Questions To Ask Before Purchasing
How does a lab manager know when it is in their best interest to purchase rebuilt equipment as opposed to new?
It all comes down to ECONOMICS. You need a tool to accomplish a task. You have done your analyses and concluded that you don’t have the funds to purchase new. Or you realize you can stretch your dollars and save 50% to 80% of your investment capital and receive a quality rebuilt system. Someone else has taken the large depreciation fall and you can reap the gains
Every new instrument sold today, is a used instrument tomorrow. And they depreciate very rapidly. To make an analogy, there are Pintos and there are Mercedes analyzers on the market. They were once new Pintos and new Mercedes. Would you purchase a used Pinto? Would you purchase a used Mercedes? Would you purchase a used Mercedes if it was rebuilt? I would suggest purchasing the highest quality instrument you can afford, and have it rebuilt to a point where the quality is put back in. A rebuilt Mercedes will last you many years and give dependable service.
Please also bear in mind that if a buyer purchases a closed instrument, one that only has one consumable source, you run the risk of painting yourself into a corner. Look for open systems that can use any of many reagent sources. The cost for consumables is competitive and the savings are yours.
What should you, as a lab manager, do before you speak to a vendor?
Review your options.
First decide if purchasing used is a viable option for you.
If so, start the process of selecting a vendor that will offer the quality and support you require.
Word of mouth is a good place to start. Do you have colleagues that can recommend a company or companies they have done satisfactory business with?
Check with reference laboratories and professional organizations.
Where can a lab manager go to find rebuilt equipment vendors?
Again, check with your own resources.
It’s easy to get a list from the internet, but how do you qualify them?
Ask the obvious questions: How long have you been in business? Who are your customers and references? Have they ever been sued? Have they ever done business under another name?
GET IT IN WRITING. Request a written quote and warranty.
Contact the BBB.
What types of characteristics would a reputable vendor have?
Look for someone that will deliver what you were promised and will stand behind that rebuilt Mercedes.
Do you feel comfortable with the relationship?
Again, check the obvious: references, longevity, and satisfied customer list. Check with manufactures.
Does the company belong to any professional organizations related to the laboratory industry: IAMER,
AACC, CLMA. and others.
What types of questions should lab managers ask the vendor?
All the above and more. What is the: price, freight charges, installation, training, warranty, type of warranty, price/quality options, and is leasing available. Ask for it in writing.
Do you feel that using a consultant to help with the decision is a wise choice?
Most consultants we encounter work on a very local basis, however, I recommend checking with any and all resources you have available. Use the information provided by a consultant in addition to the information you gather. The better prepared you are the better the chance you wont get hit by a Pinto.