Enhancing efficiency in veterinary practices in a digital age
Stuart Cooke, Director and Founder at Swift Referrals discusses how digital transformation can drive better efficiency for veterinary practices.
More and more businesses are embracing cloud and mobile technologies in order to deliver an unrivalled service to clients and enhance efficiency in-house. From streamlining internal teams, to reducing administrative tasks, software solutions offer an array of benefits and are being implemented by many businesses across many sectors.
But how can veterinary practises adapt to an ever-changing environment and embrace the benefits that these digitised solutions offer? Recent research suggests that pet owners are more willing to spend money on their pets than ever before and will continue to do so even if there is an economic downturn. This combined with the current skills shortage in the sector, which saw veterinarians being put on the country's so-called Shortage Occupation List, means the sector needs to be working harder and smarter to meet customer demand.
In light of this, Swift Referrals has put together a complete guide on how professionals in the veterinary and small animal sector can boost productivity by embracing the cloud and more specifically, Software as a Solution (SaaS) technologies.
Reduce the amount of time spent on back-office tasks
Digital systems can streamline back-office tasks, reducing the time needed to be spent on them by automating tedious admin tasks such as timesheets, manual file-sharing or report writing. These inescapable tasks are both time-consuming and an inefficient use of a skilled workforce. Powerful communication and collaboration tools will increase engagement across workers and allow them to spend more time on their core tasks, rather than administrative work. Onerous admin tasks have the potential to take cash away from your company by soaking up precious time and resources which could be better spent elsewhere.
Implementing a cloud-based software that offers solutions such as online booking and keeps all information in one place will allow result in a decreased workload, allowing key personnel to concentrate on more important tasks and functions.
Streamline teams and internal communications
CRM systems make it easier for specialists to work closely together across departments to deliver truly extraordinary levels of care, allowing your veterinary practice to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient under your care.
If you are working within an environment that has a process in place which requires people and projects working together across multiple sites and locations, it's crucial to keep everyone working from the same information source. There are software solutions available which provide helpful tools to enable real-time collaboration and communication, making the opportunity for internal conversations easier and more efficient.
Keep on top of finance and accounting
Adopting and implementing a finance and accounting software solution will allow you to manage cash flow, sales, procurement, credit control and anything else you need to run your finance function more efficiently.
The reporting and analytics features available with most products also mean that complex data can be transformed into real-time reports and dashboards almost instantly, improving efficiency and productivity, allowing you to maximise profitability across your business.
Optimise HR and payroll activities
Providing staff with easy access to the essential information they need, which is all stored in one place, as well as the ability to request and amend records, is a valuable perk that makes a huge difference to productivity.
Whether it is a small, medium or large veterinary business, implementing a people management system will offer fast, reliable and safe solutions. From recording absences, viewing payslips to inputting data; online systems that easily allow employees to carry out these activities are a credit to efficiency amongst the team.
Improve customer relations
By adopting management software that allows for streamlined workflows and improved collaboration, you’ll be able to focus on the needs of your clients and their poorly pets in a more efficient way and provide a first-class service. Implementing a software solution will also give admin staff the ability to pull up information about a customer or client on the phone in real-time, allowing them to offer a personalised experience if relevant or necessary.
Software solutions allow your staff to engage your clients through online booking, automated SMS and emails, client apps, client reminders and client satisfaction measurement tools.
Monitor stock control and reduce waste
Stock management solutions allow workers to control stock levels from one place as well as produce price lists and keep track of inventory - meaning you will never over order, reducing losses, as the medicines and feedingstuffs do not reach their expiration dates.
With stock management, inventory lists are automatically updated based on orders and usage. Accurate recording of the usage ensures stock balances are correct and up-to-date without further work.
Having greater insight into every aspect of your business means you can keep everyone on track, identify where you are least productive and make better-informed business decisions to save money in the long run.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.