To truly understand our customers and best support their endeavors and growth, it’s essential to stay abreast of industry trends and challenges. We find that the best way to do this is to take every opportunity to meet with our clients and talk to fellow industry experts, like our friends at the ADSO.
Here are the key takeaways from our recent trip to Austin to participate in the 2022 ADSO Summit.
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The global pandemic served as a cold, brutal reminder of just how much growing-up businesses have yet to do. Empty store shelves and the ‘great resignation’ reflect the immature, limited business practices plaguing our planet, failing us when we need them the most.
Prior to the pandemic, procurement leaders had only just begun to pull up a ‘seat at the table,’ garnering the attention of CEOs and shareholders for their ability to impact profitability, productivity, service levels, and growth.
Large companies—most often built through acquisitions—have expensive technology sitting on local networks that limit communication and the sharing of critical data. As a result, disparate systems and fragmented processes plagued many industries.
And, of course, the evolution of SaaS software, its low barrier of entry, and ability to easily share data across locations and enterprises was still infantile in its development. Only the most advanced of companies improved their visibility and enabled the kind of proactive, informed decision-making that builds resilience.
Fast forward to 2022, and you see organizations around the world scurrying to leverage technology for better procurement and supply chain management and finally realizing the criticality of culture in attracting and retaining employees, implementing change, and optimizing business outcomes.
The dental industry is no exception—that was the resounding message of the 2022 ADSO conference.
The truth is dental practitioners don’t fancy themselves business owners and, generally speaking, fail to train and educate themselves as such, choosing to remain focused on patient care and often simply overwhelmed by the day-to-day.
Although we aren’t an exception, the dental industry does lag behind in implementing standard business strategies—best practices and standard processes remain rudimentary at best, less mature than many other industries. The good news is that SaaS solutions now provide the opportunity for practices to leapfrog into a more efficient and profitable future.
As our team explains it, most of the conversation revolved around two main challenges—The ROI of Culture and how to do more with less.
The ROI of Culture
The industry-wide need to retain employees has led to the emergence of a new buzzword—The ROI of Culture. Of course, the term itself implies that culture is something worth spending time and maybe even money on, but what exactly is it, what does it really impact (or is it just a whole lot of fluff?), and well, how do you get yourself a good one?
They say mindset follows culture, and it’s quite true. Whether a result of passivity or strategically fostered, company culture is how your employees feel, behave, and react. By creating a culture that aligns with your strategy and values, you can ensure your employees’ actions and your company’s trajectory align as well.
For instance, a company culture that is focused on employee well-being and creates an environment where open, candid dialogue is encouraged will help you attract and retain employees.
And by developing a culture of change acceptance, you can make for an effective, well-run dental practice where growth provides employees opportunity, patients receive ultimate care, and healthy profits secure long-term viability.
For leaders looking to drive their business forward and do more with less, culture is a valuable tool that sets the stage for success.
Doing More with Less: Increasing Office Efficiencies
Rising wages for comparable jobs, the ‘great resignation,’ and even supply chain issues have led to a human capital shortage. Across the industry, high turnover rates, staffing issues, and empty pipelines for everything from doctors to hygienists and dental assistants continue to plague practices.
Exasperated by Covid, the talent gap has led to some DSOs offering to cover education costs as a perk in hopes of retaining staff. Meanwhile, dental assistants are looking at out-of-industry opportunities in search of better compensation and finding it.
According to The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), since the beginning of Covid, 8% of dental hygienists have left the profession. And it seems all other dental office positions are following suit.
The employees that remain are being asked to wear many hats and expand their responsibilities, often expected to do the jobs of two or three people, furthering the need for solutions that alleviate the pressures.
By streamlining processes, increasing productivity, and decreasing required resources, your office can function more effectively with fewer people. Considering the highest cost on a dental P&L is people, increasing efficiencies can significantly impact your bottom line and minimize the deleterious effects of staffing issues.
Luckily, when it comes to doing more with less, technology lends a hand, making easy work of complex tasks.
The challenges for dental practitioners, however, don’t end there.
The Roadblocks to Scaling
Scaling requires a strong foundation—repeatable, efficient processes that can withhold the pressure of increased volume and open and effective lines of communication between departments and business partners.
Scaling an unprofitable business only serves to compound your losses. Therefore, a practice must first improve profitability and efficiencies to be scalable.
However, due to their lack of business acumen, dental practitioners often fail to execute business strategies, including establishing a vision for the company and communicating that vision to employees.
Many are at a loss when building a scalable structure, leading to the lack of a clear strategy and the requisite careful planning across HR, IT, finance, and operations.
Further challenges were reported as:
- Collaboration between clinical and operations
- Increasing automation and refocusing staff
- Helping Leaders embody DSO Culture
- Change Management
There’s no arguing that the challenges are great. But luckily, the opportunities are even greater.
Increasing office efficiencies and decreasing overhead costs with streamlined procurement and inventory management allows you to relocate savings to support scaling or education initiatives.
It’s essential to know your business priorities and be realistic when implementing new processes and technologies. Aligning yourself with the right industry-minded partners who understand your dental practice and will be “hands-on” when it comes to implementation and training is critical to success. The last thing you want is someone who passes you a manual and leaves you to be on your merry way.
If increasing efficiencies and improving profits is one of your business priorities, you may want to find out more about how Method can help you buy smarter and faster, so you can scale profitably. See how Method Works.
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