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“We knew we could no longer build a value proposition around technology that can be procured by anyone,” says Lab Owner Mike Hill. Read about his strategies for engaging clients on a new level.
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In our industry, where the economic barriers to entry are relatively low, it’s all too common to hear stories about employees leaving a lab and then winning that lab’s customers, or worse, other staff members. Of course, from the lab owner’s perspective, the former employee didn’t win the customer or staff member; in his mind, he was stolen!
Like some of you, we too have been burned and it’s happened often enough that we were compelled to change the way we deal with new hires. In California, the Department of Corporations allows companies to pursue financial damages if it’s determined that protected, confidential information has been taken from your business, so we incorporated two documents into our hiring process to legally protect us from employees pursuing our customers and staff once they leave our lab.
Our goal in this process is not to create overly burdensome legal documents but rather to simply obtain a mutual understanding of our company’s...
- September 2014
- April 2014
Lake Forest, CA
Owner: Mike Hill
Many labs call themselves“studios” but Mike Hill, Owner of 6-11 Dental Studio, makes sure his lab lives up to the name. Treating his technicians like artists is his number-one priority in his employee-centric laboratory.
To inspire creativity and productivity, each ceramist’s work area is a spacious 12' by 12' and set up like an individual studio, with divider walls to create a sense of privacy. The L-shaped workstations are twice the size of typical workbenches, giving technicians ample room to spread out, and the 19-ft-tall ceilings add to the roominess.
Technicians are encouraged to play their own music, burn incense or scented candles and really make their workspaces their own. Interruptions are kept to a minimum and, even then, non-technical staff and managers try to wait until there’s an obvious breaking point for the technician. “There’s an unwritten, although clearly articulated, rule that it is very...
- February 2014
- September 2013
Several years ago we received a case that sparked a complete shift in the way our lab is run. A doctor asked us to make two zirconia crowns for a 17-year-old girl. The crowns were to replace teeth #8-9 and the prescription specified that the length of the centrals be 18mm long! We called to clarify the instructions and the doctor confirmed that the patient had a standard bite, nothing was out of proportion and that she wanted teeth that were 18mm long.
Over the course of five phone calls, we presented every possible failure scenario. The doctor insisted: 18mm. In the end, we produced and delivered the crowns as directed. The case never came back and the doctor tells us it went very nicely. We continue to do business together and all is well—except for the fact that somewhere in Southern California there is a woman with tusk-like incisors!
At my former company, one of my salespeople had a saying, "If a client wants us to make our product look like a purple elephant, then our only...
- April 2013
In the latest installment of Barry D. The Lab Guy, Laboratory Owner Mike Hill explains his strategies for protecting the bottom line.
- February 2013
New in LMT: Laboratories often experience the same problems on a daily basis but rather than grumble about them, Mike Hill, President of 6-11 Dental Studio, Inc., decided to take a humorous approach. He started sketching cartoons related to real-world laboratory situations and writing commentary to explain how he handles the problem. Hereâs the first installment of this new LMT Series.