In this economy, laboratory owners are searching for ways to streamline operations and maximize their staff potential to the fullest. For Incisal Edge, Inc., an 11-person full service lab in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Pulse Interface Press-to-Metal® system from Jensen Dental has been the ticket to increasing efficiency.
"Technicians, especially ceramists, are hard to find. Using Pulse Interface, our waxers are becoming ceramists and we're able to do more work with the same number of people. It's great for our workflow," says Steven Stella, who co-owns the lab with Patty Webster and Jeff Nahkala.
In addition to the labor savings, the system also helps reduce inventory costs because it includes just five ingots that can be used to achieve 16 Vita® shades. "We've been loyal Jensen customers for 15 years and one reason is that the reps understand our business, and recommend solutions and techniques they believe will make our product better while increasing our productivity and profitability," says Stella. "Jensen partnered with us by providing a comprehensive training program and strong technical support. We're now doing about 30 press-to-metal units per day and it's been a very profitable product for us."
Looking to automate production even further, the lab recently started designing its copings and full contour waxups with CAD software, printing them in resin and casting them. "The more we can do with a computer, the easier, more accurate and more consistent our work will be," says Stella.
While he welcomes this consistency, he also sees a challenge: "The more restorations are produced using automated processes, the more they'll look the same and that means the only way to differentiate yourself is through customer service and support."
To that end, the lab is very involved in local study clubs and sponsoring continuing education program for its clients. It's putting the finishing touches on a new facility that includes an 800-sq.-ft. conference room so it can provide even more educational programs in house.
In addition, Jensen partners with Incisal Edge to provide one-on-one visits with its dentist-customers, providing them with education to help them become more successful. "We also attend Jensen Education Day in Chicago and find it to be a great forum to learn and share ideas," says Stella.
The three owners pride themselves on providing excellent customer service and technical support, and those are also qualities they look for in a vendor and have found in Jensen Dental. The company has three technical representatives based at its North Haven, Connecticut facility so getting technical support and answers is immediate. The lab also has the added benefit of being only a two-hour drive from Jensen so it can easily get same-day equipment replacement when needed. "When we call for technical support, we always get a live person on the phone. If we have trouble with a piece of equipment they can't troubleshoot over the phone, they'll bring a loaner that day; there's no waiting," says Stella.
It's the personal touch that's made Jensen the laboratory's number one supplier for a decade and a half. "We're not just a number. Everyone at Jensen has been personable from day one and we'll sometimes even socialize after work with our reps," says Stella. "To us, that's the most important thing: you can get products in a lot of places but if you aren't happy with whom you're getting them from, it doesn't work out well in the long run." For Incisal Edge and Jensen Dental, it has been and continues to be a long—and very good—run.