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Organize and Optimize Your Dental Practice With an Inventory List

July 5, 2022

We’ve all been there; you get to the grocery store only to realize you’ve forgotten the ever-critical shopping list. When you get home, you notice (or worse yet, your spouse notices!) you forgot a few important items and over-bought on others. Frustrated, you head back to the store for the forgotten items, spending more gas and time than you had originally planned.

Whatever your procurement goal may be, although it may seem a small, perhaps even inconsequential step, creating an inventory list should be at the top of your list.

Just as a grocery list ensures you buy the right items in the right quantities creating an inventory list will help you better manage your dental office supplies and streamline the stock-taking and buying process.

Whether you’re a single practice or a DSO, establishing a standard inventory list for your dental supplies is the first step in improved spend management, allowing you to implement formularies and buying rules that lead to deeper cost savings and optimized efficiencies.

While helping you to do more with less, an inventory list can also help safeguard your profits by:

  • Practicing lean inventory management and avoiding unnecessary carrying costs
  • Minimizing the need for expensive expedited shipments
  • Improving cashflow
  • Mitigating the risks of accumulating expired or damaged stock

Before getting started, it’s important to have the basics in place first, as well as understand the pros and cons of relying on a spreadsheet to manage your inventory so you can ensure it’s the best way to go for your practice.

Below we offer you some guidance, including how you can organize your supply closet to eliminate any unnecessary items, create a dental supply inventory template to standardize the process, and analyze the list to establish the must-have items and their appropriate buy quantities.

Creating Your Inventory Spreadsheet

If you’ve not yet organized your dental practice, check out ‘5 Great Dental Office Organization Ideas’, where we tell you exactly how to remove any unnecessary items from your dental office space. This will help you in removing redundancies and allow you to create an initial dental office supply list as the starting point for managing your inventory.

When you’ve finished admiring your hard work tidying up your dental or office supplies, it’s time to create a dental supply inventory template.

Using a spreadsheet all team members can access (although perhaps not edit) is a great way to ensuring you have one version of the “truth.” Maintaining a list that looks the same to each member where they can quickly make note of all necessary items, categories and buy requirements allows for easier, clear communication that reduces opportunities for errors.

To get the most out of this process and help save time, do your due diligence and give some thought to how you could organize your dental office supply list. For instance, you may want to break your supply list down by categories, separating hygiene from PPE and office supplies for example.

You can also design your dental office inventory template in such a way that it resembles a document. You can ease use for your employees by highlighting all relevant cells and hiding any irrelevant cells.

While creating your template, ensure that you’ve covered all the bases, including giving consideration to the physical aspects of how your employees will be performing physical inventory checks. Make the task easier for your staff by adding useful information such as the location of items, manufacturer part numbers and quantities per unit.

Also, although you want to try and avoid creating a spreadsheet that’s too large or overcrowded, creating bold coloured headers that help direct the user’s eye to the right place.

Assign Someone to Oversee Inventory

If you have employees, you know that you can’t achieve everything yourself. As the owner or leader of a dental practice, you won’t be able to juggle all of the tasks that need to be done in order to maintain success across the business.

Delegating tasks essential to the daily running of your practice allows you to prioritize other business tasks like strategic planning and scaling while you mitigate potential overspending.

There are a few additional benefits to assigning someone to oversee inventory and take care of stock checks:

  • You can select someone from your team with a keen eye for detail
  • There may be someone in your dental office that has more time within their work schedule to carry out the task
  • If one person takes charge of inventory, that individual is more likely to remain consistent in the way they complete the task

Giving one person the responsibility of maintaining the inventory spreadsheet template with clear instructions on how often they are expected to carry out regular reviews to ensure you remain on top of your stock and know when it’s time to reorder. The responsibility could be incorporated into a particular job title within the dental practice while also providing one of your team members with a sense of ownership and ability to increase business productivity.

As the owner of the task, that person may later decide to delegate to someone else as part of their day-to-day work while ensuring the correct information is recorded every time. To ensure processes are followed adequately, its best to officially document the process so you can provide employees with a reference in case of questions.

Perform Routine Updates to Your Inventory List

Like any template within an organization, your inventory list spreadsheet may become outdated very quickly as you introduce new products into your practice and discontinue the use of others. This is another reason to assign the task of managing the file to a member of the dental office team, as there is continuous work involved in maintaining an up-to-date spreadsheet.

Perhaps you may find an alternative consumable product that will replace another piece of equipment, or maybe it’s a case of analyzing the spreadsheet regularly to determine if it is fulfilling its function. While routine checks are important, it also pays to record the versions of your list or, if you don’t want multiple documents cluttering your filing system, date the spreadsheet every time it is updated.

Analyze Stock Turnover Trends

The main reason you will create, or have completed, your dental office inventory list is that you want to find out where stock can be managed more effectively, particularly the consumables that are depleting daily.

Keeping a record of past completed inventory checks will provide valuable data that you can use to optimize your dental practice. But how could you possibly use the data?

  • Spend analysis will help you understand how frequently certain items are used, how often and how much you should purchase to save on costs while minimizing the work load. Remember, every order you place comes with administrative costs that can bog down employees and your profits.
  • There may be items in your inventory that are used infrequently, a deeper analysis of your spend may uncover you’re also purchasing a similar alternative option, allowing you to reduc e the number of SKUs you purchase and reduce costs by taking advantage of larger price breaks.
  • Cross-examine the data against your budget will help you determine if you’re over spending or if you need to adjust your budget to more accurately account for your supply needs

Too often, businesses will gather data and display it in readable formats, but you need to use that data in order to gain the most from the task. Ultimately, you must commit to the full process in order to achieve the optimum return on investment for your inventory list, as a completed list without analysis doesn’t provide much insight to improve stock turnover, efficiency, and reliability.

Why Managing Inventory in a Spreadsheet Can Be Problematic

We can’t lie—although creating a spreadsheet to help manage your inventory may be a good first step for a practice with little to no control over their supply buying processes, it can be problematic.

Manual inputs are highly prone to human error, creating costly inaccuracies that can lead to stock outs that hinder your production and service levels. It’s also labour intensive, something few dental offices can afford.

By leveraging a spend management platform specifically designed for the dental industry you can create a scalable process that ensures maximum value extraction through a robust and streamlined procurement process designed to optimize outcomes, increase efficiencies and improve profits.

Simplify Restocking With Procurement Software

We’ve covered many areas that inventory can provide organization. Performing a detailed analysis of your stock and past spend practices will help you gain a greater understanding of how effective your procurement process is and where there may be opportunity for improvement.

The ability to digitize documents and empower more insights-drivenl decision making with data analytics will not only open up new, more efficient opportunities for your dental operatory but will also minimize the time spent on the process. However, your return on investment will be much greater if you decide to adopt procurement software to carry out these functions.

As you can see by using our ROI calculator, leveraging the Method Procurement platform your dental practice will begin to see a much simpler, smarter way of taking and restocking inventory while carrying out the necessary processes to ensure that data is interpreted quickly and effectively.

As you can see by using our ROI calculator, leveraging the Method Procurement platform your dental practice will begin to see a much simpler, smarter way of actively managing your purchases, so you can reduce your overhead for greater financial returns.

The ROI calculator is a useful online tool that allows you to input your annual production value to determine the best possible spend management strategy and the bottom line without putting in extra time in the evenings or on the weekends to compile and develop a strategy for your data.

Method’s procurement software is designed by dentists as a solution for the industry to enable digitization of processes and continued growth and development of your dental supply list, which is capable of responding to your business growth. Users will experience a platform that is easy to customize and navigate on a daily basis with further embedded functions, such as Requests for Quotations (RFQs), order requests, Purchase Orders (POs) and barcoded inventory management.

An easy to access dashboard empowers more strategic long-term planning so you can better leverage volumes and enable continued improvement with the necessary data immediately to your dental office staff.

Manage Your Dental Inventory With Method

More businesses require efficiency and the ability to carry out menial processes much quicker and alleviate the extra work for staff to create a more functional inventory system. Creating and dental supply list and collating information is a great way to kickstart your stock management, but is very much the old way of working.

With outdated systems or even manual processes, continuity is likely to plummet—especially when it involves a new process. Method’s dental procurement solution collates all information for all relevant employees into one convenient place in real-time, allowing for a continuous process with minimal manual input from your staff.

Work with the Method Procurement team to trial the platform for your dental practice and get the most from industry experts as they provide continuous support to optimize the solution and make it unique to your business.

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