Year-end inventory management: organize, stock up, and save

Year-end inventory management: organize, stock up, and save

The end of the year can be a busy time in practices. Patients are getting in under the wire before their insurance deductible clocks reset, cold and flu season is underway, and holiday parties are being planned. But even with all of this going on, it’s worth carving out a few hours to focus on inventory management. In doing so, you’ll start the new year in an organized fashion and, as an added bonus, save a few dollars.

Start by going through administrative and clinical supply storage areas all around the office with an eye toward disposing of anything that’s expired (which hopefully won’t be much if you practice good inventory control year-round) and throwing away or donating anything that you’re certain you won’t need moving forward. Organize what’s left and put everything in its proper place. As you complete this task, if it becomes apparent that you need more storage cabinets in your office, order them soon so that you can book the expense during this tax year.

Stock up before year-end (again, for the tax benefit) on supplies that don’t expire and that are easily stored in your office. Buying in bulk if you have enough space can result in significant savings. For example, the price of copy paper by the carton (10 reams) is typically up to 33% lower per ream than it is for a single ream.

Check your supply of printed materials such as business and appointment cards, letterhead, envelopes, and patient education brochures. Reorder as needed to get you through at least the first half of next year. Printing is an area where you can save a bundle by ordering larger quantities. Sometimes the difference between 1,000 and 2,000 copies is a tiny percentage of the overall printing cost.

Look for year-end deals such as closeouts and free shipping from your suppliers and ask equipment sales representatives (who often work on commission and may be aiming for a specific sales target to wrap up the year) what specials they have to offer.

As you’re making year-end orders, be sure to check for potential rebates that may be offered on one brand or model over another. Saving $15, $25, $100, or even up to $150 on an item by taking advantage of a rebate might help you make a buying decision.

Keep in mind that supply costs are a significant line item in any medical practice budget. Plan wisely and spend money now to save money in 2013.