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The Other Side: During a time of need, where is your equipment refurbisher

I have written a couple articles about my friends at KMA, most of them praising the company for their willingness to do whatever it takes to do what I need. Well again, I have had a couple emergency situations where people were looking to me for answers. I ended up calling on KMA, and they helped me solve the problem. I would like to tell you about two recent emergencies that highlight the importance of relationships and customer service.
My first problem occurred when maintenance needed to turn off the water supply to one section of the hospital. These shutdowns are not typically problematic, but they occur often enough (but not frequently) for those affected to know how to plan and manage the situation. For me, these shutdowns affect a very limited type of equipment, and where this particular one was occurring, it was not affecting any.
I was not too worried about it until three days before the shutdown, when I got a request via email from our central supply manager for 22 suction pumps. Perplexed by the request, I went to see the manager to understand what he was asking. He informed me that the shutdown was going to take out the central vacuum system, and nursing had requested these suction pumps to manage critical patients. I was stunned. I had a discussion with maintenance about the shutdown, and they never told me that the vacuum was affected.
I told the manager that I had about five extra units around we keep for backup, but nothing near the quantity he needed. I told him our best bet would be to rent some. He agreed and proceeded to call purchasing to secure rentals. Within an hour, he was back in my office telling me that purchasing could not find any in the amount of time we needed and pleaded with me for a solution. At that point I immediately thought of KMA. I called my contact, Ken, explained the situation, and he said he would do all he could to help. Within an hour, Ken called me back and said he had 17 units he could rent to me and would get them to me the next day. Ken immediately had his team check out the units, and they hand delivered them to me (KMA headquarters is only 100 miles or so away). I immediately got them to the central supply manager, and they were distributed appropriately. The water shutdown happened as planned, and all patientsÕ needs were met without interruption.
My second problem occurred when a torrential downpour dropped four inches of water on our hospital in an hour. One of the roof drains had burst, and it flooded sections of our first and second floor. Luckily, only a couple of pieces of equipment were damaged, but the entire urgent care center was flooded beyond easy repair. Because the damage was so extensive, our leadership decided to move up the scheduled demolition and renovation of the area, and wanted to start it in two days due to the threat of mold growth in the area. This meant that the entire area would need to have all its contents (the stuff that was not damaged) moved to another location. As we went around the room describing our action plans to get the job done I saw the logistics directorÕs (the man in charge of movers and storage) face turn white. He then told the team that he could not secure enough labor to get the job done in the period expected. I immediately thought of KMA. They had discussed with me when we were moving items into our new buildingÑthat they could provide labor if I ever needed it. I called Ken, and he understood my need and sent labor to help us that same day and the next. With their help, we were able to get the area cleaned out on time, and demolition happened as planned.
To me these situations illustrate a company that understands customer service and is not afraid to help in any way possible. To know that I can go to them with a problem outside of selling or buying medical equipment is one of the reasons I use them exclusively for my refurbished medical equipment needs. I may not be getting top dollar for my used equipment from them (although I have always felt like we were getting fair prices), but why would I try someone else when they are always there for me whenever I have a problem?
I judge my success not on how many PMs or repairs we do, but on how many problems we have been able to solve. I know that no single person can have all the answers, which is why I try very hard to build relationships with people who have more resources than I have, are trustworthy, and are willing to see past just making a buck. These two incidents proved to many of my fellow managers that biomed is the department to go to when you have problem, no matter what that problem is. Even when we do not have the answers, we use our relationships to with others to get answers and solutions for our customers.