According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), the U.S. is the largest medical device market in the world, with a market size of around $155 billion in 2017. The UK isn’t far behind. The 3rd largest in the EU, it’s valued at over 9.5 billion and rapidly growing to compete with its European neighbors. It’s no wonder that one of the top challenges for this industry is dealing with a very crowded market. Distinguishing oneself from other medical device companies that offer similar products has become increasingly difficult.
In an attempt to differentiate themselves from competitors, companies have started relying more and more on their service centers. According to a survey conducted by WBR from the Field Service Medical 2016 event, service has become a top priority for medical device companies.
Increasingly, field service companies – medical equipment companies included – are looking to knowledge management technology as a way to set their service teams apart from the rest. It’s easy to see why! According to the Aberdeen Group, field service organizations that leverage knowledge management tools for service have been able to outperform their peers in key metrics such as customer retention, SLA compliance and first-time fix rates.
However, it isn’t enough to simply implement a knowledge management system and expect results. Organizations must leverage it to its fullest potential in order to reduce first-time fix rates and improve customer satisfaction. So, what does this mean?
The Knowledge Must Be Mobile
The best knowledge management system in the world still won’t be able to help a technician if they can’t access it when they need it. Often time, medical device technicians work in areas with an unreliable connection or no service entirely. This is why your knowledge management system must be mobile and have offline capabilities. In order to drive first-time fix rates up and improve customer service, your techs have to be able to access the information they need at the point of service, whether or not they’re able to connect to the internet.
The Knowledge Must Be Useful
Knowledge management systems must contain the knowledge technicians need while on site. Sounds simple, right? But think about it. This includes work order and job information, as well as all the technical information for each piece of equipment, such as parts lists, installation manuals and troubleshooting guides – basically, everything they need to know in order to get complex machinery up and running quickly. Ensuring that your knowledge management system is equipped to handle such complex data is essential to success in the field.
The Knowledge Must Meet FDA Regulations
Servicing medical devices is perhaps the most challenging of any field service. As every medical equipment company knows, the strict regulations and legal requirements employed by the FDA and MHRA that organizations are required to meet, such as validating that the correct medical device is present, connected to the appropriate utilities, performing according to the approved specifications and, when operating under normal conditions, and will consistently produce results in compliance with product specifications. Therefore, your knowledge management system must also meet these strict regulations by ensuring installation and servicing documentation are available at all locations worldwide, and out of date documents are immediately removed to prevent unintended use.
Knowledge Management is Not One Size Fits All
When you consider everything a knowledge management system must contain in order to be of value to your entire med-tech service team, implementing one can seem like a herculean task. Which brings me to my last point – knowledge management systems are not “one size fits all”. It’s important to choose a system that is designed specifically with field service in mind, and the company providing it understands what service teams need in order to meet those all-important KPIs and core metrics that are essential to running a well-oiled field service organization. This will make what could be a colossal effort much more manageable.
To learn more about how mobile knowledge management can help set medical device companies apart from their competition, watch our joint webinar with field service management partner ServiceMax from GE!