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Controlling Spend (So You Can Profit More!) with Dental Practice Budgets

November 22, 2021

Once upon a time, there was a dental surgeon who was presented with an invoice for $10,000 worth of implant purchases.

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    This is, for certain, a fairly regular occurrence and would have gone unnotable if it hadn’t been for the fact that only moments ago the man had seen, right next to the very office where he now stood holding the invoice, sitting precariously on a shelf, $100,000 worth of implant inventory.

    He walked back to that very shelf and had a further look around. He saw some old broken boxes and expired inventory. Other shelves were overflowing with months, if not years’ worth of stock. The dollar signs floated around in his head like a Sunday morning cartoon. And yet, he was far from laughing.

    At a time when his dental practice struggled to remain profitable and viable, there was nothing funny about how much money was unnecessarily sitting on his supply shelves. And he hated to think of how much money had gone to waste in expired, damaged, or lost items. And so the Doctor decided then and there that it was time to take action and implement a more disciplined approach to inventory management and the supply ordering process.

    Luckily, he had only just spoken to Dan Traub, VP of Product at Method, about how their digital procurement process could help improve profitability and strengthen cash flow. Dan had told him how operating expenses come straight out of practice revenue, so every dollar you save is a dollar in increased profit. And yet, here he had been, focused on increasing production. But remember, Dan had said, it’s revenue you’re after, not production.

    And so, inspired to move ahead with changes, he pulled out his notes from their “meeting” that night in Vegas.

    How exactly was Method going to help him?

    First, he looked at the numbers Dan had given him. Supplies should represent 5-6% of revenue.

    Although the Doctor wanted to believe they were spending responsibly, in reality, the practice was a busy place, and the office staff most often in charge of purchasing their very long list of supplies had no standard method for doing so efficiently or effectively. Supplies were often over or under-purchased, and they simply didn’t have the time to shop for the best prices.

    He knew for certain that supplies were running at least at 7% of revenue and that they were rarely hitting budget targets. Then he remembered what Dr. Kupperman, founder of NAK Dental Group, had said:

    “It really is a business management solution that gives us the tools we need to monitor our spending against our budget. We can implement standard processes, such as approving or declining proposed purchases before orders are placed, and avoid surprises so we can stay on target. We can work with any supplier we want to and allocate our volumes any way we see fit, and better yet, leverage them for stronger pricing.”

    He also feared whether they had enough control over the accounts payable process to ensure they were paying what they should. But that was a whole other story.

    It was time to get their stuff together.

    He took a look a look at a note his assistant had left stuck to her monitor. They needed to order:

    He remembered what Dan had said about how when you enter an order in Method, it helps to monitor against your budget, either as a percentage of revenue to a maximum dollar spend, per department, per location, or overall. And that Method would give color-coded warnings as you enter or approve an order request, either by line or by order.

    He had gotten to take a look at the interface, and it reminded him of ordering off of Amazon, but better. They could easily shop for all their needs at once, could see current pricing and availability, choose to buy everything from their favorite supplier, or break it all up based on price. And quickly turn it all into orders.

    There was also an electronic bidding process and spend analysis so they could start leveraging their volumes for stronger pricing and better service, a good thing, given all the focus he had been putting on increasing production. The Doctor looked back at the sticky note and the messy, hurried writing and thought of Mary. She was bright and usually so chipper, and yet ever since the pandemic, her smile is now fast to fade.

    It was time to get them all some help. He grabbed the card Dan had handed him and picked up the phone.

    Ready to control your spending, save on your supply costs and improve your profits?

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    Connect

    Your practice depends on smooth collaboration to work well. Your spend management activities are no different. Method keeps you connected to your team, suppliers, financial systems, and the dental community to efficiently procure all of your practice needs.

    • Don’t double up on orders
    • Don’t buy if you don’t need
    • Leverage analytics to more accurately budget
    • Know the dollar value of what you have on order and outstanding to pay
    • Approval process

    Plan and coordinate purchases from any supplier

    Prevent costly mistakes with a simple process to plan and make purchases. Allow multiple users to request products in a single platform, reducing email clutter and providing visibility to the entire team. Perform a cost analysis to compare supplier pricing before submitting a request for approval.

    • Rapid Request
      Quickly and easily create new requests from prior orders, inventory, or catalogs. Method auto-fills product details to minimize manual entries and save time.
    • Collaboration
      Annotate requests using notes and attachments, both internally with your team and externally with suppliers.
    • Linked Documents
      View all of the documents related to a request including orders, receipts, invoices, and payments.
    • Complete Visibility
      Track the status of all requests from a common screen to see what has been approved and ordered.
    • History Log
      Review an audit trail of each request from beginning to end to see the full story behind every purchase.
    • Drafts
      Save in-process requests while details are finalized before submitting to your team for approval.

    Manage spend with informed buying decisions

    View the insights and details you need to guide the purchasing process. Method allows you to review and control purchases before they occur, regardless of the supplier. With full transparency, everyone stays in the loop and no requests are lost or forgotten. The approval process reduces unnecessary, incorrect, and duplicate purchases by simplifying collaboration across your team, saving money as a result.

    • Mobile Approval – Coming Soon!
      Review and take action on requests via email from any mobile device.
    • Partial Approval
      Decline certain items on a request while approving the others.
    • Rapid Auto-Order
      Generate and send purchase orders to suppliers automatically upon approval. No delays, no mistakes.
    • Decline Reasons
      Select a reason for a declined request, or write your own, and return to the submitter.
    • Full Overview
      Avoid expensive mistakes by viewing the full details of each request including quotes, specifications, billing method, and a cost analysis prior to purchase.
    • Collaboration
      Easily collaborate with team members by viewing comments, quotes, purchase notes, and attachments related to each request.