2017: A Year of Refinement and Re-Invention
Posted Jan 10, 2017
A new year brings a fresh start, a blank slate and new opportunities. I wanted to know more about your #1 priorities for 2017 so I reached out to some of you to find out what’s on your to-do lists for the year. While there are challenges to overcome, there’s also optimism about the future and, for many, 2017 is going to be a year of refinement, re-invention and exploring new directions. From veterans to newcomers and operations large and small, priorities run the gamut; here’s a look at a few of them:
Secure Group Health Insurance. Owner Colin Gibb has decided that one of the most important ways to position Red Mountain Dental Arts in Mesa, AZ, for the future is to begin offering health insurance and even pay 100% of the premium. After a lot of research, he’s about to get a commitment for an excellent plan through United Health Care; he’s also applied for a Section 125 Premium Only Plan that will cost him $150, is good for 10 years and allows his employees to pay for health insurance for their spouse and children with pre-tax dollars.
“This is more important than any investment in equipment,” says Gibb. “Going forward, I’d like to hire two or three more employees and the way I’ve structured our plan, I can cover their insurance 100% if they work at least 20 hours a week. I think this benefit will allow me to hire people more easily.”
Grow Digital Services. Several readers say they’re concentrating on expanding their digital operations. For instance, Virginia Family Dentistry in Midlothian, VA, has been outsourcing all of its milling; now it’s bringing much of that work in house by opening a milling department. Sean Ruppert, CDT, Laboratory Manager, says he “hopes to cut outsourcing expenditures by 20% or more.”
Likewise, Charles Selser, CDT, President, Selser Dental Lab, Inc., Terrytown, LA, is tracking the latest developments in 3D printing and the digital denture workflow. “It looks like the pieces are coming together for digital dentures to take off,” he says. (A heads up: in LMT’s March issue, we’ll be featuring Digital Denture Case Studies.)
Emphasize Training. For Dennis King, CDT, TE, training technicians is his ticket to getting off the bench at his Bristol, TN, lab. “The only way to grow is to reproduce myself in others so I have time to manage the business and handle quality control. Having other great people trained properly so the lab can grow slowly and with steady, consistent high-end work is my dream,” he says.
Find the Right Accounts. By concentrating on higher-profit appliances and accounts, Don Inman’s goal for 2017 is to be more profitable without increasing the size of his staff. “We don’t fight for accounts demanding large discounts and free shipping. We market our higher-end services and products; we don’t market on price. This type of client is still out there, I promise you, but they’re not low-hanging fruit,” says Inman, CDT, Owner, Inman Orthodontic Laboratories, Coral Springs, FL.
Streamline SOPs. All of the staff members at Knight Dental Group in Oldsmar, FL, are busy revamping every written procedure in the laboratory. “We’re editing our old work instructions, authoring some new ones and, at the same time, training on all new processes. Our objective is to remove the major constraints from our manufacturing processes and experience a highly predictable quality outcome,” says Warren Rogers, CEO.
Clear Out the Clutter. Lab people seem to be perpetual hoarders, says Karen Crace, Owner, Lab One Dental Enterprises, Norfolk, VA. “When a piece of equipment breaks and a new one is purchased, the old one winds up in the stock room to use for ‘spare parts.’ It’s the same scenario for materials: a new, better product comes out, but we keep the old stuff ‘in case of an emergency’ and it just collects dust. So this year, I’m going to grab this bull by the horns and clear out the clutter!” she says.
Reduce hours. Oakledge Dental Studio Owner Dusty Owens’ goal is to be working fewer hours by the end of 2017. That’s one priority I’m guessing we can all get on board with!
Learning about all of your exciting priorities and projects makes me think about my own. First up for me this year: to travel the world, literally! This month I’m off to the NADL’s Vision 21 in Las Vegas, next month it’s LMT LAB DAY Chicago and, after that, the IDS in Cologne, Germany. My goal: to bring you everything you need to know about the latest products and technologies, the hottest industry news and the cutting-edge trends you need to succeed. I hope to meet up with you in my travels.
Here’s to accomplishing all of our priorities in 2017! Best wishes for a happy, healthy year.
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