Although Friendship Dental Laboratories, Inc.'s first case was fabricated in 1973, it wasn't until 2006 that it implemented the efficient, computerized tracking system by Labtrac. This October, it logged in its half-millionth case!
Wagner Rotary Instruments introduced the following products at the show:
W1 handpiece is an ergonomic, lightweight, brushless, quiet and durable handpiece with vibration-free operation; precision foot control; and a soft-touch, easy-to-clean control pad. Made in Europe, it’s ideal when contouring all ceramics, operates at speeds up to 40,000RPM and comes with a two-year warranty with loaner program. RedBerry, BlueBerry and GoldenBerry rotary instruments are included.
The GS Green State Contour™ Finishing System now includes four new shapes for contouring green-state zirconia in addition to the original two-step gray with white tipped shape. Also included with the new expanded kit are flat-edged silicone wheels; silicone points; and six uniquely shaped, fine-grit HP diamonds for adjusting anatomy.
For more information, call 888-223-2231 or 201-541-9700 or visit www.wagnerrotary.com.
Wagner Rotary showcased several new lines of instruments at LMT LAB DAY. Cerulean™ Blue handpiece carbides feature a super nitride coating made of TiAIN (Titanium Alumina Nitride). Their nanocomposite structure offers increased hardness, durability and extremely smooth cutting and is ISO 513 certified. The shanks are constructed from high-quality, hardened steel known as X46CrS13.
Also on display were the new Cirrus™ diamond-infused instruments. Highly flexible and available in 26-mm knife edge, they provide gentle contouring or polishing ideal for all-ceramic restorations and PFMs with metal collars.
For additional information, please call 888-223-2231 or 201-541-9700 or visit www.WagnerRotary.com.
LMT contributing writer Mark Murphy offers advice for lab owners who need a boost in a difficult economic climate.
Marketing maven Walter Orellana has gone back to basics; in today's changing landscape, he believes face-to-face sales and personal relationships are the real keys to success.
That's proven true at Excel Dental Studios where he was hired last year to help rebrand the laboratory, broaden its target market and grow the business. And grow it he did: the laboratory has gone from 12 to 35 employees in the last year alone.
Orellana's easy-going personality and knack for networking make him right at home exhibiting at trade shows, visiting dental offices and socializing with dentists in a variety of settings. "Social media has its place but, especially in this economy, people want to shake your hand, look you in the eye and have you tell them everything's going to be ok," he says. "You need the personal attachment you can't get through a computer screen."
A key to building these important relationships, says Orellana, is avoiding the number-one mistake marketers make: overselling yourself....
A few months ago, my son turned me on to two television reality shows that I feel have merit for anyone who runs a small business or aspires to: The Profit, on CNBC, showcasing the multi-talented Marcus Lemonis, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Camping World; and Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares, starring restaurateur, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Unfortunately, Ramsay retired this series at the end of 2014. Fortunately, there are 123 episodes you can watch on YouTube.
Say what you will about reality TV; these shows are like business school by proxy.
Without knowing any particular market, Lemonis attempts to save failing businesses—from beauty shops to sporting goods—assessing, reinventing and turning them around. For Lemonis, whose mantra is “people, product, process,” the buck stops with integrity. If the business owner(s) he comes to help is not completely transparent with him regarding the status of his business—financial and otherwise—he walks away—but...
Competing on price is not, of course, an unfamiliar reality—production/high volume laboratories have been the perceived competitors of small laboratories for decades. But now, with digital technology available to all size laboratories, the competitive arena enables some laboratories to make a comfortable profit via sheer volume and that is one of the causes of industry-wide price erosion.
As you see from our cover story, The Race to the Bottom is the takeaway mantra of respondents to LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey and it isn’t pretty. Because of price competition—fueled largely by full contour zirconia, which has turned into a commodity of sorts—C&B fees have been mostly stagnant. Many laboratories are churning out more units yet raking in lower profits. Not good.
So what are we going to do to turn things around?
There are no black-and-white solutions but high on the list are:
Focusing on/enhancing your customer service
Increasing your knowledge base
Just about every online news story enables readers to add comments at the end of the coverage. It's really wonderful to have this means of voicing our opinions and reactions to things that go on around us. It enhances our desire to belong, feel connected and—most importantly—help one another. This is a new kind of journalism; one that is interactive.
To a degree, responses often mimic the type of news reported, in terms of substance and energy. When a topic is upbeat, intriguing, beguiling, etc., the posts are likely to match in spirit.
For example, comments posted to a recent article in response to how the space station offers clues about dark matter in the universe build upon the article's information by offering additional tidbits, asking questions, stimulating thought, sharing knowledge and insight, and fully engaging one another in relevant, meaningful dialogue.
On the other hand, there are many more news reports that stimulate anxiety and fear. The posts attached to...
LMT's February 2013 issue features our 2013 Dentist Survey conducted with Dental Economics. Our dentist-respondents speak out on...
...Why They Switch Labs
• Quality wasn't consistent.
• Cases returned with open margins.
• Crowns had high occlusion and open contacts.
• Inconvenient to work with due to the distance from my practice.
• I have switched from PFM crowns to PFZ or full zirconia crowns. My previous lab was not yet offering this service. Meanwhile, I was noticing that I was taking too much time to adjust my PFM crowns and was becoming increasingly frustrated. At the same time, the zirconia crowns from lab #2 were seating in a much shorter period of time and the esthetics were gorgeous. When I took into consideration the lower-priced lab fees for a zirconia-based crown, the decision to switch labs was a "no-brainer. "
• They hired new technicians and the work was not of the same quality.
• Technician/case manager left, leading to poor communication...
More and more businesses are adopting content marketing strategies since social media has made it easier than ever to share content. In its June/July issue, LMT looked at the benefits of content marketing and profiled six laboratories that have implemented it into their marketing efforts. Read it first here.
Below, Derek Van Volkom, VP of Account Services, Lanmark360—a marketing agency specializing in dentistry and healthcare—shares some additional tips he feels every lab owner should keep in mind as they focus on content marketing:
Pictures are powerful. Videos and photos are gaining the most traction on social media. If you feel like video is too cumbersome, remember photos are super easy and can be uploaded to any medium you’re using (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). If you have a great looking case that looks amazing, snap it, upload it and see how many “likes” it gets. It could be something the doctor hasn’t seen before.
Don’t forget LinkedIn....
A humorous look at the dental laboratory profession. By Bill Mrazek, CDT.
West Michigan Lab Association Raises $1,000 for Dental Clinic
Over 40% of lab owners plan to retire within the next decade. With retirement on the horizon for so many, selling a laboratory is going to become an increasingly competitive situation. In this buyer’s market, operating a well-run, profitable lab, maximizing its value and standing out from your peers is going to be essential if your exit strategy is to sell your laboratory. Here are some key features buyers are looking at when considering a laboratory acquisition:
* Solid client base. Statistically, even if all goes smoothly, a buyer can lose 10 to 20% of your accounts so he’s going to be looking carefully at your customers: the strength of your relationships, amount of turnover, their location, overlap between your two markets, proximity to retirement age, etc.
And remember the 80/20 rule: generally 80% of a lab’s business comes from 20% of its clients. As a seller, the more you can increase the percentage of clients from which most of your work comes, say to 30 to 40%,...
In patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common type of sleep apnea, the mandible falls back as the brain approaches the deepest stages of sleep and the muscles of the airway fully relax, which is what causes the obstruction. When the brain senses breathing is compromised, it forces the body out of the deepest stage of sleep in order to regain control of the jaw muscles and reopen the airway. This can occur over and over during the night and, as a result, the patient’s sleep is extremely fragmented.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and life-shortening consequences: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression and other ailments. A major symptom is extremely loud snoring; other indications are persistent daytime sleepiness, bouts of awakening out of breath during the night, and frequently waking in the morning with a dry mouth or a headache. OSA most commonly affects middle-aged...
To answer this question, Dr. Sunnie Giles, Founder of Quantum Leadership Group, completed a study of 195 leaders in 15 countries. Participants were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. She grouped the top 10 competencies into five major themes, all of which have less to do with authority and more to do with our basic human needs:
Strong ethics and sense of safety. This theme combines two of the three most highly rated attributes: high ethical and moral standards and communicating clear expectations. “A leader with high ethical standards conveys a commitment to fairness, instilling confidence that both they and their employees will honor the rules of the game. Similarly, when leaders clearly communicate their expectations, they avoid blindsiding people and ensure that everyone is on the same page,” says Giles.
Empowers others to self-organize. Providing clear direction while allowing employees to organize their own time and work is...
By trademarking their products, laboratory marketers are creating a demand for a product only they can deliver. LMT offers tips for developing a brand name and maximizing its effectiveness.
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On the heels of LMT's September special coverage, The Changing Landscape of Dentistry, about the changing demographics, business models and other factors influencing your client base, the ADA just released an in-depth report, A Profession in Transition: Key Forces Reshaping the Dental Landscape, touching on many of the same topics.
Here are some key findings from the report:
Per capita expenditures are expected to grow over the coming decades, but at a very slow rate. In 2010, per capita dental expenditures were $269. Projected expenditures range from a conservative $277 to an optimistic $325 by 2040.
Older Americans are expected to account for a growing share of dental expenditures over the coming decades. Specifically, Seniors ages 60-79 will account for about 32% of all dental expenditures by 2040, followed by children with about 24%. The largest growth will be in adults ages 70-79 whose proportion of total expenditures is expected to double between 2010 and 2040.
If a doctor is hooked by the promise of consistency on your promo piece but the value of the claim isn't backed up until the last page, the "consistency" assertion is reduced to a hollow buzzword.
One of the reasons lab owners prefer to fly solo is that they have no appetite for dealing with the challenges that come with personnel management.
There’s no doubt that more people mean more issues. However, there are also as many, if not more, positives for having employees, key among them is that they play a critical role in a business’s ability to grow and prosper.
Listening to recent news discussions for or against raising the federally mandated minimum wage to $10.10 has me wondering: What do you feel your responsibility is to your employees? What obligations do you feel you have toward the people who help build your business? What considerations play a role in how much you pay them for their time and contributions?
Most of the time lab owners tell me they pay entry-level employees the wage necessary to attract them in their regional area. We also know from our Wage Surveys that average laboratory pay scales exceed the current federal minimum wage. So I throw this question...
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...