If you’re relatively new to imaging equipment buying there are more than a few things you should know. We’ve learned from personal experience that it’s what we don’t know, fail to ask, or assume about that most often gets us into trouble. There are more examples of this than we could hope to fit into a single blog.
Luckily, if you’re working with a quality vendor, they’ll have the personnel to help you see around the corner and down the street, so to speak, and stay out of hot water with your boss. But, as much as vendor-provided engineers and project managers can be a great source for equipment expertise and project updates, as the ultimate “gatekeeper” of your purchase, you’ll still need to know what to look for along the way.
These three steps will help you keep tabs on your project without tying up your time:
Make sure that you insist that your vendor affords you the opportunity to inspect a system before you buy it. If they don’t offer it, demand it. If the system is installed or staged at another facility, send a knowledgeable representative to take a look on your behalf. We recommend requesting a copy of the engineer’s inspection report, photos, or any QC reports from the machine’s last few tests. Purchasing a deinstalled system that was not removed by a professional with inspection reports and photos available should send up a red flag and warrant some additional caution. Asking for these things up front will set the tone for how your vendor will communicate with you for the remainder of your project.
Whether your vendor’s project managers book the truck or you do, ask for photos from the deinstallation team of the methods used to package the system for shipment and the way it will be loaded onto the truck. Be sure to also request that “air-ride” trucks be used to haul your equipment. Mishaps can happen while a system is on a truck and in those cases documentation is your best friend. If there is any damage to your system due to poor packing or a rough ride, photos will help ensure that the costs of correcting it are assigned to the right party.
Make sure that you or a well-informed representative is on site when the truck arrives with your equipment. You’ll want to take a second look at the packaging/packing as the unit comes off the truck. After everything has been unloaded, be sure to check the system for visible damage. If you see some, take a photo to send to your vendor or trucking contact immediately.
Take a look at the spec list you and your vendor were working from as you negotiated the purchase. Did everything you were promised arrive? Look for manuals, software, phantoms, extra controls- the list goes on depending on what sort of equipment you’ve bought, but it doesn’t pay to miss any details. Compare what’s in front of you to the photos that were taken when the system loaded and contact your vendor immediately if something is missing.
Although some of these steps may seem like obvious, common sense-type things to do when making an investment as large as this, we think this is an important reminder. In the midst of a busy schedule a project can kick-off and be done before you know it (especially with smaller equipment like c-arms or bone densitometers), potentially leaving you with little documentation and lost chances to see what you were buying before funds changed hands. Be sure to check in on your imaging equipment project at these key intervals to avoid surprises and better prepare yourself to handle them if they do crop up.
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