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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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Your website is a reflection of your laboratory; many times it’s the first impression a potential client will have of your lab. Jordon Comstock offers tips to keep in mind when designing your website.
Most people probably respond to the question posed in the headline above with something like, “because it makes me feel good to do something nice for someone else.” So what do I want your help with? Plain and simple: I want YOUR participation in LMT surveys.
Next month begins LMT’s 32nd year serving the information needs of the dental laboratory community and, during these years we’ve established ourselves as the Survey Queens (we’d be the Kings if we were guys but we’re not ☺).
But this request is really not about us. It’s about YOU. Among our numerous research projects, we provide you with the Wage and Fee Surveys every two years and report on the State of the Industry every five years. None of our reports would be possible without you. None of them!
We are eternally grateful to our incredibly valuable survey participants! Sometimes our surveys can be time consuming yet you guys are always willing to speak up, answer our multiple choice questions...
The results of LMT’s State of Digital Technology 2015 survey are in! Eighty percent of respondents rate their all-ceramic workload as “good” or “booming.”
Fifty-five percent of our State of the Industry 2015 survey respondents have recently changed their business model to increase profitability, gain new clients and be more competitive. Five of our respondents share their stories.
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The first part of LMT’s comprehensive, multi-issue State of the Industry 2015 coverage offers an in-depth look at the key trends impacting laboratory operators today.
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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 2014
The great transition taking hold of the way our community works is far from settling down as strategies continue to be employed and tested by tomorrow’s business leaders. Some of the changes have the capacity to pull the rug out from under us even as we retool to adapt to today’s innovations.
Though there will be an increased need for restorative work among aging boomers in the near future, right now it’s a huge challenge for laboratories to make it to that future. Having a detailed read on the market—that would enable you to see your own future more clearly—would be a goldmine.
We think we can deliver this to you. In fact, you’re holding some of that treasure trove right now in the form of the 2014 Wage Survey Report.
Right off the bat here, I want to acknowledge and thank you for giving your time so generously to fill out our very detailed Wage and Fee Surveys. As you read through this issue—the first of our Fiscal Fitness series—you will...
Nearly three quarters of respondents to LMT’s exclusive 2014 Wage Survey have taken cost-cutting measures related to personnel in the last two years, citing unpredictable workflows, pricing pressure from dentists and other low-cost labs, and an increase in business costs.
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- June 2014
One of the reasons lab owners prefer to fly solo is that they have no appetite for dealing with the challenges that come with personnel management.
There’s no doubt that more people mean more issues. However, there are also as many, if not more, positives for having employees, key among them is that they play a critical role in a business’s ability to grow and prosper.
Listening to recent news discussions for or against raising the federally mandated minimum wage to $10.10 has me wondering: What do you feel your responsibility is to your employees? What obligations do you feel you have toward the people who help build your business? What considerations play a role in how much you pay them for their time and contributions?
Most of the time lab owners tell me they pay entry-level employees the wage necessary to attract them in their regional area. We also know from our Wage Surveys that average laboratory pay scales exceed the current federal minimum wage. So I throw this question...
- May 2014
During the start-up years of LMT, I read several articles about how product life cycles are bell curves; they typically peak and then decline. I also subscribed to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and it featured a series about why most startups fail within the first five years.
Between the image of the bell curve and the HBR stats, the message loomed large that I needed to remain on high alert to recognize when LMT might peak and start to decline. I also decided it was important to have more than one product. We created LAB DAY.
Our fourth year was exceptional; I knew then that we were going to beat the all-important first-five-year odds. Nevertheless, my mantra remained that I’d never rest on my laurels. That was never an issue for our team anyway, because rather than being numbers oriented, we’ve always remained focused on challenging ourselves internally to continuously up the ante on what we deliver.
So we introduced Synergy—a magazine designed to appeal to technicians...
- April 2014
Over the last 30 years or so, the use of alternative/complementary medical therapies has become more widespread in the U.S. Now allopathic (traditional) practices are taking a more holistic approach to healthcare and the trend is continuing to generate more avenues of opportunity.
In addition, as we learn ever more about how the human body works, it’s become clearer to the traditional medical profession that many important clues to one’s health can be gotten from the oral cavity and, thus, it is of increasing importance for physicians and dentists to work together for the well-being of their patients.
In 2010, three professionals founded the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) to bring together professionals from many allied health disciplines. Since that time, the Academy—which also produces a monthly newsletter and webinars—has grown: over 400 professionals participated in its 2013 annual meeting that featured over 27 presentations.
- March 2014
Owner: National Dentex; Lab President: Lynn Jenkins
“H&O Dental Lab valuescomplete honesty and trust; open, two-way communication; mutual respect; individual accountability; and total commitment. Management always acknowledges team member accomplishments such as first, fifth, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th anniversaries; perfect attendance; and achieving CDT certification. We also have monthly themed events for various holidays and traditions.
To ensure open communication, we have morning huddles, a 15-minute meeting during which each section leader discusses the upcoming day; weekly department meetings; and quarterly lab-wide meetings. To encourage people to share their ideas, the lab recently installed a suggestion box and conducts team surveys and focus groups to measure the effectiveness of communication strategies and discuss ways to further encourage open-door policies. Everyone’s voice is valued, and that makes me feel like a part of the team...
The buzz at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California’s CAD/CAM Symposium in November 2005: rapid prototyping technology. First developed in the 1980s and used in the automotive and aerospace industries, the technology had laboratory owners enthusiastic about what was called the “next generation of CAD/CAM.” Advocates said the additive technology would result in increased efficiency and less material waste.
Those forecasts were spot on. The technology continues to revolutionize the way laboratories fabricate waxups and metal restorations. And, like CAD/CAM, it’s changing things quickly. Since 2011, the percentage of laboratories who offer 3D printed metal restorations has tripled (from 8% to 24%) and the percentage with a rapid prototyping system for wax has more than doubled (from 8% to 17%), according to LMT’s Digital Technology Surveys.
After years of speculation, CAD/CAM came to fruition in the dental laboratory in 1998 with the official U.S. launch of the Procera® AllCeram Crown, featuring an aluminum oxide coping milled at Nobel Biocare’s production facility in Sweden. The success of Procera—and the introduction of a dozen new in-lab milling systems in the early 2000s—fueled intense interest among laboratory owners and made CAD/CAM the hot topic for the unforeseeable future.
The automated manufacturing process afforded an efficient, consistent method of production and also opened the door to using zirconia, the strongest material on the market for all-ceramic restorations; other material options, depending on the system, included aluminum oxide, lithium disilicate, composite, gold, non-precious alloys, reinforced ceramic-based materials and titanium.
As the number of systems on the market multiplied, laboratory owners who wanted to get on board grappled with purchasing decisions. Some opted to...
- February 2014
"Let me invite you into the pages of Lab Management Today...our goal is to give you the tools you need to build a better, more profitable, smoothly operating dental laboratory business," wrote Publisher Judy Fishman in Lab Management Today's inaugural issue.
After its first few months, it became clear that LMT was destined to be more than just another industry trade magazine. LMT quickly earned its reputation as the "Go-To" resource for business, marketing and management strategies. We devised several ground-breaking crown experiments, created the much-anticipated biennial Wage and Fee surveys, implemented the industry's most comprehensive Buyer's Guide directory and brought you a comprehensive look at the State of the Industry every five years.
Thirty years later, we keep innovating, always with you in mind: in print through LMT magazine, in person through LMT LAB DAY and online at www.LMTmag.com.
- October 2013
The subcontracting market is strong, thanks to the ever-growing demand for digitally fabricated restorations and steady demand for cast partial frameworks.
- September 2013
The changing demographics of the dental field could bode well for laboratories. There are more general practitioners and prosthodontists, more dental consumers and fewer laboratories. In other words, the potential client base per laboratory is growing.
Here's a look at the shifting demographics between 1998 and 2011:
The number of laboratories declined 12.5%, from approximately 12,000 to 10,500. The number of GPs and prosthodontists increased 17%, from 133,623 to 156,011. This means the ratio of dentists to labs increased from 11:1 to 15:1.
The ratio of adult patients (20 years or older) to dentists increased from 1,441:1 to 1,466:1.
Further analysis of patients 45 years or older—the most likely sector of the population to receive restorative work—shows an increase of 36% during this timeframe. In 1998, there were 686 patients for every dentist; in 2011, the ratio was 796:1.
And going forward, it seems these trends will continue:
The dentist population is expected...
- August 2013
Written by Erik K. Curtis, DDS, MA, MAGD and reprinted with permission from AGD Impact, October 2012. (c)Academy of General Dentistry. All rights reserved. On the Web at www.agd.org. License #37166
America loves big business. Never mind the warnings of philosophers and other naysayers. For every Occupy Wall Street curmudgeon huddling under a leaky tent to protest stratospheric CEO incomes, a million of his compatriots get in line at the local Apple store to purchase the company's latest and greatest products. For every crusader decrying the ethics of the bottom line, an army of analysts crisply counters that an entrepreneurial, creative private sector is what makes this country great. For every science fiction movie featuring an evil corporation bent on taking over the world, there is a corporate cinema screening that very film. Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Media, even Big Chocolate: For most of us, big organizations mean the security of efficiency, reliability, consistency, and cost control....
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The following week, the prosthodontist confirmed that, indeed, the next step would be the crown lengthening procedure followed by six weeks of healing time before he would insert a post to further support the crown. And, as Bill Mrazek, CDT, recommended, the best restoration in this case, would be a PFM. He and his office are the cat's meow when it comes to professionalism and patient care and I'm fortunate to become their patient.
The periodontist he recommended was the same one I'd already called so that added to my feeling of being in the right hands. I've since had the crown lengthening procedure. The stitches are out and I'm on the mend.
I couldn't be any more impressed with the periodontist and his operation! He gave me arnica, with instructions to start taking these tiny natural remedy pills for quicker healing two days before the crown lengthening procedure. I love that he takes a holistic approach to his work and plan to have my dental cleanings there in the future.
- May 2013
Despite the fact that many lab owners have been feeling the effects of the economy in many areas of their businesses, the majority of respondents to LMT's latest survey say the implant department isn't one of them.
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- February 2013
Thereâs a 50/50 chance your clients will switch laboratories in the next five years. Want to know why they might jump ship? Read the results of LMTâs 2013 Dentist Survey conducted jointly with Dental Economics.
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