Monday, March 24, 2014

Be a Rock Star Buying Agent

Being a buyer in the medical industry has become more challenging in the last few years. Juggling issues such as reform, competitive bidding, and pressures to reduce costs seem to decrease the odds of your success.  Here are few tips to help you improve and reach rock star status!

Eye for Details
Missing notes makes any rocker sound bad.  Keep an eye on details such as pricing, terms, freight, and the fine print in contact agreements.  Although pricing is always top of mind, paying attention to quality of your buys is critical.  Saving a few pennies isn’t always worth products falling apart, not servicing a patient well, or the complaints that will later roll back to your desk.

Get the best gig. Strong negotiation skills go a long way to securing the best deals.  Remember negotiation includes details beyond pricing. Securing beneficial terms and conditions often go further than a price decrease.  Remember to think about payment terms such as discounts for early payment or including freight on your POs.  These can add up to big wins for the bottom line.

Create Efficient Reports
Have the right sheet music. Setting up systems for reordering, alerts for low items, price discrepancies, and freight changes will make your work day flow like practiced orchestra.  Work with your IT department and administrators to create automated reports that run on demand or generate automatically.  Having the right data at the right time will help you work efficiently and effectively.

Build Relationships
Create your fan base. Setting phone calls with your vendors allows you to stand out from the crowd in the world of email and voicemail tag.  Try using humor and knowing a bit about your vendors’ personal lives and interests.  Asking how Johnny did in his last ballgame or the discussing the latest reality show your vendor can’t live without can lead to bonding moments.  These stronger relationships will drive more successful negotiations and longer term agreements allowing you to work smarter not harder.

Team Player
Don’t always perform the guitar solo.  Find ways to help your co-workers and vendors. Avoid the big ego and my way or the highway approach. Inevitably situations will arise and favors will need to be called upon.  Being able to work together as a team will get fires put out and make solutions a win-win for all parties. 

To stay a relevant rock star one must keep evolving. Invest in continuing education, read trade publications and incorporate some of these tips in your daily processes.  You can be a Rock Star Buyer that keeps climbing the charts!