Article

CLINICAL: OPTICAL

REDUCE FRAME INVENTORY

CLINICAL

  OPTICAL

REDUCE FRAME INVENTORY

PART TWO OF A FOUR-PART SERIES ON FRAME BOARD MANAGEMENT

DAVE ZIEGLER, O.D.

LAST MONTH, I discussed how to map out frame displays and allocate spaces for each frame brand. After doing so, you have an inventory strategy that keeps the right number of frames per vendor in stock, and said frames are each company’s top sellers. (See July’s “Optical.”)

But now, you have a new problem: What are you going to do with the inventory that you don’t want anymore? Here are three solutions to this problem:

1 EXCHANGE FRAMES

If you plan to continue using a particular brand, meet with the brand’s rep, and request a one-time frame exchange. Ask to return all the styles that aren’t part of your core selection (the ones we call our Top 10) and to bring in more colors of the frames you want to display.

Some companies will do a one-for-one exchange as a courtesy. But others require a one-for-two, or greater, exchange. The latter temporarily increases your back stock, but at least the frames you have overstocked are styles that have a track record of selling.

In addition, this exchange transaction will tell you a lot about your rep and his or her willingness to work with you. Those who go above and beyond are true partners and deserve your continued loyalty. Many times, frame swaps come from the rep’s bottom line. They show his or her investment in your practice.

2 SELL THEM OFF

If you have a line of frames that you don’t want to continue with, mark it down 50%, and sell it off. All patients want a deal. Some will choose top quality current frames that are deeply discounted. (We even provide our staff with a financial incentive, $20 per marked-down frame, to sell them down quicker.)

You may choose to tag the discounted frames with labels that show their price reduction. Another option is to put the discounted frames in a special sale area. At my practice, we keep these frames on the board without special labeling. We direct patients to these frames when we sense that price is an issue. We believe this approach maintains the value of those frames and makes them more desirable than bringing out a box or tray of clearance frames.

3 COMPANY BUY OUT

Always be in communication with your reps. Occasionally, a new frame company will approach you to buy out a line of frames that you are no longer interested in, in exchange for bringing their line into your practice.

Other times, one of your reps will give you the same offer to bring in one of his or her company’s companion lines of frames that you don’t currently carry. In my experience, this is often a smart choice, as the arrangement gives you exactly what you paid for the frames you no longer want.

“SPRING” CLEANING

These strategies are all tools for cleaning up an inventory mess that likely has been years in the making. However, you only have to do it once to get it right for the future. Implement these steps in your practice to get the right frames on the boards.

Next month, I’ll talk about which are the “right” frames. OM

DR. ZIEGLER is a senior partner at Ziegler & Leffingwell Eyecare in Milwaukee, Wisc., and a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. Email him at daveaziegler@gmail.com, or visit tinyurl.com/OMcomment to comment.