In its infancy, laboratory owners didn’t immediately see the internet’s application to their business. However, in the past 15 years, the number of laboratories with internet access has tripled,...See more with 88% of U.S. laboratories LMT surveyed now having online capability. The ability to transmit data over the internet is fueling the growth of milling centers and subcontracting businesses. Emailing questions, case considerations and photos with clients has become the norm. And the opportunity for far-reaching promotion has prompted more than 40% of laboratories to market their nother third to use social media to network with clients. Visit LMTmag.com tomorrow for another LMT Memorable Moment.
This Fall I’m heading to the great state of Arizona for a couple of months and I’m hoping to meet some laboratory owners while I’m there. I’m also hoping I can make some stops during...See more the drive out (the last week of October) and possibly the first week of January on the drive back. Our route takes us through Harrisburg, PA, then along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and over to I-70 and down to I-40. We’ll be going through Columbus, OH; Indianapolis; St. Louis and Springfield, MO; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK; then across to Amarillo, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and into Flagstaff, AZ. We are taking all three dogs and our one remaining twenty-one-and-a-half-year-old cat and renting a house in Fountain Hills, just north of Phoenix, through the end of the year. I’m letting you know so you can let me know if you’d welcome a quick hello. I’d love to know some history about your laboratory and how you’re faring in this digital age. If your lab is near any of the interstates we’ll be on, please email me: judy@LMTmag.com. The Internet affords me the opportunity to work remotely. As long as I can connect, I can work. The best thing is that, these days, making connections seems to be on everyone’s mind, even though these connections are mostly not face-to-face. They are eye to smartphone, to tablet, to laptop. Nevertheless, in business, connecting is akin to marketing and the digital age provides an entirely fresh landscape to populate with both social and promotional messaging. That is what this issue is all about: It is jam-packed with useful, valuable ways to reach out to your client base in the digital realm. Most laboratory owners are not marketing themselves and their services online in a big way. That’s fine. Time is on your side; dental professionals are traditionally late adopters to new marketing technologies. It’s just a matter of education . . . and time. On the other hand, experience teaches us that some trends creep in slowly and then, before we blink, overwhelm us with how quickly they’ve taken over. We don’t want that to happen to you. We want you to be future ready and I think you’ll find this issue to be a terrific guide. P.S. We took our own advice and are future ready. That’s why we created The BRIDGE at LMTmag.com. With over 13,000 laboratory peers already signed on, it is the industry’s own social media hotspot. As a marketing tool, it’s particularly perfect for anyone offering lab-to-lab services. See page 42 for details.
It's time to get involved in social media: it's free, it's easy, and more and more of your competitors are doing it.
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.
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...See more 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 our sales team and Whip Mix customers. LMT: What stands out to you regarding your customers? Myers: The most striking thing about our laboratory customers is their level of energy, dedication and desire to improve their businesses. Rather than hoping digital technology won't affect them, they're rolling up their sleeves, re-inventing themselves and embracing new technology. LMT: Tell us more about Whip Mix's Dental Technology Solutions products and services. Myers: Our Dental Technology Solutions (DTS) team provides milling services to assist labs beginning the transition into the digital realm of dentistry. Kent Kohli, CDT, as Manager of Dental Technology Solutions, oversees the quality control and helps customers apply digital technologies to enhance the outcome of their work. Our team also includes CNC mill operators experienced in CAM programming strategies. Basically, we accept .stl files from any scanner and use the Roland DWX-50 mills for milling zirconia substructures, full contour zirconia crowns and wax patterns. Our milling services provide customers with a cost-effective way to start the digital journey, requiring only the purchase of a scanner. We help labs make the transition by milling difficult or test cases for them as they master their skills. In addition, our milling center is a backup resource for our laboratory customers. We also sell the CAD/CAM equipment and materials we use in our milling center. This includes 3Shape scanners, Roland DWX-50 mills, Sum3D software and Vericore zirconia, PMMA and wax milling discs. We don't bundle material requirements with equipment purchases as some resellers do; we're more of an open source to give our customers more flexibility and options. We also help laboratory customers with ROI advice and weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing vs. purchasing equipment. For example, if you're outsourcing six units or more per day, it probably makes sense to purchase a milling machine. LMT: What support services do you offer for the CAD/CAM equipment you sell? Myers: Customer service has always been the cornerstone of the Whip Mix philosophy and in the digital world; well-versed, ongoing technical support is even more important than ever before. First, we include the fundamental training as part of the 3Shape scanner and Roland mill purchase; we also offer advanced design and milling training sessions on more complex case design and workflow. Secondly, our support team includes dental technicians trained to troubleshoot customers' problems as well as Information Technology Support technicians to assist customers with connectivity and computer interface needs. We also provide additional support through social media and other online education venues such as webinars and blogs. These venues give us more immediate ways to enhance our customer service and inform and educate our customers. LMT: You were instrumental in implementing Lean Manufacturing at Whip Mix, drawing on your background from the automotive industry, and won the Kentucky Association of Manufacturing's Employee of the Year in 2011 for your efforts. What's new on that front? Myers: Lean Manufacturing is an ongoing process. After revamping most of our processes, we're now focusing on smaller areas to tweak and improve. Our WIN—Whip Mix Improvement Network—encourages employees to continuously provide recommendations on how to improve productivity, customer service, quality and safety. Any staff member can participate by identifying a problem and suggesting solutions for fixing it. With this program, striving for continuous improvement has become a company-wide effort and not just a manufacturing initiative. Last year, we received ISO 13485 certification, which is a quality system standard preferred around the world for medical device manufacturing; we see it as an integral part of our strategy to compete successfully in global markets. Maintaining this certification requires a periodic third-party check of our quality system and this added scrutiny provides another way to continually improve our processes and organization. We've also hired John Waters as our Regulatory Compliance Officer, which is a new position at the company. We are using his special training as a Black Belt in Innovation Engineering to bring innovative ideas for new products and services to fruition faster and more effectively. LMT: What new products have you introduced lately? Myers: At LMT LAB DAY West in May, we showed a new sintering furnace, Infinity ZR, and it will start shipping in September. It has four-stage capability for optimized firing programs and capacity to hold three sagger trays. The Infinity ZR has similar programming to Jelrus ovens, so it's easy and familiar to customers and can be used for all zirconia. LMT: What do you see for the future of Whip Mix? Myers: During the past 15 years, we've acquired several companies and product lines—including IntraTech Dental Products, Ardent, Hanau, Denar and Jelrus—and used our expertise to improve the profitability, quality and efficiency of those operations. Therefore, acquisition is still part of our growth strategy along with organic growth. This is an exciting time in terms of the changes occurring in the industry. With the impact technology is having on Whip Mix and traditional products, we're strategically looking at different horizons. Of course our history is in materials and manufacturing and we'll continue that focus by funneling resources into R&D for CAD/CAM fabrication materials and digital equipment. Whip Mix's future plans also include expanding the Dental Technology Solutions product offerings and services to more than a milling center. We're committed to using the products we sell so that we can support laboratories from our practical experience. What won't change is Whip Mix's dedication to and support of the dental laboratory community. What questions do you have for Whip Mix? Visit the company's Vendor Page on our website.
Find Everything Social Media on The BRIDGE!
The BRIDGE is an online network from LMT dedicated exclusively for members of the Dental Laboratory community. Join free to learn more about Social Media and other topics.
Tallahassee, Fla. Dental patients have more to worry about than flossing and brushing daily—the restorations they put in their mouths have a direct impact on their overall health. As a result, the...See more National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) is promoting transparency in dentistry and the role and value of trained dental technicians with the release of its new website and social media outlets. NADL will use its new website and social media platforms to serve as the foundation for its ongoing public awareness campaign, "What's In Your Mouth?" "It's important for dentists and patients to have a full understanding of where their dental restorations are coming from and what materials are used in the process," said Henry Martin, CDT, NADL President. "Restorations from certified dental labs meet national and industry standards. Problems occur when restorations are not made in certified dental labs." Poorly-made dental restorations—whether made in America or abroad—can lead to a range of health consequences for patients, and in turn, legal consequences for dentists. Growing demand for dental work in America has created a market that features both high-end and economy-priced work. Dental restorations increasingly are being imported from countries like China, India and Vietnam. Depending on the country, those dental laboratories may not be subject to the same scrutiny that domestic laboratories receive from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Domestic labs remain unregulated in more than 40 states. Prior to launching its campaign, NADL spent 18 months facilitating a series of focus group meetings and conducted national surveys with the dental laboratory industry to gather information about the current status of dental laboratories and their products. The purpose of the "What's in Your Mouth?" campaign is to provide dental consumers, dentists and the dental laboratory community with the knowledge they need to make important purchasing decisions. NADL launched its new website (www.whatsinyourmouth.us) and created a YouTube page for its informational videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/WIYMCampaign/videos) this month. "We are excited about the formal launch of our new website and YouTube videos," said Gary Iocco, NADL President Elect and Co-Chair of NADL's Public Awareness Committee. "We hope to use social media to spread awareness about the critical role of the certified dental technician." "It's our hope that the public will hear our message and share our videos and website with their friends and followers," said Leon Hermanides, CDT, NADL Board Member and Co-Chair of NADL's Public Awareness Committee. For information on the campaign, please visit the NADL website: www.nadl.org.
The National Association of Dental Laboratories is pleased to announce the launch of two new social media outlets that will serve as the foundation of NADL's ongoing public awareness campaign to address...See more core policy objectives that promote "transparency in dentistry" and the role and value of a competently trained dental technician. "During the last year and half, NADL has conducted a series of focus group meetings, conducted national surveys with the dental laboratory industry to gather ideas and input for the messaging for this campaign, the core of this objective has now come to fruition, there is much work to do going forward to ensure that the message is heard" says Henry Martin, CDT, NADL President. The new social media outlets are www.whatsinmymouth.us and https://www.youtube.com/user/WIYMCampaign/videos The information gathered on these sites provides comprehensive information for the dental consumer, dentists and the dental laboratory community. The campaign to promote these sites to consumer organizations and dental organizations and the dental community will take place starting in August 2013. The goal is to encourage interested parties to include these web references on their own social media platforms so that a broader population of individuals can be reached. "We are excited about the formal launch of these two major components of NADL's comprehensive public awareness campaign, advocating for the role of the dental technician is paramount to NADL's mission as an organization" says Gary Iocco, NADL President Elect and Leon Hermanides, CDT, NADL Board Member, who serve as Co-Chairs of the Public Awareness Committee. For information on the campaign and how to help get the message out contact NADL at email@example.com.