Category: Let's Get Organized

IMG_5514
Stop Wasting Money on Expired Dental Materials!

Many dental practices don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to their materials budget. Part of your overhead will always include some wasted supplies, but expired dental materials can add up to thousands of dollars down the drain (sometimes literally) every year. Let’s take a look at some of the most common dental materials that overstay their expiration dates and how you can minimize those losses. The Hidden Cost of Expired Materials There are certain materials that tend to pop up in every dentist’s mind when they think of the money wasted on lapsed expiration dates. What many of us consider is that, in addition to money wasted on unused purchases, some materials also require proper disposal which can carry its own hefty price tag. Amalgam needs a special receptacle and mercury suppressant as well as collection by a properly permitted management facility. X-ray developer and fixer can’t just be poured down the drain. Even unused local anesthetics should be marked as pharmaceutical waste and disposed of separately, not put in the normal sharps container. Although there can be a steep initial cost, modernizing your dental practice (link: https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/where-can-dental-offices-find-information-about-technology-innovations/) by going digital and moving away from more volatile materials will help prevent waste as well as decreasing overhead in the long run. The Most Common Offenders There are a few dental materials that have a track record for overstaying their expiration dates, even in state-of-the-art offices. Composite resins. Composite is one of the most common materials that expire in a dental office, especially unusual and rarely used shades. Anesthetic. Anesthetic carpules sometimes get shuffled to the backs of drawers or supply closets. Be sure to check your expiration date before every injection! Sterilization supplies. Enzymatic cleaners, ultrasonic solution, and even sanitizing wipes (link: https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/infection-prevention-and-control-in-the-news/) have expiration dates that sometimes go ignored. Patient products. Selling expired prescription toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other medicaments doesn’t shine a great light on your practice. Dental Material Black Holes: Where Materials Go to Expire Every dental practice has a few nooks and crannies where supplies and materials tend to disappear and go forgotten. Identifying these dental material black holes and coming up with good systems (link: https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/systems-that-work-how-to-create-routines-your-dental-office-staff-will-dependably-follow/) to keep stockpiles refreshed can significantly cut down on material waste. Supply Closet Disorganized supply closets lead directly to wasted materials, not to mention dust bunnies. Here are a few strategies to prevent expired materials in your storage area. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you should know the “first in, first out” principle. Establish a strict policy for restocking when orders arrive of pulling the oldest materials to the front and putting the freshest at the bottom of the pile. That way, staff can easily grab the materials closest to expiring! Use clear storage containers. Containers are a great way to keep your supply closet organized and tidy. Clear containers ensure your staff can see what’s inside and prevent duplicating orders by mistakenly thinking you’re out of something. Bonus points if you have a label maker! Yearly or twice-yearly spring cleaning. Set aside time in the schedule once or twice every year for staff to roll up their sleeves and clear out supply closets and operatories. Pull everything out, wipe down and sanitize your storage areas, and then restock using FIFO and checking expiration dates for every item. As a hygienist, I’ll be honest: we hide supplies We’re like squirrels. Your assistants do it, too, I promise. Ideally, every operatory in your practice runs a full column most days. That means your hygienists and assistants don’t have a moment to waste prepping for their next patient or hunting for items. Secret stashes in operatories help us avoid slow-downs or running out of things we need, but they sometimes get stuffed in dark corners and go unused for months or even years. Setting aside time in the schedule for your staff to do a deep clean of their operatory and re-organize their supplies will help ensure cleanliness as well as prevent materials from expiring. Under Sinks and Other Low-Traffic Areas Sterilization and cleaning supplies are frequently stored under sinks and in other out-of-the-way places. Unfortunately, these areas are out of our eye line and can end up becoming expired material graveyards. Wherever possible, set aside storage space for these materials where they are easily visible and accessible, so they don’t end up relegated to dark corners of your office. Items that don’t expire like trash bags and paper supplies are better suited for those nooks and crannies. Good Ordering Routines Are Key to Eliminating Waste Finding the sweet spot for how much of each material to stock depends on many variables. Obviously, you don’t want to understock as running out of materials will disrupt your ability to treat patients. There are certain situations, such as the potential upcoming shipment disruptions (link: https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/alert-of-potential-order-delays-starting-august-1-2023-your-ups-orders-could-be-delayed-read-more/) when overstocking is a good idea. But in general over-stocking too much leads directly to expired materials. So how do you balance ordering to ensure you don’t run low on materials but they don’t go unused until they expire? First, make it easy for your staff to keep track of materials and when it’s time to re-order. Tag systems are incredibly helpful, and there are plenty of resources online for how to build an effective tag system. It can be high tech and use RFID, or simply a card with the relevant details written on it! Automating your ordering as much as possible is another great way to avoid supplies issues. Software that helps track inventory, automatically renew certain items on a set schedule, and easily adjust your orders will take out the guesswork and help you minimize waste without running low on what you need. Enjoy better flow in your workdays with well-organized dental materials and efficient ordering systems. Check out ZenSupplies to easily track your inventory levels, restock supplies in a timely manner, and reduce the chances of running out of essential items during procedures. ZenSupplies not only saves time but also minimizes disruptions during patient treatments, leading to smoother and more efficient workdays.

Published:
July 27, 2023
By:
Paige
Anderson
wynand-van-poortvliet-kWUZKKBR2Ag-unsplash
Alert of potential order delays, Starting August 1, 2023 your UPS Orders could be delayed. Read more…

We are happy to update our members on the possible UPS strike. According to the news, the union was able to reach an agreement and avoided the chance of UPS workers going on strike. More on this here. Dear Zen Members, We are monitoring the news regarding negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters union as they approach the end of their current labor agreement, which ends July 31, 2023. This is pretty serious if not resolved by the end of July and may result in order delays. Our team is preparing in case that happens to provide timely and accurate information about your orders and help with the delays. What can you do in the meantime: - Purchase items that you use the most in the next 2 weeks. This could be: - Gloves, Masks, Wipes - Pouches - Lidocaine and Injectables -Plan to purchase exactly the brand you like and regularly order to avoid potential returns and order shortage frustrations. -If you purchase from 2-3 suppliers, plan to order from more vendors. Suppliers such as DentalCity often times use FedEx that will not be affected by this strike. We are also gathering information provided by top distributors and wanted to share what they had to say about this: Patterson Dental In the unfortunate situation where a strike occurs: - UPS will still be operational in a very limited capacity with priority given to healthcare companies such as Patterson. - Patterson will utilize all carriers that are available, including FedEx, regional carriers, courier services, and Patterson delivery. - Expect delays in processing orders and shipping as other freight carriers will also have delays as a result of the UPS strike, and rural areas should expect greater delays. To help minimize the impact if a strike occurs: - Be mindful of the key items your practice needs to ensure you have appropriate inventory levels for the week of August 1, and please refrain from over-purchasing inventory. - Consolidate your orders to one order per week during the strike to help with the processing and timeliness of shipping. - Please understand that additional measures may be taken including suspending returns during the strike to help lessen shipment volume. Henry Schein Henry Schein has a contingency plan in place to have orders shipped on time. Some orders may not be delivered the next day as normal. Safco Dental We know how important it is for you to get your supplies on time. Unfortunately, a potential UPS strike is creating uncertainty. Should a strike occur, we cannot guarantee the same quick delivery times as overall logistics in the U.S. will be affected. We recommend stocking up on essential supplies by the end of July to mitigate risk of not having what you need for your practice. In the event of a strike, we will not be able to guarantee delivery dates, but rest assured we’ll do everything in our power to ensure your order is ready and shipped to you as soon as possible. We will continue keeping you informed of this issue. Please feel free to reach out with and questions. Your ZenTeam

Published:
July 18, 2023
By:
Tiger
Safarov
Light blue Minimal Dental Clinic
Systems That Work: 
How to Create Routines Your Dental Office Staff Will Dependably Follow

Effective systems keep your dental office running smoothly. The better business is, the more efficient your systems need to be. A thriving dental office means a consistently full schedule. Over time, systems may start to break down as steps get skipped and tasks fall to the wayside. Building systems that work for your team means your office can keep running as smoothly as possible so you can focus on giving your patients the best possible care. Areas of the Office First, let’s break down the goal of successful systems in each area of a typical dental office. Front Desk/Concierge Your concierge is a patient’s first point of contact when they enter your practice. Disorganization, paper clutter, even dusty computer screens can give your patients the impression that your entire practice is likewise disorganized and even dirty. Regular routines for dusting, sterilizing high-touch areas, and minimizing clutter will keep your front desk looking spotless. Sterilization Poor organization in sterilization puts your patients and entire staff in danger. Improperly sterilized instruments can spread serious bloodborne illnesses. Failure to comply with strict regulations also puts your practice in danger of running afoul of regulatory entities like OSHA. Establish effective routines for keeping your sterilization equipment in good working order, handling instruments safely, and staying on top of tasks like changing out the ultrasonic bath. Operatories Regardless of whether you choose to assign specific operatories to each clinician or prefer to have them rotate based on the day’s schedule, effective systems for organization in each operatory allow your team to work together to keep each room properly stocked and sterilized. Supply Closet/Inventory A well-organized inventory helps prevent over- or understocking supplies, which can directly impact the profitability of your practice. When carpules of anesthetic get shuffled to the back of a dusty closet and left to expire, it’s money down the drain. Ordering Aside from how you organize your physical supplies, effective systems for ordering likewise keep your practice running smoothly. Ordering for a dental office means coordinating the needs of each department in your practice as well as multiple suppliers and reps. Efficient systems for ordering supplies and instruments will prevent over- and under-stocking, and ensure deliveries arrive when they’re needed. What Makes a Good System? Next, let’s look at a few universal concepts that will help you build effective organizational systems for your dental office. These ideas can apply to every area of your office to help them run more smoothly. Simplicity is the key to systems that work. Every extra step is one more thing that will eventually get skipped and lead the system to break down. Streamline your systems as much as possible; what is the fewest number of steps that will reliably get this job done, and what is the most direct way to achieve each of these steps? Simplicity in your systems also means minimizing the mental burden of keeping track of tasks. The more you can automate reminders for things like spore tests, the less likelihood they’ll get forgotten. Most of us are painfully aware that time is a limited commodity in a thriving dental practice. Your assistants, hygienists, and treatment coordinators need systems that will save them time. Need labels properly filled out for biohazard bags? Why not print out sheets of stickers in advance so your staff can grab and stick in seconds rather than filling them out by hand? Simple adjustments to save a few moments on each step in your system add up to an office that runs efficiently and less chance of important tasks falling to the wayside on busy days. When you combine simplicity and speed, you get convenience. Convenient systems are more likely to be followed. It seems obvious. But when you look closely at the workflow in your office, look for any areas where the system could be easier to maintain. For example, cassettes make instruments easier (and safer) to carry. We all have pedometers on our smart watches, but your staff doesn’t have the time or energy to make their 10,000 steps on unnecessary movement between patients! Once you’ve established systems that are simple, fast, and convenient, make sure the expectations are consistent and predictable. Any new system may take some trial and error as unforeseen problems come up. But constantly changing your systems in the pursuit of better efficiency can be frustrating and confusing for everyone involved. Get your staff’s input from the beginning about what works for them and what needs improvement. Then, give new systems some time to become habits and check back with them for feedback about how things can be tweaked or improved. Maintain Your System for Peak Efficiency Once you find a rhythm and routine that works for your team, maintain it! Keeping a system in good working order over time takes planning, but you can work it into the system from the beginning. Make a plan to periodically check in on your system. While constant changes can lead to disorganization, re-evaluating your system regularly (maybe once per quarter for example) needed can allow you to adapt and eliminate roadblocks. For truly peak efficiency, look for any areas where you can establish systems that maintain themselves. Automating workflow and organization as much as possible frees your staff to focus on providing the best possible experience for your patients while eliminating human error or forgetfulness. Automation in your systems can be as simple as setting a cell phone alert for weekly or monthly equipment maintenance. Specialized software can help you easily track your previous orders, automatically place regular orders, and coordinate lists between multiple suppliers so your staff doesn’t have to waste time do it by hand. Above all, remember that the goal for systems that work is to help your entire team enjoy better flow in your workdays and allow you to give your patients undivided attention at every visit!

Published:
July 12, 2023
By:
Paige
Anderson
image-min|Control Your-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.33.21-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.33.08-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.32.58-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.32.44-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.32.12-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.31.12-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.30.58-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.30.46-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.30.35-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.30.22-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.30.07-min|Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 21.29.53-min
Simple Spreadsheet + Typeform for Getting Ordering Under Control in 3 Easy Steps

With this quick video, you'll learn how to use Google Spreadsheets and Typeform to get your dental budget and ordering under control: [embedpress]https://www.loom.com/embed/67e5327e35b949a6969b95a0a9c9f2a0[/embedpress] Step 1: Gather all vendors in one place.  Start with gathering all vendors in one place. This is probably the most daunting and the most important step. You need to know everyone you are buying from and have the information at your fingertips. We recommend using this template (download here, or make a copy and add to your google drive). When you add all the information, please check for accuracy, most importantly usernames and passwords, make sure it’s accurate. I also recommend using Keeper for password protection. A lot of offices write down passwords into the spreadsheet and share with their team. Then if you need to let the person go, you are probably not going to reset all passwords which is an opportunity for someone to use your credentials for something not good.  Save yourself time and headaches and get a password manager.  Using the template you can add all the vendors and skip username/password if you decide to use the Keeper for password management. You will notice the first tab is “Vendors” and we reckoned using the columns to fill out all that you can: 1.“Account Numbers'' - most vendors will have your Customer Number, if not a big deal, as long as you have a username to log in.  2. Shipping Terms - you can find this information in your invoice or call your sales rep.  a) Min order amount for free shipping; b) Shipping cost, Fuel Cost, Handling Cost. With some vendors shipping is free, but then there is a fuel charge of $15.99. Please ask and add it all into a spreadsheet. 3. How to Order - online is the best way to order supplies, add to card and be done. However, some vendors do not have a robust or easy-to-use site, so quite often you will need to call the right person. And finding the right person is key. With Top 4 suppliers, it’s easy, you have a sales rep that would love to talk to you. But when it comes to specialty products, ortho, implants, bone graft or membrane, or my favorite, sutures, you need a person to call that can answer even the most difficult question within minutes. So once you get a person like that, please add to the “How to Order section.” Step 2: Enter orders with TypeForm This is where TypeForm becomes very handy, simple to set up, and a tool that gives you access from any phone. You can even send the link to TypeForm to your sales rep to fill out the order information if they place orders on your behalf (even though I don’t recommend doing this). Go to their website, create a account, and click “Create Typeform''. Here are the steps and how to create a form: 1. Start from Scratch 2. Give it a Name “Ordering Form” 3. Fill out the questions:  a) Starting with 1st Question “Date Purchased” and the Type select “Date” b) Next Question is to type “Vendor Name” and choose Dropdown. Then enter the list of vendors from your spreadsheet from the tab “Vendors”, just the names. You can literally copy-paste to Typeform to save yourself time. c) Next Question - Order Total - Short Text d) Next Question - Order Sales Tax - Short Text e) Next Question - Order Shipping Charge- Short Text f) Next Question - What did you Order - select Long Text g) Next Question - Expected Delivery  - Select Date in the “Type”  h) This is my favorite - Create a question “Type of Expense “, choose “Dropdown” in the type and copy-paste the following categories       i. Dental Supplies      ii. Lab Supplies ( Ex: Stone material, Aligners, Vacuform, Cerec)      iii. Office Supplies      iv. ReSale      v. Marketing      vi. Parts & Equipment      vii. Service       i) Last Question - Who Ordered - also drop-down so it’s easy to track who placed the orders. If you plan to share this with your rep (or multiple reps) please include their name in the drop-down so they can identify themselves when placing orders on your behalf.  4. Publish the Typeform and Download the QR code. Also, send yourself a link to this form so you can access it from your phone. 5. 6. Last step is to connect Typeform with your Ordering spreadsheet. Select the button Connect - all the way at the top and choose “Google Sheet” Option. 7. Follow the steps (most likely you will need to copy the link to your spreadsheet and paste it in the Typeform). Now you have connected Typeform to Google Sheets. Why did we do it this way? I’m sure there are ways of getting information to Google where you do not need to use TypeForm, but I find it very easy to use and reliable. Now with a link or QR code, I can add any order into a main spreadsheet or have my team do it. With the link or QR code, after you scan or click on the link, you can save a webpage to your homepage on the phone so it’s easy to find on an ongoing basis. Step 3 Balancing the Budget Now all of your transactions are in one place with proper labels. Dental supplies are properly tracked and are not mixed together with service/ parts or CEREC blocks. Now we need to add the totals for Supplies expenses into the Monthly Spreadsheet that calculates Monthly Budget and how much is left. I recommended using 3 Month Average for Collections and multiplying by 4% to get your real monthly budget. Then add the date and amount for each vendor each time you place an order, total only. But make sure this total is what reflects on the credit card statement. There are times when you order 50 items and the supplier could ship all 50 items in 2-3 shipments, meaning 2-3 tracking numbers and separate invoices for each shipment. You need to then track it starting the PO Number, please refer to the example below, where one PO contains 3 invoices and 3 separate charges on the credit card. Once you add it all up, the spreadsheet tells you how much is left for the month. We recommend that you always look at how much is left before placing any order. We’ve seen offices get below 5 or even 4% on supplies by simply cutting out of the order items that can be purchased next month and are not urgent at all.  This will take 40-60 min at the most and save you at least a couple of thousand dollars. If you need help with any of the above steps, please reach out and I’ll be happy to help.  We are exploring other ways to incorporate type form to optimize back-office operations and make things easier. For example, we are testing Spore test automation and the ability to track other Infection Control related issues in one place.  Tiger Safarov Book the time with me here Google Sheet Template

Published:
May 16, 2023
By:
Tiger
Safarov
IMG_9375-min
A Lean Dental Office Needs To Adopt The 90% Rule to Be Productive

LEAN methodology in a dental setting involves implementing effective ways to manage the clinic’s operations and increase overall dental office efficiency. This can encompass things such as streamlining scheduling, minimizing waste, and enhancing communication among patients and staff members. One of the main advantages of LEAN methodology is increased dental office productivity. A Lean Dental Office will have shorter appointments and less downtime for patients, as well as more patients seen per day for dental professionals. A few examples of implementing LEAN in a dental clinic can include: - Adopting a digital appointment system that allows patients to schedule appointments online, reducing the need for phone calls and paperwork. - Implementing a dental inventory management system for monitoring inventory and ordering supplies in a timely manner to decrease waste and save money. - Using an electronic system to track patient information and medical history, which can improve communication among staff members and enhance patient safety. - Scheduling regular staff meetings to discuss and resolve any issues or inefficiencies in the clinic’s operations. - Analyzing data and metrics regularly to identify areas for improvement and make changes to the clinic’s processes. The 90% rule in a lean dental office refers to the concept of identifying and eliminating non-value adding activities to focus on the critical 10% of activities that truly add value to the patient experience. This principle is also based on the idea of “lean thinking.” Therefore, the goal of the 90% rule is to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve the overall quality of care for patients. The first question to start with: what procedures do you perform most frequently? By identifying these procedures, you can begin to implement the 90% rule. By dedicating 90% of your time and resources to these high-value procedures, you can improve efficiency and enhance the patient experience. Where else can the LEAN 90% rule be applied within the dental office? It is worth noting that the LEAN 90% rule is not limited to only one aspect of the clinic, it should be applied to all aspects of the clinic, from patient flow, to communication, inventory, and so on. To apply the LEAN 90% rule for other areas within a dental clinic, the following steps can be taken: 1. Identify and map out the current processes in the clinic: Create a detailed map of each process, including all the steps involved, the time spent on each step, and the people involved. For example, these processes could include but are not limited to scheduling appointments, ordering supplies, or tracking patient information. 2. Identify value-added and non-value added activities: Analyze each step of the process and determine which activities add value to the process and which do not. 3. Measure the performance of these processes: Collect data on how long each process takes, how often it is performed, and how many errors occur. 4. Determine the 90th percentile: Use the data to determine the 90th percentile of the population for each process. For example, if scheduling appointments takes an average of 10 minutes, but the 90th percentile takes 15 minutes, then the process should be designed to handle appointments that take 15 minutes or less. 5. Redesign the process: Once the 90th percentile has been determined, redesign the process to accommodate the majority of cases. This could involve simplifying the process, eliminating unnecessary steps, or automating certain tasks. 6. Monitor the process: After the process has been redesigned, monitor its performance to ensure that it is meeting the needs of the 90th percentile. Regularly collect data and analyze it to identify any areas for improvement. 6. Continuously improve: Continuously look for ways to improve the process and make it more efficient. Empowering Staff Members to Lead LEAN Initiatives Implementing Lean dental practice management system in an organization can be a complex process, and it is crucial to involve staff members in the process. It may take time for Lean to become fully integrated into the company culture, and there may be initial resistance from some employees. To combat this, it is important to keep communication open and gather input and feedback from staff members when identifying and implementing Lean projects. By giving employees a say in the changes that affect them and allowing for a trial period, it can foster greater participation and ownership of the projects. Once the benefits of increased productivity are evident, staff members are likely to become more invested and enthusiastic about Lean principles. Additionally, sharing the benefits with staff members can further incentivize their participation and ideas. The Importance of Establishing a Process It’s important to remember that while achieving great results is important, the methods we use to get there are even more crucial. Leaders who only focus on the numbers without considering the process may end up with manipulated numbers or negative behaviors that harm the customer experience. Some other key things to keep in mind when it comes to process include: - Following the consistently of solving problems on a daily basis; - Making problems visible to everyone; - Encouraging open communication about problems; - Cross-training employees for added flexibility and agility; - Holding daily morning meetings for training, learning, and updates. Continuous Enhancements and Involvement Adopting Lean principles in a dental office can be a never-ending journey of continuous improvement. By constantly examining and evaluating processes, dental clinics can make measurable improvements time and time again. By bringing different teams together and trying new ideas, dental clinics can bring their workflow optimization to a new level. Not only do these changes improve productivity and reduce waste, but they also engage employees and foster creativity, making the process highly rewarding. written by Angie Bachman, Director of Clinical Training at Design Ergonomics

Published:
January 27, 2023
By:
Tiger
Safarov
IMG_8602-min
Is Being Organized in the Dental Office a Rule or a Myth?

Dental office organization is often seen as a prerequisite for success, especially the dental industry. Dental assistants in particular, are expected to be highly organized individuals as their job requires them to perform a wide range of tasks, from scheduling appointments to sterilizing equipment and working with dental inventory software. But is being organized a rule or a myth? Is it something that happens by accident or is it planned? And do dental assistants hope for success or plan for success? Firstly, it's important to acknowledge that some people are naturally more organized than others. However, being organized is not just about being born with the right personality traits, it's also a skill that can be developed and honed over time. In fact, being organized is often the result of intentional planning and deliberate actions. Dental assistants can benefit greatly from being organized. In a dental practice, there are many moving parts that need to work together in harmony to ensure a successful outcome of dental office organization. An unorganized dental assistant can lead to missed appointments, mismanaged schedules, and poor patient care. On the other hand, an organized dental assistant can help to create a smooth and efficient practice, which can lead to increased patient satisfaction and better overall outcomes. We asked a long-time dental assistant what her opinion is on this matter and here is what she had to say. “Being organized is without a doubt the rule. Being a dental assistant for 6 years means you see a lot of what does and doesn’t work in an office. Organization is one of them, and it is key to have! If you are not organized, everything else will start to fall apart and create this domino effect of one big messy disaster. Being prepared for the next day should always be done prior to the following morning, this means you were organized enough that it should make your morning a breeze instead of running around everywhere before the day starts.”  So, how can dental assistants become more organized? One of the key ways is to plan ahead. This means creating a schedule for each day, week, and month, and sticking to it as much as possible. It also means anticipating potential issues or challenges and having a plan in place to deal with them. Samantha, who has been a dental assistant for seven years, gave us some insight on office organization as well. After asking her if she thinks this is a rule or a myth here is what she had to say, “Being organized should be a general requirement of all dental assistants. The reason being is because without any organization in the office, it creates chaos and can lower productivity. If a DA is busy running around trying to find misplaced supplies, this takes away from Dr’s time with patients by making procedures fall behind. This can also lead to other issues such as compliance failure and overspending on supplies you may already have but just misplaced.” Another important aspect of being organized is having a system in place for managing paperwork and other administrative tasks. This can include creating digital files for patient records, setting up a filing system for physical documents, and using software to manage appointments and other tasks. In addition to these practical steps, it's also important for dental assistants to cultivate a mindset of organization. This means being proactive, taking ownership of tasks, and being willing to learn and adapt as needed. Ultimately, success in dental office organization requires a combination of hope and planning. While hope can be a powerful motivator, it's not enough on its own. Dental assistants need to take intentional steps to plan and prepare for success, and being organized is a critical part of that process. We asked our friend Jillian on this matter, who has been in the dental field herself for quite some time. She responded “I think this can honestly depend on the individual and how they function, as well as circumstance. For me, being organized was a rule because it caused less stress and anxiety in my day to day. Not only that, if someone had to step in for me, in my mind if things were organized that person could find items easier. However, the big picture if someone did step-in assisting for me I still got texts asking where this or that was because the way I organize might not make sense to someone else. Organizing inventory or even your day by pre-setting up trays can be subjective to the person and might not always mean success. For example a patient can cancel or be added to your day that might throw your pre-set trays totally off, but if the DA working is flexible the success will carry over and does not matter whether they planned for it or not.” In conclusion, being organized is not a myth but a skill and a rule that can be developed with intentional planning and deliberate actions. Dental assistants can benefit greatly from being organized, as it can lead to increased patient satisfaction and better overall outcomes. By planning ahead, creating systems for managing tasks and paperwork, and cultivating a mindset of organization, dental assistants can set themselves up for success in the sphere of dental office organization.

Published:
March 27, 2023
By:
Samantha
Julia
IMG_4960-min
I Spent 2 Weeks Working At the Cedar Park Office, So What Did I Learn?

During 2 weeks working 9-5 (most days later than 5pm) at the dental practice in Austin, Texas, I did everything I could and was allowed to do. From cleaning instruments, taking the trash, ordering supplies, and other important things. Here is my quick breakdown of each day: - 6 fully working Ops and 2 empty for now - 3 DAs - Open Dental Day 1 of working at a dental practice: Learned Sterilization techniques and how to turn over the rooms. So Far I have come up with 2 competitions: - How fast DA can turn the room - How far you can spill water from the syringe - How fast DA can go from dirty to clean Bottle Necks: Learning instruments and how it needs to be washed Day 2 of working at a dental practice: Getting dirty - literally! - Today I can do a lot of things myself, cleaning dirty areas, rinsing instruments, packing into dishwasher and then pouching to use autoclave Being able to time things. Since they only have one dishwasher and 1 dry heat sterile, both large capacity, I need to be able to time when to load each. Ideally I need to see the schedule and be able to know what procedure ends soon. - Rooms are not assigned. This is shocking, I don't know what column in OD represents what room. Hard to Navigate - Learned how to clean and lubricate handpieces, however they have the Morita machine and perhaps not every office has it - After I figured out the cassettes and how to wash things, next is loading the sterilizer. Again maybe it's this office, but they have to stamp with the date each dry heat indicator that goes in each pouch. Drives me nuts. - Today was a long day, last patient at 5 pm ended up being a long process of saving a failing implant. We finished at 8pm. What do I do in the meantime, one DA is assisting, I'm waiting to help clean the room. So in the meantime I cleaned rooms - garbage, I could've worked on orders? This doc is amazing! Bottle Necks: Timing - knowing what procedure ends and when. Assign rooms in OD, so someone new like me can understand and anticipate what will need to get washed and what rooms to turn over Day 3 of working at a dental practice: Things are real - I really need to know where instruments go after the sterile cycle is completed. Things are not organized so I have no idea what to do and I'm staring at the pile of sterilized things - Also need to know how people like things, Ask DA how does she want me to hang the bib around the chair so it's easy for her to grab and unfold when the patient is seated Ordering: -      People gave me boxes and said to order this. It's really hard, even finding items and what that is. Ideally Zen should provide global search, even if the product is not sold through Zen. People call items different names, Ex: Bleach vs Solution both are the same but have different price. -     When products already in the shopping cart, and I continue to search, for example I have air-water syringes and I need to see if chipper options are available, would be great to see products on the search page (or on the right side) that are same category and already in the shopping cart -      All together I spent about 2 hours, OM was trying to find the email or something to remember how many last time they purchased, also where to order. It's not an easy process Bottle Necks: Organization of the office - where does each instrument go after autoclave? Ordering - it’s all over the place, online, spreadsheet, call the supplier. Most people don’t know what needs to be ordered Day 4 of working at a dental practice: Ideas Day - I need a place to sell unopened supplies back to others. It's too much time to try to remember where did I ordered it the first time - What if “What if, based on the schedule, cassettes show up in the morning and leaving at night or being replaced each morning? ” Day 5 of working at a dental practice: More Ideas: - Spending lots of time researching Sutures. Would be great to go on Zen, since all vendors are there and talk to an expert in Sutures. - Lots of supplies that need to be returned are not being used any more. Ideally setup a way for an office to return everything unneeded, for a refund or a credit Day 6 Missed the Spore Test 🙁 This was on me and I missed to do it. How is it possible that there is no reminder/notification? Day 7 More Ordering - Need to order composite A2 they order Dentsply and it's $85. Didn't fill right, so started looking for cheaper alternatives. Venus is $44 for the same and there is an option in syringe for $22. - When trying to compare products, I really need to see per use. For example composite comes in 0.25 g capsules or 1.8 syringe. If we take 0.25g as a baseline, would be great to see composite rate that way. Dentasply 15/pk at 0.25 g at $85 vs Venus 1.8g syringe at $22.40. Per use Dentsply is $5.6 and Venus $3 - ADD CR review - CR Conclusion into product Card - Fun Idea - Custom tray cover paper with reminder, funny, inspiration quotes, etc! Day 8 Spore Test Changes - New Lab and New Process - Challenges - Process Day 9 Getting handle of things - Less items on the white board - where is Alexa - Need to rebuild a page where I can see products that are arriving today (not a list of all products or orders). No just the products that are arriving today - Tracking all orders in the spreadsheet - Salving, Garrison, Osteogenics, etc Day 10 Let’s Organize your Physical Space - Count all of the supplies - Min QTY for each room - Restocking Process - Tip Out Bins - Shelves in the main storage - Burs and Composites - We have a full tale of supplies we need to give away or throw away - It’s a hard job - Organize physical space - it's not a choice, it's a discipline that leads to happiness and Zen state of the office - Treatment rooms - stocking process, with checklist and QTYs - Establish Ordering Day

Published:
March 28, 2023
By:
Tiger
Safarov
The ideal dental cart - how does it look like
How Do You Know What Container Is Right For You?

There are thousands, maybe even millions of container options to choose from as a part of dental supply inventory management. When it comes to organizing in the dental office, it’s a little bit different from organizing your kitchen pantry. In this article we will help provide you with research and information on which dental carts may be the best for your office space. What to look for and keep in mind when shopping for containers to make it easier on you and less time consuming.  One of the first things you will want to look for is the mobility of the cart itself. You will want something that is easy to move around from room to room. This cart or container should be able to be positioned close to the dental chair to be easily accessible during the entire procedure. For example, look for a cart with wheels that can lock to keep in place when needed, but easy to move around once it’s needed someplace else. You will also want to look for multiple tiers and enclosed bins so aerosols are unable to reach the items and supplies you have in your cart. We recommend something like the infinity 4-drawer rolling cart for this. Recommended use for dental carts like the example given can be for root canals or crown preparation appointments. https://www.containerstore.com/s/infinity-4_drawer-rolling-cart/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11011129 Next is to consider the size of the dental cart or container and whether it will fit properly  in the space available in your operatory or lab space. You'll want to make sure that it's not too bulky or too small for the supplies or small equipment that will occupy the space. Every office will be different in this category as each room, lab, and reception are different sizes everywhere you go. When looking for the size of your container, take note of everything that will need to go inside of it, this way you don’t run into ordering something too big or too small and have to go through an exchange process. Here we can provide you with two examples of similar carts, but at a different size and price to compare with that you are looking for. If you need something of larger capacity we recommend the Elfa mesh kitchen cart in a dark color. https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa-white-mesh-kitchen-cart/d?q=large%20dental%20cart%20on%20wheels&productId=10014854 If you are interested in something of a smaller capacity, we recommend the Sterilite 3-drawer chest with wheels. https://www.containerstore.com/s/sterilite-3_drawer-chest-with-wheels/d?q=small%20skinny%20cart%20on%20wheels%20&productId=11010361 When purchasing the right organization carts that will work within your office, consider the ergonomic design of the dental cart, such as the height of the work surface and the positioning of the drawers and shelves. Will it be easy to reach for something during a procedure should you need it? Will you have to dig around to look for what you need or will it be properly placed in a specific spot that it returns to each time you are done with said supply or item? This may take some trial and error, and that’s okay, you will eventually get to a place where you find the perfect cart that fits all of your needs. If you are able to have one of these containers or carts stay in the room, we would recommend a few clear drawers where you can easily see what’s inside before reaching in, and also able to easily disinfect the outside of it. Here is an option that may work for you. The Luxe 3-Drawer Acrylic Accessory Box is a great option for small items such as burs, anesthetic, and small restorative supplies like bond and micro brushes. https://www.containerstore.com/s/3_drawer-premium-acrylic-accessory-box/d?q=clear%20drawer%20organizer&productId=11003653 Features and Material Look for additional features that may be useful, such as built-in power outlets, adjustable lighting, and easy-to-clean surfaces. Look for a dental cart that has sufficient storage space for the instruments and materials that you need during procedures. It should also have compartments for storing sterile and non-sterile items separately.  Dental carts can be made of different materials, such as plastic, metal, or wood. Consider the durability, ease of cleaning, and aesthetics of the material. Check and see which ones are OSHA compliant and fall into a category that will work for the dental office should you see one you think will work best for you. Let’s say you wanted something that was open and easy to get to, make sure that this cart does not enter a room where aerosols will be present. One we recommend would be the 3-tier rolling cart. https://www.containerstore.com/s/3_tier-rolling-cart/d?q=dental%20carts&productId=11018298 Consider the cost of the dental cart and whether it fits within your budget. It's important to balance cost with quality and functionality to ensure that you get the best value for your money. Whether your budget is $50.00 or $500.00, the container store will have what you are looking for when it comes to staying organized and being durable enough. The wide variety of options and price range really set this site apart from the rest. We guarantee you can find what you are looking for within your price point. Here you will find a final few options at different prices for you to choose from and compare as needed. Option 1-  https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa-mesh-rolling-cart-with-drawers/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11018972 Option 2- https://www.containerstore.com/s/clear-3_tier-rolling-cart-reversible-organizer-lid/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11011322 Option 3- https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa-mesh-laundry-sorter/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11019544 In conclusion, you will want to take all of these tips into consideration when purchasing an organization for your dental office. What works best for you, may not work for someone else. That’s why there are so many options to choose from! Hopefully, with the examples we provided for you, you can make these purchases with ease and find the right one for you.  Mobility- https://www.containerstore.com/s/infinity-4_drawer-rolling-cart/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11011129 Size- bigger cart: https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa-white-mesh-kitchen-cart/d?q=large%20dental%20cart%20on%20wheels&productId=10014854 Smaller cart: https://www.containerstore.com/s/sterilite-3_drawer-chest-with-wheels/d?q=small%20skinny%20cart%20on%20wheels%20&productId=11010361 Ergonomics- https://www.containerstore.com/s/3_drawer-premium-acrylic-accessory-box/d?q=clear%20drawer%20organizer&productId=11003653 Features and Material- https://www.containerstore.com/s/3_tier-rolling-cart/d?q=dental%20carts&productId=11018298 Cost- https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa-mesh-rolling-cart-with-drawers/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11018972 https://www.containerstore.com/s/clear-3_tier-rolling-cart-reversible-organizer-lid/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11011322 https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa-mesh-laundry-sorter/d?q=dental%20cart&productId=11019544

Published:
May 5, 2023
By:
Samantha
Julia
img_blog-min
5 Reasons Why Dental Practices NEED an Inventory Management and Procurement Software

In this article we will provide you with valuable information and research on why having an inventory management and procurement software system is so important and beneficial to you and your practice.  1. Efficient Inventory Management Managing dental inventory can be a challenge, and errors can lead to overspending or stock shortages. A good inventory management software can help dental practices track inventory levels, set reorder points, and generate automated reorder requests, ensuring that the practice has the right supplies when they need them. Business News Daily wrote an in depth article on just this topic alone: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10613-effective-inventory-management.html. They list the many different types of inventory and how this is a crucial piece to your business’s profitability. Even though this system can take up more of your time and require extra planning, the outcome and profits will reflect on the extra time you took to have this system in place.   2. Streamlined Procurement Process Procurement involves the process of purchasing goods or services. An inventory management software can help streamline the procurement process by automating the creation of purchase orders, tracking orders, and generating invoices. This will save time and reduce errors, allowing dental practices to focus on providing quality patient care. Zen Supplies offers a step by step guide to lower supplies overhead: https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/why-choose-advanced-setup-with-zen-subscription/. They achieve this in three different phases. Building a reliable ordering process, negotiating better pricing, and details and measuring supplies on a daily basis and also by procedures. Once these phases have been completed you can successfully manage the software going forward.  3. Cost Savings With an inventory management software, dental practices can avoid overstocking items and prevent stockouts, which can lead to the loss of business. By having accurate inventory levels, practices can avoid unnecessary expenses and reduce inventory carrying costs. We found that conducted a study on this area of expertise along with a checklist provided that you can follow to save on costs: https://dentalblog.3m.com/dental/save-money-in-dental-practice/. The list includes reducing stock choices and material variants to reduce confusion of multiple items, choose high quality materials that will have a long lasting outcome, efficiently plan patient appointments and chairtime turnaround, and so much more! When you are able to see what your budget is each month you can plan ahead easier knowing what you can order in the upcoming months. If you are spending without paying attention, you won't be able to keep track of the promos vendors may run, over stocking too much on a certain item(s) and they end up expiring. You will always end up over budget. Having a dental software system in place helps save on not only costs, but the hassle of trying to keep track of it all too.  4. Regulatory Compliance Dental practices are required to comply with various regulations that govern the storage, handling, and disposal of medical supplies. An inventory management software can help practices maintain compliance by tracking expiration dates, monitoring the condition of the supplies, and generating reports for audits. Ohio Dental Regulatory covered this area by providing examples of different guides you should follow and have posted somewhere in your office to keep track of everything: https://www.oda.org/member-center/resource-library/regulatory-compliance-guide/. Examples of this include, but are not limited to infection control and hazard communication, mandatory reporting, patient privacy and record protocols, X-ray rules, and so much more. Using a software system where this can all remain in one place instead of a bunch of binders or printed off sheets, will help you and your office remain organized.  5. Improved Patient Care Effective inventory management and procurement processes ensure that dental practices have the necessary supplies to provide quality patient care. With inventory management software, practices can keep track of their supplies, order items efficiently, and reduce the risk of running out of important supplies during patient procedures. This will lead to improved patient satisfaction and trust in the practice. Zen Supplies wrote an article about how dental clinics can enhance the customer experience: https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/how-dental-clinics-can-enhance-the-customer-experience-best-practices-from-zensupplies/. At the end of the day, it’s all about the patient experience. You want to be sure that each patient has a positive memorable experience in order for them to not only return to your office, but to feel comfortable while they are there too. They wrote about how an exceptional service is not a one-time event: it is an ongoing effort to consistently exceed customer expectations.This means going above and beyond the standard expectations of a dental visit, and actively seeking out ways to improve the overall experience for patients. In conclusion, all of these steps are essential and important to get started with your inventory management and procurement software. You can’t have one without the other, and each step intertwines with another. They all have similarities and an end goal. To save you time, money, keep track of everything in one place, and improve on your patient care.  Links: Efficient inventory management-https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10613-effective-inventory-management.html Streamline procurement process-https://www.zensupplies.com/blog/why-choose-advanced-setup-with-zen-subscription/ Cost savings- https://dentalblog.3m.com/dental/save-money-in-dental-practice/ Regulatory Compliance- https://www.oda.org/member-center/resource-library/regulatory-compliance-guide/ Improved Patient Care-

Published:
April 19, 2023
By:
Samantha
Julia
Image from iOS (6)
October 2018 Update

Dear Zen Family, Welcome to our Monthly Update! We really had a lot on our mind and on our plate and honestly we couldn’t wait to share with you. Please grab a seat and let’s go through all of this together. Software Update: New ZenOut is going live tonight. New and easier design eliminated unnecessary steps for removing products from dental inventory and ability to remove large amounts of products with double tap. New feature of adding products back with + button. Product Note. Any product in the inventory can have a custom note, just select a note sign and select if it’s an internal note or you would like us to send it to supplier along with your order. . We spent a lot of time improving internal processes and especially the ones related to distributors. Many of you experienced issues and occasional awfulness by the suppliers you link to the platform (from changing client prices, to having unintentional mistakes in billing) and in the last few months we were working very hard with vendors to address that. However, we made more significant progress with Zen Preferred suppliers, who we admire a lot for acknowledging the need for change in the industry and building a better customer experience (the number of preferred is small but the impact is significant, 20-30% savings on products, helping our clients get to 4-5% overhead spent on supplies) At some point in this QTR we will change how Zen Preferred vendors will work to achieve the following great benefits: Moving Preferred Suppliers to 2 Day Delivery Some of the smaller Preferred vendor will be moving to select zones with SAME DAY Delivery Options Process Payments and bring paperless billing (currently only a few distributors allow this feature) Process Returns and Refund Labels within Zen Ability to Chat directly with suppliers Automatic feed into stock levels of our preferred suppliers to avoid backorders *********************************************************************************** . Our belief is that you should have full power in deciding which products are high quality and which are not. Therefore, we are redesigning reviews of products and distributors. In QTR4 we will introduce a new product review feature that will allow you to easily write a review and share it with your fellow Zen offices. It’s the community that can decide what products and distributors should be 5 stars and the most loyal and trustworthy. *********************************************************************************** The one aspect that makes community a vibrant place is engagement! If we are creating Zen as a one-place platform we need to think about the engagement we can encourage between Zen members and distributors. In the future we will go a notch further by introducing chat ability with manufactures. *********** the end I thank you for reading entire update and grateful for every one of you! Tiger Safarov CEO ZenSupplies, Inc.

Published:
October 9, 2018
By:
Tiger
Safarov
IMG_6533
Building a winning TEAM incentive program (aka Bonus Structure)

Why incentive program is important? In the last 6-8 months I visited a lot of practices across the country and it's always surprising to me that doctors have same if not bigger expectations to their team members as if they own a dental practice software. I understand the perfectionism and being type A, however, please remember your team members will work hard and put their 100% if they inspired and feel appreciated. This is where a well designed incentive program will be important. Trust me, it's not the amount that matters, more of an act of appreciation for a going above and beyond. There are plenty of resources regarding building an awesome incentive program. However, we are interested in the one that involves overhead and dental supplies. So far we were able to find one that is designed and tested by our great friend Dr. Mark Costes, DDS and it serves a lot of great purposes. We have seen in our client offices a difference that bonus system can make. There are couple of aspects of designing a well accepted system: Simplicity - if it takes you longer than 20 seconds to explain it, it’s too complicated and will send a message “I really don’t want to create one, but here you go, take it…”. Covers the areas you need improvements and you can measure success. Before you start handing out bonus checks, your system needs to be easy to track and have tangible end results (in supplies, staying under 5% of the collections) Follow through - the biggest issues that I have seen is when the bonus is promised, goals are met, and the owner of the practice (dentists) decides to “We will pay them out in Christmas” when it’s only July in the calendar. This is the easiest way to lose your people and lose respect to you as a leader. This podcast will cover most important aspects of the incentive program and I really hope you implement one in your practice. Link to Dr. Costes' podcast on team incentives.

Published:
October 10, 2017
By:
Tiger
Safarov
dental-supplies
5 Simple Steps for Taking Back Control of Your Inventory

If you’re anything like the practices we serve, gaining full control of your inventory is easier said than done. A lot easier. The reality is, the dental industry and standard processes in place don’t make managing inventory a simple task for most practices. But with the right approach, it can be. Since the beginning of 2016, when ZenSupplies first began, we’ve processed over 3,000 orders and organized more than 35K products. And through our observation and analysis of the 29 clients we serve and their inventories, we’ve never wavered from our core aim: to help practices organize and regain control of their inventory, and save them time and money so they can focus on their patients and providing them with quality dental treatment. While our product has been increasingly effective in accomplishing this with our clients, finding the best way to break down smart dental inventory management into as simple a step-by-step process as possible has been a trial and error endeavor, to say the least. Fortunately though, after more than a year of observing and analyzing practices, and countless brainstorming sessions, we’ve finally managed to fulfill that endeavor. If you want to gain control of your dental inventory before considering implementing ZenSupplies, below are five easy steps any practice can take even without the help of our dental software programs and training services. Determine your practice’s biggest inventory issues. What aspects of inventory frustrate you the most? What really drives you up a wall? It could be running out of product while a patient is in the chair. Maybe it’s not having enough team members who know how to place orders. Or perhaps just the amount of time alone it takes for you and your team to fill out and submit orders grinds your gears the most. If you’re like most practices, the list is probably long. Whatever your practice’s biggest inventory issues are, take the time to go through them with your team and write them out as you do. Then, once you’ve done this, take a consensus to determine your greatest three. This will provide you with the foundation you’ll need to start painting an accurate picture of your inventory. Furthermore, by identifying these core issues that the lack of an organized inventory process causes, you will also be able to determine your need level for a more robust inventory management system like the one ZenSupplies provides. Make a list all of the distributors you buy from. Once you’ve determined your practice’s greatest inventory issues, the next step is to compile a list of the distributors you work with - yes, even the small guys you only order one specialty product from. The key here is to continue developing a more complete and accurate picture of your vendor relations as it pertains to your inventory. When we first ask our new clients the question, “How many distributors do you purchase from?”, the most common response we hear is “three to five”. But after going through order history and invoices, we find that in most cases there are far more - often times upwards of 20. This sort of inaccurate picture makes gaining control of your inventory processes incredibly difficult, if not near impossible, as it leads to confusion among staff, and time spent on simply finding the right distributor for a given product. After all, how can you expect to determine which distributor to buy a certain product from if you don’t know you buy from them? From a pure business standpoint, knowing your vendors well is essential to your practice’s success, and will help you in myriad ways in the long run.  Identify the major distributor you buy from the most. After hashing out your list of distributors, the next step you’ll want to take is to identify the major distributor you buy from the most (Patterson, Benco, Schein, etc.). In our experience, there are two types of practices: ones who buy products from various distributors fairly equally, and ones who rely on primarily one or two major distributors. Regardless of which one describes your practice more, it’s critical you determine the major distributor you buy from the most. Once you’ve accomplished this, you’ll need to print out all the invoices you have of theirs on file from last year. This may sound like an excruciatingly couple of hours, but it’s essential to fully knowing your distributor climate. For example, if your primary distributor is Patterson Dental and you buy supplies from them two times a month, you will need to print 24 invoices (typically 3 - 4 pages long each). Within this example, going through 24 invoices should take you roughly 3 - 5 hours. Doing this will not only help you gain a more complete picture of what you’re paying and if there are any price discrepancies, but it will also provide you knowledge you can leverage in the following steps. Consolidate products to your primary major distributor OR select 2 - 3 distributors that sell online and set up accounts for easy access. After you’ve determined a primary major distributor, you’ll want to begin consolidating your inventory with them. Using the information you’ve gathered from steps 2 and 3 and analyzing your invoices from last year (order volumes, product prices, etc.), you can enter into this dialogue with leverage on your side. If you elect the first option (consolidating to your primary major distributor), start the conversation with your sales rep by stating your situation. “X is the volume we did last year, Y are our expectations for this year, and Z are the prices we’ve found for your products online.” Having done this, then tell them you’d like to consolidate and ask them what prices they can give you. Naturally, this conversation can be a bit uncomfortable, especially if you have a long-standing relationship with your sales rep. This is where, as a dentist, you will need to make a decision on what’s more important to you: saving 15-20% on supplies, or maintaining your current relationship with your rep. Any good sales rep will respect your decision, and the opportunity to earn your business. But don’t stop there. Use the information you have at your disposal to negotiate pricing, particularly on your more common products (heavy body, fluoride, exam gloves, etc.). The second option is a bit more straightforward, but isn’t for all practices. However, if you already know that you will be purchasing products from online vendors, make sure you narrow them down to 2 - 3 and confirm following important details: Product quality and procurement (authorized dealer, no grey market products, etc.) Return policy Shipping speed Customer service capabilities (call center, order reconciliation services, etc.) Where they source products from Payment terms - 30 days If you find an online distributor with significantly cheaper prices but you are unsure about product quality, or more importantly, the credibility and legitimacy of that distributor, don’t order from them. No amount of cost savings is worth risking you and your practice’s reputation. Stop autopay on all your purchases. As soon as you’ve consolidated your inventory or selected 2 - 3 trustworthy online distributors to work with, have your office manager or an assistant contact your current distributors and request that autopay be discontinued with each. Ask for a 30-day net time invoice to be emailed to you. Some may exhibit resistance or pushback, but don’t be deterred. Not only are distributors legally obligated to fulfill these kind of requests, but this step is critical for being able to effectively control your spendings. In the 3,000+ orders we’ve processed, there have been a considerable number in which mistakes and overcharges occurred. This is by no means an indictment on distributors - we’re all human - but, well...we’re all human. Mistakes happen. Instead, use a more reliable, auditable method, like Chase Bill Pay. In the end, not only will this will help mitigate invoice errors and eliminate the hassle of paper order submission, it will save you hundreds of dollars a year. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ By the time you’ve completed each of these steps, your practice will have gained a clearer picture of your inventory, simplified its ordering processes, economized on staff time, obtained better prices, and begun the road toward savings. But most importantly, you will have taken back control of your inventory. Now, just make sure you keep it that way. Since this is what we live by at ZenSupplies, we have to add a sales plug! If any of these tasks sound too difficult or time-consuming, you can give us a call at 872-225-2ZEN!

Published:
February 21, 2017
By:
Tiger
Safarov
2016-10-20 11.43.54
What is the most difficult aspect of implementing inventory system for Dentists?

We are fortunate to have clients that are patient, provide critical feedback and stay by our side while we are building worlds greatest dental software. In only 8 months we grew to 50 active clients and 44 that are in the onboarding stage, so in no time we believe we will cross that significant mark of 100 offices. I can tell you that we have learned a lot and continue to learn every day and through our daily mantra of “Let’s screw things up” we continue to push the envelope. During my sales calls, doctors ask me “Tiger, what is the most difficult aspect of your system?” and unfortunately my only answer is Human Nature. Yes, the software part is easy, we can design pretty buttons, make it all work just like a Cerec machine, but the human part is the most challenging. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that it’s this way, it helps us build a better software, more intuitive, and by no means is this a “The world needs to change” article. This is to simply acknowledge that change is indeed hard! Remember trying to lose weight? Fix a relationship? Or grow your business? We have a lot of startup offices and doctors who are opening new locations, remember first 30-60 days, I bet it wasn’t easy. I bet there were days working late seeing patience, then working on marketing, then looking at the finances, and then writing an ad to hire a new dental assistant. Then eventually all the hard things led into building knowledge, systems, attracting the right people to get to the next level. On a side note, it shouldn’t be easy, these things need to be hard, for a simple reason that you want the life to be on your terms. How does this all relate to ZenSupplies and implementation? Luckily it’s easier than losing weight or looking for a new dental assistant, but it has similarities. Let’s break it down: Decision - just as deciding to open an office or building a startup practice implementing a dental inventory management system has to be a well thought out process. I’ve seen several instances where doctors make a decision to implement, then life takes over with busy schedules in and outside the office. More Importantly if your dental assistant thinks that you don’t need one and it will over complicate things at this point you know, it’s a game over.  A well thought out decision builds reasoning beyond “let’s just try it” and runs deeper in the culture of the office. Leadership - the amount of times I’ve heard doctors’ say “Let’s give it a try and see what my assistant thinks” is staggering. Again luckily for us there are a lot more really hard working, positive, dental assistants and team members in the field of dentistry that are willing to put it all on the line for the success of the practice; however the 5% that’s negative just kills the mode of action. Moreover, I can’t imagine going into battle and the general says “Let’s try this strategy and see if our soldiers will like it”. Just to be clear my problem with this point not the assistants, but the doctors who are putting the “leadership hat” on to someone else.  If you made a decision, stick with it. Which leads me to my last point. Take 100% ownership. Building systems driven practice is a hard task but it will allow you to step out from the day to day routines and build the life you desire. The process of getting there though is usually not an easy one. Let’s take Zen as an example - going through the training, 1 week morning huddles with a team, taking full dental inventory count (only 1 time) and learning to stick to the budget. All these things are hard especially when your team had full freedom. This is where our offices with GREAT leaders shine. They know how to delegate, not to get involved, but when need be to roll up your sleeves and get to work. For example, one office decided to get the entire team together to take full inventory count. Ordered Pizza and for 2 hours worked as a team to accomplish the task. More importantly when things weren't’ done, the doctor and the leader in charge for the practice took the blame and did everything in his power to remain focused on implementation. Now you might think, all this for an inventory system, then why do I even need it. You are correct, for inventory management it is an overkill, however if you look at all the systems that a dental practice needs to have in place, marketing, phone skills, presenting treatment, patient’s first experience to name just a few above mentioned is a must. Let’s finish on a positive note, just remember any hurdle you had in the past and turned into a system (from morning routine, to workout, even eating habits) you now don’t even think about. That’s what all systems should lead to or aspire to, giving you FREEDOM! Turn ON no Excuses mode! Tiger

Published:
April 28, 2017
By:
Tiger
Safarov
Austin_Sign
Howdy Y'all, Let's Get Organized!

It is often said that the best way to learn a new language is immersion. Simply stated, it’s the concept that being present and surrounded by the speakers of that language with active context accelerates the learning process. Even greater than formal, structured education, immersion allows the learner to strip away all of the hypotheticals. The only new words and phrases that are introduced are ones that are people all around are using. This type of focus makes their use of their new skills much more impactful to those they are conversing with. At Zen, we believe in constant learning. One of our core principles is curiosity. After all, it was insatiable curiosity that gave birth to ZenSupplies in the first place.  We wanted to learn more about everything that concerns our ZenFamily. What do our customers love about Zen? What do they need to be changed? What do they to be changed?  From ordering to dental inventory management to reconciliation and payment, how do we improve the experience at every level? These make up a minute sample of the questions that we were dying to answer. That thirst for understanding allows us to stay rooted in our cause and plugged into our network, for their benefit. So much like learning a language, we took the opportunity to immerse our selves with our customers as soon as possible. The greatest number of users were in Texas, we were sitting in Chicago. That made the choice very easy. Despite the challenges of travel and working from the road, we knew we had to go where we were needed. We could have called all of the same clients or set up video conferences. We would have gained some insight. But there is no substitute for being shoulder to shoulder with the assistant, hygienists, and managers that have made Zen part of their daily lives. We found such wonderful works of art and culture all over Austin. From the very moment that we stepped into our first practice of the trip, we received immediate confirmation that we were in the right place! That first practice blew our minds with their organization and strong dental system software that, in some ways, were contrary to how we guide practices to run. This new perspective prompted even more questions. There were more things that we wanted to understand about their workflow. All of this feedback is invaluable to the curious. Had we not been able to physically see, touch, and feel these processes, the impact could not have been nearly as great. The revelations did not stop there. Meeting with over a dozen customers in almost as many cities, we picked up a tremendous amount of knowledge and feedback. We got right to work with this information. Some minor tweaks were implemented right away. Changing the color of a button, or moving a function to a place that is easier for the user were things that we could implement immediately, so we did. The things that will provide a significant impact but also require a significant amount of development were prioritized, planned, and scheduled for implementation. Austin skyline at Night We value all of the feedback from our clients and partners but something is truly extra special about the connections made in this way. Looking at each other eye to eye, and tackling challenges together makes for solutions that are far more applicable to the people actually using them. No changes were made nor features added over this trip that did not come as a direct result of the one on one attention both given to and received by our customers. When looking at the journey through this lens, racing through a blizzard, stopping to work in coffee shops, long hours driving and all of the other obstacles seem so small. Nothing could possibly be as important as doing the right thing for our users. Enjoying some down time with happy members of the Zen Family Apart from the amazing knowledge we were able to gain through visiting our current customers, we had some other great opportunities as well. We were able to provide world class customer support to local clients, identify best fits for ZenSupplies, explore Austin, and even host our fist Zen Meetup! Stay tuned this week for more details and stories from the road!

Published:
January 29, 2019
By:
how to start
Dental Inventory Makeover Webinar

Welcome to our first webinar on Dental Inventory Makeover process. In this 30 minute video we break down the process into 5 major steps: Organizing Physical Space How to Implement Dental Inventory Controls Ordering Process How to Control your Budget How to Negotiate Prices Hope you find it productive and something you can implement right away. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNMlRKkiTlw[/embedyt] Resources mentioned during the webinar: TipOut Bins: Zen Recommended Assembly Are Free Goods really FREE? CheckLists and Budget Tracker

Published:
April 30, 2019
By:
Tiger
Safarov