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LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey respondents offer a mixed picture of their sales and profitability. On one hand, laboratory sales seem to be slowly improving. Profits, though, seem to be lagging behind.
A 2014 Fee Survey participant from the Midwest—who prefers to remain anonymous—offers a thoughtful take on how the rampant price competition on full contour zirconia restorations is negatively affecting the bottom line of many laboratories. Here’s what he had to say:
In the early 1980s, the price of gold skyrocketed and non-precious alloy showed up on the scene. Since it was a cheap metal, most labs didn’t even add the cost of the metal into the crown fee. However, they weren’t thinking about the revenue they had been making on gold alloys—or about the...
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.
Coming from 23 states and 12 countries, LAB DAY East 2014 attendees—more than 900 lab owners, managers and technician--were upbeat and optimistic about business and keenly interested in adding new materials, products and equipment to their labs.
In October 1985, amidst rumblings that U.S. laboratories were farming work out to offshore laboratories, LMT brought the issue out into the open. Our interview with Jerry Doviack, CDT, Owner of California-based Continental Dental Ceramics, took readers inside Interdent, his facility in the Philippines and sparked intense industry debate.
In the interview, Doviack explained his strategy behind setting up offshore production to provide outsourcing services to laboratories around the world, saying it wouldn’t take jobs away because the local laboratory would still provide a vital service to...
- October 2013
To stay viable in today's increasingly price-sensitive, competitive market, 7% of respondents send work offshore—an average of 24% of their caseloads&mdashmost often using a U.S.-based broker. Overall, laboratory owners' sentiments on the topic of offshoring are still split; 55%&mdashup from 31% in 2005&mdashfeel it's un-American and unfair to their employees, and another 30% say it's just part of the globalization of our economy.
- 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...
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- 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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- April 2013
All-ceramics, implants, profit erosion and other hot topics inspired dialogue during the biggest weekend of the year.
- March 2013
Sixty-eight percent of the larger laboratory respondents to LMTâs latest Howâs Business? survey are optimistic about this year, compared to only 42% of labs with five or fewer employees.
- November 2012
Paul Simpson turned his life around after he discovered dental technology at age 20. Still trying to shake off the consequences of growing up in a bad neighborhood and dropping out of school a few years earlier, he applied for a job at a local laboratory. "I had no car, no high school diploma and was struggling to pay my rent," he says. But soon after I started that job, my whole perspective changed. I enjoyed it—and was good at it—and knew I had a chance for a future."
The job was in a large laboratory with over 200 employees; he started out painting dies but was designing pressable...
In 1988 when the Soviet Union collapsed, eight-year-old Alexander Mouradov was forced to flee his home in Baku, Soviet Union to the Northern part of the country. Today, the 32-year-old has overcome his turbulent childhood to become a successful laboratory owner in Connecticut.
Mouradov moved to the U.S. in 1996 to start a new life as a typical suburban high school student in Glastonbury, CT. A few years later, he learned about the dental technology program at Eli Whitney in Hamden, CT through his sister, a dental hygienist. The rest, as they say, is history.
He graduated from the program in 2001...
Marketing maven Walter Orellana has gone back to basics; in today's changing landscape, he believes face-to-face sales and personal relationships are the real keys to success.
That's proven true at Excel Dental Studios where he was hired last year to help rebrand the laboratory, broaden its target market and grow the business. And grow it he did: the laboratory has gone from 12 to 35 employees in the last year alone.
Orellana's easy-going personality and knack for networking make him right at home exhibiting at trade shows, visiting dental offices and socializing with dentists in a variety...
Marisa Birnbaum doesn't back down from a challenge. In 2007, she and her brother David—who both learned about CAD technology at the Bronx High School of Science—opened a mobile laboratory operation with little laboratory or business experience, using the CEREC inlab system to make same-day crowns. Marisa did all the technical work while David handled sales and marketing.
In 2010, when the economy took its toll, she and David decided to switch gears and scrap the mobile concept. "The original business didn't pan out, but I knew the industry was still a great place to be," says Marisa....
- October 2012
The majority of respondents to LMT's 2012 Fee Survey are delaying fee increases in the face of price-cutting competition and declining caseloads.
- September 2012
Television cameras. 8,000 viewers. And a dental technician in the spotlight.
This is not a common scenario, but one day last year, Eddie Corrales, CDT, seized the opportunity to introduce his new venture—CADSmiles—directly to prospective patients when he appeared on the cable show, San Diego Living.
During the five-minute segment—which cost Corrales $1,000—he was interviewed by the show's host, demonstrated CAD/CAM scanning and design, and shared before-and-after photos of CADSmiles makeovers.
CADSmiles is an in-office service that Corrales markets to CEREC doctors....
Forty-five percent of respondents to LMT's exclusive 2012 Removable Survey rate the market as good and 35% classify it as fair. The majority say their removable business in the first half of 2012 is level or just slightly up or down compared to all of 2011.
At one end of the spectrum is the 9% of survey participants who say the market is booming and that business is markedly up. "All areas of our removable department are up. We had a record May and July was not far behind. As far as fixed, we are down double digits," says Gary Iocco, Owner, Dimension Dental Design, Hastings, MN.
At the opposite...
Uncertainty prevails among the respondents to LMTâs 2012 Wage Survey and theyâre being cautious about rehiring or raising wages. On a positive note, more than half saw an uptick in
- August 2012
During the "boom" years of the late 1990s-2008, lab fees made significant gains; in a number of cases, they caught up with or even exceeded the Consumer Price Index. It's not like the lab community has ever measured its fees against cost of living increases but, for the sake of observation, when LMT began tracking lab fees back in the 1980s, we sometimes looked at the rate of inflation as a sort of measure to record growth.
We are now on the cusp of year five since the economy went bust. As you will read in this issue's biennial Wage Report and next month in our Fee Report, the sense of being...
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For me, one of the greatest highs of our LAB DAY shows is returning home afterwards, brim-full of new ideas, juiced with the energy and creative strategies I pick up from you—our participants and clinicians—when I hear your presentations or we meet on the show floor.
One thing I noticed this year in particular is that the level of competitiveness among vendors at the show has ratcheted up several notches. It was Show- and-Tell in all its glory.
For example, all of the vendors on the Ballroom Level had elaborate displays, fantastic videos, excellent presentations and mouthwatering...
Instead of merely staying the course, laboratory owners are more engaged than ever in finding new ways to, as Steve Jobs coined it: "Think Different." Better yet, you are doing it—which is exactly what needs to happen! I'm freshly back from LAB DAY Chicago thoroughly impressed with the level of reinvention going on. From mergers and acquisitions to enterprising business strategies, both attendees and exhibitors are on their toes, challenged and not defeated.
LAB DAY 2012 could easily have been labeled "The Reinvention Convention."
The implant market is strong and growing, removables continue...
At its Capital Markets Day event in Amsterdam in May, Straumann shared its Vision 2020 project with investors and the media. Using existing data, new research and numerous interviews with experts in the field, Straumann's management team outlined key demographic, restorative and technological trends the dental profession will experience between now and 2020:
•As the cost of equipping and running dental practices increases, more practitioners will join group practices and chains; single-dentist practices will become less common. Consolidation will be even faster in the dental laboratory segment...
In 2008, Mike Mellon, CDT, was laid off. Today, he owns M&J Partials, LLC, in Leesburg, FL; has five employees; 32 active dentist- and laboratory-clients; and is on the way to owning his own building.
- June 2012
Once in jeopardy of closing, Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA, is thriving and has even added an evening program to accommodate its waiting list of students.
Respondents to LMT's Small Lab Survey speak out about the future of our industry.
The Future Looks . . . Great
My business has stayed strong through this terrible economy. If I made it through this, I can make it through anything. My cosmetic workload dropped off a bit during the past couple of years, but has really picked back up as of late.
My future looks incredibly solid. As the masses move toward CAD technology, I move in the completely opposite direction. I educate my clients on the shortcomings of this new technology and they're grateful for the insight. I work with dentists who...
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