In today’s world, it seems the cost of just about everything is rising, and dental supplies are no exception. While managing your inventory and cutting costs can be challenging, you can use many strategies to reduce dental supply costs.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite tips to help you cut back on your supply cost spending and protect your profit margin.
10 Tips for Cutting Dental Supply Costs
There are many practical solutions for dealing with rising dental supply costs. The key to all of these tips is to have some patience while you figure out what works best for you and your office and for your new strategies to take full effect.
1. Understand Your Supply Usage
The first step towards cutting costs is understanding what supplies you’re using and how often you’re using them. Some call this the 80/20 rule, meaning 20% of your supplies are being used 80% of the time. To put it more simply, you’ll want to determine which products you’re using the most frequently and which ones you may still need to have on hand but use less frequently.
Getting a better handle on your regular supply usage can help inform your purchasing decisions and stay organized at the office. For the products you use on a daily basis, you’ll want to create a system for regularly restocking orders. For other, less frequently used products, order fewer quantities or less often, so you don’t have too much on hand at any given time.
2. Only Order What You Need for a Month
Building upon the previous tip, figure out what you need for a full month of services and only order exactly that once per month if you can. If you’re ordering bulk items or more than what you can use in a month, you may be over-ordering and overspending. Too much product on your shelves is just money sitting around, so only order what you need.
3. Set a Budget and Stick to It
Take a good look at your finances, especially how much you’ve spent on supplies over the past year and what percentage of supply orders make up your total expenditures. Many dental offices spend anywhere between 3% and 10% on supplies. Once you understand your average expenditures, you can set a reasonable budget for supply orders. See if you can try to reduce your percentage for the coming year, and look for ways to save.
4. Take Advantage of Free Samples
Most manufacturers and suppliers offer all kinds of free samples. Take advantage of this and ask your sales rep for more free samples. This can provide you with some free products to use and potentially introduce you to new, better products you might like to order in the future. Involve your entire office staff when testing free samples and get their feedback on what’s working best. Determine if changing to a new product has clinical and financial benefits before making the switch.
5. Conduct Regular Supply Audits
One of the best ways to reduce dental office expenses is with regular supply audits. At a minimum, you should conduct annual supply audits including taking inventory and comparing order amounts. You may also want to have monthly or quarterly check-ins with your supply levels and orders. As you check in, be sure to adjust your budget and look for other ways to save.
6. Get Rid of Finance Charges
If you’re ordering supplies on credit and paying them off over time, you could be spending extra money. If you’re not paying for your supply orders upfront, you’re paying too much in finance charges, which can really chip away at your profit margins. This is an overlooked factor in many dental practices but can offer big savings. If you’re finding it hard not to use credit, try reducing your order size so that you can pay for it right away and avoid those extra charges.
7. Beware of Hidden Supply Stashes
Most dental offices have multiple patient chairs, private operatories, and other areas of the office where common supplies may be kept. While it’s handy to have a box of gloves, masks, and certain other supplies at each chair, it may not be necessary to have extra boxes at each station. This could give staff the false impression you need more products because the main supply stock is empty. Designate an area of the office to keep all extra supplies so you can keep better track of what you have.
8. Ditch Disposables When You Can
Certain supplies at a dental office need to be disposable for sanitary reasons, but there are other situations when you can use washable and reusable products instead. Using some items again can save you the money you’d be throwing away in disposable products and reduce your environmental footprint. Think about any supplies you use that you could substitute with disposable ones.
9. Form Relationships With Suppliers
When you have quality, long-lasting relationships with your suppliers, you may enjoy certain perks like discounts for preferred customers, free shipping, and more. Most supply companies are willing to work with their best customers to find the most reasonable prices and ordering terms that fit their individual needs. When you have long-term relationships with your suppliers, you’re more likely to get insight into good deals.
10. Join a Group Purchasing Organization
If you want to combat rising dental supply costs, one of the best things to do is to join a group purchasing organization (GPO). These groups utilize the power of many dental practices banding together to take advantage of better prices and deals when it comes to supply orders and external service providers.
Partner With Synergy Dental Partners
Synergy Dental Partners was founded by dentists, so we understand the unique needs of dental practices. When you partner with us, you’ll receive all the benefits that come with belonging to an experienced and knowledgeable dental organization.
We’ve already done the hard work for you — negotiating the best prices on the market for services and supplies, so you know you’re getting the best deals. We can help you combat rising dental equipment costs with our members-only programs.
Contact us today to get started!