Decreasing the costs associated with performing field service, and
  • Increasing existing levels of customer satisfaction

The following Case Study summarizes how one of the nation’s leading medical device and instrumentation companies: a Life Sciences / DNA Sequencing, has been able to achieve high levels of results in all of these categories through the use of a carefully-screened third-party field services organization – in this case, MMS Field Service 360.

Case Study 1: Life Sciences / DNA Sequencing Company

In the first case example, a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of life science tools and DNA sequencing instrumentation, had found itself increasingly challenged in its ability to support all of its North American customer installed base solely with its existing field service personnel and resources. Management acknowledged that it would need to “think outside of the box” in order to provide customers with the levels of service and support they require to keep their systems running most efficiently.

As a result, the decision was made to offload the majority of the Company’s Preventive Maintenance (PM) calls to a qualified third-party services organization, as by doing so, it would free up its own service engineers to focus on the more high-volume, complex, machines in the field that typically require much more time – and expertise – to support.

For the Company, the key characteristics they were looking for from a third-party services organization basically focused on:

  • Existing medical device service and support experience
  • Ease of training the Field Engineers on the Company’s systems and equipment
  • Ability of the organization to provide fully qualified, certified personnel
  • Consistency of the organization’s technical expertise, skills and experience
  • An already established presence in the most populous North American markets (i.e., where a majority of the Company’s installed base is located)
  • Ability to establish a close relationship with customers and maintain an interactive presence

The Company found that customers like the fact that there is a level of consistency not only in how the PM is performed, but, also, in who performs the PM. This allows each field engineer to develop a close personal rapport with the customer, as well as set the overall tone of the relationship with the customers they support.

By incorporating MMS Field Service 360’s field technicians into its overall support team, the Company is now able to perform a much higher volume of PMs during the year, while also completing them at a much higher frequency than in the past. This allows it to manage its growing installed base more effectively, resulting in:

  • Significant reductions in the historical PM backlog
  • Improved customer satisfaction (i.e., as a result of improved scheduling, more consistent performance, more personal customer relationships and communications, etc.)
  • Improved service contract compliance (i.e., in terms of meeting on-site commitments, etc.)

Overall, the relationship with MMS Field Service 360 has, in turn, helped to build stronger relationships with the Company’s customers, as all of their service and support needs, ranging from PMs, to installations and troubleshooting, are now being met in both a more timely and consistent manner. Company management attributes this improvement in performance, in large part, to the fact that all MMS field technicians are direct, W-2 employees of the company, and that no local contractors are ever used in support of their customers.

For more information, or to receive a complimentary copy of the full case study, please visit www.mmsfs360.com; or contact Paul Miller, Managing Director, MMS Field Service 360 at (631) 963-4282 or via e-mail at pmiller@modmedsys.com.

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