When it comes to handbags, watches, and clothing, it’s fairly easy to get away with a knockoff without sacrificing much of the quality that the big name product boasts. Fake leather and inverted patterns might attract the attention of a fashion icon, but to the average person, the cheaper model does the job it was intended for just fine. However, do the same rules apply when purchasing surgical items that are at the core of your business? Here are 5 things to think about when choosing surgical instruments in order to find the best value for the best products.
1. Think about savings in the long-term. Unlike a fashion accessory, a surgical instrument needs to do more than just look pretty; it needs to work every time, for a long time. A cheap instrument means nothing if you can’t rely on it to work. All the time and money you’d waste on rescheduling patients and funding repairs would lead to higher procedure costs and a growing frustration in your clientele. These problems can be detrimental to your practice, and are easily avoidable. Don’t search by price. There are many off-brand companies that offer cheaper imitations of the bigger brand names, as well as brand name companies that offer a line of cheaper products to appeal to the frugality of small business owners. While these cheap products claim to be equivalent to the more costly products, there is generally no guarantee that the cheaper option will have the longevity and consistency of its more expensive counterpart. The bargain might seem too good to pass up, but the long-term repercussions of a faulty or sub-par instrument might make the deal cost you more in the long-run.
2. Don’t be fooled by “too good to be true” pricing. Even if a low-cost item is not claiming to be equally matched with the high-cost items, low prices are still not to be trusted right off the bat. A low price now potentially means frequent cost of replacement or repair, which is likely to cost your company more than a good product would have cost in the first place.
3. So if I’m supposed to be weary of low prices, why can so many companies sell items at bargain prices? These companies are able to sell for such bottom prices because their instruments are manufactured in countries without child labor laws and other protections for laborers. Instruments produced in countries such as Pakistan, India, and other Asian countries are much less costly to make because the wages of laborers are not set to the standard of the US. This means that unskilled laborers are putting together instruments fundamental to the success of your practice, and their lack of training means the risk for error is huge. The cost benefits do not generally outweigh the quality risks.
4. How do I know if I’m getting a good deal on a quality product or I’m getting ripped off for a low–end product? The best way to know if you’re getting an expensive item for a good price is to consider the cost of the raw materials used in creating your instrument. Stainless steel and other common products cost more in countries like the US and Germany, so the raw cost of products made in these countries will be higher. If a label says “Stainless Germany,” it should be pricier than something without the label. If it’s not, there’s a good chance you’re looking at a cheaper replica.
5. What are the consequences of buying “knockoffs”? In the ophthalmic world, instruments are more dependent on quality than some other surgical specialties because of the small surgical area in play. The smallest discrepancy could mean disastrous errors during surgery. This is why it is so important to purchase instruments from a company with a reputation for supplying high quality products instead of one known for cheap prices. Cheap prices at the cost of sanitary instruments or child laborers are not worth the risk. Knockoffs are NEVER the answer.
Kowa Optimed prides itself on its quality instruments at the best possible prices without cutting corners on any moral or qualitative boundaries. When you buy a surgical instrument from us, especially from our new Neitz collection of Ophthalmoscopes, Binocular Loupes, and more, you can rest easy knowing that your products will be consistently successful and fit your budget in both the short-term and long-term.
For more information about Kowa Optimed’s high-quality products, check out our new online store at www.kowastore.com