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An Interview with Tonya Hampshire
Tonya Hampshire, Director of Sales and Marketing for Custom Milling Center, discusses how current industry trends affect what laboratories should seek in an outsourcing partner.
Inside Dental Technology: We heard the news about Henry Schein acquiring Custom Automated Prosthetics (CAP). How will that affect CMC and your customers?
Tonya Hampshire: We are excited about the opportunity this acquisition presents our companies. It brings together two of the premier outsourcing centers. We look forward to working with CAP’s team and coordinating our efforts to best serve our laboratory partners. We will take advantage of both companies’ strengths to truly be a leader in the industry and continue to deliver innovative products and services.
IDT: As technology evolves and laboratories are faced with challenging decisions regarding which work to handle in-house, what should they keep in mind regarding the outsource option?
TH: A time will come for most laboratories who work with an outsourcing partner when it makes sense to consider purchasing a desktop mill. We suggest evaluating how many units they are producing per month, and if that number justifies the purchase of a desktop mill, then the next step is to consider the question of what types of restorations they want to produce in-house.
If a laboratory wants to begin milling full-contour zirconia in-house, it is important to be cognizant of the extensive material choices and competing brands, especially for the esthetic anterior zone. Stocking the various shades and numerous sizes means a huge commitment to investing in inventory. An outsourcing partnership can continue if the laboratory purchases one mill but decides not to invest in an additional mill; the milling center can provide overflow milling services. CMC provides backup milling services when equipment is down due to maintenance or repairs.
By choosing an outsourcing partner with digital knowledge, technical experience, flexibility, and a vast array of material choices, the laboratory can augment its workflow to meet the ever-changing industry needs.
IDT: What new materials/products are helping to increase workflow efficiencies and profitability for laboratories?
TH: This is an exciting time for our industry with the variety of new materials on the market, especially anterior options. We have seen a huge increase in the use of materials such as BruxZir and KATANA UTML, which produce a very lifelike translucency. An exciting development at CMC is the continued growth in demand for screw-retained hybrid bridges, primarily driven by the strength and advance esthetics.
It is important for laboratories to never say “no” to their dentists. If a dentist requests a product for which a laboratory does not have in-house capabilities, an outsourcing partner can be utilized to enable the laboratory to communicate with their dentists, “Yes, I can provide printed models, surgical guides, zirconia screw-retained hybrid bridges, etc.” Saying “no” is not a sound business strategy.
Select an outsourcing partner that has invested in the education, training, and precise quality equipment necessary to support your business needs not only for the short term but over the long haul as well.
IDT: What developments in CAD/CAM equipment are impacting the way the laboratories can partner with their dentists?
TH: Recently, we have witnessed an increase in digital file submissions from our laboratory partners. We feel this increase is being fueled by the results the dentists are seeing with regard to the accuracy and speed of today’s digital impression scanners. Additionally, it is important to market those capabilities, so that dentists know you are capable of receiving digital files. Manufacturers are making it very easy for dentists and laboratories to communicate with each other using these digital devices, but it is also important for laboratories to make sure the devices’ capabilities are being maximized. An outsourcing partner can help educate you on the use of digital equipment as well as how to properly position your laboratory to more effectively compete.
IDT: What added values should a laboratory look for in an outsourcing partner?
TH: We have always strongly believed a milling center should partner with laboratories and help them thrive. An outsourcing center should not be their competition.
Laboratory owners should choose an outsourcing partner that wants to build a relationship by providing excellent service, quality restorations, technical support, and advance education. Choose a partner that offers the most advanced equipment run by CNC machinists who understand the mills, software, and tooling paths needed to produce consistently high-quality restorations at an affordable price. A milling center should always be there to meet the customer’s expectations.