Becoming a Full Service Lab

Becoming a Full Service Lab

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The Necessity of Diversifying Your Services

Technology has brought the most considerable directional shift that anyone in today’s dental industry has ever experienced. The “good ol’ days” where labs relied upon time-tested methods and practices have come to a resounding close. Dental labs are forced to compete in an ever-changing technological world.

The last few decades of significant technological advancements have increased workflow efficiency resulting in a highly competitive market. Digitalization changes the way that labs operate through increased efficiency. Suddenly, even a small dental lab can increase output and decrease production costs. Shipping times that were once measured in several days are now completed in the time it takes to upload a digital impression, model, or design file. As a result of these greater efficiencies, an increasing number of labs have expanded to include a more significant number of services and products to their dentists.

The Consequences

The consequences of digitalization have increased pressure on limited-service labs by forcing them to add products and services to maintain market share in an increasingly competitive market. AmericaSmiles understands the increasing need for our network labs to diversify to retain dental practices as continued clients. Large full-service labs are offering “package deals” to dentists with the agreement to receive all their restoration and service work. These “package deals” make it even harder for a small or medium-sized lab to compete. The amount of volume and ease of use for a dentist to send all of their labs to a single company that can do everything forces the small or medium-sized lab to think creatively to meet these challenges and stay competitive. The more services a lab can provide for a single customer result, the lower the prices, combined shipping, and fewer materials handling. These are value-added benefits that diversified service labs offer their clients and prospective clients.

Most small to medium-sized labs have neither the time, financial or human resources to implement all required to become a full-service lab. The good news is that outsourcing is now a practicable and profitable reality for any lab. The former fact of outsourcing as a slow process resulting in increased shipping and handling costs with little influence over quality control causing little or no profit margin has vanished. Now, much of the shipping and handling is completed with a simple file transfer. The lab owner controls the finished product as the digital design can be done to their exact specifications. There are many highly efficient design, milling and printing centers specializing in producing these services at a low cost. This allows limited-service labs to be on a level playing field with the big box, full-service labs regardless of limited resources.

Obtainable, Affordable, Profitable

Diversification is now obtainable, affordable, and profitable. The low prices of technology equipment such as lab scanners are now available to even the smallest lab budgets. Expanding your profit centers through diversification is not difficult but requires a strong support network. Your supplier should be knowledgeable about their products and have the tools to assist you in marketing, selling, and supporting their services and products. Suppliers must provide insight into a lab’s target market, explain complementary services, and deliver graphic design, marketing materials, and sales tactics specifically for individual products. A strong supplier relieves service lab management of added responsibility and is key to making diversification an efficient and profitable transition.

Our primary objective at AmericaSmiles is to equip labs to excel in today’s market. We have helped hundreds of small and medium-sized lab owners strengthen their position in the dental lab industry by partnering with them to increase efficiency, growth, and profits. Our “Lease to Own Program” has lifted many labs to the next level by allowing first-time scanner owners an affordable opportunity to enter the world of digitization. All equipment we offer is used in our owning milling center and workflow providing our support staff with hands-on experience. We provide an experienced IT staff that is well-versed in the technology of dental lab equipment and able to train and support our customers. AMS dental technicians are experienced digital designers and have taught many technicians in the transition to digital dentistry.

Our milling center has made it possible for many labs to diversify their product line with minimum investment. Our extensive service line allows labs to offer milled Zirconia, Emax, titanium, chrome cobalt, printed models, and more. Our entire IT milling department can assist in file conversion, file transfers, and many types of IT support. Support and assistance for all our milling services are always available as labs transition into diversification.

The Necessity of Diversifying

The AmericaSmiles Marketing and Sales department has assisted labs in diversifying their product and service offerings to their customers and prospective customers. We can adequately promote new products and services with marketing and sales programs tailored to a lab’s specific needs. In-house graphic design creates marketing pieces particular to a particular marketing and sales campaign. IT staff and website services can update websites and social media sites for consistent messaging and branding across all media platforms. We make every effort to provide all necessary resources with the limited investment needed for small labs.

The market will increasingly demand diversification and the reality is that you no longer need to worry about a competitor intruding on your business relationships due to limited resources. The more you can offer your dentist in terms of cost and services, the more value you bring to the business relationship, increasing security and profitability for your lab. Limited service labs no longer have to be fixed. The time for diversification is now!

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AmericaSmiles® was founded more than a decade ago after Keith Crittenden began sharing with dental industry colleagues his ideas for helping dentists improve their business as a means of growing his own dental lab business. Soon after, the AmericaSmiles® Network was launched and our mission has been supporting dental labs ever since.