5: Control and use of materials in practice

Chapter 5 Control and use of materials in practice

Stock Control Management

Economics and stock balance

Any hospital department, clinic or dental practice must hold a sufficient volume and range of dental materials which can be called on as the needs of the clinic dictate. As explained earlier, the process of getting a product to market is very costly and this significantly influences the retail price. Expensive dental products lying in stock cupboards as well as clinic drawers and cupboards represent significant capital commitment. The larger the practice or clinic, so more stock must be held. When establishing a business, the stock is a major capital investment and thereafter appears in annual accounts as current assets on the clinic’s balance sheet. This is an important financial consideration as unless stock control is closely and carefully carried out, a large amount of capital will needlessly sit as stock, which may affect the profitability of the business and reduce available cash flow. This is clearly undesirable and with attention to a few factors, the volume of stock held can be minimized without impacting on the smooth running of the clinical operation. A minimum volume of stock should be held in the clinic as most operatories do not have sufficient space to store large amounts of materials. Ideally, the stock room should be situated centrally so that all clinics can easily access it. The primary objective is to have a good balance: sufficient yet not excess stock in the clinic, so obviating the need to go to the stock room for materials during a procedure. An ideal stock room carries sufficient volumes of stock so as not to run out, but not an excessive amount which will deteriorate with time, pass the usage date or ultimately, not be used and discarded.

Stock ordering

It is apparent from the above that stock control must be well organized and carefully managed to achieve the delicate balance required. Many clinics now use a computerized stock database, and this has its advantages;

It is much more effective and efficient to carry out a regular ordering program rather than randomly ordering items from a dealer as the clinic runs out of a product. A report can be produced which can be either printed off or emailed to the dental wholesaler to order new stock, saving substantial staff time, another significant cost. For this to work effectively an ordering protocol must be devised and explained to all members of the dental team. They must all clearly understand the process. Generally the responsibility for placing orders should reside with one appointed member of staff. Most systems work by the ‘one out, one in’ principle, that is, when one unit of stock is removed from the stock cupboard, this is recorded and the information passed to the staff member responsible for ordering to replace it so as to maintain the stock balance.

Jan 31, 2015 | Posted by in Dental Materials | Comments Off on 5: Control and use of materials in practice
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