Ep. 66 | Overcoming the Paralyzing Fear of Running Out

Does the thought of running out of a veterinary medicine or supply strike fear in your heart? Are you the sort of inventory manager who buys in excess “just in case”? If so, this episode of The Inventory Nation Podcast is for you!

Chronically overstocking products not only reduces your practice’s efficiency, it also diverts resources better spent on things like equipment repair, new hires or raises for the team. So the next time you look at your stockroom shelves and see bottles nearing expiration, imagine each of them containing dollar bills — because they do!

Host Nicole Clausen is here to provide actionable tips to mitigate the paralyzing fear of running out, including ways to leverage billing reports, track data, implement backstop systems and create buffers that will make unnecessary overbuying a thing of the past!

Would you like to learn more about Inventory 911 Toolkit, our step-by-step blueprint to help inventory managers optimize knowledge, strategy and confidence? Click here!

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veterinary inventory management


  • About Nicole’s gratitude for the amazing veterinary care her beloved dog Tank, who has rebounded beautifully as a result!
  • The two overarching goals that drive inventory management happen to be diametrically opposed, which presents an interesting quandary:
    • The need to have all necessary supplies on-hand at any given time.
    • The need to maintain and improve practice profitability.
  • Beware the scarcity mindset, which drives fear-based overstock that ties up financial resources that could be used elsewhere.
  • It’s all about finding a balance between fear-based stocking overkill and always having adequate supplies on hand and at the ready.
  • If you’re ordering items “just in case,” be warned that  it adds up quickly! Nicole shares the experience of a client who lost significant money when a tremendously overstocked item fell into expiration. 
  • When we look at spending, it’s important not only to limit the number per item but also make sure that there aren’t too many duplicates or an excess of product SKU numbers that quickly mount up.
  • Data is key! It reduces fear by accurately pinpointing unique sales rather than leaving purchasing to “just in case” scenarios.
  • Two Practical Inventory Strategies to Minimize the Risk of Running Out:
    • Incorporate Safety Stock: Include a little buffer above and beyond your optimal, data-based order point to compensate for any unforeseen shipping or other delays.
    • Use a Double-Check Method: Put in place a backup system, such as reorder tags for hospital supplies and consumables or a checklist that doesn’t require searching through every single item.
  • If for whatever reason you run out of something, don’t waste time berating yourself. Instead get curious about why the item flew so quickly and whether it’s likely to happen again.
  • If you’re paralyzed by fears of running out, remember that some inventory items are more critical than others. Prioritize key medications and supplies and perhaps worry less about how well stocked you are on cotton balls or tongue depressors.
  • Data-informed decisions are the best decisions and don’t need to be complex. Even if you don’t use your practice management system for inventory, reports can still be generated based on billing breakdowns and sales history.
  • Summertime Tip: A couple of extra days of safety stock for vaccines make sense as a hedge against any possibility of a refrigeration failure.
  • Questions to Ask:
    • How often am I buying things “just in case”?
    • How much overstock might I have?
    • Are there calculations that I can do to reduce any chance of running out? (Answer: Yes!)


  • “Speaking for myself and others, the impact that (veterinarians) have is incredible … I hope you know in your hearts what a phenomenal job you’re doing and what  an incredible impact you make on your clients and community.” 
  • “If we don’t have the right inventory there’s a potential that our patient care can suffer or that our team is going to get frustrated, but when we’re in constant fear of running out it can also lead to a lot of overstock that negatively impacts your practice.” 
  • “If I never, ever, ever run out (of supplies) then I’m probably spending too much money on inventory and it isn’t super-realistic.” 
  • “If we’re looking at our pharmacy shelves, we can just imagine all those bottles filled with dollar bills.”
  • “If (a product) is just sitting on the shelf, it’s tied up in inventory and it’s not being sold. So we have paid for it but that money is just sitting there, stuck  … not available for other areas of the practice.”
  • “Anytime you run out of something, be curious about it. There’s really no such thing as failure unless you don’t learn from it.”


Veterinary Care Logistics serves veterinarians and their teams who are frustrated that their current inventory system is not functioning correctly and are facing out-of-control inventory costs and improperly stocked hospitals. VCL helps veterinarians through inventory analysis, comprehensive step-by-step action plans, and thorough team member training. My clients experience great success and rave about my work because I roll up my sleeves and get dirty working with your hospital to improve your inventory as if it was my own hospital.


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