Digital transformation is on everyone’s lips as companies across industries battle to keep pace with rapidly evolving digital technology.
Dentistry is certainly no exception. Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), for example, are enabling dentists to provide highly personalised treatment options on shorter timelines.
The catch, however, is that patient expectations have evolved alongside new digital technologies. Patients now demand the best treatment options as standard, and want to pay less for them.
“Patient expectations have evolved alongside new digital technologies.”
This is putting more pressure on your relationship with your dental lab of choice. Your reputation depends on their ability to consistently deliver quality products on time and at competitive prices. If they fail to live up to their promises, so do you.
That’s why you need to develop a genuine partnership with your dental lab. It must be deeper than a semi-anonymous supplier/client relationship. You need to be able to leverage their expertise to add value to your practice — and even call in a favour when you need it.
“If [your dental lab] fails to live up to their promises, so do you.”
Of course, not all dental labs are created equal. So how do you find one that’s worthy of building a partnership with? Ask these five questions to assess the dental labs you’re considering…
1. What level of collaboration do you offer?
Partnering with a dental lab that employs local technicians and offers in-practice visits is vital. A personal connection is important for building a strong relationship, and a dental lab with a local, collaborative presence will help you bring external expertise into your practice.
2. Do you have manufacturing facilities in Australia?
Some patients prefer Australian-made products and are willing to pay a premium for them. Partnering with a dental lab with a local manufacturing facility will give you a competitive edge and another marketable product feature. These labs can provide choice to your patients – the lower price point made available by offshore manufacturing or the option to buy Australian-made.
3. What is your quality assurance process?
You need to trust that your dental lab will deliver consistent quality. Any lab worth its salt will have a formal quality assurance process in place. That means each and every product they manufacture should be checked by a local technician before it arrives at your practice.
4. What are your turnaround times?
Speedy turnaround times are good, however award extra points for flexibility. Can they provide express turnaround when you need it? Do they have local customer service reps who can work out a solution for you? Test their willingness to meet your needs.
5. Do you offer product warranties?
Good dental labs stand behind their work. They should offer warranties to protect you against workmanship and material defects that occur as a result of the manufacturing process. Seriously consider avoiding dental labs that don’t.
A dental lab should be more than a semi-anonymous supplier. Building a collaborative partnership with a quality lab can bring extra expertise into your practice and help to establish and protect your reputation as a best-practice dental business.