Optometry Consulting

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iProfit Margin Minutes - Consulting tips

Acquiring and Transitioning New Locations: Frames

Dealing with a transition of inventory can be difficult.  While price and shrink are typically on the radar, there are several factors which are often overlooked.

During a transition of frame inventory, offices must be careful to maintain a cohesive inventory which covers every need.  While there may be hundreds of frames between the old frames being sold off and the new frames being added to the mix, niches can be lost in the mix.  Care must be taken to make sure there are a variety of bridge designs, materials, price points, and styles.  I recommend a multi phase integration of the new static inventory.  In the first phase, introduce a partial offering of the new inventory which covers each of these bases as static inventory.  Then create a markdown area of the old product.  Covering all of the basis in this area will increase patient retention.  Later a full integration of the new product can take place as the older product "sells through".

If the transition is a rocky one, you risk not only losing revenue, but employee and customer morale.  In the transition, the first impression you make on the new employees will likely be through the products that you ship to them.  This will set the tone in their minds for how concerned the new company is with quality and service.  If the new company signals to the employees that they do not have an emphasis on quality and service, these employees may also lose their focus and morale.

Whatever phases and methods are employed, it is important that the new ownership signals to the staff and customers a level of organization and quality.  This will set the tone of the new company brand.

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EHR Programming:

This is one of my "Four P's of Inventory Profit"  Your software needs to be programmed with profit in mind.

The person programming the EHR needs the aid of a very informed biller who knows the plans in your area.  The software must be prepped after installation for your particular office.  I have observed offices omitting a $20 code on every claim of a certain type of transaction simply because the EHR was not properly prepped for the insurance plans in that area.  The manufacturers of these programs ship them in a generic mode, but they require some customization for each office.

The software needs to be ready for your plans, the procedures that you perform, and the products that you sell.  Walk through each type of patient interaction in your software and be sure that it can easily be performed by staff.

Functions that cannot easily be performed by staff, may be performed for a while, and then slowly forgotten.  The system should also be set up in a way that it is easiest to do the best thing for the office.  If proper coding or proper sales prices take timely system overrides or editing of fee slips, these functions may not get performed on busy days.  Make sure the system highlights and inventories products that are profitable for you to sell.  This ties in with one of our other P's of profitability which is positioning.

Just as you would Position product on the board space so that your best product is recognized and sold first, also be sure that it is an easy sell within your EHR.

Mark Clark ABOC


Motivating Employees

I have read a number of articles about "dealing with employees", and I always feel like they never get to the root of the problem.  If you do not get to the core issue, then you are just putting a bandage on it.  When you do this, you will surely have to deal with the exact same issue over and over again.

Every employee has a motivator button.  Personally mine is advancement.  I will do anything at any price with the hope of advancement.  Show me that advancement is possible, and I will show you amazing things.  But not everyone wants to advance.   

Some are simply employed for a little extra fun money.   This person may possess no desire for advancement.  This person enjoys spiffs, gifts and bonuses.  Their job exists as a little life bonus.  Their job often just helps them spend time, and only adds to another revenue stream in their life from another source such as a spouses career or a pension.  Once their job is not perceived as an added bonus, their motivation is lost.  It is important to restore the enjoyable work atmosphere for this person, and locate what destroyed it.  Many times, something as simple as a poor frame inventory can kill their motivation or cancelling the Holiday party.

We also have to consider that some may have multiple motivations for performance.  Each day, I feel like I need to reach a certain level of accomplishment as well.  Even from a teen when I was washing cars for a dealership, I needed to count the number of cars I detailed each day as a matter of accomplishment.  In construction, I needed to stand back at the end of the day and view my work.  Realize that it is perfectly normal for someone to not have the same motivators as you.

Accolades give some people what they need to perform.  They desire recognition as a part of their chemistry.  They may need this recognition as much as I need hope of advancement or accomplishment.  

The most obvious motivator is provision.  As simple as this seems, it is not always as simple as it may appear.  Life changes affecting their level of need for provision may at times affect the performance of this individual.  Benefit packages may also be a part of the equation for this person.  And while you may not be able to afford an immediate raise for this person, a bonus or commission structure may reap dividends for you both.

The key is to find what motivates them.  Find out what killed their motivation.  This is not going to just happen in a staff meeting or a policy change.