9 Tips to Ensure Surgical Instrument Companies Provide True Quality & Savings
This article is the second part of an article series. To view the first article, click here.
Hospital and surgery centers are challenged with minimizing the cost of surgical instruments and material goods without jeopardizing patient care and safety. Decision makers address these needs by utilizing GPOs, sending quotes to several vendors and shopping for the lowest price. Over the last five years, in an effort to remain viable, many surgical instrument companies have been eager to meet these needs by continually driving costs down and competing on price alone. They claim their instruments are U.S. or German stainless steel, top quality and guaranteed to be defect-free! They began to offer lower-priced "knock-offs" of surgical instruments, claiming that they are similar or "exact-matched" products yet priced more favorably. It is not uncommon for some of these companies to initially quote low-pricing to earn the account and then continue to raise their prices on subsequent orders to make up for the loss.
Ambler Surgical has developed some best practice tips that can help safeguard your surgical organization from paying too much for low-quality instruments.
Qualify your vendor by asking the following questions:
1. Explain in detail your manufacturing-defect guarantee. Is it a lifetime guarantee? Do you replace immediately if it occurs? Can I get my full replacement price if I don't receive an equal-quality replacement?
2. What is your return policy if I'm not happy with the style, specifications or quality?
3. What is your policy for any instrument needing repair within just 30 days of use?
4. If the surgeon is unhappy with the instrument 60 days past the return period, how will the company accommodate you?
5. Do you offer a rust-free guarantee that will cover the cost of refurbishment if my instrument(s) develop rust?
6. What is your retail price versus my net price? (Ask yourself — is that price off-line with other vendors? Is my discount 40 percent or more, and if so, imagine the actual cost if they can sell at that price?)
7. Can the cost of the purchase be lowered by offering free shipping?
8. How can the vendor guarantee that their products are high quality stainless steel and made in the US or Germany? Can you count on them for quality repair or a reliable replacement guarantee if not?
9. Does the vendor support purchasing contracts or offer any value-added programs to lower your prices compared to your quoted price?
In summary, instrument price reductions are not 100 percent in the surgical instrument buyers' best interest. It is important to consider not only how the instrument is made, but who is making the instrument.
Also see "5 Ways to Optimize Surgical Up Time" by Marty Anthony.
© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2012. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.
To receive the latest hospital and health system business and legal news and analysis from Becker's Hospital Review, sign-up for the free Becker's Hospital Review E-weekly by clicking here.