Dental Assistant

How to Manage Supply Inventory after Dental Assistant College

December 09, 2019

dental assistant school

As a dental assistant you will be trained to educate patients and families on dental health, take and develop x-rays, and provide chair support to the dentist along with many more tasks that keep a dental office productive and successful. One of your other important tasks might be ordering dental and office supplies, and managing inventory.

There are so many items needed to make sure everyone in a dental office can do their work without interruption. From pens and printer paper to gloves and other lab supplies there is a lot to keep track of. This is a job that requires attention to detail and a high level of organizational skills. Here are a few tips that should help keep you and your co-workers stocked up.

Remember FIFO

FIFO is a term from accounting used to report the value of inventory and means “first in first out.” For office and dental supplies this is how you will make sure the oldest supplies are used first and that you use things before their expiry dates. Following this principle also means that you will automatically be keeping track of inventory, how long it takes to use supplies, and when to order new inventory.

FIFO is a simple but important principle to follow when it comes to inventory
FIFO is a simple but important principle to follow when it comes to inventory

The FIFO guideline will also affect how you organize your supply closets. When you re-stock any item, you will shelve it behind the older items to make sure the newer items aren’t used first. Pens can get old, paper yellows, but FIFO and regular inventory checks will stop unnecessary waste from occurring.

Price Watch and Buy in Bulk

The same way affordability may be a concern when you are looking for a dental assistant college, you will want to keep costs down for supplies in a dental office. If you are able to purchase large quantities of items at a reduced cost, do so. Reducing the frequency of supply orders as much as possible is an extra benefit of this strategy.

To buy in bulk effectively you will have to monitor use of supplies to make sure the bulk purchase is worth it. Additionally, for items that do not have special bulk prices, it is advisable to watch out for any sudden price hikes or sudden increases of supply use. These things will change your budget. Effective spending or a well calculated budget will make sure important work is done on schedule.

After You Finish Dental Assistant School: Organize and Simplify

Keep your inventory organized. One way to do this is to keep the most frequently used items around eye-level. Of course, this may vary from employee to employee, but as a general rule you want to store infrequently used items high if they’re light and low if they’re heavy. Overall it is helpful to have a diagram of the supply closet showing where everything is and how much is left.

Checklists and calendars will make sure you never miss out on supplies
Checklists and calendars will make sure you never miss out on supplies

When you organize an inventory list with a supply-log and track how much of an item or product is used over time you can then pre-set order dates. This will simplify your ordering process and make sure you do not run out of supplies before new stock arrives.  Unlike an exam during your intra oral dental assistant training, you will not have to rely on your memory when you do this. Also, if you’re out of the office, then your organized and simple inventory plan will allow someone else to make sure there are supplies when you return.

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