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Step 7: Review the savings the practice made

Make sure expenditure is going down by regularly reviewing your money-saving strategy, says Nick Coleman.

This seven-step guide has explained each of the steps involved in designing and implementing a money-saving strategy for your practice.

The final step is to check that the practice really is generating savings through smarter buying of goods and services needed to run the practice.

After this first full review - carried out, say, six months into putting your new strategy to work - it is wise to undertake full reviews at regular intervals (as well as keeping an eye on suppliers' contracts on a monthly basis).

To do a thorough review, you need to allocate sufficient time for it. Reviewing deals already agreed may not be high on your 'to do' list, but will help you build stronger relationships with your suppliers.

Your review should include supplier visits to the practice.

Set up twice-yearly (or even quarterly) meetings with each supplier and ask their representative to bring along:

  • Total spend figures for your account to date broken down by week.
  • An issue resolution log highlighting any problems that have arisen and how they were solved.
  • Ideas for how to save the practice money.
  • Details about new products/service innovations.

This meeting should not take more than 45 minutes, but try to spend the first 15 minutes or so asking about the supplier's business and what is happening in their industry.

For example, is the supplier working with local practices? Has it won or lost business recently?

Allocate the rest of the meeting to what you and the supplier can both do to save money for the practice.

For instance, the supplier might suggest that if you ordered less frequently and accept deliveries on set days of the week or month, this would significantly reduce what the practice is charged.

If this fits in with your operational needs it is worth a 45-minute meeting.

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

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