Preparing for the Unexpected in 2010

The end of 2009 is near. Have you accomplished your last year’s New Year resolution?

Actually, I don’t even remember if I made one, other than the usual, “try to be a better example to my kids.” That one I routinely renew every year…

The problem is that a new year’s resolution is a goal and studies show that 2% of us actually have written goals. Personally I think 2% is a little high but I’m not an “expert” in that area.

Preparing for the Unexpected

So what’s this all about? It’s about being prepared. As most all of you know by now, John Ness passed away unexpectedly in June this year. Without going into a lot of detail, there was a virtual Tsunami that washed over all of us here at PTC. John was PTC. He created it, sold it, taught it, and maintained it. He was irreplaceable.

If that doesn’t ring any bells for you it should. In nearly every organization there is that person or persons that can’t be replaced. Whether it is you as the owner that has built and nurtured your lab or a key technician that you depend on for some part of your production and income.

Fortunately, at PTC, we were as prepared as we could be and the transition went fairly smoothly. Which brings me to my real purpose for this message. Are you prepared for the unexpected?

Unexpected could be anything. It is simply the opposite of what you expect. You could expect your business to remain steady, grow a little or grow a lot. You could expect that your employees will stay forever or that you might loose key people. You could expect off shore to ruin your business or help it grow. You can expect new technology to affect you positively or negatively.

In any of these examples, if your expectations are wrong or you have done nothing to prepare for the unexpected, you will be adversely affected.

In the most extreme case it could mean your business.

Many labs this past year, have downsized due to the lack of work. Other labs, on the other hand, have been hiring and training vigorously. They have used this time to restructure, cross train, and add new technology. A few that I know of had to borrow to do it.

The 2010 Overseas Explosion

I do not have a crystal ball on this one, but as a result of my communication with many laboratories across the United States and the world, this is what I do know; the world is awakening to the opportunities in dental technology. We get inquiries at least once a week from foreign laboratories preparing to deliver.

I believe 2010 will be another turning point for our industry. Those who are prepared will prosper and will have the versatility to adapt to change. Those who have waited to see what is going to happen will have to watch it happen because those who have prepared will have long passed them by.

Domestic Strategy

Our challenge is to be prepared, to raise our standards to improve our consistency, our quality and our productivity. Many are buying machines, scanners, cad-cam, 3D printers and moving into more modern facilities. All those efforts are positive, but they can only be a part of the solution. Establishing strong, stable, sound, technical and management fundamentals must be the start. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can improve your quality and production standards simply by buying machines and training high end alone because I know you can not. As in my last message, I highly recommend you download the occlusal anatomy test sheet then have your technicians fill in the occlusal. Make the judgement for yourself whether they are fundamentally prepared for the unexpected.

Preparing with PTC

There is no way to say this to keep it from sounding like this whole message was a sales pitch, but take it as you see it. I feel like I raised the problem, I need to provide a solution.

A couple of years ago PTC sold individual programs called PTC Learning Modules. These modules consisted of PTC TechBooks and training DVDs covering the technical procedures in crown and bridge waxing, porcelain application, porcelain contouring, color and denture fabrication. The price was very low and, in fact, much too low for the value, so the sale of Learning Modules was discontinued.

I have decided, reluctantly, that for the month of December, we will make these Learning Modules available again at the original price of $649 each. The porcelain application dentures modules are a little more as there are multiple DVDs included.

I passionately believe there is no better way to prepare for the future than to be certain your technicians, new and experienced, have strong, proven technical fundamentals that will provide them and you with the common communication and technical foundation that are vital to meet the challenges ahead regardless of what they might be.

Jim Mahan, CDT
President and CEO

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