Executive sees growth in multi-vendor serviceThird-party service executive Paul Thomas is heading out on hisown after 14 years with R Squared Scan Systems of Corona, CA.Thomas, formerly executive vice president of operations at theindependent
Third-party service executive Paul Thomas is heading out on hisown after 14 years with R Squared Scan Systems of Corona, CA.Thomas, formerly executive vice president of operations at theindependent service organization, left R Squared last month topursue other opportunities in the medical imaging industry.
Thomas joined R Squared in 1980 and saw the ISO grow from asmall company servicing a few CT scanners on the West Coast tothe largest ISO in the country with service contracts for over350 CT and MRI scanners. Along the way, R Squared was acquiredby MMI Medical, which is now negotiating an acquisition of MEDIQEngineering and Maintenance Services (MEMS) of Arlington, TX (SCAN1/19/94).
Thomas' decision to leave R Squared is by mutual agreementand not related to the MEMS acquisition, he said. There has beenspeculation that the acquisition would result in personnel reductionsat both companies as the consolidated firm eliminates redundantpositions. The acquisition will be completed pending shareholderapproval.
"It's time to look around and see what other opportunitiesare out there in the industry," Thomas said. "Health-carereform has really stirred the pot. Although it has created uncertainty,it has also created opportunity."
The ISO industry has changed dramatically in the past 14 years,growing from a business populated by mom-and-pop outfits to anindustry increasingly dominated by large nationwide firms likeR Squared, MEMS and Serviscope. Accordingly, the size of the investmentrequired to enter the business has grown. To succeed these days,ISOs must make substantial investments to buy capital equipmentand develop diagnostic software, Thomas said.
Thomas sees strong growth in multi-vendor service in the future.More customers are demanding that their service providers maintainequipment from more than one vendor. ISOs that perform multi-vendorservice have an advantage in this area because they are not tiedto a single company's equipment, but equipment manufacturers areexamining the concept. GE Medical Systems is one vendor settingup amulti-vendor service program (see story, page one).
"Manufacturers are beginning to look hard at multi-vendorservice," Thomas said. "Multi-vendor service, whetheryou are an independent service organization or a manufacturer,is the wave of the future."
Part of the attractiveness of multi-vendor service is thatit gives service providers more control over customer accounts,Thomas said. Whoever controls the account and is sending servicerepresentatives to the site on a regular basis will have an edgeover competitors when it comes time to replace aging equipment.
"Equipment comes and goes, but the customer relationshipalways stays intact," Thomas said. "That's the constantbehind multi-vendor service -- you're always maintaining yourrelationship."