Monica Daniel didn't know what a dental laboratory was until she was hired as a bookkeeper at YDL in 2008, but her lack of industry experience has actually given her a leg up.
"My outside perspective has been extremely beneficial to me because I'm able to look at things in the lab with a fresh eye," she says. "I don't want to do things a certain way just because that's how they've always been done; I try to look at things differently and see where we can streamline workflow or gain efficiencies."
For instance, when Daniel was looking to take on more responsibility at the lab, she set out to learn about how cases were fabricated and moved through the lab so she spent some time in each department, including the model room. "I noticed some cases just sitting there not being worked on and it turned out that the client did his own model work, but the cases still spent two days in the department just like all the other cases," she says. As a result, the lab now sends those cases on a fast track to die trimming.
And she doesn't limit her learning to her own laboratory. The lab has sent her to NADL U for management training as well as Vision 21 meetings. "I want to know what's going on in the industry and the meetings give you a quick pulse on every aspect of the industry," she says. "I also love talking with other owners and managers and hearing about their 'real life' experiences—what works and what doesn't."
Today, in addition to her initial accounting responsibilities, Daniel oversees the daily administrative operations of the lab, including customer service, scheduling and shipping; works with Owner Sami Yared, CDT, to develop the laboratory's business plan; and has learned so much about the lab's products that she's the lab's "first line of defense" when it comes to answering client questions on material selection and new products.
"I just fell in love with this industry," says Daniel. "It's changing so quickly, there's always so much to learn and, ultimately, we have such positive impact on patients' lives. We change peoples' smiles; how cool is that?"