In today’s rapidly evolving world of veterinary medicine, technology has revolutionized the way veterinarians manage their practices. One of the most significant shifts has been the adoption of electronic ordering systems for veterinary supplies. These systems offer convenience, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, but they also pose a challenge: How can veterinarians maintain personal vendor relationships in this increasingly digital landscape?
The Rise of Electronic Ordering in Veterinary Medicine
Electronic ordering systems have transformed the procurement process for veterinary supplies. Veterinarians can now order everything from pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to pet food and grooming supplies with just a few clicks. Some veterinary practice management software offers integrations with distribution or other automated ordering platforms. This convenience saves time, reduces administrative costs, and minimizes errors in orders, making it a valuable addition to any veterinary practice.
The Benefits of Electronic Ordering
Efficiency: Electronic ordering systems streamline the procurement process, allowing veterinarians to place orders quickly and accurately. This can lead to faster order fulfillment and reduced waiting times for critical supplies.
Cost Savings: The digital nature of electronic ordering often reduces the overhead costs associated with paper-based systems. This can result in significant cost savings for the veterinary practice.
Inventory Management: Many electronic ordering platforms offer inventory management features, helping veterinarians keep track of their supplies, reduce waste, and ensure they always have what they need in stock. Pricing is automatically updated based on the most recent purchase price. Reorder points can trigger automatic reorders to ensure that inventory levels are always satisfactory.
The Importance of Personal Vendor Relationships
While electronic ordering offers undeniable benefits, it is essential not to overlook the value of personal vendor relationships in the veterinary field. Building and maintaining strong connections with suppliers can greatly impact the success of a practice.
The Benefits of Personal Vendor Relationships
Tailored Service: Personal relationships with vendors allow for more personalized service. Vendors who understand your specific needs can offer tailored solutions and suggest new products or services that may benefit your practice.
Trust and Reliability: Establishing trust with vendors can lead to a more reliable supply chain. In times of emergency or shortage, your trusted vendors may prioritize your orders, ensuring your practice’s continuity.
Problem Solving: When issues arise, such as product recalls or delivery delays, having a personal relationship with your vendors can make problem-solving more efficient and less stressful.
Finding the Balance
Balancing electronic ordering and personal vendor relationships is key to a successful veterinary practice. Here are some strategies to achieve this equilibrium:
Use Electronic Ordering Wisely: Leverage electronic ordering for routine, easily replaceable supplies, and items with well-defined specifications. This frees up time for more meaningful interactions with vendors.
Cultivate Vendor Relationships: Take the time to build personal relationships with key suppliers. Attend industry events, engage in one-on-one conversations, and show appreciation for their services.
Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with vendors. Share your practice’s goals, challenges, and changing needs. This can lead to more beneficial, long-term partnerships.
Strategic Partnerships: Consider forming strategic partnerships with a select few vendors who can meet a wide range of your needs. This can simplify your supply chain while preserving personal connections.
Through my numerous years of ordering for veterinary practices, I have been fortunate to have had some amazing sales representatives. Michael Lankow of Amerisource Bergen – MWI Animal Health and Brooke Duhon of Covetrus are two that I have had longstanding relationships with. On the compounding side, Susan Welch of Precision Equine.
This is not a complete list of those integral to my success, but they are standouts. It is important to highlight that as a new purchaser, having trusted representatives as resources to guide you is not to be overlooked or undervalued. On the flip side, it is easy as you develop these relationships to rely too heavily on their expertise instead of using online ordering platforms. With that being said, make sure to thank your sales reps!
In conclusion, electronic ordering and personal vendor relationships are not mutually exclusive in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians can harness the efficiency of electronic systems while nurturing valuable personal connections with suppliers. Striking this balance ensures that your practice remains well-equipped and adaptable in an ever-evolving field.
By combining the convenience of technology with the trust and reliability of personal vendor relationships, you will be better positioned to provide excellent care to your patients and their owners.
Written by: Cynthia Tucker Bain
HVMS – Hospital & Veterinary Management System is one software platform that offers online ordering integrations. If you would like to learn more, please contact Business Infusions for a software demo.
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