Become a Cash Back and Rebate Superhero; Distributor and Manufacturer Loyalty
Are you shopping for best pricing between distributors before you order? Please, save yourself some quality time and dollars by choosing ONE distributor to pony up with for most of your inventory orders. Our manufacturers and distributors want our loyalty and are willing to pay us for it! Here are a few reasons why I recommend this.
First consider that a large percentage of what you buy for the practice is on fixed pricing - no matter who you buy from you'll pay the same price. A major distributor rep told me that 75-80% of a practice's inventory purchases are fixed price items. Parasite prevention and vaccines are examples of these kinds of items.
So, that leaves us with 20-25% left we can actually negotiate on. Thing is, these remaining items are usually lower dollar items so we're generally talking pennies in the price difference. My experience has always been that if MWI is higher than Henry Schein on item X, Schein will be high on item Z. You are just tripping over dollars to save pennies. Remember, the cost of your labor trying to save can negate savings! Put this to the test ... give your Schein invoices to MWI and see what the dollar differences are and vice versa. Throw in Patterson too. Every time I've done this the difference is just too insignificant to care about. Another benefit of one distributor if you are the bill pay guru is invoice consolidation.
This is important --- > Get to know your chosen distributor rep. They are here for you on so many levels. One I know of will do your annual OSHA safety training for free. They find the right folks to do free training and staff refreshers on important things like your anesthesia monitor. As you build relationships they will speak favorably of your hospital and send good staff your way when you need them. I love the reps that do regional price comparisons. Most just want you to participate in the survey and they will give you the results when they are done. That service alone is so valuable to you ... you'll be privy to pricing on some 50 (more or less depending on what the rep is tracking) common items from practices in your back yard (all done anonymously of course) but you'll have a low, median and high fee to at least benchmark yourself off of. Your reps are an amazing font of regulatory information as well.
Your practice should be part of some buying group - be sure you're using the distributor and manufacturers that your buying group favors. You could be missing out on thousands of dollars in rebates alone, not to mention the special pricing with participating vendors. Your loyalty to the distributor and these vendors translates into dollars saved and returned to you.
***!!Digression Alert!! *** Manufacturer loyalty can give you a massive rebate number. A great example are your vaccines. If you have a combination of Merck, BI, Zoetis and anyone else in your fridge talk to your DVM about moving as many vaccines as you can to one manufacturer. Watch the savings add up. Fast. Same for prevention, but I continue to digress ...
My final mention here to cheer for loyalty is the distributor growth programs. As you grow and purchase more goods, you'll earn rebates based on your quarter over quarter growth. That is free money back to you just for doing business day in and day out. Brilliant!
In our personal lives we hold loyalty cards and buy from favorite stores for many reasons. Translate that action to your practice and become a cash back and rebate hero!