Philips expands service reach through alliance with Kinetic

November 20, 1996

Biomedical component added to multivendor programAfter cooperating informally for nearly a year, Philips MedicalSystems and Kinetic Biomedical Services have joined forces toexpand Philips' multivendor service program to include biomedicaland

Biomedical component added to multivendor program

After cooperating informally for nearly a year, Philips MedicalSystems and Kinetic Biomedical Services have joined forces toexpand Philips' multivendor service program to include biomedicaland clinical laboratory equipment maintenance.

Privately held Kinetic Biomedical of Erie, PA, has specializedin multivendor service since its formation in 1988, accordingto Peter Spampani, COO. It maintains more than 150 kinds of medicalinstruments from numerous manufacturers. The company employs 65workers serving 27 management accounts, with hospitals in Pennsylvania,Illinois, and New Jersey, as well as New England states, accordingto Michael Crane, operations manager.

Kinetic Biomedical could see its geographic reach expand substantiallydue to the Philips alliance, Spampani said. Philips' multivendorservice offering is promoted nationally through a dedicated salesforce working out of 13 regional offices.

"Philips' national presence adds to our sales potential,"Spampani said.

For Philips, the Kinetic connection supports one leg in a tripodof multivendor services that includes an expansion of its imagingequipment service organization to handle competing equipment,as well as a partnership with IBM to maintain computers and provideapplications support.

"We needed a partner who could help us in the biomedicaland clinical laboratory equipment areas. That will be Kinetic'srole," said John Bills, Philips director of strategic customersupport programs.

At the same time, Philips' partnership with IBM has been valuablein differentiating its offering from multivendor service programssold by GE, Picker, and Siemens, Bills said. The IBM connectionmeans that the maintenance of personal and mainframe computersand software applications support can be bundled into Philips'multivendor contracts.

"IBM has been an integral part of our program. This iswhat really sets our program apart," Bills said.

Philips has also differentiated its effort from the competitionby not characterizing it as asset management, he said.

"Customers we've talked with are looking for someone theyperceive as vendor-neutral, and it's very hard for them to perceivecompanies like Picker and GE in that way," he said.

Overall, broad-based multivendor service programs are gainingpopularity because they reflect organizational changes happeningat many hospitals, according to Bills. The management functionsof radiology and laboratory services are being merged, while othermiddle-management positions are being eliminated. Consequently,the surviving managers are probably administering several departments,which puts them in a position to consider service contracts thataddress equipment deployed throughout a hospital, he said.

"It is important to be as diversified as we can be,"he said.

Details are sketchy on how well potential customers have reactedto the mix of services that Philips introduced in November 1995(SCAN 12/13/95). A number of good sites have been contracted,Bills said. Without citing specifics, he said the program is ontrack to meet its 1996 goals.

The multivendor effort has undergone a name change since itsdebut last year. Originally dubbed the Integrated Customer SupportSolution, the program is now called Maintenance Management Services,Bills said.

Unlike GE and Picker, which set up subsidiaries to coordinatetheir multivendor service efforts, Philips has integrated MaintenanceManagement Services into its existing organization at Shelton,CT, with a new multivendor group formed under the aegis of thevendors' service division. Bills, who formerly was Philips westernzone service manager, was promoted to director of the strategicsupport program last December. He reports to Carl Reilly, vicepresident of service.