Ep. 82 | Tactics for Creating Systems for Your Inventory

Passion is at the heart of every great romance and it’s no different went it comes to Host Nicole Clausen’s ongoing affair with all things inventory management! This episode of The Inventory Nation Podcast offers you a front-row seat on what it feels like to Fall In Love With Your Inventory! Returning with her first podcast of 2023 (and since the loss of her beloved Tank), Nicole jumps right into the nuts and bolts of putting systems in place – not just in order to get a handle on things like ordering, pricing and performance indicators but also to make life more pleasant and manageable for everyone on your team. Even on the best of days our practices can be swamped by all kinds of variables, so why not put in place SOPs that are about more than show? Nicole is spelling out the components of a healthy inventory ecosystem and how they all work together to ease everyday operational flow. You’ll also hear about Emma and the real-world results she reaped after taking control of her multi-practice inventory management system. With a little help from Nicole and her toolkit, Emma discovered how to make her multiple vet practices hum – and in the process of doing so also uncovered the fact that this kind of work – spreadsheets and all – is actually in her zone of genius! Maybe it’s in yours, too?

Ready to Fall In Love With Your Inventory? Click here to find out all about Nicole’s upcoming free five-day mini-course, a proven process for taking back control of your inventory – without adding a million things to your to-do list!

And if you would like to learn more about Inventory 911 Toolkit, the systematic roadmap developed by Veterinary Care Logistics 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.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • RIP Tank! Nicole shares with us very sad news about the loss of her “soul dog,” a mascot and best friend since she was in college.
  • Why are systems so invaluable? Day-to-day life at our veterinary practices is chaotic and unpredictable enough! Why not integrate backstops that make inventory and operations of all kinds easier to manage? One less “x” factor to worry about in managing through.
  • What could go wrong? All kinds of things you already know – from someone being out sick to back-ordered supplies to … you name it! Process lessen the blow!
  • How our systems and structures are inter-related and mutually reinforcing – from inventory pricing to selling to ordering to receiving.
  • Components of Your Inventory Ecosystem:
    • Demand Forecasting: Looking ahead to what we need and when.
    • Ordering: How, when, how often, how much.
    • Receiving: Software integration for management and deployment of inventory.
    • Pricing: Strategic systems to monitor and gauge.
    • Selling: Measuring for traffic, demand and supply.
    • Optimizing: Tools to get the high-level overview of industry and practice trends.
  • Check it Out: Nicole is hosting a free five-day mini-course called Fall In Love With Your Inventory. Don’t miss this chance to join colleagues in transforming your relationship with all things inventory!
  • Case Study: Highlighting the steps taken by Emma, who has optimized operations at three (going on four) growing practices by:
    • Step #1: No longer relying on what staff write down in the “want” book.
    • Step #2: Understanding that the relative rates of usage for different drugs can vary dramatically and require quantifiable measures to identify specific flags.
    • Step #3: Deploying a Practice Management System (in Emma’s case it was Cornerstone Veterinary Software) to help clean up inventory and establish re-order points, re-order tags, re-order bins, shelf labels, retail checklists and specialty surgery checklists.
    • Step #4: Applying change management to help with team habit adoption.
    • Step #5: Continually refining and augmenting re-order systems as well as systems for pricing, receiving and optimizing all aspects of the inventory process.
  • Once you get familiar, inventory systems can be not only your friend but your zone of genius! Yes, it truly is fun once you get your arms around the tools!
  • The Lightbulb Moment: When you realize the power of creating inventory systems for your practice to save time, save sanity, save wasted effort, frustration and overwhelm!
  • SOPs (standard operating procedures) aren’t an afterthought. They are the fabric and the lifeline you want when things get chaotic and you’re under pressure.
  • No idea how to get started?
    • Step #1: Focus on re-order points and identifying when things run low.
    • Step #2: Alternatively, focus first on any pain point that is impacting your practice with especially negative results.
    • Step #3: Remember that your inventory system will take time to whip into shape. And that’s okay. It’s a normal part of the process!
    • Step #4: Recruit internal champions to support your journey and the changes you’re trying to implement.
  • Nicole wraps up with a recap of what it looks like to put systems, structures and processes in place for:
    • Ordering.
    • Flagging low stock.
    • Tracking goods received.
    • Tracking expiration dates.
    • Tracking pricing.
    • Tracking key performance indicators.
    • Optimizing all facets of inventory management.
  • Remember: Give yourself grace. It takes time to figure out your unique practice needs and the inventory management elements required for the long-term results you desire.
  • When your new system starts humming, it feels like a dream. No more hitting a bunch of resistance and chaos all the time! You’ll see. Believe it or not, inventory can even be fun!

KEY QUOTES

“I’m a really big fan of creating systems in our inventory and our practices in general because day-to-day our practices are busy and chaotic and unexpected enough!”

“(Quantifying) what is low is such an ambiguous thing because different products can have different ‘lows’ and it’s kind of a lot to expect our team to know what ‘low’ means for a particular product.”

“Not only was there a sense of relief for (my client’s) team … as time went on there was a noticeable difference in the amount of frustration with her team because they knew exactly what to do.”

“When (your inventory strategy) lives in your brain, it’s really hard for others to help and support you in that process – and it makes it a lot more challenging to take a vacation!”

“It’s going to take some time (to establish systems) and that’s okay. It’s going to take some trial and error and curiosity and that’s also okay!”

“Within our ecosystem we have our cycle of inventory that flows, manages and monitors the movement of inventory in your practice.”

“Stepping back and figuring out what works best for your unique practice will be 100 times better than just trying to do something because you should – because a lot of times that doesn’t give us the lasting results that we want.”

“Inventory systems make your inventory easy and kind of fun, dare I say!”

LINKS + RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE

ABOUT VCL

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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