Practice Management

Optical dispensary inventory management best practices

Poor inventory management can lead to all sorts of problems, like running out of popular items, having too much inventory that takes up space long after it's worn out its welcome, and causing cash flow problems
Published 2.22.2023

Your frame inventory represents a significant investment, moreover, it directly impacts your ability to meet the needs of your patients and compete in the market. Building and managing a successful frame inventory requires careful planning and consideration of various factors, including the latest fashion trends, brand reputation, pricing strategies, and patient preferences. In this article, we will focus primarily on the inventory management side of things.

In the future, we will revisit some of the key considerations for creating and managing an effective frame inventory in your optical dispensary. Subscribe to Spyglass for more!

Helpful Tools and Software

As with any software or tool, they will not do anything on their own, you've gotta make them work for you. You can (and should!) use inventory management software to keep track of your inventory levels and sales data.

For example:

  • EdgePro by GPN
  • framesdata
  • frameturn (from our friends at Spexy!)
  • ABB Analyze

The above software among others can help set you up for success with this, but keep in mind that your EHR (Officemate, CrystalPM, Revolution, etc.) likely has a strong inventory management component, you just have to learn how to use it effectively.

Whichever analytical tools you choose, you can aim to avoid empty frame boards and overstocking and make sure your inventory is always in the sweet spot.

Use barcodes and scanners to help you track your inventory accurately and efficiently, spend less time managing inventory and more time doing the things that matter most, like providing excellent patient care and customer service!

Use the above software to analyze your sales data so you can identify which products are selling like hotcakes and which ones are cold. This way, you can make informed decisions about purchasing and restocking, and avoid any duds that might be dragging you down. Along these same lines, you can use your past results to forecast demand so your inventory isn't too low during your busy season or too high when demand is low.

Partnership and People

Partner with your key vendors on inventory programs to make sure you're not overburdening yourself. If you've already decided that a collection is right for your patients and have seen some success with it, it's a great idea to partner with those vendors that you trust are invested in your success.

Smaller more independent oriented frame manufacturers (think Clearvision, Kenmark, Eyenavision, Modern Optical, Visual Eyes Eyewear, Denon Eyewear) are typically more invested in the success of their collection in your practice than the bigger companies who literally own thousands of stores, online retailers, and have their product in thousands of locations and have no real incentive to help you succeed.

Don't forget to have some fun with your product mix! Offering a variety of products, including some niche items, can keep things interesting and appeal to your unique customer base. At the same time, don’t overdo it; nobody should be able to tell your buyer’s favorite color just by seeing your frame options.

Process Stuff

This one is simple to actually do, but takes a fair amount of planning and a whole lot of consistency over time to do effectively. It’s also one of the most important: conducting regular inventory audits allows you to verify all the management work you’ve been doing and make sure you’re actually eliminating as much lost inventory as possible, while also identifying areas for improvement and making sure your inventory is as accurate and up to date as possible.

Plus, it can be a fun excuse to get up close and personal with your eyewear collection.

If your goal is keep your customers happy and stylish while running a profitable business, these tips should help you get there! If your goal is to have a more complete understanding of your inventory every day, this article should help with that too. If your goal is to be a more successful private pay practice than ever before, subscribe to Spyglass and read on!

Steve Alexander
Steve Alexander, Head of Growth
Steve Alexander has been in the eye care industry for over 20 years and has worn many hats including optician, ophthalmic tech, lab tech, practice manager, regional manager, operations consultant, CE certified speaker and other in both private and corporate eye care settings. Over the last 8 years, he has been consulting with practices to find ways to better understand their patients, the ecosystems in which they work, and how to create a practice of which they can be proud. For the last two years, Steve has been Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Anagram, an industry leading tech platform driving change in Eye care with the explicit focus of increasing price transparency, private pay business, and improving the lives of patients and the people who serve them.

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