Competing on price is not, of course, an unfamiliar reality—production/high volume laboratories have been the perceived competitors of small laboratories for decades. But now, with digital technology available to all size laboratories, the competitive arena enables some laboratories to make a comfortable profit via sheer volume and that is one of the causes of industry-wide price erosion.
As you see from our cover story, The Race to the Bottom is the takeaway mantra of respondents to LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey and it isn’t pretty. Because of price competition—fueled largely by...
Are you ready to take the plunge and invest in your own digital equipment? Going digital was the name of the game at NADL Vision 21 in Las Vegas in January where speakers offered tips on how to incorporate new technology into the laboratory.
Owners: Hal and Glenda Jones
“Hal and Glenda Jones are exceptional people first, exceptional employers second. I’ve been working here for 13 years and their genuine care for their employees shows throughout the company,” says Mikki Davis, Ceramist at Waco, TX-based Summit Dental Lab, echoing the resounding sentiment of the employees, a third of whom have worked there for a decade or more.
The Joneses believe that each employee’s character determines his ability to contribute positively to the team as a whole and enhances the quality of its products...
I've been traveling around the country this season and have visited a number of laboratories, manufacturers and educational institutions. As I was passing through the Pittsburgh area, I stopped to visit Nick Hayden at Partial Foundations Dental Lab. Watch for more stories in my Road Trip series throughout the 2014 issues of LMT. ~Judy Fishman
Many laboratories create esthetic restorations, but some owners and their teams are lucky enough to work in facilities that are as beautiful as the work they create.
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 photos. We’re calling ours Throwback Thirty and will be posting photos and snippets from our 30-year history with you every Thursday on The Bridge at LMTmag.com/ThrowbackThirty. But to make it really fun, we want you to join in!
We’d like you to...
- October 2013
When it comes to marketing, more laboratories are going digital to reach dentists: theyâre building websites, using social media, advertising online and phasing out printed marketing pieces in favor of digital ones.
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 his new position and where the company is headed.
LMT: As President, how has your role changed?
Myers: For 11 years, my priority was our manufacturing processes; now, it's more focused on customer needs and opportunities. I have much more interaction with...
- 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," says Fay Ashley, Customer Relations Manager.
The laboratory immediately began accepting outsourcing cases and Harp was chosen to head the department which has since grown to seven staff members and produces up to 600 units a week.
The success of the department...
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 lab's implant and CAD/CAM departments and moved into a consulting role, advising clients on everything from materials to digital impression systems to implants—which is his true passion.
"I'm fascinated by the high level of precision that's engineered...
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 certain way just because that's how they've always been done; I try to look at things differently and see where we can streamline workflow or gain efficiencies."
For instance, when Daniel was looking to take on more responsibility at the lab, she set out to...
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."
Eleven years later, the lab employs 35 people and, in 2009 moved into a new 7,000-sq-ft fishbowl...er laboratory.
"From the time I was bagging plaster at six years old, I knew I wanted to work with my father," says Christian, who earned a degree in computer information...
- 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 us, we emerged sleeker and wiser for our trials and tribulations. Sometimes the solution to one problem resolves others you don't even realize are nagging at your heels. Here are some issues we've had that may resonate with you:
PROBLEM: How can I ensure I'm...
- June 2012
Three-quarters of home-based lab owners responding to LMT's survey are "very satisfied" with their decision to work from home. In addition to the financial benefits, they appreciate the flexibility, relaxed atmosphere and their ability to balance work/home demands more easily.
- March 2012
Perhaps no single event in the last 100 years of dentistry has had a greater impact than the recent recession. Dr. Roger Levin explains how the economy is affecting your dentist-clients and what it might mean for their futures.
Declining profits and the loss of its largest client would send even the healthiest laboratory reeling. But as a result of its customer-focused plan, Jesse and Frichtel Dental Labs in Pittsburgh, PA, has emerged stronger and poised for growth.
Read More 6 minute read
"For me, selling well is based on meeting a client's needs, not self-servingly trying to "sell up" when it isn't called for."
- February 2012
Have an ingenious marketing strategy? Innovative cost-cutting idea? New way to streamline production? Share your best business boosting strategies with over 3,000 of your peers on THE BRIDGE!
8 Faster, Smarter, Better Management Strategies to Boost Your Business: We Want to Hear Your Management Strategies
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 enables a technician to focus on his product quality.
For example, some laboratories use a manual pre-scheduling system. Each technician has a designated block of time and pre-determined number of units he can handle per day. As cases come in, the office manager...
Read More 8 minute read
3 Faster, Smarter, Better Customer Service Strategies to Boost Your Business: What Are Your Secrets For Excellent Customer Service?
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.
Strategy: Consider a loyalty rewards program; many laboratories have programs that award dentist-clients cash, credit or even travel credits equal to 2-5% of their total volume. In 2009, Doug Egts, Owner of Esthetic Dental Creations in Rawson, OH, was spurred...
- January 2012
Our latest How's Business survey shows mixed results for 2011.
- November 2011
In September, prompted by an invitation from ProLab Solutions, LMT's Judy Fishman, along with industry peers, visited two Chinese dental laboratories
Read More 5 minute read
- June 2011
- April 2011
Reduced remakes. Technical expertise. Improved communication. Three things almost any laboratory owner would like to have more of, but how? A few progressive laboratory owners tell youâhire a dentist.