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Veterinarian Technician November 2008 (Vol 29, No 11)

Management Matters — When the Staff Wants New Toys

by Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

    As a veterinary professional, you pride yourself on keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, tools and technology. You often come across new equipment, medical supplies or technologic "toys" you want to recommend to your practice owner or manager, but there are basic considerations you should explore before knocking on the office door, shouting, "I want!"

    Consider Your Motivation

    A new gadget may be appealing for many reasons. It may make your job easier, which is not necessarily being selfish. It could help the patients and enhance the quality of medical care being provided. Perhaps it could be used as a marketing tool or promotion to attract clients to the practice instead of the clinic down the street. If they know your clinic has the latest technology, clients may be more apt to trust the veterinarian's judgment and consider his or her recommendations.

    The best reason for suggesting a new piece of equipment relates to the profitability of the practice. If a purchase makes your job easier, you are likely to spend less time and energy on a task, thereby better using payroll minutes. It has been demonstrated in this profession that better standards of care can enhance the bottom line. Certainly, attracting new clients or increasing the clinic's reputation with current clients will serve the bottom line as well. Your owner or manager may want to hear why you want this new toy, but more important, why the practice should want it too.

    Do Your Homework

    You want to demonstrate that this idea isn't a passing whim but instead has been carefully explored before approaching the leadership team. Collect information from vendors, such as marketing materials, pamphlets, brochures and documented research statistics. Go beyond the vendor — which stands to profit from your purchase — and see if you can find some unbiased medical documentation for the product or technology. Keep in mind that doctors and managers want the facts.

    Hidden Costs

    In your research, you will come across the unit price — advertised in bold numbers — and you may even be able to compare prices among vendors.

    Do not stop there, however. Consider the hidden costs of the product, including installation and setup, supplies for maintenance, routine operation and quality control, as well as maintenance or service agreements.

    Other factors may not be as easy to put into dollar figures but can be included in your proposal. Such items as property taxes, insurance and the costs of marketing the new equipment to clientele and training current staff to bring them up to speed should be included.

    Also investigate the internal intangible benefits that are just as important to the bottom line. Providing a more attractive place to work when recruiting associates and staff who want to use the most up-to-date tools or recognizing the sheer excitement that the presence of these new toys brings to the current staff on the floor are examples. Present a "pros vs. cons" discussion to your owner or manager, and he or she might appreciate the fact that you are considering all angles.

    At first glance, this entire process may seem like a lot of work, but it all depends on your perspective — how badly do you want this new toy?

    For a minor purchase, you may not have to address all the issues discussed, but showing that you have compared prices, considered the technology and collected data will clearly demonstrate a commitment to the idea. On a major purchase, the leadership team may want to work through these steps on their own, if you can convince them to give it a second look.

    Pitching this proposal can help turn your "I Want!" request into "We need!"

    NEXT: Management of Cardiopulmonary Arrest


    Did you know... According to Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone, studies have found that clients stay committed to a business when they receive a minimum of 24 messages a year. Read More

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