Back to Resource Center

What is Procurement for Dental Practices?

January 6, 2020

Blog Articles

Purchasing vital supplies for a dental practice isn’t quite as simple as going to the store and filling up a shopping cart. Practices need a variety of supplies, some widely available and others more limited. Keeping all the products and suppliers straight is a unique challenge without a process that ties everything together. Whether you run a solo practice or a large DSO, you need an organized approach. Let’s take a bird’s eye look at each step in the process to provide your dental practice with a blueprint for efficient dental procurement.

Step 1: Inventory

A strong procurement process starts with a good grasp of your current inventory. Digital inventory systems make it easy to keep tabs on which products are in good supply, how quickly certain supplies are used up, and when it’s time to order more. Using modern technologies like barcoding and RFID tagging, your office staff can save time counting items in storage, confident that your digital stock accurately reflects what’s on the shelves.

Step 2: Quote

Before ordering new supplies, you must identify and qualify appropriate suppliers.  Does your practice have long-standing, trusted supplier relationships?  Or, are you always searching for the best price you can find? In either case, it’s a good practice to periodically ask for quotes from current and new suppliers to ensure you’re getting both the service and the price you need. Compare the quotes you receive and identify suppliers your staff will use to purchase different types of supplies.

Step 3: Request

The third step in a good dental procurement process is to plan and organize the purchases themselves. In smaller practices, it’s tempting to choose a supplier and then skip right ahead to ordering from them. However, creating a repeatable and consistent ordering process is vital to your team running smoothly. Leaders can provide financial oversight by requiring office staff to place a formal request. They avoid issues with improper supplies orders as a result.

Step 4:  Order

Upon approving a request, create and submit a purchase order to the supplier. The purchase order serves as a legal request of the supplier to provide goods and services at a specific price, quality, delivery date, and other requirements. Remember to keep a clear record of each purchase order, with a digital file containing the order details as well as related information such as the supplier’s confirmation and shipment information.

Step 5:  Receive

When an order finally arrives, inspect and record the received shipment. All shipments should be reviewed for accuracy: Did you receive the correct supplies as ordered, and in the correct quantities? Was there any damage noted? If issues are found, it’s important to communicate with the supplier as soon as possible to avoid invoicing issues and to coordinate any corrective actions. If the receipt is correct, scan supplies into the inventory management system and place them into storage.

Step 6:  Pay

Only at the very end of this process should payment occur. First, compare details from the invoice to its corresponding purchase order and the supplies you received. This disciplined invoice matching process holds suppliers accountable and prevents time-consuming mistakes such as duplicate payments, incorrect charges, and contract errors. Keep clear records throughout to avoid confusion or costly delays later. Modern financial systems support electronic invoicing, scanning, and various payment types to streamline this process further.

Integrate Your Entire Dental Procurement Process

We developed the Method platform as a one-stop procurement system for dental practices. At each of these critical steps, Method makes it easy to control your spend and drive results to your bottom line.. From digital inventory management to easy price comparison and streamlined ordering, Method takes the guesswork out of procurement. Learn how we can improve your practice with our proven procurement process today.