When Tauranga Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (TOMS) went looking for inventory management software for their clinic, they didn’t expect to find the perfect solution on their doorstep.
“We were amazed to find a company in Tauranga that was able to provide us with everything we needed and more,” says Dr John Bridgman, who founded TOMS in 2004 with Dr David Chrisp.
That company was Tidy International. Tidy provides cloud software solutions to companies all over the world from its headquarters in Tauranga to manage inventory, streamline processes and improve efficiency.
Stickers and spreadsheets
Since 2004, TOMS has grown to become a three-surgeon clinic supported by three reception staff, twelve registered nurses, and one practice manager/accountant. TOMS provides specialist oral surgical services that include removing impacted wisdom teeth and dental implant surgery.
Dental implants are small and difficult to keep track of with many different variations, sizes, and materials. Before working with Tidy, one of the nurses used drawers, stickers, folders, and several different Excel spreadsheets to monitor implant inventory.
Updating the spreadsheets was a manual task that involved eyeballing the number of implants in each drawer to work out how many implants the surgeons were using, what stock was low, and what needed to be ordered.
“We split our implant stock between two different surgeries in the same building,” says Bridgman. “In the past, when one surgery ran out, we could get the implant we needed from the other surgery, but it made it much harder to work out what our actual stock level was. Also, with the old system, we had a few hiccups where we found implants had expired because they had become non-sterile, or we ran out of stock of a particular implant we needed for a procedure and had to use something else instead. So, I figured it was time to turn to technology to help us out.”
TOMS trialled other apps and systems to keep track of their implants before turning to TidyStock, one of Tidy’s flagship cloud software applications.
“Implants are a critical part of our business so we have to make sure we have stock on hand when we need it,” says Bridgman. “The system that Tidy designed for us is simple to use, it’s cost effective, and everyone sees the benefit of it. Not only does it save our staff time, it’s also much more accurate.”
Tidy employs bioengineers who understand clinics and medical technology. They spent time on site to understand TOMS’ specific challenges and get a clear understanding of their existing processes. Tidy then came up with a solution to streamline the implant inventory management process.
This solution leveraged the existing functionality of TidyStock software to make it easy for TOMS to do stock reconciliation, stocktaking, and ordering new implants. All the dental implant codes and expiry information is now stored in one place.
The system is integrated with Xero which makes it much simpler now for the surgeons at TOMS to keep account of the implants used. Suppliers can also send their invoices directly to TOMS using Xero. TOMS’ accountant, who often works remotely, no longer needs to sort through paper invoices, shipping notes and hand-written backorders. The new system has streamlined the communication process with suppliers as well as simplifying the inventory management process.
Previously, one of the nurses was responsible for the implant inventory taking up a considerable amount of her time. Prior to implementing TidyStock, the siloing of the information meant other members of the TOMS team were out of the loop when it came to the implant inventory. Now, all of the nurses can use Tidy to update the inventory and place orders without manually checking the stock of the implants in the drawers.
Tidy keeps track of what was ordered last time and how quickly the stock is being used up so it removes the guesswork from inventory management. Preset reorder levels mean the clinic never runs out of implants.
“Things usually get worse before they get better when you start working with new technology, but TidyStock was remarkably easy to integrate into the practice,” says Bridgman.
Sarah Bell, a registered nurse at the clinic, was the project manager who first recommended Tidy to Bridgman and she’s been impressed at how quickly the team embraced the new technology.
“The comments from our team who use Tidy every day are a very simple and obvious measure of success,” says Bell. “They tell us all the time: ‘This is much better than the way we did things before.’ It has changed how we do our inventory management.”
Tidy worked closely with the TOMS team to come up with solutions to scan the implant barcodes and track patients’ medical histories.
“I liked the fact that the software was flexible to our specific needs,” says Bridgman. “There were a few bugs that needed to be smoothed out, but we’ve been very impressed with Tidy and the work they’ve done. We no longer use any other spreadsheets and it has improved our efficiency significantly. Now we know what stock we have in the practice and what we need to order, we’re also looking to use it to refine how we manage our stock and integrate it with the rest of the practice.”
TOMS plans to manage all of their ordering through TidyStock. Currently, they use it mainly for the 200 or so different implants ordered through one company but the masks, drugs, IV equipment and other essentials used in the clinic are not on Tidy yet. That’s the next step.
TOMS is also working with Tidy on a new cloud-based practice management system that will integrate with TidyStock.
“The aim is to have everything in one place so we won’t have to use multiple programs like we currently do,” says Bridgman. “We will be able to easily access all the patient details and interactions with the clinic including the consultation process, the surgical process, an inventory of all the implants and other materials used in their surgery and any post operation details. Tidy will be at the heart of our practice.”