Inventory control techniques are a key part of running any business. Many medical practices and facilities estimate how much inventory they will need using traditional methods like Excel or pen and paper. This approach is simple at first, but its limitations will be apparent as the practice grows. What other methods are available for a growing business?
Inventory Control Techniques
The number of patients visiting your practice may fluctuate due to the seasons, school schedules, and many other factors. This means the amount of supplies you use will also change. Most practices cannot afford to overstock supplies, but shortages can hurt patient care and one’s business reputation in the community.
Good inventory control involves knowing not just how much you have, but how much you need, and how recent usage trends will affect your stock levels. It would be ideal to be able to predict how much you need to purchase, and have that be as close to accurate as possible.
It’s hard to do this on a spreadsheet, since even small practices can use hundreds of different items, and a busy workday can make record-keeping difficult. Data can quickly become inaccurate, leading to item shortages and costly rush ordering. And these problems can get worse as your practice grows. A better solution is to use inventory management software to track and manage your inventory.
The Software Solution
The best programs will monitor your stock levels and then predict your future needs. The software should also track expiration dates, and alert you when it is time to reorder. The system should support convenient EDI integration with major suppliers to help you save time. The key is to know exactly what to order and when, so that you optimize your supply spending.
Finally, it would be ideal to have a range of reports to break down your spending so you can see which departments and even staff are generating the most usage, and how that is affecting your cost and profit levels.
Having the best inventory control techniques available can make a big difference in your practice’s financial position. This will help you maintain a path of healthy growth in an increasingly challenging healthcare environment.