Running a dental practice takes a lot of organization, especially when it comes to inventory management. From medications to tools to regular office supplies, a dental office has many items to keep in stock. If you and your team don’t manage your office’s inventory effectively, you may experience several issues, including less productivity and declined patient satisfaction.
There are many tips and tricks to keep your dental inventory management under control.
Managing Inventory Efficiently
Successful inventory management is key to keeping your dental office running smoothly. Follow these tips for effective inventory management:
- Put someone in charge: Efficient dental inventory management starts with delegating tasks and designating someone on the team to be in charge of inventory and supply orders. This way, there’s always a go-to contact person to check in with regarding your inventory, and they can be the contact person for your suppliers, developing useful long-term relationships with them. This can help you avoid duplicate orders and other mishaps like running out of supplies. Consider designating two team members for this task. Give your inventory team the authority to place orders up to a certain amount without waiting for permission to keep things moving smoothly.
- Communicate effectively: Any successful dental practice knows communication is key. Even if you’ve designated someone to be in charge of inventory, make sure the entire team knows who to go to with questions and what the process is for requesting more supplies.
- Have ordering protocols in place: You can streamline the process significantly by establishing simple ordering protocols that all team members can easily follow. Create a written document with a list of suppliers and contact information, account numbers, and any other pertinent information. Include instructions for placing orders, budget information for orders, and payment schedules.
- Understand expiration dates: Many products in your dental inventory have expiration dates, and understanding how to order effectively around these dates is crucial. Some products have a much shorter shelf life. For these, only order what you’ll reasonably use in a short period of time, and order them more often. For products with longer expiration dates, you can easily stock more of them and order less often. Overall, know what products you use and how often you generally need to replace them.
Managing Supply Levels
One of the most important components of inventory management for dental practices is managing your own supply levels at your business. To help you maintain your in-house supplies successfully, follow these tips:
- Stay organized: Good dental practice inventory management starts with good organization. Cluttered, disorganized supply cabinets make it difficult to see what items you have in stock and can lead to bigger issues like running out of supplies, over-ordering, and wasting products that have passed their expiration dates. Keep your store room clean, and organize products on open shelving or labeled cabinets. Develop a system for your inventory space, so all of your products stay organized and are easy to find and use before expiring.
- Perform regular inventory assessments: Stay on top of your dental inventory management with regular assessments. Plan on an annual check-in with your in-stock products and compare the results to your records. Toss any expired items and analyze how your products are being used. Use this information to guide your future orders and stock levels. You may want to perform inventory audits more often than annually, especially with frequently used products or if you have a larger practice. Just make sure you have a system in place to check your inventory and adjust it accordingly.
- FIFO: First-in, first-out (FIFO) is a standard method of inventory management commonly used in restaurants and grocery stores and can be incredibly beneficial for dental practices. With this simple method, every time you receive new products, you place them behind what you already have in stock so that older products are used first. This method prevents older products from being forgotten and ensures you’re always using current products without wasting anything.
How Does Inventory Management Increase Profits?
While dental office inventory management can help your office stay organized, it can also save you money and increase your profit margin. Disorganization and clutter in the supply room can lead to disorder and cost you big time in wasted products. Effective inventory management gives you control over your supplies and can help you make better supply order decisions and reduce waste, which will save your practice money.
One of the easiest ways you can increase your profit margin through inventory management is by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). These groups bring many dental practices together for better purchasing power and influence on suppliers and service providers. When you join a GPO like Synergy Dental Partners, your practice can enjoy steep discounts on products and services you purchase through the group’s partners.
When you join Synergy, you’ll also receive a free membership to Method, our partner providing online inventory management software. This program is specially designed for dental practices and can help you easily keep track of your inventory and order more supplies when needed. Method makes it simple for you to control your inventory effectively and protect your investment in your supplies.
Contact Synergy to Get Started
Synergy is here to help you take your practice to the next level. We were founded by dentists and have decades of experience working with practices just like yours. Our services can help you stay organized and on track while successfully managing your inventory supply levels.
We improve inventory management for dental offices and make organizing your supply inventory easy, so you can focus on what truly matters — your patients and your business. If you’re ready to get started, contact the team at Synergy today. We can’t wait to hear from you!