Inventory control and management is usually the last thing that is on the mind of independent practice owners. However, failure to properly take care of inventory will result in operational problems and poor customer satisfaction.
Continual Monitor Product Costs
Maintaining proper inventory levels is imperative, but many people forget that product costs are equally important. This is because products that are in high demand must be continually analyzed to maximize savings. Independent practices that ignore product costs may end up wasting money on expensive items that could be easily sourced through a cheaper supplier. When added up together, they may cost an extra few hundred or even thousands of dollars for overpriced supplies. In addition to this, independent practice owners should also stay alert for quantity discounts and new wholesalers. Accounting or inventory management software will provide the financial information needed to figure out product cost margins.
Go Digital and Go Online
Many independent practices still track inventory by hand. Physical inventory counts will always be important, but manual methods and paper forms are prone to error and very time-consuming. Even the smallest independent practice will benefit from digitization and automation. This could be something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet to track inventory. Spreadsheets are an excellent way to manage inventory because they have powerful functions, formulas and templates that make inventory management much easier. An inventory management system will provide real-time information about stock levels and inventory problems. Any large independent practice will want a system that uses barcodes which are easily scanned and tracked.
Physical Inventory Counts
There are many benefits of tracking your inventory. Inventory counts will allow you to better manage stock levels, anticipate demand and prevent loss and theft. When tracking inventory, be sure to include maintenance items, equipment, furniture and any rentals. Because physical inventory counts are monotonous and laborious, consider dividing up the project into different sections or stages. For example, you can count by area or department. This will allow you to perform one part every day and reduce the burden on your employees. Be sure to regularly perform the inventory every quarter and use identical methodology and documentation. After a few years, you will be able to digitize this information into a spreadsheet to analyze past trends and make future predictions.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reorganize Your Storage
Many times, independent practice personnel get caught up in daily operations and traditional processes. Sometimes, personnel are resistant to change because they feel inventory adjustments will result in confusion and lower productivity. As a result, they may defend the use of their inefficiently designed inventory floor plan by saying that the old-fashioned way works the best. However, these methods tend to be poorly designed and maintained. Instead, modern inventory and supply chain experts have ample options for a wide variety of floor plans. Because product and customer demands always change, your business needs to keep up with the changing times.
As a final note, independent practices should avoid complacency and remain vigilant of inventory levels and open-minded to progress.