In the healthcare industry, it’s incredibly important to ensure effective inventory management. It goes without saying that damaged goods can not only impact your profit, but it’s also a safety risk for your employees and consumers.
From a business perspective, it’s important to know when to reorder products. This way you’ll supply your clients with the things they need. If you fail to do this, you may find yourself unable to meet the demand standards. Because of this, there are several different ways to go about inventory management as a healthcare provider. In this article, we’ll explore all of the approaches you can get started with right away and help you figure out which method would work best for your business.
Step 1: Assess Your Current Situation
Keeping track of your inventory levels can give you a good baseline to go off of and make adjustments as necessary. Some of the best ways to do this are:
- List all of your items, where they are stored, and how often they are used. Weigh them on every shipment you receive and mark down their weight in a spreadsheet. To minimize costs, make sure that you never order more than what you need for one month’s time or what is being used at any given moment.
- Keep an eye out for orders that may be placed too far in advance by your customers.
- Watch for issues with new products and investigate unanticipated spikes or dips in demand once a new product has been added to your inventory levels.
- Avoid over-investing in certain types of supplies if it seems like seasonal trends will cause demand to shift towards different products later on.
Step 2: Identify New Trends in the Market
Before you make any changes, it’s important to figure out if what you are doing is working. Firstly, identify new trends in your industry and compare them with your own product offerings. Also, look at what other people in your field are doing, whether they be big players or smaller startups. If others in your industry seem to be succeeding while making similar moves, why not replicate their methods? If successful businesses are shifting strategies, chances are you should too. However, if other companies aren’t seeing growth or success from their changes then you can come up with new ways to ensure your inventory is organized.
Step 3: Look For Ways to Reduce Inventory Costs
This isn’t exactly breaking news, but making sure you know where your money is going is a critical step in managing your inventory. After you’ve identified all of your inventory, see if there are ways to reduce costs. It might be smart for you to invest in smaller, more efficient equipment that can process inventory faster and cut down on labor costs. You may also want to make a few adjustments to your purchasing behavior. Try setting up electronic ordering when possible and prioritize vendors who offer shorter lead times and better pricing. If you find that your current vendors aren’t meeting these criteria, consider switching them out. The goal is cutting back—not creating more work!
Step 4: Store Your Inventory in Appropriate Conditions
You surely don’t want your products to spoil or deteriorate. So this means that you need to ensure proper storing conditions. There are certain types of equipment that you can use for this purpose, such as temperature monitoring devices. They help you take timely action on overstocked and understocked items.
In addition, they provide valuable information about temperature and other factors that keep your products safe. This means that you will have less chance of products going to waste, which reduces unnecessary costs. Just keep in mind that temperature monitoring devices are most effective when used in tandem with other tracking strategies and metrics.
It’s critical that you keep monitoring your inventory at all times. Using an IoT device that alerts you the moment conditions go above or below preset limits can help keep perishable goods from spoiling while they are stored. You can also use monitoring devices in your warehouses and distribution centers if any exist, so nothing gets lost or overlooked. This will save time and money in replacing or disposing of spoiled items.
Step 5: Consider Alternative Supply Routes
Make sure your suppliers can support you in times of high demand. If an item is critical for your patients, then it’s important that you are able to get those supplies quickly and smoothly. Here are some things to consider:
- Do they have warehouses near your facility, or will you be ordering from far away?
- Is their product always available or can it sometimes be out of stock?
- Will they ship out special orders overnight?
- Will there be ways to communicate with them in case something goes wrong? (for example, a recall notice) And how quickly can they respond?
- What if they go out of business—will that impact you significantly?
Finding the answers to these questions before locking down a supplier contract, can save you in the long run.
Step 6: Use Inventory Management Software
It’s important to have an inventory management system in place, especially when you are dealing with multiple warehouses and multiple storage locations. Companies that don’t use some sort of software often find themselves asking: “How much did we sell?” “When do we need to reorder supplies?” and “Who handles orders?”. No one can remember all of these details.
While running a business can be difficult, keeping tabs on your inventory should not be so complicated. Use an integrated software solution that is designed specifically for healthcare inventory management. This type of software makes it easy for employees to know exactly what they have on hand at any given time. And without wasting money or running out of stock unexpectedly.
Healthcare Inventory Management Doesn’t Need to Be Complicated
Now you should be able to determine which procedures would work best for your business in order to streamline inventory management. Just to sum everything up, you need to start by documenting the current status of your inventory, and also look for others’ examples. Then, you can use digital tools and specialized equipment to ensure that you’re properly storing inventory.
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Jordan McDowell is a writer and content strategist. He specializes in technically-oriented B2B and B2C content for a number of digital companies.