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Joseph Fey and Larry Albensi, Co-Owners of Maverick Dental Laboratories in Monroeville, PA, never dreamed of moving their lab into a former car dealership, but as soon as they saw the space, they knew it could be repurposed into an ideal laboratory.
The 16,000-sq-ft facility offered four main areas to accommodate the various functions of the laboratory and provide ample room for future growth: a huge open garage that would be ideal as the main production room; a spacious showroom with floor-to-ceiling windows for the ceramics, quality control and sales/customer service departments; and management...
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This year marks LMT’s and LAB DAY Chicago’s 30th birthdays and we plan to celebrate all year long. Come celebrate with us in the pages of LMT, at LAB DAY and online as we take a walk through 30 years of history.
Online, we’re taking our cue from a popular internet trend called Throwback Thursday during which users post old...
- October 2013
About three years ago our laboratory—Thayer Dental Lab in Mechanicsburg, PA—began to notice a sharp decline in the response rate to our direct mail efforts. In an effort to bolster our marketing strategy, we embraced digital marketing by revising our website, building an opt-in email database, creating electronic advertisements and getting involved with social media.
We implemented the following strategies to better manage our website and increase traffic; the site currently gets about 27 dentist hits a day, for a total of over 800 unique dentist visits per month. However,...
Read More 7 minute read
- September 2013
A year ago, Whip Mix Corp. promoted its Vice President of Manufacturing, Jim Myers, to President of the company, succeeding Allen Steinbock, the grandson of Whip Mix Founder Edmund Steinbock, Sr. This promotion makes Myers the first non-family member President in the company's history. LMT travelled to Louisville, KY, to talk with Myers about...
- November 2012
In 2004, New Image/Laboratory Solutions became the first 3M ESPE Lava Milling Center on the East Coast. Victor Harp, an up-and-coming waxer/finisher, learned the system and wowed everyone with how quickly he picked up the digital process. "He was like a kid in a candy store playing with the machine and got great results right from the start,"...
From a family of educators, Julian Infante, CDT, has both a love of learning and a gift for teaching.
He earned his Associate's degree from Bates Technical College and eventually joined Modern Dental Lab—then called Northwest Labs—in Bellevue, WA in 2006. Since then, he has earned his CDT in crown and bridge, helped develop the...
Monica Daniel didn't know what a dental laboratory was until she was hired as a bookkeeper at YDL in 2008, but her lack of industry experience has actually given her a leg up.
"My outside perspective has been extremely beneficial to me because I'm able to look at things in the lab with a fresh eye," she says. "I don't want to do things a...
They say a goldfish will grow commensurate to the size of its fish bowl; if you want it to get bigger, then give it more space. So after Christian Saurman joined his father's orthodontic laboratory—then with 12 employees—he told him, "Dad, all you've got to do is give me a bigger fishbowl. I just need room to grow."
Read More 2 minute read
- August 2012
Many of LMT's articles stem from things we experience here. When the editorial team cooked up the theme for this month's issue, for example, you might say we were all "steamed up." We, too, have business problems that need to be solved.
In fact, the last quarter of 2011 was a whopper that tested our mettle but with our issues now behind...
- June 2012
Miriam Olsen, Dental Esthetics, Okemos, MI
Years in industry: 21
Lab opened: 1991
"When it comes to having a home-based lab, I've heard others say 'you never get away from your work,' but this has never bothered me. I've always looked at it as an advantage. When you love what you do, you don't need to get away from it," says Miriam Olsen, who has owned Dental Esthetics in Okemos, MI for over 20 years.
Olsen prides herself on her customer service efforts—like being available to her clients via phone during evenings and weekends—and fabricating cosmetic cases, and she's promoting...
- March 2012
Dr. Roger Levin, Chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., offers a look at how the economy is affecting your dentist-clients and what it means for their practices.
Dentistry is going through exponential changes. The future will have little semblance to the past, and at no point in the future will dentistry ever look the way it did as recently as four years ago.
Perhaps no single event in the last 100 years of dentistry has had a greater impact than the recent recession. There have been slow periods in the past, but nothing like what many economists have termed "The Great Recession."
Growth was easy for Jesse and Frichtel Dental Labs in Pittsburgh up until 2008. "Our biggest problem was managing the workflow," says Mark Frichtel, President. "Then, to say the least, things got difficult."
Like many laboratories, Jesse and Frichtel began feeling the repercussions of the country's financial crisis in 2008. Workloads were diminishing and rising alloy costs were cutting into margins.
But when the laboratory started passing on just a portion of the higher alloy charges, the clients balked; some even jumped ship for lower-cost laboratories. "The only thing they saw was that they...
Read More 6 minute read
It's been a while since I've shared one of my customer service stories but I've got one that I think will resonate. I'm sure, like me, you wonder how to evaluate the cost of technology. How do you recognize the price-value equation if you have nothing to compare it with? What do you do if you can't readily discern the differences among various pieces of equipment because they won't become evident until you've worked with each of them for a while--and how often do you get the chance to do that?
My story is about a laser printer. It isn't new technology, but there've been a lot of advancements in...
- February 2012
In this economy, working faster, smarter, better is the key to riding out the storm. Here are 36 ways to streamline production, reduce remakes, lower costs, maximize marketing, improve client relationships, boost employee morale and create a leaner, meaner, more efficient laboratory operation.
4 CAD/CAM Strategies
7 Marketing Strategies
2 Technical Strategies
6 Financial Strategies
8 Management Strategies
3 Customer Service Strategies
6 Personnel Strategies
Have an ingenious marketing strategy? Innovative cost-cutting idea? New way to streamline production? Share your best business...
8 Faster, Smarter, Better Management Strategies to Boost Your Business: We Want to Hear Your Management StrategiesLMT Communications, Inc. · Faster, Smarter, Better: 36 Strategies to Boost Your Business · Management · Feb 2012
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...
Read More 8 minute read
3 Faster, Smarter, Better Customer Service Strategies to Boost Your Business: What Are Your Secrets For Excellent Customer Service?LMT Communications, Inc. · Faster, Smarter, Better: 36 Strategies to Boost Your Business · Marketing · Feb 2012
In this economy, working faster, smarter, better is the key to riding out the storm. Here are 3 easy-to-implement tips that can lead to a leaner, meaner, more efficient laboratory operation.
Problem: I want to find a concrete way to reward customers who have remained loyal to us and haven't been lured away by lower prices in this economy.
- January 2012
When the financial crisis hit our country in 2008, LMT immediately responded with a survey of our readers to get a baseline for how it would affect our community. And as we promised then, we've kept our finger on the pulse of the community, sharing the results of periodic follow-up surveys; here's the latest.
Using phrases like "holding on" or "treading water," many laboratory owners say they are continuing to ride out the economic storm despite not seeing much relief last year.
While 15% of respondents to LMT's most recent How's Business? survey say business remained level...
- November 2011
Because of increasing labor costs, it's only a matter of time before China loses its edge in the offshoring market. This year, China had a 15% rate of inflation significantly increasing the cost of living so, for each of the next five years, the government plan calls for 13-14% hikes in annual pay.* Bargain-hunting foreign interests have already begun an exodus as they move their orders to factories in India, Thailand, East Africa, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Right now, there are dozens of dental laboratories in the major export cities of Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Beijing, many vying for a piece of...
Read More 5 minute read
- June 2011
Fullcontour.com, a CAD design-dedicated center, has recently expanded its services. It now:
Accepts both .STL files and 3Shape .DCM files.
Offers full-contour designs as well as "split files" where it designs both the coping substructure and a wax top.
Offers a 12-hour design service--in addition to its 2- and 24-hour services--giving customers the ability to upload cases before the end of the day and have them back and ready to mill first thing the next morning.
Customers can check the status of and approve their cases via Fullcontour.com's order tracking and communication system and also...
Opened in 1997, Delcam's North American subsidiary in Windsor, Ontario, has renovated its facility to meet the growing demand for sales and services. One highlight: the new Delcam Demo Center that has three dedicated training rooms equipped with state-of-the-art computer systems plus a demonstration lab for showing customers the advantages of digital solutions. The main training room can accommodate up to 15 people classroom-style while the other two rooms are quiet rooms for dedicated internet-based meetings. "Delcam has worked hard to earn its reputation for quality customer service. This state-of-the-art...
- April 2011
In an effort to boost internal expertise and enhance customer service, laboratories are bringing dentists on staff. By drawing on the knowledge of a staff dentist, your clients have access to another peer's perspective, technical insight and increased continuing education opportunities. For your laboratory, a staff dentist provides technicians with a valuable chairside perspective.
Service to Clients
The most-often asked question laboratories with dentists on staff hear is, "What exactly does he do?" Though titles vary, the focus of most staff dentists is technical service, from remake problems...
Two U.S. laboratory owners re-think their business models to incorporate separate businesses dedicated to offshore outsourcing.
When outsourcing of dental restorations first came to widespread attention, the laboratory industry was divided between those who spoke out against it and those who embraced it as a logical progression in today's global marketplace.
While "offshore" is still a dirty word to many--56% of respondents to a recent LMT e-poll remain opposed to it--a growing number of laboratory owners are viewing offshore outsourcing as a viable business strategy. Some are outsourcing...
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What do Kraft Foods, 3M and Edmonds Dental Prosthetics have in common? They've all had the distinguished privilege of being named Manufacturer of the Year by the Springfield, Missouri area Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes the accomplishments of local manufacturing firms and showcases the significant impact of manufacturing on the local community.
"Dental laboratories have historically been thought of as artistic entities so to be deemed a 'manufacturer' is an honor. Whether you operate a one-person or 100-person laboratory, you're a manufacturer of a custom product," says Bob Edmonds,...
Strategies for enhancing customer interaction
In Perception is the ONLY Reality, LMT asked technicians and dentists to match four crowns with four price tags that differed by $100, starting at $25 and topping out at $325. These crowns were from four different laboratories (participants in LMT's 2007 Crown Challenge and fabricated using...
It was standing-room-only at DLOAC's annual CAD/CAM Symposium and Expo as nearly 300 laboratory owners and managers, outsourcing centers and manufacturers turned out for two days of lectures, demonstrations and exhibits.
"The only thing I can tell you for sure about CAD/CAM is that it's constantly changing. In fact, by the time I get off this stage, some of the information will likely be outdated," said Dentsply's Arlo King, a presenter at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California's (DLOAC) annual CAD/CAM Symposium and Expo held in November in Pasadena, California.