Dental Inventory Management in a private, startup dental practice [Guest Post]
As a new practice from scratch, there was no question that we needed to have a dental inventory management system. I had worked as an associate at multiple offices, of which none utilized a system that was proven efficient. There were unused, expired products, random lists of supplies needed, ordering from one supplier, never price comparing, and rarely was the doctor or owner involved. I had the opportunity to create my own systems and inventory supply to provide the practice with the most efficiency, as well as profit to invest back in the practice or in myself. Who doesn’t want more money in their pocket? If that’s the case- you, the doctor/owner, need to be involved in the dental inventory management. It takes less time utilizing a system and being involved in the process than it does dealing with misplaced supplies or realizing you don’t have something when you need it. I can look in my supply closet right now, without having to move a single item, and tell you what is running low or is out of stock. The organization of your dental supplies is the key to being able to utilize the software to its true potential.
ZenSupplies has allowed us to implement a system with our lean, organized inventory that provides efficiency and savings. Even as the practice grows, almost every month, we are able to stay within about 5% of collections with our dental supplies. This has everything to do with the management system and keeping a lean inventory. I live by the saying that less is more. You do not need to have an overstock of supplies- it doesn’t allow you to spend the money where you might actually want or need to or you overspend without any knowledge of the budget. ZenSupplies emphasizes the responsibility of managing that budget with inventory that is necessary. The system allows for easily checking items out of inventory and keeping a running list of what absolutely needs to be ordered. Price comparison is obviously a huge benefit as well. Who wants to go back and forth between supplier websites, or even direct contact with reps, to figure out what the best price is? Zen is making it easier and easier, with the growth of the system, to price compare and manage your budget to reach your set goal.
Like anything in life, there is a learning curve to utilizing something new. ZenSupplies is a great system to manage your dental inventory, but you need to learn how to make the system work for your practice. I cannot emphasize enough, that the organization of your dental supplies is very important. It is easy to stay organized when you narrow down your dental supplies and minimize to only what is absolutely necessary to function as a dental practice. When you can provide Zen with a lean inventory, the system will work for you. Ultimately, what I have learned is that when ZenSupplies is not working (i.e. we run out of a product that was not placed on an order), it is usually due to user error. Your staff needs to be trained on how to utilize the system or it will not work. Everyone needs to agree at what point an item needs to be ordered. As the doctor/owner, I take responsibility for overseeing that my team is utilizing the system correctly by auditing the inventory and approving all orders. With the ease of the ZenSupplies app, I can walk into the closet scroll through the categories, and confirm that they are checking items in and out as needed. It is worth my time and way less of a headache than scrambling to order a product we are running out of and overpaying just so that I can have it the next day.
Dental inventory management is well worth the investment to reduce those headaches, improve efficiency, and stay within budget.
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