The conventional dental procurement process involves the recognition and specification of need, determination of suppliers and the associated price and terms, placement of the order, delivery of supplies, inspection, invoice approval, and payment followed by record maintenance. The process is manual, cumbersome and time-consuming, with a lack of technology for ensuring efficiency and economies of scale as consolidation takes place.
While the procurement process, which is often based on manual entry and approvals, forms, paper catalogs, numerous online portals, invoices, purchase orders, and snail mail, has grown in complexity, systems have not adapted to keep up. In fact, manual data entry is the chief complaint of both the practices and suppliers with some still using email, phone calls, and even fax machines to place orders.
This lack of efficiency in the procurement process, coupled with a high rate of human error, is costing DSOs and their dental practices across the U.S. countless hours and dollars. Both suppliers and dental organizations have been challenged in solving this problem in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Recognizing the need for a remedy to this problem, a new company has launched, CureMint, founded by Brandon McCarty (CEO). CureMint automates the dental procurement process and has developed the first and only all-in-one marketplace and spend management software designed specifically for the unique needs of the dental industry.
CureMint’s team conducted a series of audits of various-sized dental support organizations, visiting the headquarters as well as the individual practices of these DSOs, to understand all aspects of the supply chain and to hear from all stakeholders involved. What they discovered during this audit will not come as a surprise to many, and the results are evidence of a widespread problem which validates the need for a solution.
For a 20-practice organization spending over 700 hours a month on their supply chain, CureMint analyzed the procurement implementation, automation, and optimization of processes with technology and predicted that using the CureMint software could reduce the amount of time the organization spends on the supply chain by 76 percent. Larger DSOs are not much better in regards to scaling, and the number seems to grow linear with the number of offices.
Facilitating a streamlined e-procurement process using cloud-based technology, the CureMint system is easy-to-use, curbs rogue spending, and delivers increased operational efficiency. It provides dental offices with their own organizational Amazon-style marketplace, simplifying the overall procurement process to save time, and offers an approval/review system to curb spending, as well as, an opportunity to save money by ensuring the customers formulary is being fully utilized. CureMint also ensures that despite employee turnover, the supply chain process remains consistent going forward.
“CureMint balances the necessary freedom of the dental office with the controls desired for an effective centralized procurement process that results in more time for quality patient care.” – Brandon McCarty, Co-Founder & CEO, CureMint
Since it requires zero training, the lead dental assistant will want to use it, and the key leaders will be able to digest data in a meaningful way because of DSO-specific reporting mechanisms. They have stripped away the features that come with legacy systems that DSOs don’t need.
Any assistant or any team member at a dental office can use CureMint to conveniently place orders and purchase the necessary supplies without going to multiple supplier websites, phone calls, or sending a fax. Following the delivery of the supplies, confirmation of the shipped packages can be done through sending snapshots. CureMint’s integrations with the dental organization’s financial system allow the invoice data and the confirmation of the packing slips to be imported automatically, while still following all business and accounting requirements.
Dental team members can purchase all supplies from one platform online instead of via phone and to multiple suppliers. They also no longer have to email and fax packing slips back to the DSO’s HQ. Regional managers can approve orders on the move, and can actually limit the need to review orders because the office has more transparency into budget expectations. Procurement managers do not need to ask for reports and data, they are empowered to analyze themselves. AP does not need to manually input invoice data into their financial system, the system already does that.
Their platform is so simple that office staff can use it within seconds, with zero training, but robust enough to be an enterprise solution for the largest HQ offices. They have built features that are of value to DSOs, and removed the ones that are not, thereby creating the ultimate user experience while being able to provide an affordable platform for all sized DSOs.
Human error always exists when there are humans involved, but CureMint decreases the probability of errors and it is much easier to standardize processes. If there are human errors, errors are easily identifiable so that source or reason can be reviewed and corrected.
The DSO or dental group practice can set up who they want to make the approval, or they could turn off that function completely. Eventually, they plan to build the capability to set rules so that all orders are approved unless they violate a rule.
Currently, Los Angeles-based CureMint is focused on onboarding its initial customer base while further optimizing the application from their feedback. Their long-term goals are to continue building their overall integration ecosystem as customer demand increases.
Recognized by CIOReview magazine as one of the 20 most promising procurement solution providers for 2018, their platform can be used on all mobile devices, and the company plans to build an actual app in 2019.
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