Three steps to heightening the productivity of your dental lab
As a dental lab owner you will be fully aware of the fact that times have changed and the growth of your business is no longer a matter of course. Today, laboratories are competing with each other as they have never done before. Not only the quality of your work is decisive, but also the speed at which you accomplish it and your costs. As a result, it is of utmost importance to make sure that the processes in your laboratory are as productive as possible. You may now be asking yourself, “How should I go about this?”
That’s why we have devised three simple steps to help you make your laboratory more efficient:
Step 1: Your materials portfolio: Complement rather than duplicate
Working with too many options can be a risky business. We recommend that you critically review your portfolio of materials (e.g. veneering ceramics, all-ceramics). Analyze your veneering ceramics and staining systems in particular: Are all the components fully compatible?
Have you eliminated the superfluous products? If so, we congratulate you on having made your laboratory more productive in the following ways:
- You have a better idea of the quantities you are using.
- You have increased your flexibility in manufacturing and processing a large number of restoration types.
- You have saved money due to using your resources more efficiently.
- You have minimized the time and effort needed to order supplies.
- You have standardized work processes.
- You have reduced the risk of error.
P.S. It is interesting to note that the trend in dental laboratory technology is moving towards multi-purpose materials.
Step 2: Processes from a single source: Stay loyal to one brand
Many laboratories use equipment, software and materials from different manufacturers. As a result, they deprive themselves of considerable productive opportunities. It is important for you to decide on one system and stay with it. This will give you the assurance that all the components are fully compatible, the results are reproducible and the quality is impeccable.
Have you managed to decide on a particular product and processing system? If so, that’s great. You have become more productive in the following areas:
- The processes and materials used in your laboratory all match seamlessly.
- You have the assurance that you will not have to compromise on quality if different equipment is used.
- You minimize the risk of having to do a job twice.
- In the long term you will save investment costs compared with supposedly more affordable stand-alone modules.
- You will achieve consistently high-quality results which your customers will appreciate.
Step 3: Partnerships: Focus on your strengths
Not every lab is equipped to fabricate any type of restoration. Complex jobs such as the construction of bars and implant superstructures require very specialized equipment. Why not outsource this type of case to external partners (e.g. milling centres) so that you can focus on your strengths? Small laboratories in particular can benefit from such partnerships.
Does the work of your dental laboratory concentrate on specific manufacturing techniques and have you built up a network of specialized partners on whom you can rely? If so, your productivity will increase due to the following reasons:
- You will save time and use your resources where they are most productive.
- Partnerships will enable even small laboratories to offer their customers a wide range of high-quality products in a short time.
- Excellent partners will keep you abreast of the latest technology even in areas that are not your speciality.
Today’s dental technicians face great competition. Laboratory owners have to operate their businesses as productively as possible in order to successfully compete on the market. Now that we have presented some ideas on how to heighten the productivity of your laboratory, we would like to know what you think. We welcome your comments and suggestions on how to further increase the productivity and efficiency of dental labs. We look forward to hearing from you.
The future of dental-lab technology has long since begun. The digital revolution (CAD/CAM) has also reached the dental world. Are you interested to know where dental-lab technology is heading? We have summarized the six most important trends for you based on interviews with experienced technicians, lab visits and talks with experts.