How to Manage Inventory More Effectively Than Using a Spreadsheet

February 28, 2022

If you're a dentist or dental assistant, you know how crucial good inventory management is, which is why it's important to purchase software that helps rather than hinders you. An inventory management system does just that by allowing you to streamline the digital processes relating to your inventory.For example, Method gives you more time to build your practice by reducing the amount of time you spend managing your inventory. With Method, you can buy supplies for your practice, compile all of your services and products onto one platform, request quotes from multiple suppliers and leave your worry about platform security behind you.Let's look at why spreadsheets aren't the best way to manage inventory and the benefits of using inventory management software like Method.

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Why Managing Inventory in a Spreadsheet Can Be Problematic

Up to now, you may have been keeping track of inventory in Microsoft Excel or another online spreadsheet software. While spreadsheet programs are useful for various tasks, they're not the best for inventory management. As your business grows, you'll need a method for tracking inventory that grows with you.With a spreadsheet, you can't get a good idea of your total inventory across all channels. Therefore, you'd have a challenging time planning purchases and forecasting sales. When planning inventory, you need to be able to analyze data at a moment's notice. To analyze data using a spreadsheet, you must update it every day. This can be a challenging task for anyone, let alone someone who's helping run a dental practice.

1. It Can Be Inaccurate

When you enter data into a spreadsheet, you have a greater chance of making human errors. This is particularly true for users who have to move data from one location to another consistently. When you have to keep track of data manually, it's harder to notice errors or instances of theft. If such issues go unnoticed for long periods of time, they can affect your practice in the long run.Accurate data management is crucial for a dental practice, especially when you need to keep track of the costs of your goods and services and goods and services sold.

2. It Requires Manual Input

Typically, working via spreadsheets is time-consuming because you have to enter data into them manually. Someone in your dental practice will have to take on the responsibility of updating inventory counts. If your inventory is extensive, many people may be tracking and updating your inventory. Although human errors are a natural part of business, spreadsheets make the risk for human error when managing your inventory higher.

3. It Creates Gaps

When you're using spreadsheets to update your inventory, you create a gap in time between when you sell a product or service and when you record the sale. This gap in time makes it impossible to have an up-to-date inventory. Therefore, you may face issues with understocking and overstocking or selling products that may not be in stock. Don't let spreadsheets derail your practice's plans.

4. It's Error-Prone

As previously discussed, spreadsheets are error-prone. But how can being error-prone lead to inefficiency? One mistake in updating inventory can lead to your practice purchasing products you don't need and won't use. In turn, you have to deal with managing and offloading extra products instead of other important business related to your dental practice. If your practice has a large inventory, small mistakes can become extensive problems.

5. It's Time- and Labor-Intensive

Because time is fleeting, it's important to get as much as you can out of your workday. Spending time and labor entering data into spreadsheets that often have to be checked and re-worked is time you could spend improving other areas of your practice.Let's say someone in your office writes data down manually on a piece of paper. Then, someone else inputs that into the computer. Another employee checks the data. If that person finds an error, someone else will spend time redoing parts of the data. This chain of events leads to a lot of time spent on inventory management, which you could reduce by using an inventory management system.

6. It's Difficult to Use

A spreadsheet cell can wear many hats. For example, it can contain the following:

  • A formula
  • A number
  • Empty space
  • Documentary text

A spreadsheet cell can also function as various things, such as:

  • An input
  • An output
  • A constant
  • An index
  • An objective
  • A decision variable

Regarding Microsoft Excel specifically, the challenge with cells being able to contain various types of data or function in various ways is that a cell functions as a cell. There's no built-in structure that allows you to represent data as being a part of different categories. Without explicit representation, data is just data, so Microsoft Excel won't ensure that a cell's content matches its intended function.Working with a table with one or two dimensions is more limiting than working with an inventory management system. With Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, you have to work at the level of cells rather than working at the level of a table, which makes it easier for data errors to exist. If you change the formula of one cell, an entire table may become compromised. This cellular error may also be a challenge for you to detect.Microsoft Excel can limit the amount of detail that can be realistically put into a cell or a table. This issue doesn't exist with Method, which ensures you don't have to worry about too much detail complicating the visual structure of a spreadsheet. Microsoft Excel has no link between model and documentation, so it can't prompt you for documentation or help you keep consistency between documentation and model. This may lead to confusion when you're labeling different data and sectioning them into different categories.

Education on Better Inventory Management Systems

Using inventory management systems like Method is simple. But how do they make inventory management easier?

Streamline Inventory Management

With Method, you can accomplish the following:

  • Generate and send orders to suppliers with accuracy and efficiency
  • Easily access product details, pending receipts and open orders all through one dashboard
  • Check up on your stock levels and get alerts when you're running low on a product
  • Create an approval process that fits your inventory processes
  • Get automatic updates on products that just came into your stock
  • Identify products and their locations through barcodes

Make Spend Management Simpler

If several team members need to sign off on a purchase, Method allows collaboration so everyone knows what's going on from the moment a product is an idea to the moment it's delivered to you. With multiple sets of eyes on your purchases, the amount of incorrect or duplicate purchases you have will decrease.Method allows you to maintain consistency across all your inventory management processes no matter your suppliers. Is your practice spending too much time responding to emails concerning one product you're in the market for? Reduce the time you spend answering said emails by using Method, where you can record receipt cuts, make purchases and compare pricing.The program also allows you to do the following when it comes to spending management:

  • Invite suppliers to submit quotes
  • Verify quote details
  • Track supplier responses
  • View product availability
  • Monitor open orders
  • Check for duplicate payments
  • Use a digital payment process
  • Review invoices
  • Keep suppliers accountable

Save More Money

Of course, saving money as a dental practice is always great, considering the practice's needs can change quickly. Method can help you save on overhead expenses. Did you know overhead methods can cost as much as 66 cents of every dollar your practice makes? That's a considerable chunk of money going toward purchasing supplies and equipment. If you reduce overhead prices, you'll see an increase in profit for your practice.Method helps you cut down on overhead costs by finding more competitive suppliers and comparing the prices for their supplies, equipment and services. It also allows you to take advantage of promotions, discounts and free products. Using an inventory management system allows you to streamline your digital processes and eliminate costs relating to time and labor spent on manually updating inventory.

Benefits of Using Method for Dental Inventory Management

There are many benefits of using Method for dental inventory management. Let's explore the five benefits below:

1. It's Built for You

Because you're busy helping run a dental practice, you're likely tackling work in many capacities. Method is built with dentists and dental assistants in mind. It'll help you catalog your dental supplies and complete specialized cost analysis with ease so you can spend more time with your patients. This cataloging capability is especially critical when you have a large inventory.

2. It's Built for Your Whole Team

Every dental practice needs supplies, which is why it's essential to have an easy way to order them. With Method, you can efficiently order supplies after little to no training. Once your team finds out how easy it is to order products through Method, they likely won't have any complaints about switching programs. As a result, you don't have to spend time helping them adjust — you can carry on with your daily tasks.

3. It Offers Plenty of Freedom

With Method, you'll have the freedom to retain your suppliers and improve your logistics by keeping all of your services and products on one platform. Use Method to manage your practice's current relationships without your suppliers having to join Method. This capability allows you to enjoy the benefits of Method without putting any unnecessary burden on your suppliers.Additionally, Method can compare pricing for specific products. If you can quickly see the best price for your supplies, you have options to switch suppliers and products with ease. Why not get the best price for your products and put your saved money into growing your practice?

4. It's Affordable

At Method, we always want our product to be affordable for you — we don't want you to have to invest large sums of money upfront to purchase inventory software. Instead, we want efficiency and excellent financial results to be accessible for your dental practice, which is why Method features a subscription fee model that has plenty of support, monitoring and training built into it.When you know precisely what and when you'll pay for your software, your chances of paying surprise charges go down while your profits go up.

5. It Provides Increased Buying Power

With Method, you can request quotes from different suppliers while comparing their prices. This way, you can do thorough research to determine which product and supplier work best for your budget. Additionally, you'll have access to any relevant supplier promotions or group purchasing organizations. Keeping track of promotions means you'll never miss out on a discount from any of your suppliers. Therefore, you're always getting the best prices possible. With Method, you can also ensure your suppliers stay honest regarding invoices, shipments and quoted pricing.If you're looking to analyze your practice's buying patterns so you can make them more profitable, Method can help you. It can also help you keep track of contract compliance inside of your team.Overall, Method offers some of the best ways to ensure your practice purchases quality goods from reputable suppliers while staying within your budget.

Use Method to Manage Your Inventory

Here at Method, we've created software built explicitly for your dental practice. Therefore, you can ensure every aspect of Method is suited for your business. Unlike a spreadsheet, Method has numerous features that can help your business thrive.At the end of the day, we want to help you spend less time managing your inventory so you can dedicate more time to your patients. The Method team looks forward to working with you whether you operate at a dentist-owned private practice, mid-sized dental service organization or a large dental service organization.If you want to know more about us and what we can do for you, request a demo or give us a call at 855-917-4540.

More on Inventory Management Technology

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