Profitability is the key to making sure that your dental practice is sustainable and financially stable in the long run. No healthcare practice can survive without steady profits. There are two ways main to increase profits – reduce costs or increase revenue. If you are lucky, you can do both at the same time.
If your clinic is already working at peak capacity, it can be difficult drive up revenue without expanding your facilities and employing more staff. But there is always a way to reduce costs by eliminating waste, improving efficiency and optimizing your supply chain.
Dental supplies may not be a big item in your budget but they do cost money. Many practices do not manage their supply-chain effectively. It means you are always spending more money on supplies than is actually needed. So how can you optimize your supply chain to help with profitability?
Understand Your Dental Supplies Requirements
Every clinic is different – some specialize in specific treatments while others provide general dental care. Accordingly the type and number of treatments and procedures you offer will also change. Some clinics may use more of one item than another one. Do you actually know which supplies you use more often? Which ones are not needed except in rare cases?
This knowledge can make the difference when ordering supplies and keeping costs low. If you use more of a particular item, it will make sense to order it in bulk to get a cheaper price. If there is something you don’t use very often, purchasing it in advance serves no purpose. Some items have an expiry date and if you don’t use it by then, you have to throw them out.
So make sure to review your current inventory, purchase history and suppliers. Identify patterns and usage so you can order them appropriately.
Try out Dental Supplies before Committing to a Purchase
Manufacturers and suppliers are often willing to give away trial or demo products to their users. Make full use of this and test out any new item before you enter into a purchase contract. Evaluate their effectiveness against any current products that you are using. Sometimes an item is more of a luxury than a necessity in a certain procedure. Make sure that the price you are paying for the item matches its value to your practice.
Review Your Supply Chain Periodically
Depending on your needs, you should check your supply chain every quarter or twice a year at the least. The requirements of your clinic can change over time, especially as you introduce new procedures or retire old ones. Keep an eye on these changes in usage. Spotting them in advance means that you can take advantage of price fluctuations, volume discounts etc.
Dental supply contracts generally last for a year. However most practices don’t bother to renegotiate contracts or check the terms before they sign them. It leaves the door wide open for suppliers to take advantage of your lack of oversight. It is always good practice to renegotiate your contract every time it comes up for renewal. Even if there is nothing that you actually want to change, you should review the terms each year.
Sometimes you may want to change the contract based on your usage history and previous orders. Invite your vendors to give you a price quote for the next year. You can even invite bids from other suppliers if your current vendor is not flexible. Managing your supplies chain is not about cutting costs by sacrificing quality. It’s all about streamlining the purchase process, identifying inefficiencies and eliminating waste.