Having a physical inventory of things are crucial in medical equipment. So asking ‘Do you have a unit in stock?’ is a loaded question. And yes, this is a question you should DEFINITELY ask before you buy. This article is a part of X-ray purchase guide that will give you a sneak peek at the secret of X-ray buying guide and why this question is important. This is especially important article if you’re thinking of getting a refurbished C-Arm.
Many times, you’ll run into companies that are small, sometimes a 1 ~ 3 men operation. And this is fine. More often than not, these are hard working people who work hard to support their family. But make sure these people are working with a bigger company who has the unit in stock with support. (and in most cases, they do) [Future Article: What is support?] But time to time, you’ll run into a company who will take orders based on phantom inventory and scramble to find the unit. And not to your surprise, these companies tend to have lower price. When you’re buying a brand new unit, this isn’t as critical since manufacturer will send you a brand new unit. But a huge portion of medical device market is refurbished (used) market. And refurbished unit can mean many different things. [Future Article: Refurbishing, explained]
Imagine someone just gave you $10,000 for a used Chevy Camaro. And all you promised is it’ll be a used Camaro that runs. (let say newer models; 2000 and up. Upon your search, you run into two cars with price of $9,000 and $7,000. Price is probably based on the year it was built. But let’s say they are the same color and they both run. Now, which one would you buy for your customer? If you place an order without having all the details, this is the situation you’re putting yourself into.
And this becomes a bigger issue if you don’t have a ‘Kelly Blue Book for medical device’ handy. (and you don’t’ have one because we didn’t make KBB for C-Arm) So, you’re listening to what your rep tells you. This had no issues and has new parts and etc… And usually it sounds great. Because it’s worded to make you want to buy it. But let’s do a fact check. How does your rep know what’s the condition of the unit? Did they actually bring the unit in and went through inspection and made sure it’s in a good condition? Or maybe they just had someone make sure it turns on? (=pass?) Or perhaps they’re going by what seller is telling them? (because seller who wants to get more $$ for the unit always tells the truth), or maybe…. just maybe…. they don’t even have a unit they’re selling? Is it possible that they’re just telling you all you want to hear thinking they’ll figure things out once they got your money? Do you see where things can go wrong?
So when you’re getting a quotation next time, remember to ask ‘Do you have this unit in stock? or Do you have this unit in your possession?’ ‘And if so, would I be able to get some details of the unit? Perhaps pictures or serial number?’ Keep in mind that turnaround for these units are very fast. I normally guarantee a specific unit for about 3 days only. Because more often than not, unless I place order for that unit, it’s gone and I have to find a new unit for my customer, starting over again. The other thing you need to keep in mind is in order for a company to stock the units and check everything, it cost money. So don’t expect the lowest bidder to have best quality control with stocked unit that are well maintained. [Future Article: Price of my unit]