Q&A: Tips to save money on supplies and control inventory

November 6, 2009

Supplies in your practice can cost more than you think.

Q: What are some tips to save money on supplies?

Some approaches to consider:

Q: How do I keep track of supplies? We often run out of what I need, and at the most inconvenient times.

A: Many offices have no inventory control system and, therefore, experience supply shortages that necessitate last-minute ordering at premium prices. Most practices can't afford, or don't have the volume to support, digital-scanner control systems. The cost of physician inefficiency due to missing items often is higher than the cost of the supplies.

The following manual system is a simple, easy-to-use one that puts control of inventory in the hands of one person while still allowing anyone in the office to use supplies when needed without first having to check with someone else. Sub-systems for stocking each examination room or work station also can be created if desired.

The system:

You can change suppliers, buying cycles, order amounts, and bundle size anytime as needed. Just alter the tags to reflect the changes.

Medical Economics Consultant Keith Borglum, CHBC, of Professional Management and Marketing, has been a licensed practice broker, appraiser, author, and management consultant to physicians for more than 25 years, is based in Santa Rosa, California, and practices nationally. Send your practice management questions to mepractice@advanstar.com
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