Claris FileMaker: Game-changer for medical device maintenance business
Dartin uses a streamlined cross-platform solution to manage business and operational processes for the sales and maintenance of medical equipment.
30 June 2023
Healthcare, medical device maintenance
Czech Republic and Slovakia
Deliver impeccable customer care and ensure reliable maintenance of hospital medical equipment;
Meet requirements of strengthened EU regulations without increasing service team workload
Streamlined cross-platform solution that integrates all business and operational processes related to the sales and maintenance of medical equipment.
Increased customer confidence and trust due to clear evidence and traceability of maintenance, servicing procedures for each and every device.
Significant time savings due to automatic synchronization of field and office operations, electronic processing of all related paperwork.
Best-in-class customer service.
We met with Ruud van Donselaar, one of the managing directors of Dartin, a Czech- and Slovakia-based importer and distributor of medical devices and products. Established in 1993, the company specializes mostly in neonatal intensive care equipment for hospitals.
Highly regulated business
The high-stakes industry of medical devices has always been subject to strict regulations. Maintenance has to follow schedules specified by manufacturers, for instance; and all events that happen to devices must be documented, and those records must be kept for many years, even after the devices have been decommissioned – these are everyday realities for distributors working in this sector.
In 2011, Dartin, as a full-spectrum distribution and maintenance company with an acute sense of top-level customer service, decided to find software that would support them in managing service and maintenance schedules more efficiently. None of the turn-key solutions available on the market satisfied their specific needs in terms of scalability and flexibility. The only viable option was to create their own solution tailored to their business.
We chose FileMaker as a platform because it’s where we can get things done the way we want without having to deal with huge multinational companies who tell us how to run our business because “otherwise the software won’t work”
Ruud van Donselaar
FileMaker: Treating devices as patients
The ability to implement the unique concept of a “Life Card” – a record that contains all the information about a device, including the manufacturer, the serial number and its maintenance and repair history – was one of these specific needs. It’s an idea very much inspired by patient charts in healthcare.
“They treat devices almost like their patients,” says HOnza Koudelka, the managing director of 24U Software – a Platinum Claris Partner that Dartin hired to develop their own solution using the FileMaker platform.
When I first heard about this idea, it was a perfect match with FileMaker because this is how FileMaker was designed from day one. Whenever you work with data that can be imagined as a patient’s chart, FileMaker is a great way to do it electronically.
Within just 4 months of hand-in-hand collaboration with 2 developers from 24U team, Dartin started switching to FileMaker – DARTIS application was born. “This is one of the strengths of FileMaker: incorporating customers’ feedback and making changes is extremely fast and easy,” says HOnza.
FileMaker’s easy-to-use interface and flexibility were pure joy for Ruud too:
We’re one of those customers who love to mess around with applications. We don’t do huge projects ourselves, but we do tweak user interfaces, and sometimes we do it on the fly. FileMaker is great for that.
Let’s go paperless: Tackling increased workload with elegance
New European regulations that came into force two years ago put even stricter requirements on how devices are maintained and serviced; these include an increased number of inspections and stricter prerequisites for the qualification of service people, to name a few.
With a database of nearly 4,000 devices, Dartin saw the service side of their business grow quite strong. The workload went up to 10-20 maintenance and service procedures a day for the service team of 5.
Dedicated to providing top-level service to their customers, Dartin was determined to find ways to increase efficiency and let their technical team focus on devices instead of the heavy paperwork load required for every intervention. So last year, 24U was commissioned to develop a mobile iPad application for the service team. Instead of filling out paper forms, they would now do it digitally, and the data collected in the field would be synchronized with the existing server app.
Before starting development, Dartin once again looked for commercially available, ready-to-go service apps. “We could have saved some money with one of those,” says Ruud, “but then of course we would have lacked the synchronization between the mobile app and the server app. And the solutions we evaluated never had all the features that we needed, so it wasn’t really a difficult decision [to use FileMaker].”
Resistance to change? Not with FileMaker!
Pretty much all of Dartin’s customers went along with the new electronic assembly sheets and signatures. There was no resistance in the team, either, to adopting this new service app. And no wonder – everything is easy! You do the service, you take your notes in the system, and it takes 5 minutes to wrap it up and synchronize with the server. “How do you do that?!” is a reaction that technicians usually get in the field when they come across colleagues from other companies servicing devices not sold by Dartin.
Now everything is automatically synchronized in these Life Cards – that saves a lot of time. Before, some people had trouble reading what was written on the paper forms. That’s history now! I remember all those questions: What did you write here? What does it say?
He also attributes this success to placing user experience very high on the priorities list while developing the app. Together with the 24U team, they designed layouts to make them as ergonomic as possible. Leveraging native iPad app functionalities like the camera, bar code scanning, and offline work comes in extremely handy, especially when devices are installed in hospital basements with no internet connection available.
FileMaker is involved in everything that we do, especially now with the mobile app. We have no parallel systems at all. In our company, you can’t do anything without starting up FileMaker.
Best-in-class medical device servicing
Earlier this year, Dartin was audited by one of their biggest suppliers – they wanted to see the system. This puts a smile on Ruud’s face:
He was very impressed, saying that he has never seen anything like it. I took it as a huge compliment because he is a very experienced auditor for this multinational company and oversees systems of 50 distributors.
To be the best is a great motivator for the Dartin team. Supported by clearly structured, streamlined processes set via the FileMaker platform, along with Ruud’s organic style of management, they feel empowered.
It really feels good when a customer says that you’re great. We like to be perceived by our customers as best in class, as a company that you can do business with. And we know that FileMaker helps us in earning their trust and getting more business.
Learn more about how Claris FileMaker can help you scale your business – get in touch!