Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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59 June/July 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM I noticed at my hospitals that a couple of inventory categories were down in the number of invoices being transacted. During the next receptionist meeting, I was shocked to find that clients were regularly told that we were out of a product and that they should ask again in the coming days. Judging by the sales reports, the clients had another idea. Remember: Numbers don't lie. Clients do not like to be inconve- nienced, and their time is extreme- ly valuable. I don't blame them for deciding to purchase elsewhere. Seize the Opportunity We hear so much about minimizing inventories, staying lean and mean, just-in-time strategies, and quick turns. After all, inventory is the second-largest expense within our veterinary hospitals and we need to micromanage the systems and pro- cesses effectively and competently. While it is true we want to be efficient and thoughtful with inven- tory counts, we can go quickly from one extreme of too much product to the other, hurting ourselves even more. We live in a fast-paced world. Clients visit a veterinary hospital on average 2.8 times a year. Compare that number to a grocery or box store's 1.8 times a week. Who do you think has the advantage? If we have to turn away a client because we are out of a product, what are the chances the pet owner is going to return yet again? Am I suggesting that we go on a shopping binge with our suppli- ers? Probably not, even though I can think of companies that would love you for it and encourage you. I am suggesting that we admit we have a problem. We need to dedi- cate ourselves to doing a better job of evaluating inventory turns and ensuring that when clients make the effort to stop in our parking lot rather than down the street, we have what they need. The client will appreciate the product availability, the pet will benefit and our bottom line will improve. It's a win-win-win. Back Up Your Words Let's take a step back and under- stand where the process really Merchandising SELLING POINTS By Brian Conrad, CVPM begins. It starts with your educated recommendations about a pre- scription food, medicated sham- poo or groundbreaking NSAID. The recommendation most likely came in the exam room, but perhaps it took place during a phone call about diagnostic results. Either way, you likely finished the con- versation by telling the client you carry the product and that the pet could get started on it today. Is that a true statement? I would love to brag that my hospitals have every product available to support every recom- mendation made for every pet every day. Unfortunately, I would be lying. My hospitals come close, but when we are out of a product we offer an in-stock guarantee. That means we will complete the invoice at that moment and deliver the missing product to the client's Chances are you are missing out on product sales because an item isn't readily available or in stock at your hospital. The worst part is that you might not be aware of the issue or that the problem might be bigger than you realized. If it's in stock, they will buy it Are your inventory controls lacking? Sending a pet owner away empty-handed doesn't help the patient, the client relationship or the hospital.

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