When comparing quotes for service and maintenance suppliers, there is so much to consider. In this article, we explain some of the considerations you should think about when comparing supplier quotes.
Of course, you’ll be looking at price to make sure it fits your budget but this shouldn’t be the only factor when selecting a supplier to partner with.
Service and Maintenance providers are a key partner in maintaining the care equipment within your facility. They perform LOLER inspections, planned preventative maintenance and reactive maintenance to keep your equipment compliant with regulations and in peak condition to avoid equipment downtime.
However, not all service and maintenance providers are the same and the way they service your equipment can be different. Different providers also offer different additional benefits.
Make sure you take this all into consideration when comparing service and maintenance provider quotes.
Having good communication from your service and maintenance provider is a key priority when comparing suppliers and the number one reason why companies change suppliers.
What does good communication look like to you and your organisation?
Make sure you have this conversation with each supplier so they understand the importance of this and show you ways they communicate with their current customers. Below are some example questions to ask:
- Have they invested in systems that automatically alert you when your equipment is due for service?
- Are the inspection reports available electronically and how quickly are they provided?
- How quickly do they send across remedial quotes for follow up work?
- Do they keep customers updated when there are delays? For example with spare parts.
- How well do their engineers communicate what they are doing with your site staff and management?
- How much visibility do you have over your assets and how is this communicated to you? Do they have an online portal you can use or do you need to request information from them?
- How proactive are they when communication with you?
By asking these questions of each service and maintenance provider, you’ll gain a deep understanding of how they currently communicate and if this meets your expectations.
SLAs and Compliance Guarantees
Compliance with regulations and keeping your equipment up and running are paramount to operating a safe care facility. Make sure you understand the people and processes that sit behind each service and maintenance supplier.
Does the supplier employ and invest in engineers to ensure full coverage of your area? Have they invested in their internal process to ensure you never go out of compliance? Can they commit to and guarantee they’ll meet your expected SLAs for call-outs? Do they have the stock of spare parts to reduce any equipment downtime?
Dive deep into the service and maintenance providers you are comparing before you commit to a contract. Take the time to meet with them, perhaps visit their Head Office or warehouse sites, meet some of the team you’ll be interacting with and ask them to show you examples of how they service their customers. All this will give you a better understanding of how they work and if they will work well with you and your team.
Understanding your Requirements
When receiving quotations for service and maintenance contracts, each supplier must base their quotes on the same information and specifications so that you can make a true side-by-side comparison of each company’s capabilities and pricing.
If they differ slightly, make sure you go back to suppliers with questions and feedback to allow them to justify their prices and counter-offer if needed. This ensures you get the best price, for the level of service and maintenance you want which meets all your requirements.
Check out this article to further understand what affects the cost of PPM service rates
Expertise and Knowledge
Make sure you fully understand the expertise and knowledge each supplier has. Do they have experience with similar work in the industry? Have you worked with them before or have they been recommended? Are they willing to provide references that you can reach out to?
With so many different pieces of equipment from different suppliers, they must have the knowledge and expertise on the assets you own. Some care operators will use different suppliers for different equipment categories whereas others will want to benefit from using one supplier that can service and maintain multiple pieces of equipment.
Hidden Costs or Bonus Extras
Ensure you fully understand everything that is included within the quote so that you’re not faced with hidden costs further down the line.
Are you being offered a low rate for the initial service? Be cautious that you won’t be charged expensive rates further down the line for mark up on parts or call-out rates etc.
On the other hand, you might be charged higher service rates but what’s included is extensive i.e. dedicated account management, asset management, and lifecycle replacement programmes.
Make sure you know exactly what you’re being offered as part of the service and maintenance agreement so you understand where each supplier differs and why their costs might differ.
Trust and Credibility
Your service and maintenance provider should be an extension of your team and work with you to achieve the same goals. This means you need someone responsive and proactive.
They could be in multiple times throughout the year depending on your equipment. So, you need to make sure that you trust them to meet the quality of work expected and that they work well within your facility with both the staff and service users.
You must also trust the engineers that are visiting your sites. Ask questions to the service and maintenance provider such as “Do your engineers have up to date DBS checks? Do they carry ID? How will you inform us who is visiting our site?” As well as checking the provider has adequate insurance or indemnity in place.
Reactive and Proactive Work
Service and maintenance of moving and handling equipment are made up of both proactive and reactive work. Check what is included in this work, for each of the providers you are comparing.
Reactive work includes call-outs to equipment breakdowns and repairs to equipment following an inspection. Things to look out for here are similar to what has been mentioned above: Make sure the supplier can commit to your expected SLAs for equipment downtime, they have invested in spare parts stock to avoid delays and have the availability of engineers to react quickly.
Proactive work includes planned preventative maintenance (PPM) and inspections, as well as asset management and lifecycle replacement. PPM not only keeps you compliant with regulations but improves the safety of the equipment, reduces equipment downtime and reduces the whole life cost. Check out this article for more benefits of PPM. Make sure you have full visibility over exactly what work is carried out on each piece of equipment. Whilst suppliers may seem the same on paper, they can vary significantly in costs due to servicing equipment differently. Learn more about how this affects the cost of PPM service rates.
Proactive asset management and lifecycle replacement is an enhanced service that not all suppliers provide. Having proactive asset management and lifecycle replacement programmes in place adds significant value as it reduces the risk of equipment failure and downtime. It highlights any associated repair costs, as well as the age and condition of equipment, giving you the data to decide whether to repair or replace it. This also helps to ensure you gain an optimum return on investment of all your equipment.
When comparing suppliers, make sure you have a good understanding of what is included in both their reactive and proactive rates. One supplier might offer higher proactive service rates but this could reduce your costs on reactive maintenance over the lifetime of your equipment.
Hopefully, this list highlights the important things to consider with your next quote comparison.
Make sure you go back to suppliers with questions and feedback to allow them to justify their quotes and counter-offer if needed. This ensures you get the best price, for the level of cover which meets all your requirements.
Check out Medaco’s Service and Maintenance Solutions for your Care Facility.