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Step 6: Actively manage supplier contracts

Taking it easy after securing a great deal from your suppliers risks the practice losing out, writes Nick Coleman.

You may have successfully negotiated the best deal available, but if it is not managed correctly, you risk failing to make the savings you anticipate.

So get properly organised. Set up a suppliers' contracts folder. Include a section for each category of goods and services you buy for the surgery.

Each section should include:

  • Supplier's contact details.
  • Important emails.
  • Signed agreement confirming the prices.
  • Product codes and prices.
  • Details of ordering and delivery process.
  • If there are problems, details of who to contact higher up in the supplier's management.
  • Other potential suppliers.

When invoices arrive, check them against the agreed pricing and if you spot discrepancies, contact the supplier.

Keep a summary listing the contracts together with their start and end dates.

The practice manager or staff member responsible for ordering supplies should refer to the summary once a month and highlight all contracts due to expire within three months. This way you get a head start on negotiating another deal to prevent sudden increases in price when the contract expires.

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 director of healthcare sector specialist procurement company ProCure Health Ltd

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