As dental practice owners and office managers look into their supply chain for cost saving opportunities, they often come across the terms ‘procurement’ and ‘purchasing’ as they relate to ordering dental supplies. Depending on who you ask, dental supplies may be purchased by a dental office, but they are also procured by an office. So which is it?
Dental procurement is the entire process of finding, negotiating, and contracting with a supplier of dental goods; purchasing and receiving the goods; and submitting final payment for the goods. Dental supply purchasing fits under the wider umbrella of procurement and is solely focused on placing purchase orders (POs) and submitting payment to suppliers.
In other words, procurement spans the entire process of stocking your dental practice with supplies – from identifying inventory needs and gathering price quotes to selecting vendors and fulfilling orders. Purchasing is a small (but important) segment within the overall dental procurement lifecycle of a practice’s supply chain.
Purchasing of Dental Supplies
The purchasing process at a dental practice often includes some or all of the following steps:
- Creating a purchase order or spend request
- Approving the purchase order
- Placing an order with the vendor
- Receiving the goods at the practice
- Attaching the packing slip to the purchase order
- Submitting the completed purchase to the accounts payable (A/P) team for payment
Depending on the size of the organization, there may be an established purchase order process with reviews and approvals before a purchase can be made. Smaller practices may delegate purchasing functions to a trusted lead dental assistant or office manager without requiring purchase requests.
Regardless of the organization, dental supply purchasing always involves placing an order with a vendor, receiving the goods, and submitting payment.
Procurement of Dental Supplies
From sourcing goods and services to paying for them, dental procurement covers every step that goes into stocking a dental practice with supplies, including:
- Sourcing of goods from dental product manufacturers and distributors
- Submitting a request for quotation (RFQ) and negotiating vendor contracts
- Strategically selecting goods and suppliers to meet clinical needs
- Establishing and managing a formulary, or supply catalog
- Creating spend requests and ordering dental supplies
- Reviewing and approving POs
- Tracking and receiving goods
- Updating office stock levels and inventory management
- Performing a 3-way invoice match
- Submitting final payment to vendors
- Recording completed transactions in a financial system
Depending on the size of the organization, there may be a procurement manager, inventory clerk, supply chain manager, or VP of purchasing who handles these tasks. And while each dental practice may not follow every one of these steps, finding ways to streamline your dental procurement process is an easy way to lower supply costs and grow your business.
To gain a better understanding of how sourcing, procuring, and paying for dental supplies fits into your dental practice operation, download the dental procurement lifecycle infographic.
Procurement Software for Dental Practices
After staffing and labor costs, dental supplies are the next highest cost that a dental practice will face. Whether a practice is purchasing too much or losing money on unverified invoices, having the ability to view and control your dental supply chain from one platform is a valuable competitive edge.
CureMint is the leading procurement software for growing dental practices and dental support organizations (DSOs). As a purchasing tool, CureMint’s intuitive platform enables dental teams to manage spend, inventory, payments, and all other functions of the dental procurement process from one platform, helping dental organizations control their supply costs and realize untapped profitability. Learn how CureMint can optimize purchasing and procurement for your organization today.