par Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | May 09, 2014
Mitchell Aguire joined Viable Med Service Inc. nearly five years ago. Viable is a third party service provider for Hitachi systems and Aguire has been in charge of sales for the Valencia, Calif-based company. He was recently promoted to director of sales and service at Viable and has also informed DOTmed News that the company is on a path to growth. Below is an edited version of our conversation.
DMN: How is Viable expanding outside of servicing Hitachi systems?
We just recently hired a Toshiba CT expert in the Atlanta area and we're doing a big rollout in Georgia. That means we'll now service Toshiba and Hitachi CTs. We do research to see who has the most modalities out there and the least people servicing them -- or the least amount of competition -- and we found that it was Toshiba CTs. So we decided to hit that market and then found this engineer in Georgia to be able to respond to the service needs in that area. And we'll be rolling it out to Texas next and then Illinois after that. This is one way the service industry grows.
DMN: I also understand that you moved your Valencia headquarters into a bigger space in the area. Why?
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Yes, we now have more offices and a huge warehouse. Besides being the second largest Hitachi service provider, we are also the second largest parts supplier for Hitachi in the world. There is only one other competitor that services Hitachi. Then there are some individuals who have come into the market to service Hitachi systems-- normally ex-Hitachi engineers.
Most used medical equipment goes overseas and we're very much in demand overseas because some of Hitachi's MRI systems don't require helium-- this is attractive for many reasons including the fact that if you lose power it won't do a lot of damage to the system. That's also attractive globally. So we are all over the world.
DMN: What does your expansion say about the service business these days?
Business has been good. All this turmoil in the industry with health care reform has been good for service companies. The reason being is that there are more requirements for service. Even on a state basis, we find they are requiring MRI centers to have a PM [preventive maintenance check] at least every year, some every quarter, and then there is ACR accreditation too for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. So as these constraints come down on sites, they have to get service so that has made us very busy.
DMN: How would you describe your new position at Viable?
I oversee our sales and service departments. There's a lot of overlap between sales and service. There are also time constraints on the service managers. During a time with so much cost cutting in the industry, the majority of service manager are also on the road working and so it becomes difficult to balance both. My priority is to oversee the 200 contract customers and the PM schedules; I'm in charge of site calls and determining who to send where as well as making sure parts and helium are delivered on time. It's a lot of logistics.
DMN: How did you get started in the industry?
I started out as an investment banker on Wall Street, helping to fund money to start ups. I also started my own ISP and sold it and then I started to go to small companies and helped them build their sales force and improve their customer service. Then I moved to California and began working with Viable and have been there 5 years now.
DMN: What are your goals in your new position?
The overall desire is to be number one. No matter how efficient you are, you can always be more efficient, and it's necessary in these times to maintain excellent customer service but also be cost conscious.