In the September 2014 issue of LMT Magazine, managing editor Kim Molinaro, reports that respondents to their 2014 Wage Survey overwhelmingly indicated they have made cuts in the last two years that have related to personnel. The most likely actions cited included freezing pay, cutting hours, laying off technicians and reducing overtime. The article focuses on increased costs of doing business, costs of benefits, and downward pricing pressure. What is most interesting is that these actions were occurring at a time when nearly half of respondents saw an uptick in their during during early 2014. According to the article, these respondents seem to be taking a cautious approach to the current market conditions.
ACDLA is dedicated to helping our members grow during this time and we are very positive about the future. In fact, we believe there are a number of important things that lab owners can do RIGHT NOW in order to assure their competitiveness and stave off any risk in the market:
1) Seek out and utilize Buying Groups for materials and supplies. ACDLA, in conjunction with our partner, AmericaSmiles Network, has a fantastic agreement with NOWAK Dental Supplies to offer a huge discount on all materials. Discounts are 15-25% off of materials for all ACDLA members.
2) Consider joining a marketing program with added benefits. AmericaSmiles.net offers significant benefits to members. These include participation in the largest group of on-line dental referral sites (AmericaSmiles.com), free website hosting, discounts on milling services through their exclusive and certified dental design and milling house (AMS Dental Technologies), discounts on marketing materials, special dentist and patient promotional programs, and more.
3) Consider making additional sales calls and introducing your services to more dentists in your area. In at least one LMT Magazine survey, more than half of dentists have changed their primary lab in the last 5 years. Offering some discounts for trials and focusing on quality and service are key value statements for dentists. If you made two additional calls each week, and secured a new customer every month, you could see your business grow significantly over a 12-month period.
4) Re-assess the quality and consistency of your work. Are you delivering a product that increases your customer’s confidence? Are you timely and consistent? What can you do to make working with your lab an even better experience for your dentists? Now is the time to be looking at your organization and determining what else you can do to make your lab distinctive.
5) Perhaps it is time to add new products or services to your lab. If you are not currently offering crowns, is now the time to increase the value of your lab? If you added services, it might just be the reason why a dentist says with you, or reconsiders using your lab. Could you offer your dentists materials? Even a low margin add-on business like providing impression material or other services might be the difference between profit and loss in a tough market. There are many places you can secure high quality products for your customers.
6) Finally, is it time to add new technology to your lab? An investment in a scanner could reduce the cost of shipping, speed the time to get teeth from your milling center, and give you more control over the process. In addition, perhaps you could help your dentists incorporate technology into their business. If they aren’t asking you about technology, they are probably asking someone. As their lab services provider, you should be a trusted advisor on dental technology. ACDLA looks forward to providing you insight and information that can help you with this task. Start looking for our technology highlights.
Now is not the time to pull back on your activity. The market is always going to be tough, but together, our association is pursuing new programs and opportunities which we believe can make the difference in your success. Do not hesitate to contact us if we can assist you in any way.