Practice Management

Inventory Analysis

Office BuildingNext in a series of easy, quick management tips that you can implement in your practice today in less than an hour.




 One of the basic linchpins of managing a small business is tracking income and expenses. It is necessary to understand what goods and services are being inventoried and sold in the optical boutique. Tracking frame purchases can be as simple as using a one page form to track the number of frames by vendor, category and gender used each month. A more useful and sophisticated method is to use the office software to track this information by bar-coding each unit as it is put into inventory and scanned out when it is sold to a patient. This will allow you to rebalance the inventory to match the categories that reflect sales.

 Inventory of revenue boxes of contact lenses should be similarly tracked. It is not a< good use of capital to have several thousand dollars of product in odd powers and slow moving brands sitting on the shelf. Periodically exchange the outliers for more common powers long before they are close to expiration. Obviously, we are not encouraging any returns of any product if possible and the best way to avoid returns is buying accurately in the first place.

Analyzing the inventory allows future purchases to be made based on need, not on personal relationships with specific representatives or biases of the staff member that is charged with purchasing. If you have multiple locations, consider central purchasing, like the large players in the industry do, to maximize discounts and minimize product sitting on the shelf not moving.

  Inventory a narrow band of products that are used commonly and can be purchased in quantity for significant discounts and direct ship everything else from the wholesaler to the patient without passing through the office at all.

Dr. Dubick prepares private practice appraisals, lectures and writes on many practice management issues. He may be reached at 818.843.2214 or email at