Whether you have a dedicated purchasing department or spread purchasing decisions to key employees, understanding how to work with your vendors to drive mutual value can make a significant difference to your bottom line. Here are five tips to help you get more from your purchasing:
Communication isn’t first on the list by accident. Many new purchasers feel it’s their job to withhold as much information as possible to ensure they don’t weaken their companies bargaining position. This seems like an intuitive strategy, but seasoned purchasers know that effective communication can only improve their outcomes.
Good vendors will seek to increase value, however, even the best vendors can’t read your mind. Have you had problems finding stock of a certain item you buy frequently or that is critical to your operations? Consider discussing segmented inventory with your distributor. Segmented inventories provide buffer stock untouchable by anyone but you, ensuring access to the items you need most.
Less work is always a good thing, right? The old music clubs have given automated ordering a bad name, but automation doesn’t need to be a trap. Shouldn’t you be able to schedule product orders, specifying quantity and frequency, without the fear of fine print? Good vendors will agree and offer the assurance that not only can you change or cancel these orders online at anytime, but also modify orders prior to shipment.
3. Risk mitigation
The biggest risk a purchaser faces isn’t overpaying, but rather not being able to provide the items their company and customers depend on. Help your vendor understand the implications of backorders for your most important products and they should go the extra mile to help ensure you don’t get caught short. We discussed segmented inventory previously, but you can also inquire about minimum stock levels or consignment inventory as well.
While automation is great, not every item has a consistent demand. How easy is it to order the items you need? Talk to your vendor about online purchase orders, customized product menus, and streamlined re-ordering. Of course, efficiency can encompass more than just the order process. Do you have groups of items used in conjunction with each other, perhaps a new patient intake kit? Ask your vendor about custom product bundles that make life easier for both you and your patients.
Cost is at the heart of every good purchaser, but it’s important to note the difference between cost and price. Vendors who weight price above all else assume (and hope) that it’s the only factor in your decision, however, the cost can be significantly higher.
Every situation is different, and your needs will be as well. While price is important, if you examine the previous 4 topics and communicate with your vendor… en sotto, particularly if that vendor is Right Way Medical… we feel you’ll agree that the true cost can be an excellent value.