To determine how well dentists and laboratory owners/managers understand each other, LMT surveyed both groups. We asked dentists and owners/managers to rank the challenges they experience in their own businesses as well as the challenges they think the other group faces. Dentists were surveyed via a joint venture with Dental Economics (see main article, Why Dentists Switch Laboratories) and responses from laboratory owners come from participants in LMT's most recent State of the Industry survey. Click here to see complete results in chart form.
There are two areas in which both groups of respondents are in total agreement. In other words, what dentists perceive to be the lab's problem is actually the case and vice versa:
Number one business challenges: Both dentist- and laboratory-respondents believe that finding competent staff is each other's top business challenge, perceptions that are confirmed by both groups.
Top technical challenges: Laboratory-respondents think that dentists' top technical problem is incorporating new techniques, products and services, a perception that is confirmed by dentists. Dentist-respondents believe that the laboratory's greatest technical concern is inadequate work coming in from dentists, a perception that is confirmed by laboratories.
But, each respondent group also has some misperceptions about the other. For instance:
- Dentists think laboratory owners' second biggest technical concern is maintaining consistent quality, which owner-respondents rank sixth. (Meeting production deadlines in a 40-to-50-hour week is owner-respondents' number two challenge.)
- Laboratories perceive the dentists' number two business challenge is dealing with patient demands, which dentist-respondents rank seventh. (Dealing with insurance companies is dentist-respondents' second greatest concern.)
- Probably the most dramatic area of misperception is impression taking. The vast majority--84%--of dentist-respondents say that the laboratory cannot compensate for an inadequate impression; in contrast, 64% of the laboratory-respondents say that they can make due with a poor impression and fabricate a successful restoration.