Ordering, receiving and installing major capital equipment items presents challenges for many healthcare facilities. The challenge becomes even more complex when multiple large pieces of equipment need to be ordered, received and installed at different locations within a limited period of time without interrupting patient care and workflow.
Here are four critical considerations that we have found to be essential for successfully meeting this challenge:
1. Know Your Supplier
You no doubt have already identified the manufacturer of the equipment items you are ordering and have made your procurement decision based on the features and relative cost involved. You may also need to decide on the distributor you will use to deliver and install the equipment. If you have multiple distributors to choose from you need to look at five basic considerations:
- Reputation - Are they known to be honest in their dealings with other customers? Are they easy to work with? Do they do what they say?
- Reliability - Can you reasonably count on them to meet their commitments? Again, do they do what they say they will?
- References - Can they provide references to support that they actually do what they say they will?
- Delivery issues - Are they flexible in their delivery times and locations to meet your scheduling needs? Will they do direct to site deliveries as opposed to warehouse delivery only?
- Guarantees and warranties - Do they stand behind the products they sell and the quality of their installations?
2. Give Yourself Adequate Implementation Time
Make sure to allow yourself an ample amount of time for ordering, scheduling, receiving, installing and testing out the equipment before it is supposed to go into operation. Whether or not “Haste (truly) makes waste”, it certainly can contribute to wasteful activities. Plan things out well in advance and make allowances for unexpected delays.
3. Fully Communicate Delivery Constraints
Whether you are scheduling the delivery of a single item to a solo location, or the delivery of multiple items to various locations, you need to fully communicate any particular delivery constraints that might be encountered. Some of these constraints might be that your delivery dock cannot accommodate a 53-foot trailer, or that the items need to be delivered and installed during off hours when no patients are present.
If the piece of equipment is a replacement item the removal and disposition of the existing unit needs to be discussed and agreed upon. If the vendor is not only delivering, but also installing the equipment, be sure that the room number and how to get there, are included on the delivery ticket, including any elevator limitations.
4. Make Sure to Properly Receive the Equipment
Again, proper communication with the vendor delivering the equipment is essential for a smooth receipt and installation of the item. Here are a few things to keep in mind and plan for ahead of time:
- Notify security that a major piece of equipment has been ordered and is expected to arrive at a designated time.
- Notify the biomedical department regarding the electrical requirements involved.
- Have someone in authority present to sign for, and officially take receipt of, the item.
- Have someone available who is familiar with, and will be using, the item to check out the operation and performance of the item.
CME is a medical distributor focusing on equipment, and the associated logistics, for outfitting new medical facilities, expansions and remodels. In fact, 99% of our business is equipment sales.
We are large enough to meet your IDN delivery needs in a timely and effective manner, while being small enough to be flexible and accommodate your delivery constraints. We specialize in direct-to-site, project based deliveries.
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