Purchasing: Leveraging Technology

Many HME software systems have inventory and purchasing capabilities. What are some key features?

Once a provider has selected the right vendors and products, it needs to ensure that it is keeping the right stock on hand. This is a good opportunity to leverage the IT investments that the provider has likely made, as many HME software packages offer good inventory management features, including those that automate various elements of purchasing.

The inventory system should automatically monitor specific, heavily ordered items’ inventories, and when they reach certain thresholds, notify the provider to order replacement stock. In fact, many systems will create the necessary purchase orders and some will even automatically submit them electronically.

This can be a boon to provider businesses because not only does it ensure that they will have adequate stock to meet patient and referral, but it also saves them from having to keep too much stock in the warehouse, freeing up precious capital for other uses.

Better yet, some automated purchasing systems can help facilitate drop shipments, as well. And in some arrangements the product can even be shipped using the providers’ branding. This means certain inventory never has to sit in the warehouse at all. Naturally, this arrangement doesn’t suit all types of DME, but for applicable items it can represent an even greater cost savings as it also eliminates some delivery costs, as well.

Besides refilling existing inventory, the purchasing aspects of inventory management systems should also enable the provider to generate orders for DME that it might not usually stock as well.

Also automatic purchasing tools typically also records recent purchases so that providers can sort automated orders based on the best price, or supplier lead time, or similar criteria. This also includes shipping charges, another major cost saving achieved simply through the group orders that automatic purchasing encourages.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of HME Business.

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