Also known as “the law of the vital few,” the Pareto principle, named after an Italian economist, is often expressed as 80 percent of effects coming from 20 percent of causes. You’ve likely observed this phenomenon in your own practice — whether it’s a large percentage of revenue coming from a relatively small number of procedures or a high percentage of new patients coming in from one of your many marketing efforts. However, one of the areas in which the Pareto principle is most evident is in your dental supply budget.
While the percentage of overhead allocated to supplies continues to rise in response to innovative tools and tech, roughly 20 percent of your inventory is still used 80 percent of the time. Lower-dollar products that are used in large quantities can add up significantly over the year.
TDSC, an online source for dental supply savings designed specifically for CDA members, sees disposables and infection control at the top of both its most-searched and best-selling product rankings. To date, tdsc.com shoppers have ordered more than half a million dollars in infection control products alone. They continue to see big savings in the supplies they use in high volume.
Powder-free gloves that retail for $6.49 are only $3.59 through the site — a 45 percent savings. In fact, glove category savings are up to 58 percent off manufacturers’ suggested retail prices. Earloop masks that retail for $6.99 are only $2.98 — a 57 percent savings. And savings in the mask category are as high as 60 percent on some products. By multiplying this level of discounts across your practice’s usage level, you can calculate aggregate savings that make a real difference.
Here are a few steps you can take to make your hardworking everyday supplies more affordable and efficient:
- Compile your current invoices and identify supplies used in highest volume. Visit tdsc.com, search for your current essentials and see opportunities to save. The site’s quick-compare feature will allow you to easily evaluate features and pricing between similar products, so you may be able to find new favorites at even more savings.
- After identifying your most-used items, you can create one or multiple saved lists at tdsc.com to make reordering fast and easy. If you tend to order the same gloves, wipes and sterilization pouches regularly, this can reduce the process to a couple of minutes and clicks.
- “Stockpiling” treatment areas may lead to inefficiency in overall inventory control. It impedes a clear view of on-hand quantities, can result in the waste of products with expiry dates and a reluctance to try new supplies. Keep central inventory adequately stocked and conveniently reorder with free shipping and fast delivery so you don’t run out of essentials or incur unnecessary fees.
- Remember that economization should never compromise infection control protocol. Get your whole team on board with your practice’s expectations around appropriate supply use and safe disposal. Reduce the supply cost per patient through savvy shopping and efficient sterilization processing without impacting care.
Set aside time to evaluate the 20 percent of dental supplies you rely on every day. By reducing costs on high-volume products, you’ll gain more control over your practice’s overhead.
This article is part 1 of a two-part series. Part 2 in April will cover high-ticket items and savings.
For assistance getting your practice set up to shop, contact TDSC Sales Representative Ashley Reich at 916.554.5378 or by email.
All prices shown were correct at the time of publication, but are subject to change without notice. Facts on this article were updated on 3.8.19.