(Vocus/PRWEB) March 17, 2011
The global dental laboratories market is expected to exceed $14.5 billion by 2015, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. As the dental lab industry approaches this new level of demand, dental labs will be forced to manage growth. There is a pattern that many dental labs follow as they achieve and respond to growth. A solid business is started, dentists are happy with the products and service and then demand increases, more technicians are hired, growth continues, and then the lab hits a wall. It’s often at between six and ten technicians. Dentists begin to complain that service is deteriorating and that work is inconsistent. Owners find that, despite the increased revenue, the lab’s bottom line is not significantly higher and the increased management time is not worth it. Technician numbers drop back. Dentists are happy again, managers cease to feel overwhelmed and the lab remains stable at the previous number of technicians into the foreseeable future.
This happens after about six to eight technicians because the number of cases hits a critical mass. Suddenly there are more cases than a dental lab manager can track just by visually scanning the benches. Suddenly there are enough dentists that it becomes difficult to remember them all – their locations, preferences, staff names. When this happens the personal touch is lost. When the dental office calls the expected customer service is not what it used to be.
The key to successful growth in the dental lab industry is making each customer feel like s/he is the most important customer. This is achieved in a couple of ways:
First, through customer management. Evident’s TAPI compatible phone technology brings the dentist record to the screen with the incoming phone call. The Attributes feature gives dental labs the ability to classify customers so lab staff can quickly retrieve the information needed to ensure the dentist feels recognized and appreciated. Technical preferences can be tracked by task (production step) keeping technicians in sync with the dentist’s expectations. The Evident Dentist Gateway helps dental practices access information anytime. Solid customer service is crucial for retention through growth.
Secondly, scheduling must be computerized. After six technicians it is vital that the computer’s memory instead of the lab owner’s be relied upon to ensure that cases progress through the lab on time. This is facilitated by Evident’s Exception reporting which lists all “problem” cases on the Evident Home window where they can’t be ignored together with the reason why they are behind. In addition, Evident’s Workflow window shows task-by-task, what is behind, on time, and ahead of schedule. Optional technician access puts the cases in front of the technicians making for easier production management and oversight. For growth to work, every case must be right there on the screen where it cannot be overlooked.
Good dental lab management systems take the information from the knowledge of the lab staff and puts it at the fingertips of the person in the lab who needs it right now. It takes a second to see where the case is held up, what cases should be finished today, invoiced today and shipped today. Lab staff can see a dentist’s case load, financials, and communication history. Having that information accessible fast is what keeps the customers feeling taken care of. Staying on top of production is what keeps the product consistent. And growth works when customers stay happy and products stay consistent. It is vital to set up the systems that will accommodate growth in advance in order to make the transition smooth and to be able to sustain it.
Evident dental laboratory software is there for dental labs at all stages of the business cycle, from start-up, growth, consolidation and sale. Evident is available to dental labs in North America and is dedicated to improving the business of its customers. As dental labs gear up for the projected increase in demand due to the aging generation of the baby boomers, Evident is constantly researching new ways to increase the efficiency of the dental lab.