Dental Supplies: Top 5 Ordering Mistakes

September 22, 2021

Did you know that the average dental practice spends 5% of its revenues on equipment and supplies? And the more patients your clinic serves, the greater the percentage of your revenues you spend on dental supplies.

Making ordering mistakes can significantly impact your bottom line. Mistakes cost you money. And, more critically, they can lead to shortages and compromised patient care.

We're bringing you this guide to help solve your top supply-ordering crises. So, if you want to know the top five mistakes your practice is making and how to solve them, keep reading.

1. Waiting Until the Last Minute

Waiting until the last minute to place inventory orders increases the risk of supply shortages. The same is true of dental practices that wait until they run out of supplies to make an order.

And when you have shortages, patient care will suffer. This could lead to reduced patient satisfaction. Ultimately, you could end up losing patients to your competitors.

The solution to this ordering mistake? You need to know how much stock you have on hand at all times. Part of this is training your staff on re-order points or when they should place an order based on supplies on hand.

Another critical factor that helps avoid last-minute ordering is lead time. Lead time refers to the time it takes from when you place an order to when you receive it. The longer your lead time, the more stock you need on hand.

When calculating lead time, it helps if you know the average time shipments take to get to you. Supply Clinic offers order tracking, so you'll have a record of delivery times.

2. Not Tracking Inventory Utilization

Many dental practices don't track supply utilization. Or your practice may track this metric, but you rely on spreadsheets or paper records. And both of these issues commonly lead to supply shortages.

After all, if you don't track how many and which supplies get used in a given period, how do you know when and what to order? And if you're only relying on paper records, do the numbers line up with what you actually have on hand?

This problem is easy to solve when you collect data about your supply room. Inventory data can help forecast demand. Analyzing this information can also help you:

  • Make projections about and prescribe remedies for your inventory problems
  • Recognize out-of-stock trends (e.g., which supplies get lowest fastest? which days or months do you typically experience shortages? etc.)
  • Save money by placing larger orders and reducing dental supply waste

But how exactly do you collect data about inventory utilization? An inventory management system with an integrated analytics function can help. You can also increase visibility and even prevent theft with dental supply ID tags.

3. Always Sticking With the Same Brand

Brand loyalty can be a great thing. Ordering from the same dental supply company allows your clinic to build relationships, which could potentially mean future discounts. Plus, you always know the quality of what you're ordering.

Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed flaws in brand-loyal attitudes. Providers faced limits to the amount of PPE they could order from one manufacturer.

If something similar happens to your clinic, you might be tempted to place a smaller order. But that could mean shortages if your practice runs through the limited supply.

Here's your solution: be more flexible with dental supply brands. Ask your representatives and competitors for recommendations or check out reviews online.

Supply Clinic also offers a feature where you can compare different brands' products and prices. That way, you can find a new favorite supplier. And finding a new favorite will help you out in the future if your favorite manufacturer ever goes out of business or experiences shortages of its own.

4. Not Considering Shipping Thresholds

Cost is a huge factor when comparing new product vendors. You don't want to pay 2x the usual amount for your supplies as higher supply expenses will cut into your bottom line.

Yet, don't fall victim to the mindset that the lowest-priced item is always favorable. A product may cost you more, but the vendor could offset it with discounts or free shipping.

For example, Supply Clinic's partners waive shipping fees for large orders. Our marketplace is a great place to get all of your most important dental supplies, including basic dental instruments, dental hygiene instruments, and dental surgical instruments.

After adding a product to your cart, we also show flat rates with shipping. That way, you can easily compare our prices with other marketplaces and direct suppliers.

5. Buying from the Gray Market

Now, for the biggest supply ordering mistake of all: buying from the gray market.

The gray market consists of medical dental instruments and equipment that's counterfeit, tampered with, or expired. Gray market products also include equipment sold by unauthorized dental supply dealers.

These fraudulent suppliers win over customers with their too-good-to-be-true prices. And this is yet another reason why the lowest-priced product isn't necessarily the best product for your business.

If you accidentally buy from the gray market, you could wind up with expired or dysfunctional products. These products are a complete waste of your money. And they could impact patient safety, leading to lawsuits and costing you even more.

The solution here is to only purchase from reputable suppliers like Supply Clinic. We always vet our vendors before we sign contracts, all while offering you the most competitive prices on the market.

Need Dental Supplies?

These five ordering mistakes might be affecting your dental clinic's bottom line. Worse, gray market supplies and shipping delays could impact care and put your patients at risk.

Looking for deals on dental supplies? We have you covered. Browse our product promotions and deals to find the affordable items your clinic needs.

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