For some, inventory may not be the most exciting topic to discuss, but for veterinary practices, it’s a necessary one. Rotating product to avoid expiration dates, ordering new products at the right time and in the right quantity, and monitoring theft and loss are all part of the job. Since inventory is a practice’s largest expense next to labor costs and often the most common area where veterinary practices can lose money, maintaining accurate inventory is crucial for any practice.

In the past, inventory had always been completed manually. It involved counting, re-counting, itemization and reconciliation. Whether it was one person or a team charged with conducting inventory, it often resulted in a misuse of resources and an increase in mistakes due to human error.

With an inventory management system integrated into your software, however, the entire process becomes automated. The system calculates when items are sold, automatically orders new items, and reconciles the totals. It even develops purchase orders and invoices. Every step is seamless, resulting in diminished mistakes and a more efficient process.

The Balancing Act of Inventory Management

For anyone who has ever been involved with inventory, you know it’s a delicate balancing act. The goal, albeit a tough one to satisfy, is to have just enough product to sustain you through your next ordering date—no more, and definitely no less.

When you find yourself with an excess of product, your cash is tied up. Cash is sitting on your shelves rather than in your bank account, available for other business costs or investments. It also ties up space needed for storage, considered “non-revenue” generating space. As such, you may ask yourself—if that space wasn’t required for shelves and stacked boxes, could it be used to generate additional revenue, such as another patient exam room?

In contrast, when you have too little product, you run the risk of exhausting your supply before the next delivery. This could have a number of serious consequences, including not having the necessary medication to treat a patient, inconvenienced clients who came in to purchase a product that is not there, and loss of revenue when the same clients go to other locations to purchase those products.

To strike the right balance, you need an accurate forecast as to what products are needed and when. And that can only happen with the right inventory management solution.

Choosing a Technology

Our partners at Patterson understand the challenges of inventory management and have a program called eShelf to help solve them. With the goals of saving time and reducing errors, eShelf now integrates directly with your NaVetor veterinary software, providing a more strategic approach to inventory management.

With the eShelf integration, NaVetor is essentially connected to the Patterson inventory system, so inventory management steps can be eliminated and inventory fields can be automatically filled. Within NaVetor, you can:

  • Search for specific products within the Patterson electronic catalog
  • Add those products to purchase orders within NaVetor
  • Place orders directly with Patterson, right from NaVetor
  • Receive orders and update the inventory in NaVetor

Benefits of an Integrated Inventory Management Systems

  • Reduced Time. An integrated inventory management system like NaVetor and eShelf reduces the time you spend looking for and counting products, reconciling your numbers, and re-ordering. All of these tasks take your time, which ultimately costs you money. Now, they will be done automatically, with far less risk for errors.
  • Increased Protection. Issues such as out-of-stock, product expiration, and staff or client theft are crucial to understanding your inventory needs. An integrated system provides a layer of protection by continuously and automatically updating your amounts.
  • Accurate Reporting. Specific sales information can be obtained with the click of your mouse. Know which products are selling, when they are selling, and who is selling them to better understand your pricing, profitability, and opportunity.
  • Automation. From purchase orders to receiving products to reconciliation each month, the system will automatically guide you. It will send you an alert when a product reaches its pre-set reorder point and recommend the quantity to be ordered based on past performance. The entire process is seamless, so you can focus more on your patients and less on counting products.

If you’re currently using NaVetor and would like more information on the eShelf integration, feel free to contact support, at, 833-NaVetor, or via the support chat link within NaVetor.

If you’d like to explore whether NaVetor is right for your practice or request a demo, contact our sales team at 877-422-8838 or