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Step 3: Find the right suppliers

Looking at alternative sources, even if your current suppliers seem satisfactory, can help save the practice money, advises Nick Coleman.

Finding suppliers is simple. All you need is the name of the product and access to Google.

However, this is such a risky strategy. Not only will you have no idea who you will be buying from or of the quality of product. You will not know if the supplier has a robust customer services department that can provide support.

The practice needs people who can deliver the right product at the right time and price. Cheap prices but a poor service will cost you time.

And time, as we all know, costs money.

There is no better way of knowing if a supplier is any good than getting a recommendation from one of its existing clients. So encourage your practice manager to share the practice's suppliers list at local practice manager meetings to identify the best-performing suppliers.

You may find that most local practices are using the same suppliers. If so, it is important for your manager to contact practices outside your region, for example, at conferences and educational events.

Even if a current supplier does a fantastic job, always look out for what other suppliers offer. At the very least you will be reassured you are already using the best.

But if you discover the service you are getting is not good, you will have the knowledge to exert leverage and start negotiating on price, order volumes and so on with potential and current suppliers.

Buy wisely plan

STEP 1 Gather information.

STEP 2 Build a successful money-saving strategy.

STEP 3 Know the market and how to find the right suppliers.

STEP 4 Evaluate suppliers to ensure they can meet your expectations.

STEP 5 Negotiate on price.

STEP 6 Put your money-saving strategy to work.

STEP 7 Review the savings made and find out what you can do better in the future.

  • Nick Coleman is a director of healthcare sector procurement specialists ProCure Health Ltd

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