No matter what anyone tells you, IT support is not all the same. A good technology service provider openly admits that. Each industry faces its own dilemmas that require more than just passing familiarity.
Though we’ll be the first to admit we’re not masters of the medical device production process, we’ve put the time and effort into acquiring comprehension of the challenges the industry faces. Sadly, not every service provider can say the same.
When selecting a service provider, it’s important to put them under proper scrutiny. Some of our competitors make grandiose claims that they can support any device for any business type. After all, a PC is still just a PC, right? It always makes me chuckle to hear that.
Of course, the answer is no. So, when you’re looking to bring on a service provider for a medical device company, focus on the following things:
- Manufacturing/ERP System experience. The ERP systems that are central to modern manufacturing outfits are complex. An exceptional service provider for a medical device company needs to be equipped with best-practices for optimum ERP system performance and data integrity. If a service provider only has a kiddie pool’s depth of understanding about how an effective ERP functions, chances are they’re not right for your business.
- HIPAA Compliance. HIPAA compliance is integral to your business. The same should be said of any technical service provider you hire. Their IT infrastructure solutions need to be aligned with the same care you put into protecting patient data. Test any provider on their HIPAA aptitude and be sure that they can achieve a fair BAA.
- A Thorough Support Process. Do they have firm controls and documented procedures in place? Every technical service provider you review should be able to meet this minimum expectation.
- Willingness for Periodic Meetings. A good service provider for a medical device company (or any company really) won’t keep you in the dark. When you’re reviewing prospective vendors always ask: do they deliver actionable intelligence on your current IT needs including budget forecasting based upon your growth projections? The answer should always be yes.
Want an example of what it looks like to meet the criteria? Let’s use an example from one of our recent prospects.
We did our due diligence, discussed their needs in detail, and offered a customer solution that involved Office365, a combination of Cloud and premise hardware, as well as fully managed support. Our prospective client liked what he saw, but determined that he needed his executive team to interview us again. Being thorough, he wanted them to question us, and determine if they too saw the value of KME Systems.
We were glad that he was trying to find the right fit, so of course we obliged. And we came to that second meeting with the same level of preparation as the first.
Our team specifically discussed how the client’s people would get support, how they would benefit from our understanding of their FDA compliance, manufacturing constraints, ERP needs, business continuity and compliance archive concerns, and how our processes and services were in-line with their needs.