As ASCs look at ways to run more efficiently, it’s natural to look for strategies to streamline processes with your vendors. With vendors, however, good relationships are key. How can you maintain good relationships with vendors while still maximizing your time?
Standardize your own procedures
To make ordering more efficient, start with your own processes. How well are you keeping track of inventory? Where are you wasting time in your current operations?
Many staff members must wear multiple hats, switching from patient care to management tasks like re-ordering supplies. Make these processes as easy as possible—use all technology available to you to help streamline the ordering process. Consider using tools like barcode scanners to create orders on-demand for low-stock items.
Negotiate the best price
Some variables that go into your costs of care are fixed—meaning you have no choice in pricing. But where you get supplies can have a significant impact on your bottom line. While transparency and honesty with sales reps are critical, make sure you don’t show your hand too early. Never share specific price quotes. Instead, let the vendor offer you their best price and negotiate from there.
Vendors also value loyalty. And many clinicians have specific preferences for particular medical supply brands. While diversifying your supply sources can be an effective way to cut costs, don’t underestimate the value of asking for a better price from a longstanding vendor. Often, sales reps will be willing to negotiate in order to maintain the relationship and retain your business.
Use technology to improve communication
In many cases, a vendor management system can be a gamechanger for your surgery center. These management systems work in real-time to share your facility’s needs with your vendors. Through a HIPAA-compliant platform, your vendors have immediate access to case updates and can process order requests. These systems take the guesswork out of ordering and save your staff a significant amount of time. Now, your team has the reassurance that you will always have the appropriate equipment and coverage for every surgery.
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