A leading medical device firm doubles its profitability with IoT-enabled products, proactive diagnostics and remote service. Originally published in Field Service, a quarterly print magazine from Field Service Digital and ServiceMax. Check out the full magazine in print or online

Playing the waiting game in the service business can put a serious dent in the bottom line. Shrinking the time it takes to close deals and deliver service reports can have the opposite effect, resulting in big gains in profitability and customer satisfaction. But as Amos Schneller, VP of global service and technical support for medical device firm Medivators can attest, such a transition relies on visibility and connectivity.

Thanks to tools that allow technicians to log service visits and get customer sign-off immediately — and even diagnose service issues remotely — the endoscopy systems and services company doubled its profitability in two and a half years, and collapsed billing cycles from an average of 14 days to just two days.

Sales, Meet Service

Medivators’ 93 trainers and technicians visit hospitals and other healthcare facilities to make sure the company’s endoscope reprocessors are working properly. Before the Minneapolis-based company took a hard look at connecting service to sales, it had to change its view of service. “In the past, we had technicians report to sales and marketing,” Schneller says, but customer data was tracked manually and often generic about potential service needs.

“The trainers and technicians never reported into any system about their activities,” Schneller says, so the company had little visibility into its trainers’ and techs’ schedules. And it took too much time to document service visits, or pass along useful information about new products or services that customers might need.

Reporting, too, was a problem. “At the end of training, we need to share proof of training to meet patient safety and HIPAA requirements,” says Schneller, adding that the company would wait up to two weeks for the hand-written documents to be mailed. “We couldn’t invoice or being warranties until that happened, which affected revenue.”

Speed, a critical element in medical device service, was missing.

Schneller decided the company needed a field service management solution — in their case, ServiceMax. Medivators also took a leap into the IoT with Connected Field Service, a joint offering with PTC’s ThingWorx platform that enables proactive diagnostics and remote service.

We used to rely on primitive, slow tools for remote access. But in medicine, speed is crucial.

“For 78 percent of our calls, we can now use remote access to solve technical issues,” Schneller says. “We used to rely on primitive, slow tools for remote access. But in medicine, speed is crucial.”

Connecting Devices, Improving Outcomes

With smart diagnostics, Medivators can also switch to a proactive service model. “Now we can receive alerts about problems even before customers know there’s an issue,” Schneller says. Medivators can use such alerts as a sort of “early warning system” about possible machine flaws and devise a solution, such as a firmware update, to prevent problems for other customers, too.

Our technicians have become the eyes on-site for sales.

By storing and sharing electronic service records, Medivators slashed the time it takes to receive service reports and training certifications to five days or fewer. In many cases, it takes just one day to close out a service call.

Besides speeding up billing and service documentation, Medivators’ technology investments also hastens knowledge sharing about customer needs — another boon to the bottom line. If a technician notices that a customer needs to move endoscopes to many different departments, the tech can make a note in the customer’s records within the ServiceMax app. That information is immediately visible to sales teams. “Our technicians have become the eyes on-site for sales,” Schneller says. Technicians and trainers even receive incentives if they tip off sales to an opportunity — providing another source of revenue.

Read the full case study here.

ABOUT Christine Kent

Avatar photoChristine Kent brings more than 20 years of writing and journalism expertise to her work for technology, consumer and corporate organizations.