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Dental Supply Purchasing vs. Dental Procurement

August 5, 2021

So, what exactly is dental procurement, and how does it differ from purchasing dental supplies?

Dental procurement is the umbrella under which the purchasing of dental supplies falls, concerning itself with how the buying of what you need affects the entirety of your dental practice.

Simply put, dental procurement is the purchasing of your dental supplies taken seriously. With the strategic sourcing of goods and services and the proper handling of processes and documentation, procurement levels up how you spend your dollars, better controls practice overhead and fattens your bottom line.

When times are tough, dental practices looking to remain profitable and secure long-term viability must look to reduce the costs of doing business. Making the shift from purchasing to procurement will help get you there.dental supply inventory management

Dental Purchasing

The purchasing function includes the following tasks:

  • Identifying the need to purchase a good or service
  • Requesting and analyzing quotes
  • May, or may not include the issuing of a purchase order, depending on the organization
  • Placing the order with the vendor
  • Receiving the goods
  • Payment of the supplier invoice

Dental Procurement

Procurement encompasses the above tasks as well as:

  • Analyzing the entirety of your companies needs as a whole
  • Research and source suppliers
  • Benchmark pricing and maintain market awareness
  • Supplier evaluations and selection
  • Negotiations of price, terms, and conditions
  • Maintaining regulatory requirements
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Supplier performance evaluations
  • Inventory management
  • Cost savings strategies
  • Risk mitigation (avoiding stockouts, vendor solvency, etc.)
  • Quality and service trials and testing
  • KPI monitoring and spend analysis

Dental Procurement Explained

Procurement understands that an organization’s bottom line is impacted by much more than purchase price. True, profit improving cost savings come from considering and managing such things as supplier strategy and management, shipping charges, payment terms, and cash flow optimization. Procurement strategizes to leverage your volume and manages your purchases in a manner that improves your organizational health.

For example, for every purchase order your company issues, you must confirm and track the order, physically accept delivery, unpack, and stock the goods. Someone must also enter the receipt of goods into your procurement system and process payment of the invoice. When every penny counts, there may be pressure to penny pinch and order from a different supplier if only to save a few dollars. However hard to quantify, the administration costs of processing a purchase order are every bit as real as the much easier to calculate purchase price “savings.”

Doing right by your organization requires much more effort than a simple math problem. It requires more intricate knowledge, the right strategy, and the right tools. By shifting from purchasing what you need to results-driven procurement, you can streamline processes and find what you need when you need it while improving cash flow.

Procurement works to improve your internal workflows and habits and ensures you align yourself with advantageous business partners who work hard to gain and maintain your business. It minimizes your exposure to risk and focuses on bringing you value.

Below are a few examples of typical procurement processes. Depending on the company’s size, available human and technical resources, and procurement spend, most companies will create a process similar to one of the below.

  • Spend analysis: What do you buy, how often, and in what quantities
  • Market analysis and benchmark pricing: What vendors offer these products, and at what price
  • Long list: Select vendors you want to include in an RFQ process
  • RFQ: Initiate an RFQ
  • Shortlist vendors: Analyze RFQ responses and select vendors to shortlist and approve
  • Create an approved vendors list: Approve vendors through a formalized supplier approval procedure and add to the approved vendor’s list
  • Identify the need to purchase: Identify the items that need to be purchased, the quantities required, and the date they are required for
  • RFQ: Initiate an RFQ
  • Award business: Analyze response and issue PO

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    For larger organizations or DSOs looking to award contracts, the process may look something like this:

    • Spend analysis: What do you buy, how often, and in what quantities
    • Market analysis and benchmark pricing: What vendors offer these products, and at what price
    • Long list: Select vendors you want to include in an RFQ process
    • RFQ: Initiate an RFQ
    • Shortlist vendors: Analyze RFQ responses and select vendors to shortlist and approve
    • Create an approved vendors list: Approve vendors through a formalized supplier approval procedure and add to the approved vendor’s list
    • Award business: Analyze response and award contracts for set-time periods or set quantities to be delivered over time

    Dental procurement process

    Leveling up to Dental Procurement Through Automation

    As procurement decisions have a substantial impact on dental practices’ profitability, cash flow, and business continuity, the procurement of goods and services often requires the approval of many departments and figureheads. As understandable as this is, a cumbersome process can hinder your ability to react quickly to production needs, slow down operations, and ultimately impede your efficiencies and frustrate your dental office staff.

    Typical procurement automation scenarios can include:

    • Procurement software integration with accounting, ERP, and WMS systems
    • Automating RFQs when stock levels reach reorder points
    • Automated stock reorder notifications via email or SMS
    • Automatic creation and distribution of purchase orders
    • Automated order confirmation emails

    Method’s cloud-based dental spend management solution gives decision-makers and financial controllers the visibility of data needed for informed decision-making. We provide a streamlined approval process to help manage your budget and a robust Procure-to-Pay (P2P) procedure that mitigates risk and saves you money.

    For those managing the buys at ground level, Method provides an automated RFQ process that automatically feeds into the purchase order, making for speedy entry while further supporting the four-way-match process and ensuring you pay what you were quoted. We also provide current market pricing on your entire catalog of supplies at your fingertips, easing the setting of benchmarking pricing and giving you the visibility you need to help shortlist the most pricing competitive vendors.

    Method’s automated, cloud-based procurement system underpins dental supplier management efforts, letting you see if your suppliers are delivering the right products, in the right quantities, on time. And of course, how their pricing compares to the rest of the market, fueling your negotiations.

    The automation of processes is imperative to eliminating bottlenecks and streamlining your dental supply workflow while maintaining tight control of your expenses.

    Contact us today to see our cloud-based procurement software in action!