Six Sigma and Lean: The New Kids on the Orthodontic Block

Two of the ideas we’ve seen popping up in dental and orthodontic literature are Lean Management and Six Sigma Management. For those who aren’t familiar with these ideas, they are systems management processes for businesses. Lean Management focuses on eliminating waste (anything that doesn’t contribute to reaching your final goal) while Six Sigma focuses on eliminating mistakes by improving your systems. In our little sphere of the business world, Lean and Six Sigma are showing up in practice management applicationspractice building strategies and even in CE classes.

Obviously with what we do at MidAtlantic Ortho (design, manufacture and manage inventory) we are well acquainted with these efficiency and quality-assurance ideas. While these types of processes have a direct application to what we do, it’s worth considering if there are any ideas that can be extrapolated for the individual practice? For most practices, and really most businesses, the answer is a resounding yes. Continue reading “Six Sigma and Lean: The New Kids on the Orthodontic Block”

Supply Side Economics for Your Orthodontic Practice

shutterstock_504529687A few months back, The Progressive Orthodontist ran a story about maximizing your practice’s profitability through inventory management.

I have identified many ways to manage inventory more effectively and reduce costs.  And you can’t just focus on the big stuff.  The little things add up very quickly in Orthodontic practices but are typically given little attention, which can cost you big.  Following are five easy but effective tips to better manage your inventory.

There’s some good information in the story that every orthodontist should consider. However, there are two places the article comes up a little short. Continue reading “Supply Side Economics for Your Orthodontic Practice”

Are Antiquated Inventory Processes Bleeding Your Bottom Line Dry?

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When it comes to running a small business, the assumed effectiveness of existing systems can be a real threat to the bottom line. Even systems developed a few years ago are being made obsolete by technological innovation. In orthodontics, the threat of assumed effectiveness often manifests itself in the ordering and inventory systems many practices currently employ.

There are many reasons for this. Between chasing promotions, the challenge of forecasting and, let’s face it, sales representatives who are by rewarded through commissions, it’s easy for the average size practice to wind up with tens of thousands of dollars of losses from inventory obsolescence. One prominent groups practice admitted (in confidence) that they wind up eating a quarter of a million dollars in unused inventory each year! The threat to the bottom line is real.

Of course, on the flip side of every threat is opportunity and this is no different. Continue reading “Are Antiquated Inventory Processes Bleeding Your Bottom Line Dry?”