d01a.jpg (10866 bytes)RPI for ISO
Your article in the October issue was quite timely and reflected much of what RPI has experienced in our efforts to achieve ISO 9001 certification. Our certification audit was Nov. 7 (we are being recommended for certification!) and it took us two years to get to this point. ISO 9000 is not another fad quality system initiative. ISO is a permanent way of doing business, and doing business the right way, ensuring consistency in quality of products and services.

RPI has been the leader in replacement parts for healthcare equipment for more than 28 years, and while we have established excellent systems and consistently produced high quality parts during that time, ISO 9000 prompts us to do even better. The ISO 9000 certificate will be a nice badge to advertise to our customers and prospective customers, but the proof will always be in our parts and service. ISO 9000 will help RPI to maintain the level of excellence required in today’s marketplace.

The effort of achieve certification has cost us about $15,000, not including our own man-hours devoted to the process. We have already seen significant payoffs in internal communications, reduction in scrap, design control and company moral. This is even before certification!

As your article mentioned, ISO 9000 is not easy or inexpensive, but it is definitely worth the effort as it will pay for itself many times over. It was nice to see an article that hit so close to home that confirmed our experiences.

Ira Lapides
President and CEO
Replacement Parts Industries, Inc.
Chatsworth, Calif.

Differential Diagnostics
I must take issue with David Harrington’s remarks about remote diagnostics in the October “Soapbox” column. If remote diagnostics are so useless, why bother creating them? That question has been answered amply over the space of decades in the data processing industry. Single failures make a splash, multiple successes but a ripple. Documenting savings is a challenging task for both vendor and end-user. How does one show costs avoided through the use of a particular technology?

Even when diagnostics do not tell me what is wrong, they do eliminate that which is not. When successful, the required part is usually in the order/delivery process by the time my pager beeps. I save time up front and that means my customer is spared downtime and associated costs. Behind the process are many professionals who I can, and do, routinely tap for assistance. They do not work for free, so if you don’t want that utility, decline it.

Staff turn-over and lack of continuing education leaves users unaware of diagnostic availability, phone lines get reassigned without notice, and sometimes we simply make mistakes; all humans are like that. Let’s not regress to the “good old days” when we were without remote tools.

Dave Hawthorne
General Electric Medical Systems, Canada

In November’s “Shop Talk: Building Your Own Remote Access,” the URL for Kevin Carpenter’s Web site, with more info on building a remote access server, should be http://users.erols.com/xrayeng.

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