We have always been very concious of production standards, time in motion and scheduling timelines, but...See more recently took a step further, and redesigned our lab to use Lean Manufacturing Practices. We have attempted to break things down into syncronized movements, limited numbers of tools and reducing work in progress. Of course there are all kinds of books on the subject, so it's pointless to try and cover it here, but so far, we have seen improvements in quality and consistency, more on-time delivery and fewer errors.
I'll buck the trend and say "D". If you truly are quality, and have a known reputation, I say build upon...See more that and set yourself apart from others. Gain even more education , i.e.Lab Day :-) hands on courses, and most of all become indispensable to your nearby accounts, as in custom shades, evaluating your work in the mouth, understanding cements, bonding etc. to be a resource for them.
On the other hand, if you are hurting for work, what the others here are suggesting are good points.
My laboratory is in one of these states. Thanks to the Florida Dental Laboratory and Florida Dental Associations...See more collaborations, the industry has 'Changes'. When the law took effect and much was published about it, my lab recieved several calls from Dental offices about it, which was alarming. (flyers were being sent to them) The changes are nothing new to my lab, as we have always disclosed our materials, been registered and attend business and technical clinics each year and made sure our Rx's were signed. The bottom line is that it might seem that your Dental Association is doing you a favor and trying to make it seem as if they are giving some extra 'merritt' to our industry, but it really does not.( In Florida, we pay a $200.00 fee to have a business, a health department fee, a county fee and a FDLA fee per year). There is always someone out there looking at it as a way to make extra money off businesses. You then see flyers in the mail saying you need to go to a seminar to 'learn' what you need to know, for only $65.00. When all you need to do is read the one page regulations and follow them. It is just extra paperwork for the laboratory and the Dentist. I have been to several clinics and over heard many conversations among dentists -the bottom line is they do not want any more regulations and they are sick of the groups of people trying to impose more regulations on them. Real changes need to be in every state including the laboratory and the dental offices to make any real difference to the patients. The new regulations have helped our Florida Health Department, as they have been able to hire more people to make sure 'your prescriptions are signed and dated'. Dentists in Florida can go directly to off shore labs and those labs do not have to abide by the regulations, because the laboratory is not in Florida. Now that is 'real change' that our Laboratory Association did for us! The patient is the issue and the patient needs to be aware of where the work is being fabricated and have a say in where they want it to be made. It is unbelivable that only 9 States have any standards on Dental Labs/Technicians and only 6 States require Dental Labs to be registered. Florida has many rules and regulations and THEY have NOT done anything to improve the professional fees that laboratories charge. If anything, it has made Florida a deluxe 'shipping dock' for off shore labs, adding to the bottom line for UPS and Fed Ex, while taking work from the Florida Laboratories.
Georgia is on the right track with imposing patients rights!
Margot, the studies are absolutely right full count our Zr is lees wears natural enamel lees than Zr,...See more but don't forget if your Dr. Makes any occulsal adjustments; which is always the case, unless you make it out of occulusion but then there goes ur cusp to fossau or marginal ridge and teeth are mobile unless they are in contact... Which will cause long term damage or discomfort to the Patient if it is out of occ. remember Zr is much more time consuming to adjust and polish down smoothly so that is why I fear full contour Zr. Is not suitable unless it's in perfect occ/contacts.
I still would like to know why a Dr would prescribe full contour Zr.?
Sounds to me like you need to sit down with her and work out a fee schedule for both her and the outside...See more customers. Expectations need to be expressed on both sides and decisions need to be made as to whether it is worthwhile or not. She wants a discount but a discount from what price? Does she have an expectations for priority handling of cases over outside customers and will that interfere with your capacity to generate business? Do you have the capacity to make a good living from this business? In my experience, even in-house labs work best in an "arms length" environment. If you end up having to drop everything to take a shade several times per day and make minute adjustment to every crown that would otherwise be seated, it isn't going to make sense. You should ask numerous questions and have the answers clearly defined. Its like a marriage...go into it with your eyes wide open!
Here is an old article I did for a magazine way back in 2000. It shares parts of our 1998 business plan....See more Many, many things have changed, and i kind of laughed at what I did 14 years ago, but it gives you a basic idea of who I look at business plans. Hope this helps.
âIf you donât know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.â
Define the task with a business plan.
Too many dental laboratories make business plans only when they have to. Unless a bank or investors want to look at a business plan, there isnât likely to be a plan written at all. How much time do you spend putting out fires? Thatâs a subject that might come up when you sit down and start your business plan.
A business plan will look at where you are, where you have been, where you want to go, and what youâll need to do to get there (including installing fire sprinklers if those fires are keeping you from reaching your goals).
The content and detail of a business plan is largely dependent on the audience for whom the document is prepared, and what you expect them to do. If the plan is primarily for your own use as a means to get a better handle on your laboratory, you can keep things fairly simple. Obviously things will be much more complicated and detailed if your goal is immediate capital from a bank or other institution.
The bibliography at the end of this program will give you some suggestions for help in preparing a number of different business plans depending on the purpose of the plan. For example, you may want a business plan for an existing company, business plan for a new company not yet started, or a regular plan for business review and course direction.
If you canât measure, you canât manage
Once youâve defined your goal, broken it down into manageable pieces, and established a time line for accomplishing them, youâll need measurement tools. A carefully prepared business plan will not only define your objectives, but map out a time line for measuring your progress in reaching those goals.
Following is a copy of my labs 1998 business plan. This is an example of an informal plan used as a business review and for course direction. This document was prepared for internal use, but was also given to a number of respected professionals for their opinions. At the time this document was prepared in November 1997, we were facing a number of challenges for the coming year, however we had an aggressive plan representing 32% growth for 1998. Note how the spreadsheet gave us mileposts to measure our progress, and how the sale objectives reflected typical seasonal fluctuations.
PRECISION CERAMICS 1998 MARKETING PLAN
Established in 1981, Precision Ceramics is a full service dental laboratory dedicated to providing quality products and unmatched customer support to dentists and dental laboratories across the US, and abroad.
Precision Ceramics has suffered from a number of significant events during the past five years. In 1992 our laboratory in Denmark was closed in an abrupt and unexpected manner when we entered into litigation with the Danish labor union and the US Department of commerce. With close to a 50% reduction in business we were forced to implement a number of âlifesavingâ changes, some of which affected morale, profitability and quality.
The departure of one of the founders in 1994 dealt another blow, resulting in further losses of business and profitability. Quality suffered, and sales dropped by another 50% while the remaining owner tended to another business entity. During the period from 1994 through mid 1997 very little was done in the way of marketing or sales, and no price increases were implemented.
With the return of the departed founder in mid 1997, we face the coming year with real leadership and renewed optimism. The past several weeks have been spent remodeling the lab, replacing and repairing equipment and establishing quality standards and procedure manuals. We have readjusted our operating budgets to reflect continued improvements in quality and training, and investments in new technology.
New products to be added next year will be priced at cost, plus 20%, and all new accounts will be brought on board with a price list reflecting a similar philosophy for ALL other products.
Among dentist customers, our strengths are customer service, communication and strong technical support. We are a one-stop dental laboratory providing most of the popular dental products and services, or are in the process of adding them. Our lifetime guaranty is a popular attraction, as are our implant services. Among dentist customers, our weaknesses include average or only slightly above average anterior cosmetics. Consistent quality from our denture department is a problem. Additional training (or more drastic approaches) is planned for these areas.
Among laboratory customers, our strengths are customer service, communication and strong technical support. Additionally, for those laboratory customers interested in our assistance we offer the best marketing and sales support of any business to business laboratory in the country. Good relationships with our vendors, and articles published in journals reinforce our quality and technological position. Our weaknesses include a lack of a second shift to accelerate turn around time which is important to laboratory customers, and managing the wild fluctuations lab work seems to produce. We will be researching ways to improve throughput such as splitting shifts, automation or copy milling.
1998 Sales Goal
Add $343,960 in additional sales by December 31, 1998.
1. Price Increase
2. Add new products (IPS Empress, Targis, possible others)
3. Retain existing clients
4. Acquire and retain new customers
At $67 per unit, our prices are well below market levels in the areas where our clients are concentrated, and in the areas we will be marketing to. Since we have not had a price increase in several years, I believe a well orchestrated increase could add 3.5% (based on a 5% gross increase, some clients excluded) to next years sales without any appreciable loss of current business. ($85,000 per mo +3.5% =$87,975. Difference of $4150 x 12 = $35,700 added to next years sales.) We will also implement a completely new price structure for all new customers, moving us to $90 plus gold and shipping for Ceramco, and $139 for Omega 900 porcelain.
Add New Products
IPS Empress and Targis should bring in the remaining $49,300 by adding just 2.1 units per day (at $90 per unit avg.) to our unit count. This could be work our current customers may be sending out to another laboratory, or bring back customers we may have lost because we are not offering these items. Incremental new business should also follow.
As of the summer 1997 there are NO other laboratories offering IPS Empress or Targis on a sub-contracting basis (according to competitive ads in LMT).
Retain Existing Clients
Efforts to retain existing customers will include regular activity from our sales and service representatives, three issues of our newsletter, Occlusal Concepts, and special holiday gifts and cards.
Our ongoing quality control improvements will be an integral part of our customer retention and satisfaction program.
Add New Clients
We will need to pick up the balance of additional sales ($255,015) through new clients. Having this forecast in mind, we can calculate the number of new customers we will need to reach our sales goal. We used conservative numbers, such as an average account size of $750 per month to come up with this number. In reality, the top 20% of our customers average more than $2000 per month. (Since the list we purchased from D&B is based on the profile of our top customers, we could expect them to have similar sales.)
Based on information gathered from Dun &Bradstreetâs business services group, and through other research, we can expect a .5% response to a single mailing to a prospect list. This return jumps to 3% by the third mailing, and can pull as high as 5% when combined with telemarketing. We have purchased 6678 names and addresses of highly qualified leads in desirable market areas.
Our plan is based on a rotation of the mailing list whereby we send one half of the list a direct mail piece with an integral reply card. Each half of the list will receive the same piece three times, and then receive a second, different piece three times. Additionally, they will each receive a copy of our newsletter three times during the year. Each prospect will be hit a total of nine times.
A five percent return on 6678 would give us 333.9 new leads. If half of these try us out, and half of them "stick", we have more than our 68 new accounts for necessary growth. The results of a campaign probably will not take affect until Q2, however a price increase and some new products will produce some immediate sales. Please note that the PCDL Sales Analysis reflects a very slow growth curve in Q1, with no new customer activity until the beginning of Q2.
ï£ 2000 Mark Jackson
Hi there - we're a 6 person lab in Missouri - bought a 3shape last november. The best thing...See more we ever did! We looked at alot of other systems, but kept coming back to 3shape. . We also had asked around and wanted to know who provided the best training (we bought ours through Dentsply). It has cut down on production time for us like crazy. We are doing alot of Bruxzirs with it. Love it!— tagged 3 products
I had a great experience as an independent lab leasing space from an account. If your going to be independent,...See more set a price for leasing space, equipment, and utilities. You should buy your own materials, or you'll be giving the landlord a piece or you outside work also. Be conservative in your lease pricing. The major benefit for the home account comes with all the extras you'll bring to the practice. Shading, appointment adjustments, never putting in a crown or bridge that is not glazed after adjustment, consultation, and about 50 other things you'll do at no charge!
We don't use sirona, however with our system we stopped using the systems tools and when with a third...See more party. We have eliminated chipping almost totally, and the tools are now in use 3 times as long. As for the chipping it might just be the mill itself. Try your spindle is it running true?
If you don't..........send them my way;) Does that answer your question? Dude, 10 years ago my answer...See more may be different, but in today's economy, I NEVER turn down work unless it's not profitable. Look at the latest LMT cover/chart. Do you want to be the 31% or the 41%? HOWEVER, all of our situations are different. But I am learning as a "younger" business owner, my lab can not be ran how my dads generation ran their labs. There is an unquestionable lack of loyalty more than ever before BECAUSE of the economy. But everyone is different. Some people NEED to work because they're hungry, and some WANT to work because they're hungry. I'm always hungry. So, my answer A) BRING IT!!!!!!!!
If you're not hungry, why sit at the table? :)
We've done our best to order smaller lots and send in scrap more frequently to minimize our exposure...See more and risk to price fluctuations. With the price setting on the second London fix, we order alloy only on days the market is "up" and delay orders when the market is "down" and allow the lower price to "fix" at the lower rate. Since we "flat fee" our metal-based crowns, we monitor the markets very closely and adjust our fees in $5 increments. Mostly however, we use pricing strategies to steer our dentists to more profitable monolithic restorations such as e.max Press or full zirconia. Its our goal to use as little alloy as possible in our restorations with the development of modern materials, we see metal being necessary in less than 15% of what we do.
I find laboratories split on this issue. The oneâs who offered a fixed price product in the past,...See more find themselves forced to change that model to accommodate the ever changing alloy prices and stay profitable, while others who offered their products at labor plus alloy cost in the past, are turning to fixed pricing to attract those dentists who are accustomed to it. Many labs are marking up the products at far less than 25% profit margin, while others are just passing the cost through to their dentists. I find it interesting that laboratories are calling their customers with a price quote for the alloy on a case-by-case basis. The labs intention when making the call is to stir the doctor away from metal base restoration to a metal free restoration. Also, at the same time, to give the dentist heads up, so there are no surprises when they receive the invoice. I also see non-precious metal gaining some momentum, not much. I hope that helps with answering your question.
Sesitive question to many,I personaly like my things made around my neighbourhood with people that I...See more can forge a personal realationship perhaphs friendship that can be more valuable than making money.Big production labs loves this Idea ,I always hated WALLMART!
We have a Lava ST white light scanner, and it is currently sitting in our electrical room gathering dust....See more There is no doubt white light is more accurate than laser, but it's not anywhere as easy to use, calibrate or maintain as a 3Shape. In my eyes, it's just not worth the hassle.
Is the added accuracy really worth it? Accuracy is a cumulative thing. One scanner is +_10um more than another. Then the mill is +_ 10um more than another. before you know it, you're up to 50um or more difference between another combination. Therefore, I prefer to use a system (or combination of systems) that is fast, easy, well supported, popular and common.
At a more basic level, 110um you can see with the unaided eye, 90um you cant. The tip of a dental probe is 80um. Its will pick up a margin at 90um but not at 70um. The use of a 3Shape scanner, combined with some of our 5 axis mills are capable of 20um accuracy, and that's good enough for MY mouth!
I'm no expert, so hopefully some other people will chime in.
Outsourcing doesn't add profit to the bottom line of any laboratory that does it. It simply lowers the...See more average selling price of his own units and those of the labs around him. I see labs advertising for prices BELOW what I charged in 1981 when we opened this business. We fought for so many years to be treated as professionals. We have American ceramists that will beat the pants off many of the European Gurus that ruled the magazines and lectures for years. We have raised the bar, and lowered our prices. I guess people forget this is a business and not a hobby.
"Getting used to it" is actually due to lesions of the nasal olfactory epithelium tissue and mucosal...See more degeneration and necrosis. Even at low levels.
The vapor liquifies when it contacts the mucous membrane of the mouth and you are actually ingesting monomer....which can also result in adverse central nervous system effects including headache, sleepiness, dizziness, slurred speech and blurred vision. That was my experience after working in an unventilated environment for a year. Not everyone is as sensitive in the short term but I'd take precaution to protect yourself from any sort of neuropathy later in life..... as well as the health of your employees.
Joe : I used lamps from Duro-Test with a CRI (color rendition index ) of 94. You should look for lamps...See more as close to CRI 100 as possible (CRI 100= sunlight). It should also be noted that lamps lose lumins through use so don't wait for them to burn out, they should be replaced yearly , working or not. Also I was advised not to use diffusers (grills ) of any kind.
Hope this helps.