THE ZEFSCI BLOG
A Quick Guide to LCMS Service Plans (Which Options & How to Choose)
LCMS Service plans are essential to keeping critical LCMS equipment operational. In this article, we cover the broad service options available and how to choose the right plan for your lab and equipment.
LCMS Servicing and Maintenance Contract Options
Option #1 – No Service Plan
The first option you have at your disposal is to take full responsibility for regular maintenance and repairs on your LCMS equipment without a service plan. While it is your choice, going this route opens your lab operations up to costly liability.
LCMS instruments are highly sensitive pieces of equipment. So, it’s not a question of if they will need repairs and maintenance. It’s a question of when.
Option #2 – OEM Service Plan
Each LCMS manufacturer usually offers a service plan with the purchase of an LCMS instrument. Or if your lab acquired a refurbished model, you may be able to get that asset covered under that OEM plan as well.
These plans usually cover scheduled yearly repairs and maintenance, which is much better than the first option. However, these plans don’t cover everything. If you have LCMS instruments from different vendors or instruments where the front-end LC and mass analyzer are different brands, the OEM contract won’t cover those instruments. In that case, you will need to manage multiple contracts which can be costly, time-consuming and confusing.
Option #3 – Multivendor Service Plan
The last option is working with an independent multivendor LCMS service provider. These providers can range in size from independent contractors to larger companies with a full staff of expert engineers. The good thing about a multivendor option is that you can bring all of your LCMS assets under one service contract regardless of the OEM of each instrument. Plus, with the right provider you get engineers who are just as, if not more, experienced than OEM service engineers.
This service contract option is also comparable in price to an OEM and covers all the same services including scheduled repairs and regular maintenance. In some cases, some consumable parts may be covered as well.
How Do I Decide Which LCMS Service Plan is Right for My Lab?
There are many factors that go into deciding which service plan is right for your LCMS equipment. In this section, we’ll cover the three biggest.
#1. Costs (Financial and Operational)
The first thing to consider when choosing a service plan for your LCMS instruments is the cost, which can mean many things. Cost could be the financial cost of the instrument, the cost of repairs, the cost of the service plan, the cost of downtime or the cost of managing multiple contracts.
You need to determine what is important to your lab operations. Is it uptime for your LCMS equipment? Are you dealing with budget constraints? Then maybe the cost of repairs is what matters. Do your operations and lab management staff need to streamline their work by managing one service contract for LCMS equipment?
Take the time to assess your needs from a cost perspective to make an informed decision on the service contract that works for your lab.
#2. Criticality of Your LCMS Equipment
LCMS instruments are deemed critical for several reasons. A critical asset can be determined by costs of the instruments, the age of the instruments, how often they are used, whether or not they are covered by the vendor, their location or how much revenue they generate
No matter how you determine criticality, if LCMS equipment is critical to your operations, then you’ll want a service plan that fully covers repairs and maintenance performed by engineers that get work done in a timely manner.
#3. Commitment to Service
The last factor to consider is service quality and the importance of relationship-building. At the end of the day, your lab needs to decide how important service quality is to your operations.
If you go with an OEM, you will get a large, multinational company that will be able to have a service provider on site relatively quickly when the need arises. However, that service provider will most likely be a different person every time.
If you go with a smaller multivendor service company (especially one with national reach like ZefSci) your lab will be assigned a small team of service engineers in your area. This leads to a working relationship where the engineers become more like an extension of your team. That relationship is important because LCMS equipment is highly specialized. Building that familiarity means those engineers will be experts on the unique performance specs and requirements you need to get out of your equipment.
All of that means repairs and maintenance will get done exactly how you need to get them done the first time.
Going without a service contract or an OEM service plan will ultimately introduce financial risks and bring problems to your operation. Managing things independently, while cost-effective in the short-term, puts your lab at higher risk by making you 100% liable for all repairs. Plus, getting an engineer out on time will be a frequent challenge. Finally, OEM plans, while preferred by some labs, are often narrow in scope and can leave teams managing multiple contracts. In most cases, a multivendor approach is both the most practical and most attractive option as it offers better service and fewer management headaches for your scientists and lab management staff.
Looking for a multivendor LCMS partner? Get in touch with ZefSci to see why our commitment to engineer expertise and comprehensive service sets us apart.