QR Codes In Dental Inventory Management: A Complete Guide
You probably have heard of QR codes and used them more times than you can count.
If you’ve been out to dinner recently, you may have been asked to scan a QR code using your smartphone to access the restaurant’s menu or scan in on your Covid app.
These small codes consisting of little black modules that look like a square maze have become part of our daily lives.
You see them all over, from cafes and restaurants to the grocery package you take for scanning to the shop checkout, business cards, and much more. They have popped up everywhere - especially during the pandemic.
QR codes have a plethora of uses, and dental practices are no exception to those that can benefit from utilising them. While these codes may look simple, they’re incredibly powerful and can offer your practice a tech-savvy way to improve cost-efficiency.
Since technology is meant to complement dentistry, we’re going to enlighten you on QR codes and how to use them to streamline and simplify your inventory management.
Although effective inventory control is a serious business, most Australian dental practices do not seem to recognise the importance of implementing sound inventory management practices. This may be because, in most cases, dental practices are too busy working to take care of patients. Or, it’s because business education is often lacking in dental school.
However, your long-term success in the dental industry is as much dependent on your ability to run a successful business as it is to place veneers or implants. That’s why inventory management is critical to the success of any dental practice business.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at QR codes.
This post will shed some light on QR code technology and teach you why QR codes are an enormous asset in dental inventory management. You will learn how to use them to make your inventory processes a breeze to increase operational efficiency, optimise workflows, and boost revenues.
Table of contents:
1. A Short Introduction To QR Code Technology
QR stands for Quick Response.
Put simply, QR codes are encoded pieces of data. They are a two-dimensional version of the barcodes and can store a wide variety of information.
To access this information, you need to scan the code using an app on your smartphone. It’s even easier than visiting a website or clicking a picture.
Unlike standard one-dimensional barcodes, you can read QR codes in two directions - top to bottom and right to left. QR codes can store around 4,000 digits (7,000 characters).
The first QR code system was developed in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave (a Toyota subsidiary). They needed a more effective, simple, and accurate way to track vehicles and vehicle components throughout the manufacturing and assembly processes. As a result, they have invented a type of code that could convey a large number of characters.
Despite being a mid-90s invention, QR codes had started popping out of the snow like daisies in the era of smartphones, when Apple enabled the iPhone camera to scan QR codes without a third-party app.
Modern mobile devices allowed QR codes to gain momentum and become the new darling of conversion-hungry marketers looking to improve their campaigns by incorporating these pixelated, powerful codes into their marketing materials.
The newer versions of smartphones come with an integrated QR code reader. But no worries if your phone does not have a QR code reader built into the camera. There is a wide range of apps you can download from your iOS or Android app store to read QR codes.
At this point, you might be sold on the idea of using QR codes to improve your practice’s workflow, but you’re probably asking yourself, how on earth am I going to use them to streamline inventory management?
Simplifying your dental practice’s inventory processes with these popular square-shaped codes is a lot easier than you think. Let’s see how to make your dental inventory management a walk in the park by getting the most out of the QR code technology.
2. How To Use QR Codes In Dental Inventory Management
A QR code is more versatile and has more capabilities than its revered granddaddy - the one-dimensional, linear barcode able to store very little data.
Nevertheless, most Australian dental practices do not track inventory at all. They use neither the barcode system nor the QR code system to simplify stock processes.
When you’re managing or working in a busy dental practice, a lot of your time and energy is used up on day to day procedures. So when you pick the tools for inventory management (that unbearable, menial, dreadful task that every staff member deeply dislikes), it can be easy to rely on those you are most familiar with.
Pen and paper, large Excel spreadsheets, sticky notes, and whiteboards - All of them are tried and tested tools that most practices use to organise their stockrooms and manage stock and ordering processes.
Sound familiar? Then you’ve done everything the wrong way. Manual inventory management is a hassle, forcing team members to spend valuable time on repetitive tasks. Manual inventory management is also damaging your cash flow, as the costs associated with inventory overstock tie up your capital.
We know that managing inventory can feel secondary to the “real” work of delivering excellent oral health - but all of these operations impact one another. As you perform various procedures, stock levels change, and items are taken from the stockroom, so it’s essential to have visibility over your stock levels.
Of course, inventory management isn’t made out of rainbows and butterflies, but this doesn’t mean you have to put up with that pain. Here is where QR codes come into play.
Integrating QR code technology into your inventory management is a great way to optimise and streamline your stock processes.
QR codes are accessible to smartphones, so there’s no need for your practice to purchase expensive, bulky scanners or specialised equipment. Every staff member can take their mobile phone out of their pocket and access relevant information about the items available in the inventory.
You can easily declutter your stockroom using QR codes. We have seen plenty of messy stockrooms where you couldn’t dig through to find one item. Placing QR codes on the shelves will help you know exactly where to find the items you need in order to save time and improve the workflow.
Managing inventory with QR codes lets your practice see your supplies in detail and access up-to-date information. Furthermore, QR codes can store an enormous amount of data, letting you go beyond a simple product name. That’s why they are great for saving time on manual data entry.
QR codes are fast and easy to use. A quick scan of the QR code is all you need to check items in or out of your inventory system and have full visibility into your stock levels. Overstocking (which is bad for your practice’s bottom line) and understocking (which is bad for your patients’ experience) will no longer be a problem for you.
QR codes aren’t prone to human error. They will save you time and energy as they help you avoid potentially time-consuming and costly errors that typically happen when you’re managing inventory manually.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself lots of questions, such as, “What steps should I follow to implement a QR code dental inventory management system?” or “Do I need to create QR codes myself and attach them to the inventory shelves?”. No! With the right inventory system, your stock processes will be as easy as pie.
So bear with us a little longer.
QR codes are incredibly beneficial if they come with a dental stock management and ordering system able to streamline many redundant, time-consuming, and monotonous inventory processes.
Here is how Invedent - Australia’s very first stock and ordering system specifically tailored for the dental industry - relies on QR codes to simplify dental stock management and help practices improve cost-efficiency:
Invedent provides you with QR code labels to place on the shelves so you can know exactly where items in your stockroom are located. When dental practices implement Invedent, they receive five pages of sticker sheets they can use for 27 generic stock locations.
The system comes with a “stock location” feature that enables you to scan a single sticker to see all the items available on a shelf instead of using individual stickers. This feature is great for small practices that do not have enough storage space to place individual stickers. Therefore, you can easily use the QR code stickers provided by Invedent to set up your stock locations (e.g., steri cupboards, steri draws, etc.).
The QR code system provided by Invedent is great for helping new staff members find out where items are located in the practice (which helps them save a considerable amount of time).
When stock arrives, the system enables you to easily scan the products instead of manually double-checking the invoices.
Invedent can quickly walk you through the stocktake process so you can avoid endless hours of manual counts.
If your practice doesn’t have a device, Invedent can provide you with a phone you can use to scan QR codes and turn it into your digital stock assistant.
With Invedent, you can use QR codes to manage multiple locations and move items from one location to another in order to avoid stock waste and manage your budget the right way.
As you see, with one snapshot on a smartphone, you can use QR codes to have control over your inventory, free up time for other operations, create a stock budget, keep your practice’s cash flow in check, and reduce stress (among a myriad of other benefits).
Conclusion: A QR code dental inventory management system is meant to serve your practice in the best way.
A stock management and ordering system using QR codes helps you keep the stock costs under control and improve the workflow and productivity so you can run a successful and efficient dental practice.
Want to use QR codes to revolutionise your dental practice and stay on top of ordering and inventory processes? If so, use Invedent to control inventory (one of the largest expenses your practice has), have inventory-related information at your fingertips, and free up valuable time. Make a savvy decision for your practice NOW and start your 30-day free trial with Invedent!