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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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Launched this month, Crownbox is an online marketplace where any laboratory or milling center can connect to buy and sell dental milling and printing services. “Crownbox is like an eBay for our industry, connecting buyers and sellers of dental CAD/CAM. It’s a venue for companies that have invested in CNC milling and 3D printing equipment to sell these services and for labs that would like more options when it comes to outsourcing partners. We’ve created a platform that improves access for everyone,” says Alex Frangadakis, Crownbox Founder and CEO.
Crownbox enables laboratories to order milled abutments, bars, crowns, printed models and partials, etc., from multiple milling centers simultaneously. Users can drag-and-drop .stl files, enter case details, submit orders and track cases at different locations and order status all within a single platform.
For sellers, Crownbox offers a new marketing opportunity and distribution channel. Milling centers can set up a free...LMT Communications, Inc. · October 20 at 2:14 pm
For years, members of my family—as well as of our staff—have wanted to duck under the table whenever they’d go out to dinner with me. It is so widely known among my friends that I can be, well, a “difficult customer,” that when my sister wrote and sang a song about my restaurant escapades for a surprise birthday party years ago, it was met with uproarious laughter and praise.
There are two very good reasons for my “difficult” behavior: one is that I have dietary restrictions that require me to ask a lot of questions before I order. But the other is that, like everyone else, I work hard for the money I earn and therefore, when I spend it, I expect a certain level of customer service. When I don’t get it, I am vocal when it isn’t delivered.
I speak up because my intention is to help bring the concerns to light so they can be corrected. I think that’s what makes me particularly captivated by the TV show, Undercover Boss. I respect...
This article first appeared in LMT’s August 2015 edition of the LMT Insider, our monthly e-newsletter, and takes a closer look at the pros and cons of the minimum wage ordinances that have recently made national headlines.
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In the last year, MicroDental has acquired four laboratories and is actively seeking additional laboratory members. Here, MicroDental President Len Liptak details what the company is looking for and the benefits it offers.
Many years ago I attended a dental industry seminar on personnel nightmares, given by John Ness, Founder of PTC and the Productivity Training system. He described four types of potential troublemakers in organizations but I was particularly struck by the type he called “Harry.”
“Harry’s,” he said, are often delightful, can-do personalities, do impeccable work and seem like perfect employees, but they have a dark side. In ways it’s quite difficult to pinpoint, they also subtly undermine the operation and/or its leadership, dragging down company morale without anyone realizing how or why. “Harry’s” are often the most damaging personnel type of all.
I specifically remembered “Harry” because I suspected I had one on my staff. Like Ness explained, it was nearly impossible to put my finger on how “Harry” affected us and it took me more time than I wish it had to make a move.
Last month I gave a public shout out to my...
Whether you have two technicians or 20, there is perhaps no greater challenge in the laboratory than managing your staff. From morale issues to interpersonal conflicts, Lab Owner and Manager respondents to LMT’s Personnel Survey share their strategies for achieving pleasant and productive work environments.
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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...
In our Ask SCORE column, George Obst, certified SCORE mentor and retired CEO and Founding Partner of Dental Services Group, draws upon his 30 years of experience to address questions about building successful and profitable laboratories.
How can I effectively solve recurring problems? In any type of business, unresolved problems can fester, leading to poor quality and service, and may ultimately lead to the failure of the business. To effectively solve a recurring issue, you need to identify and fix its underlying cause—not just the symptom.
To get to the root of the problem, a simple and effective technique is to ask “why” four or five times. The premise of this technique—started in the 1930s by Sakichi Toyoda, Founder of the Toyota Motor Company—is that the answers to most problems come from the people who are working within the process. Once the “why” questions are answered, corrective procedures can be put in place to ensure that the particular...
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...
- 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...
Thanks to the advent of digital technology, many laboratory owners and managers are discovering new business models and finding ways to reinvent their businesses and reinvigorate their careers. Here are the stories of three lab owners/managers who have done so using Sirona Dental, Inc.'s CEREC Acquistion Centers, Sirona Connect.
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- 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
With standing ovations for the last two presentations—by Mark Murphy, DDS, FAGD and Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD—it was clear that the mood among attendees of the 2013 V21 Meeting at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was upbeat and keenly focused on everything digital.
- February 2012
Have an ingenious marketing strategy? Innovative cost-cutting idea? New way to streamline production? Share your best business boosting strategies with over 3,000 of your peers on THE BRIDGE!
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8 Faster, Smarter, Better Management Strategies to Boost Your Business: We Want to Hear Your Management Strategies
Problem: I'd like to implement pre-scheduling to help make our workload more consistent; we're overwhelmed one day and slow the next.
Strategy: Pre-scheduling—where the laboratory, rather than the dentist, determines the turnaround time for each case—helps ensure an even workflow, which minimizes the pressure of deadlines and enables a technician to focus on his product quality.
For example, some laboratories use a manual pre-scheduling system. Each technician has a designated block of time and pre-determined number of units he can handle per day. As cases come in, the office manager schedules them into an appointment book according to this set capacity and the laboratory's current workload. Once a technician's slot is full, no more cases are scheduled for him that day. The office manager then calls the dental office with the date on which the case will be delivered. There are also a variety of software packages on the market that can streamline the pre-scheduling process....
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- April 2011
Implementing a quality management system can offer a wealth of benefits to your laboratory: streamline your operations, cut costs, help train staff, increase customer satisfaction and safety, and help you comply with FDA regulations.
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Nine industry panelists speak to an audience of approximately 50 lab owners and technicians at the State of the Profession II meeting in Lisle, Illinois.
Owner creates network of laboratories from Canada to U.S.
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Four family members comprise the staff of Pro Dental Art in Titusville, FL.
Find out how respondents to LMT's 2000 State of the Industry survey feel about the economic health of their laboratories and their workloads, how ownersâ salaries have changed in the past decade and what is in store for the future of our industry.
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