Strength in Numbers

To succeed in an increasingly competitive environment, laboratory operators are adopting a “don’t go it alone” mentality. Here are f ive partnerships that are helping owners/managers grow their businesses, share valuable feedback on new technology, gain buying power and even create an exit strategy.

There are 5 articles
  • Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Laboratory Owners Create Their Own Lab Group

    When Gary Iocco was thinking about his long-term exit plan, he wasn’t sure he liked his options. “I didn’t have an employee interested in purchasing the lab so I thought the alternative was selling to a laboratory group,” said Iocco, Owner of Dimension Dental Design, Hastings, MN. “But I was concerned that a group would want me to change my business model, or perhaps even terminate employees or send work offshore. I just really didn’t want to do that.”

    So what did he do? He joined forces with another successful laboratory owner—Todd Mayclin, CDT, Mayclin Dental Studio, Minneapolis—to form their own laboratory group. Mayclin had already acquired two other laboratories—E.C. Chmel, Eau Claire, WI and Jackson Fairmont, Fairmont, MN—and he and Iocco saw an opportunity to pool resources, ensure the longevity of each lab, and continue to grow with additional acquisitions.

    In 2015, Iocco and Mayclin formed a multi-laboratory holding...

    Maribeth Marsico

    May 12, 2016

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  • Sharing Strategies Gives TEREC Labs a Competitive Edge

    Artistic Dental Lab in Chicago has been a member of TEREC N.A. (Technical Research Consortium of North America) for only three months but CAD/CAM Manager Dan Ulaszek, CDT, feels they’ve already gotten their yearly dues’ worth and then some.

    For example, at Ulaszek’s first meeting in January, another member recommended a milling disc supplier that will save Ulaszek over $2,000 a year, and he also had an opportunity to measure his lab’s production against other labs using the same systems. “You never really know how well you’re doing until you can compare apples to apples with another lab; that information is priceless,” he says. “We learned so many little pearls of wisdom at our very first meeting and have been able to look at our lab from a different point of view because of it.”

    Founded in 1985, TEREC holds three meetings each year in different areas of the country. Each meeting features presentations from manufacturers and other industry...

    Kaitlyn Roberts

    May 12, 2016

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  • New Partnership Affords New Opportunities for Growth

    Owner Chris May, CDT, was well positioned for growth. His 12-year-old laboratory, May Dental Arts in Fenton, MO, was successful, modern, efficient and well-staffed with 30 employees. But he also felt he had taken the business as far as he could on his own; he wanted additional capital, marketing assistance and IT support in order to grow his lab further.

    May and industry veteran Donald Park have been friends for over five years, first meeting when Park worked for a CAD/CAM manufacturer and May was his customer. May knew that Park had a good understanding of laboratory operations and would periodically ask for his advice. Park knew May ran a top-notch laboratory. During that same time, Park had been talking with Long Trail Holdings, a private equity firm interested in getting into the dental laboratory market.

    The result of those connections came to fruition earlier this year with the creation of Central Dental Holdings LLC (CDH), backed by Long Trail Holdings. CDH acquired May Dental Arts...

    Kelly Fessel Carr

    May 17 at 2:45 pm

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  • Small Labs Reap Big-Lab Benef its from OPT-In Cooperative

    Although Rick Sonntag owns his own four-person laboratory, he has the power of a much larger operation behind him. Sonntag is a member of the OPT-In Dental Laboratory Cooperative, a group of small, independently owned labs focused on helping its members build their businesses and strengthen their competitive advantage.

    “All of our members have common goals and values and are committed to sharing information as freely as possible,” says Sonntag, RDT, AAACD, Owner of 4Points Dental Designs, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL. “And, since we’re all small businesses, we all have the same competition: big box labs and private equity-backed group labs. If we act as a group, it makes all of our individual laboratories stronger.”

    That synergistic effect was the vision Dean Mersky, DDS, had in 2012 when he created the OPT-In Cooperative, an aggregate of small labs with 20 or fewer employees. Potential laboratory members undergo an interview process to ensure they fit with the...

    Maribeth Marsico

    May 17 at 2:52 pm

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  • DTG's Rallying Cry Unites Like-Minded Technicians

    In 2013, frustrated by the changes he was seeing in the industry—mass digitization, commoditization, consolidation—Von Grow, Owner of Dark Horse Dental Studio in Pleasant Grove, UT, sent out a rallying cry via social media to his fellow technicians:

    “I propose that we all band together in the name of high-end, handmade, esthetic restorations and do not let machines take over our jobs. …Instead of hoarding all of our secrets and techniques, we give the information away freely to other like-minded technicians and dentists,” proposed Grow. “…everyone within the sound of my voice who is feeling helpless, downtrodden, fearful of the future or just wants to get excited again about the work you do, let’s take a stand. Let’s get a worldwide network going that is so big, it cannot fail.”

    His words struck a chord and technicians responded in droves. The result? The Dental Technicians Guild (DTG), a closed Facebook-based group where members...

    Kim Molinaro

    May 17 at 4:06 pm

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