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Dental Economics Chief Editor, Chris Salierno, DDS, interviewed Steven Pigliacelli, CDT, MDT, about three trends lab owners should worry about. In the past, it was always up to the dentist to make choices about how a practice and lab was run, but these days it seems that forces beyond a dentists control are dictating more for the industry. Here is an excerpt of that interview from DentalEconomics.com.
Offshoring is double jeopardy. The work is sent overseas, most commonly to China, where labs may employ up to 1,500 technicians in one factory. We now have the large, corporate assembly line, as well as concerns about foreign-made products. FDA, ADA, HIPAA, and OSHA regulations do not apply there; therefore, we have no guarantee that approved materials are being used. Take a quick look online to see how many products from China have been found to contain lead within the last few years. Houses have been forced to be dismantled due to contaminated Sheetrock. Dog food, toys, and numerous other products have been recalled due to lead contamination. Why would our dental prosthetics be any different? In these countries, US labor laws are not enforced, thus allowing long-outlawed, 19th-century sweatshop practices to prevail.
Just like in your dental practice, my biggest expense is labor. I take pride in the handcrafted work we produce, similarly to how you are proud of the dental team you have assembled. But that means we have to pay salary, overtime, vacation, medical, social security, state taxes, unemployment, and so forth. Competing with offshore labs is impossible for domestic labs, so I don’t even try. The same goes for dental offices. How does a small office compete with large corporations that have massive marketing budgets as well as the buying power to get the lowest rates on materials?
Steven Pigliacelli, CDT, MDT, is a faculty instructor in postgraduate prosthodontics at New York University. He manages Marotta Dental Studio and directs the GPR and Prosthetic Resident Rotation there, an intensive educational program that focuses on the value of the technician/dentist relationship. He has published in dental journals, and he lectures and performs hands-on demonstrations at study clubs and seminars.
For Further Information
More on the dental lab market in China can be found in the report series published by iData entitled China Dental Prosthetics and CAD/CAM Devices Market. This report covers China, and includes market segment for Dental Prosthetics, CAD/CAM Prosthetics, Dentures, CAD/CAM Systems, and CAD/CAM Blocks.
The full iData series on the market for DBGS and barrier membranes covers the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, and 15 countries in Europe. Full reports provide a comprehensive analysis including units sold, market value, forecasts, as well as detailed competitive market shares and analysis of major players’ success strategies in each market and segment.
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