An ImproMed, Inc. White Paper Intelligent Inventory

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1 ImproMed, Inc. 304 Ohio St. Oshkosh, WI

2 Contents What is? 3 Inventory Management in Today s Veterinary Practice. 3 Traditional Solutions to Inventory Management 4 5 Summary 6 Participating Vendors 6

3 What is? bridges the gap between the order, the physical receipt, and the processing of that receipt... is a collaborative effort between distributors in the veterinary industry and ImproMed, Inc. has been designed to bring real-time order fulfillment to the veterinary practice by opening the lines of communication between the Infinity Practice Management Software and the distributor s order management system. Any order placed with a participating distributor can be retrieved automatically by the Infinity software regardless of how that order was placed. Upon delivery of the items, Infinity will reach back to the vendor and pull down all the appropriate invoice information and facilitate the updating of the inventory quantities, cost, bar codes, NDC numbers, and other key pieces of information. bridges the gap between the order, the physical receipt, and the processing of that receipt through the practice management system by managing the information that makes up the order and delivering it directly to the practice when it is needed. Inventory Management in Today s Veterinary Practice. To fully understand the impact of, we must first understand the landscape of inventory management in the veterinary industry today. Inventory management is arguably the most overlooked aspect of running a veterinary practice when, in actuality, it is one of the most important areas of the veterinary business. Inventory sales can make up anywhere from 40%-70% of a veterinary practice s gross sales. Let us think about those numbers for a minute and put them in real terms. A practice whose gross sales are 1 million dollars a year may have as much as $700,000 in sales related back to inventory. Unfortunately, many veterinary practices fail to properly manage inventory and, as a result, may not be as successful in their business as they could be. Traditional Inventory management requires a certain level of commitment and the dedication of a significant amount of resources. This is one of the main areas in which Intelligent Inventory helps the veterinary practice. There are many reasons inventory management fails. It takes too much time and there is too much information to handle are just a couple of reasons commonly cited when practice managers are asked about managing inventory. There is a certain amount of truth to be gathered from these two common comments. Traditional Inventory management requires a certain level of commitment and the dedication of a significant amount of resources. This is one of the main areas in which helps the veterinary practice. For the sake of this discussion, we will generalize inventory management into three main areas: Ordering, Receipting, and Selling. Most veterinary practices do an exceptional job of ordering inventory from their vendors. The task of making sure there are items on the shelves to sell is handled through a variety of methods in all veterinary practices. Whether generated through a want list, a call to a sales rep, created on-line, or any of the many ways to make an order, veterinary practices find a way to stock the items they sell and rarely go without. Likewise, most practices do a very good job of selling these items. Selling products is a big part of running a veterinary business and every practice has procedures in place to charge clients for the items they purchase. Practice management systems enter the inventory management system at this level by tracking the amount of items sold and adjusting the inventory Page # 3

4 accordingly. In fact, this is one thing that practice management systems do exceptionally well and plays a key role in the overall management of inventory. Here is the problem. The receipt of inventory is the weak link in inventory management... This leaves us with the receipt of items. The receipt of items is the weak link in inventory management for a number of reasons. First, it lacks the business necessity that both ordering and selling have. There is no obvious penalty to the business for not processing a receipt of items. After all, the items are in the building and can be sold, if needed. A failure on the ordering side will result in an inability to sell an item. This will lead to a loss of sale, a frustrated staff, and a client leaving empty handed. Second, the receipt of inventory also has certain time restraints placed upon it. A practice has little control over the time an order is delivered and, depending on the vendor, have little to no control over when the invoice for the order is delivered. As an example, a shipment may be delivered on a Tuesday morning during peak appointment times. The inventory person for the practice will do a quick comparison of the order to the packing slip and sign off on the order. The packing slip will go on a desk and the daily operations of the practice will continue. In the best of circumstances the packing slip will include the invoice for the order and the inventory person would be able to process that order later in the day when the rest of their daily obligations are resolved. Even then, the order will have sat in the practice and parts of that order may have been sold. In many cases, the invoice for the order does not arrive at the practice for several days. The receipt of items must wait until the actual cost of the order is available. For a practice that is receiving hundreds of different items a week, the receipt of items becomes a major chore that often falls by the wayside as other job responsibilities take over. Last, the actual process of receipting inventory into the practice management system itself can be a time consuming process. Of course, the receipt of items process will differ depending on the practice management system. In general, each item that is to be received into the practice management software must be selected and the quantity, cost, and other critical pieces of information must be entered and verified. For a practice that is receiving hundreds of different items a week, the receipt of items becomes a major chore that often falls by the wayside as other job responsibilities take over. Traditional Solutions to Inventory Management There are two main approaches taken to manage inventory in the practice level and a myriad of variations on these two major themes. The main approaches can be defined as either Perpetual Inventory or Static Inventory. Perpetual Inventory management is based on the belief that inventory, when tracked as both incoming (receipt) and outgoing (sales) items, will always reflect a reasonably accurate view of the actual inventory on hand. Perpetual inventory systems constantly monitor the changes to inventory to provide a real-time look at what is on hand and uses those values to determine what needs to be ordered. Perhaps the biggest strength of perpetual inventory management is its direct tie into a practice management system and its ability to update inventory every time a sale is made. Another significant benefit of perpetual inventory is the timeliness of the inventory data. With both the receipts and the sales being factored in, an accurate accounting of the inventory on hand can be obtained at any time and does not require any special or additional actions. Static Inventory management is based on counting the inventory on a regular basis and bases Page # 4

5 The delivery of paper invoices creates the opportunity for records to be lost or misplaced and can force a practice to wait for days before being able to process the appropriate invoices. Here is the solution... Once this order is created in the vendor s system, Infinity reaches out through the Internet to capture that order information and create a purchase order in the Infinity practice management system. ordering and usage trends off of the purchase (order) history rather than the sales history. Static inventory systems can come in many varieties, from manual counting systems to systems that use bar code scanners and portable devices to capture the quantity on hand data. Regardless of the methods used to capture the data, the concept remains the same. Count all the inventory today, count it all again next week, and the difference defines the usage of the items and helps dictate what may need to be ordered. Static inventory does not offer the same benefits and accessibility to information as perpetual inventory. Static inventory also is extremely labor intensive and requires the maintenance of a separate inventory system in which to store and analyze the data. Regardless of which method of inventory management a practice employs, the traditional models fall short of providing an optimal solution. By requiring multiple points of data entry and staff time to enter the information in or force a count of the items on the shelf, these traditional management models do little to ease the time burden inventory management places on the practice staff. Likewise, these traditional models rely on conventional communication methods to transport information and keep that information current. The delivery of paper invoices creates the opportunity for records to be lost or misplaced and can force a practice to wait for days before being able to process the appropriate invoices. builds on the benefits gained through a perpetual inventory system by building a bridge between the Infinity Practice Management Software and the vendor fulfilling the order. More importantly, does not require a practice to change how they order inventory. There are no special steps that need to be taken to order inventory from a specified vendor. When a practice makes an order with a vendor, regardless of the order being made over the phone, by fax, on-line, or directly through a sales representative, the vendor enters the information into their order tracking systems. Once this order is created in the vendor s system, Infinity reaches out through the Internet to capture that order information and create a purchase order in the Infinity practice management system. This purchase order is updated with new and changed information, including shipping and back-order status of items contained on the order. When the vendor has fulfilled and shipped the order to the practice, the purchase order is updated with the actual cost and quantity being shipped along with additional information about the item. When the order is delivered to the practice, all the practice has to do is compare the packing slip to the actual order and then click on the Order in the Infinity Practice Management Software. At this point, Infinity reaches out through the internet and retrieves the final version of the order from the vendor. The packing slip should match that final order as it should match the actual packages that were delivered to the practice. With a single click of the mouse, the practice processes the entire order, complete with current pricing and product information. A quick review of changes to the cost of goods and the inventory manager is off to perform the next task. There is no need to enter in all the pricing and product information for each item. addresses the weakest link in inventory management by automating much of the data entry needed to perform a receipt of items and by shortening the time in which the billing information from the vendor becomes available. This is another critical Page # 5

6 Timely processing of a receipt of items, complete with the accurate invoice costs for those items, insures that proper margins are maintained and help to protect the profitability of the veterinary practice. benefit of. In the earlier discussion on inventory management we saw that it is common for a receipt of item to be processed days after the order was physically received into the clinic. Oftentimes, this delay in receipt is caused by the invoice for the order being delivered separately from the actual products or the inventory manager finding the time to process the order. Regardless of the reason, allows for a more timely processing of the order. If there is a cost change on the item it is important to make that adjustment as soon as possible. Changing item costs in a timely manner insures the veterinary practice of maintaining the appropriate profit margin on all sales. As an example, if the cost of an item increases by 10% it will be important to make sure the selling price reflects that difference. An item that costs $10.00 with a 100% markup will sell for $20.00 and will continue to sell at $20.00 until that receipt is processed. With a new cost of $11.00 (a 10% increase) the margin on that item shrinks until the cost is updated. Timely processing of a receipt of items, complete with the accurate invoice costs for those items, insures that proper margins are maintained and help to protect the profitability of the veterinary practice. Summary Inventory Management has long been viewed as a hassle or a necessary evil. Failure to properly manage inventory costs veterinary practices millions of dollars in lost revenues every year. The introduction of practice management software has, without a doubt, assisted the veterinary practice in managing inventory. Allowing the sale of products to adjust inventory quantities has had an enormous impact on inventory management as it created the possibility to run a perpetual inventory. Likewise, the onset of practice management solutions, in many cases, added the ability to generate re-order reports, purchase orders, and process the receipt of items. The downfall of these systems has been an inability to tie directly to the providing vendor s information regarding the order. Without this link, perpetual inventory management becomes a labor-intensive process that is prone to error due to the sheer amount of hand entering of data that is required to process an order. It is best we not forget the issue of timeliness in our summary. We have discussed the gap between delivery and the invoice several times in this document. eliminates this issue by making the final invoice for the order available as soon as the processing of the order is complete. This final invoice, having been generated from the same system that helped take the order, pick it, and ship it, is in a position to be the most accurate record available, and it is available as soon as the order ships from the vendor. Lastly, does not ask the veterinary practice to do anything different than what they have always done. All the practice needs to do is make their order, in whatever manner they wish, and Infinity s Intelligent Inventory and the inventory vendor do the rest. Participating Vendors began as a collaborative effort between ImproMed and Professional Veterinary Products, Limited (PVPL). By working together, ImproMed and PVPL have been able to identify and overcome all of the challenges presented in translating inventory management from the distribution (fulfillment) model employed by vendors and the needs of the individual veterinary business. The level of commitment required to bring this project to completion has been one of total commitment on both sides with future enhancements to the project already in the works. Page # 6

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