Here's a way to manage costs in your practice.
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 two manual systems are simple, easy-to-use ones that put 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.
This system is courtesy of Keith Borglum, CHBC, of Professional Management and Marketing, Santa Rosa, California. He is a Medical Economics editorial consultant.
You can change suppliers, buying cycles, order amounts, and bundle size anytime as needed. Just alter the tags to reflect the changes.
This system is courtesy of the Practice Performance Group in LaJolla, California, where Medical Economics editorial consultant Judy Bee practices.
Another approach to controlling supplies on hand and simplifying ordering is to develop a descriptive index. This is an alphabetical listing of the practice's supplies, which also serves as a cross-index of inventory control cards.
Inventory control cards track costs and order lead time, and they collect supplier information. Each time an order is placed, the date and amount are listed. As supplies arrive, the individual opening the package notes the amount received and the unit price information from the packing slip or invoice on the card.
This technique shows a good record of order quantities, pricing, and shipping lead time. Ordinarily, these cards are kept in an alphabetical file by item description and maintained by the central supply person. Notes at the top of the card are helpful. Records of the maximum quantities on hand can set a standard for the central supply person. The ordering description may include a catalog number, serial number, or other handy information for the supplier.