Modern Supply Management

Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report July 2021, Volume 55, Issue 7

Base86 offers supply management that consolidates dental purchases into 1 platform.

I have been a technology expert for over 20 years, focusing primarily on cybersecurity and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). But there are many other areas where technology can help dental practices, and supply management is among the newer ones.

Why focus on supplies? It’s one of those stubborn areas that contains all sorts of hidden costs. First, there is the expense of the supplies themselves. Practices spend up to 10% of their gross revenues purchasing the supplies they need to operate. Then there is the time spent by you and your office staff. Each different supplier means reams of information to track, from where you order (online, sales representative, or even fax) to which products to purchase, how many, how often, and who is doing the ordering. Shopping around for a better price or service is yet more time that could and should be spent focusing on your actual practice. How do you track all that information? A spreadsheet? If you want to switch major suppliers, where is your list of products you order?

A great example of a company that uses technology to modernize this process is base86. The purpose of base86 is to shift as much of that time and money into 1 place as possible. It provides 1 place to make a direct purchase, to send requests for quotation to potential new suppliers, and to track products as they arrive at your office. By consolidating your purchasing into 1 platform that allows you to compare prices, find new and alternate products, order, and receive, you take the overhead out of everyday ordering. You also make it infinitely simpler to onboard new office staff. If you’ve ever used a website to order something or review prices, then you can use this software.

What else does this cloud-based software do for your dental practice in addition to comparing prices and ordering your supplies? It can handle your inventory if you use it to log when your products arrive, and verify that you received the correct amounts. You also can track those buy/get discounts everyone offers, to see what you are saving per order and over time.

Base86 drastically speeds up insights into your supply spending. With base86, you get price alerts right away when something has gone up in price, you get the average spent by other dental practices, and you get instant insights—not in 30 days, but that day—into how your spending on supplies is looking this week versus last and this month versus last. They are also working on integrations with major accounting software, which should speed up your bookkeeping and save you more time and money.

What is the downside? It isn’t free after the initial trial. There is a monthly subscription price that ranges from $99 to $199 or so. But it is free to set up and try, it is easy to get going, and the models look promising for cost and time savings. How much time and money? About a 20% improvement for both. Take back 15 to 20 minutes of every hour you spend on supply ordering and management and put some money back in your pocket, too.

An average dental practice that actively uses the platform will realize about $10,000 in cost savings a year and additional savings in staff time and overhead. The final issue I encountered is that it is harder to use on a small mobile device. Technology has permeated all aspects of a dental practice, and I recommend adding supply management and ordering software, such as base86, to that list.

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