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Welcome back to The Inventory Nation Podcast and a special episode showcasing incredible changes Host Nicole Clausen’s guest was able to implement after becoming a Veterinary Care Logistics Certified Veterinary Inventory Professional.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, isolated or at a loss for how to put the right systems in place, you’re not alone. As you’ll hear in this lively conversation, Shelly Chadwick has been there – but since completing the CVIP course she has dramatically reduced inventory costs and headaches at her animal hospital (a place she especially loves for reasons that will become clear when you hear her amazing story).
She’s sharing the many “aha” moments, strategic tools and other valuable takeaways that enabled her to get on top of what can be a very stressful job. “At the end of this course you’re going to have the literal book on how to do everything inventory-wise,” says Shelly. “You’re going to have every single SOP! … and a huge binder that you need a mule team to pull, but it is 100% worth it!” You’ll learn the specific procedures and platforms that Shelly has found so helpful and what it is that makes Vet Care Logistics offerings such a huge gamechanger. There’s a reason that whenever Nicole speaks at conferences, it’s standing room only! It’s a fascinating topic with so many systems to explore. The results for veterinary practices are transformational – and that’s exciting too!
Ready to get your systems streamlined? Interested in saving your practice money, wasted time and frustration? Click here to enroll in the Veterinary Care Logistics’ Certified Veterinary Inventory Professional program.
Or you might want to try out our Inventory 911 Toolkit, a step-by-step blueprint to help inventory managers optimize knowledge, strategy and confidence? Click here!
You can also join our virtual neighborhood for inventory managers and other veterinary professionals for free by visiting this link.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN…
- How Shelly found her way to veterinary medicine – a match made in heaven!
- About the way Shelly sees inventory management as a great challenge and puzzle.
- One of the many reasons Shelly loves it at Winslow Animal Hospital? When she brought up becoming a CVIP, her bosses were immediately all-in and supportive.
- Getting Started: Shelly inherited an established system, but it was “inventory lite” and didn’t fully leverage the AVImark processes available.
- Shelly shares the vision and hopes she had for her certification, which included equipping herself with the knowledge and resources necessary to do her practice justice.
- The Biggest “Aha” Moments:
- The huge benefits conferred by tracking variances (such as knowing the “whys” behind inventory flow).
- How Vet Care Logistics’ calculator can determine data-driven reorder points.
- With key pillars taught through CVIP, lead times and the impacts of variables like weather can be monitored and modulated.
- How’d She Do It? Shelly shares the strategy that reduced her practice’s inventory costs from 23% to 17%, including:
- It all started with taking the CVIP course!
- Pared down ABC cycle counts by creating process sheets, teasing out the Top 15 AA items, to be shared with the pharmacist.
- Developed a spreadsheet to track the method of counting, locations, backup locations and final full (and highly accurate!) count for all medications.
- Invested in a pill counter – a relatively modest expenditure that quickly pays for itself.
- Implemented Cubex to cut down on dispensing errors and increase both accountability and traceability.
- Started an online pharmacy that minimizes indirect costs like ordering, stocking and de-stocking.
- Joined the VMG (Veterinary Management Group), offers promotes, rebates and bulk pricing.
- Used Vetcove to ensure pricing transparency and easy cost comparison among vendors.
- Started having clients pay for special orders prior to placing them – a huge indirect cost that previously resulted in orders placed and never purchased.
- Shelly’s Inventory Before and After:
- She no longer has to waste time double-checking tags because she knows her order counts are accurate.
- Instead of guesswork, she’s can answer any question about a tag, thanks to AVImark and doing a quick crosscheck of cycle counts and reorder points.
- Inventory practices that used to take multiple hours are now wrapped up easily, with orders in and POs wrapped up by noon on Monday.
- Utilizing the “obsolete” option in AVImark enables her to simplify the list of active products and avert mistakes in charging.
- Where to Start? Shelly shares advice for anyone interested in cleaning up their inventory practices:
- At the minimum join Nicole’s VISN Facebook page to connect virtually through a free community that will make you feel less alone! If you’ve had an issue, someone else has had it too!
- Shelly takes a look at her horizon. What’s ahead?
- Refining her practice’s PIMS (practice information management system) to get categories streamlined.
- Go through SKUs and get reorder points set in a way that can be easily updated.
- Get everything as accurate and well-oiled as possible!
- Shelly Shouts Out Things to Celebrate:
- Getting CVIP certification (which in addition to making her great at her job afforded gave her a way to re-enter a profession she loved after a catastrophic car accident left her with some physical challenges).
- For the same period this year versus last year, she has reduced pharmacy costs by 35%!
- Words of Wisdom for Inventory Managers:
- Invest in your inventory staff! It’s one of your office’s biggest expenses and can be significantly reduced with the right systems.
- Remember that your inventory manager needs support. It’s an isolating, overwhelming job that deserves resources and engagement from the staff.
- Advocate for industry conferences to include modules on inventory management.
- Stay tuned because the world is ready for a conference dedicated to all things inventory – systems, processes and creating a supportive community. Time to make it happen!
“Pretty much like so many people in vet med, from Day 1 I always felt that I connected with animals so much more than I connected with humans.” (Shelly)
“(In inventory management) basically you get paid to go shopping with someone else’s credit card. You really try to find those deals and it’s a game: What can I get, where can I get it and how can I get it cheaper?” (Shelly)
“If I’m going to do the best for my hospital, I need to be able to answer my own questions or find where I can get information to find them.” (Shelly)
“Your lead time plays a huge part in whether you’re going to run out or not and being able to have those tools in your toolbox is amazing. It’s priceless to have for your practice!” (Shelly)
“Taking the CVIP course allowed me to (dramatically reduce costs). I’ll say upfront that there is nothing else in the world that would have made it happen without this course and (Nicole).” (Shelly)
“With an online pharmacy my clients aren’t limited to what they can purchase and my doctors aren’t limited in what they can prescribe. So that indirect cost of me ordering it, putting it on the shelf, destocking it once it’s expired, everything else – that’s all gone. That’s a huge savings right there!” (Shelly)
“Ordering before on a good week would take three hours to go through and check everything. Now I can go in, I pull my tags, I check it off here and visually check here. I can get all my orders in and POs done by noon on Monday. And that leaves me free to clean up those categories … and really get into the flesh of the inventory system.” (Shelly)
“If you take over inventory management today, then get on VISN tomorrow … to find out what’s going on in the inventory world.” (Shelly)
“When I first started I was in my little inventory cocoon … and the first thing I did when I started Vet Logic was make a Facebook group (VISN) because I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone.” (Nicole)
“(Inventory management) can be overwhelming so you’ve got to remember: You can’t move mountains in a day!” (Shelly)
“Invest in your inventory staff. One of the biggest expenses that your hospital has is payroll and inventory. And that inventory button – right there you can save so much money!” (Shelly)
“Support your inventory staff. Help them and encourage your staff to help them as well.” (Shelly)
“My dream is to have an inventory systems conference where all we do is learn about operations and inventory!” (Nicole)
LINKS + RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Vetcove (veterinary supplies)
- VMG (Veterinary Management Group)
- The RX-4 Automatic Tablet & Capsule Counter (retails for around $2,500).
- Veterinary Care Logistics: @Instagram
- Veterinary Care Logistics: Certified Veterinary Inventory Professional Program
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Shelly has been working in the Veterinary Industry for over two decades and for the past 15 years has been performing the inventory management function. Over recent years she has worked at Winslow Animal Hospital in a number of roles, including as Orthopedic Surgical Nurse, Pharmacy Technician and in the role of Inventory and Equipment Coordinator. Shelly is a CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), VDT (Veterinary Dental Technician), has a Certificate of Small Animal Pain Management from the University of Tennessee, and most recently a CVIP (Certified Veterinary Inventory Professional) certification. She has been married for 23 years to Christopher, who is a Chemical Analytical Technology Supervisor. Their little family consists of horses, cats, dogs and parrots. In their free time, Shelly and Chris love to go camping, hang out at the farm and spend time with her dad at the airport.
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.