“We already have someone that repairs suction regulators.”
Whenever I go into a Biomed shop and see bins of broken plastic suction regulators, I not only see wasted capital but also wasted future human capital. Some BioMed supervisors I have met view this as a jobs program for their staff. There is a Milton Friedman quote that sheds some light on this thought process:
Our friend, the late Milton Friedman, once told us a story of being in India in the 1960s and watching thousands of workers build a canal with shovels. Milton asked the lead engineer, Why don’t you have tractors to help build this canal? The engineer replied: “You don’t understand, Mr. Friedman, this canal is a jobs program to provide work for as many men as possible.” Milton responded with his classic wit, “Oh, I see. I thought you were trying to build a canal. If you really want to create jobs, then, by all means, give these men spoons, not shovels.”
Your BioMed shop can’t afford to be a jobs program—not in the twenty-first century. The most expensive thing a hospital buys in any given year is the staff. With BioMed bench time around $100 per hour, you can’t work on equipment worth almost as much. Sometimes, the parts needed to repair plastic regulators cost half the price of the purchase of a new one. Could you imagine bringing your car into the shop, and the mechanic tells you, “the good news is that you only need one part to get your car back on the road…the bad news is that one part is called the engine, and it costs $8,000.” You probably wouldn’t repurchase that brand of car.
The other missing component in this picture is the time and people it took to fill that bin with broken plastic regulators. At some point, a nurse had to go to the wall and find that they couldn’t perform a patient intervention because of a broken piece of equipment. The regulator likely went to the soiled utility room until a charge nurse could issue a call tag with BioMed. Someone from Biomed had to come to pick it up, take it down to the shop, and log it into your system, followed by the decision to repair on-site or send it out for repair. We haven’t even gotten to fixing that regulator, rechecking it, and bringing it back to the unit.
We have more than 350,000 suction regulators in current use. We have the most extended warranty in the industry. If you look at our homepage, we publish the number of warranty repairs we do every month. If your hospital is repairing that many in a month, maybe we can show you better use for your technician’s time.
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