One of the most effective methods to track inventory is to develop a spreadsheet or database of all the supplies you order. Larger clinics require more extensive planning and might be aided by one of the many applications available to help with inventory management; information about various products is easily available on the internet. Over time, the documented trends can be used to determine utilization rates for all of the supplies and lessen the need for taking inventory manually. Other inventory-control methods use a barcode scanner and computers to track supplies. Depending on your relationship with your supply vendor, such inventory systems can be negotiated free of charge. See Unit 2 for more information about supplies and a master ordering list.
When stocking supplies, remember to always rotate stock so that the oldest stock is used first. Many practices use index cards on the shelves to indicate when supplies reach pre-determined minimum levels to trigger a new order.