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How a diagnostics based spare parts policy reduces downtime

Managing spare parts and maintenance materials is not often thought of as being at the cutting edge of medical equipment technology. Yet applying the latest insights and techniques to this area is a critical factor in maintaining hospital throughput.

After all, the availability of spare parts and maintenance materials will dictate how long a piece of equipment can continue to function. Once they are no longer available, repair is impossible – despite the machine still being theoretically fixable.

There are also other issues, even if the right material is available. For example, if a request comes in to immediately carry out a repair, maintenance staff could discover that they don’t have the correct spare part to fix the problem once they have diagnosed it on-site. This means a return visit – and more lost time. And even if they know which part is required to solve a particular problem, that part may not currently be in stock. Again, potentially lengthy workflow disruptions are the result.

Applying a diagnostics-based spare parts policy can tackle all of these thorny issues. If we diagnose a problem remotely we then know which parts are required before traveling to the customer’s site. And by maintaining a record of maintenance and service history, then interpreting this in an appropriate way, it becomes possible to always have the most frequently-required parts in stock for a particular customer.

Going one step further, you can shift from reactive to proactive maintenance. So rather than servicing a machine when an issue arises, we do so when data indicates that degradable parts are coming close to the end of their natural life, or that a problem could be just around the corner. By linking this kind of maintenance to a spare parts and maintenance materials inventory, we then have a clear overview of exactly which parts are needed and when. Being out of stock can become a thing of the past - and disruption caused by unplanned downtime is further reduced.

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