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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house when the item arrives. The policy is a bold statement about client service and respecting the client's valuable time. It is also a statement that we believe in the pet's best interests and that we don't want the client buying some- thing similar elsewhere and then not getting the same results. Reorganize and Re-Evaluate Think about this scenario: A client is running errands on her one- hour work lunch break. She takes the time to stop at your office to purchase a recommended product. Your receptionist nonchalantly tells her, "Sorry, we're out and won't have more until next week." That's frustrating for the client. After all, she is trying to be a good pet own- er and do what is best for her pet, but then we let her down. Now is the time to reorganize and re-evaluate our inventory counts to avert this scenario as often as possible. I get it. It's tough. We have storage challenges, time constraints and inconsistent client buying patterns. All of these issues can and need to be overcome for the pet's sake and for our long- term bottom line. Let's look at these categories we should be evaluating: nutri- tion, flea and tick preventives, parasiticides, anti-inflammatories, nutritional supplements, behavior therapies, medicated topicals and general pet supplies. Each holds the potential for regular repurchas- es by clients. Of course, fulfilling every hospital inventory need is important, from dental chews down to white tape and 1-inch gauze. But today, let's address retail items that might be repurchased time and time again. How should I gather the relevant data? First, identify your fastest-moving products or product categories. This can be done by evaluating an inventory sales sum- mary report from the practice man- agement software. Typically, these reports will provide gross sales and quantities for a specified period. As I noted, product sales can be inconsistent at times. Some- times it seems that every client shows up the same week to buy the same diet, but we need to prepare for spikes in demand. When running the reports, look at a quarter's worth of data, if not more. When evaluating lines, identify products that might be seasonal. With the top 10 percent of your products, I encourage you to keep 45 to 60 days' worth on hand. Your inventory specialist should realize that each time we fall below the threshold, we need to repurchase. For the next 10 to 20 percent of products, I like to see about a 30-day supply on the shelf. Keep in mind that this is a fluid process. Consumer behavior changes, and so does supply and demand. By adding structure and organization to your inventory counts, we can alleviate the dread- ed words "We are out." One lost transaction might not seem like much, but what if it happens once a day or even once an hour? The lost dollars add up quickly. I am more worried about the long-term effects of clients being told that something is out of stock. Clients can be forgiving and understand- ing, but their patience has a ceil- ing. When the ceiling is reached, the client will be off looking for a new product or service solution for their beloved pet. Don't let inefficient inventory controls be the cause. Selling Points columnist Brian Conrad is practice manager at Meadow Hills Veterinary Centers in Kennewick, Washington, and immediate past president of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. Merchandising SELLING POINTS EARLY REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN AT NAVC.COM/VMX REGISTER NOW TO SAVE 20% OR MORE!* *COMPARED TO ON-SITE REGISTRATION COSTS. January 19–23, 2019 • Orlando, Florida Your Education. Your Experien ce. Your Conference.

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