Zahn Expo 2010 Day Two

23 10 2010

The energy level was sky high for the early start to the second and final day of Zahn Expo 2010 at the Marriott in Santa Clara, Calif., as keynote speaker Mark Murphy, DDS, took charge with an entertaining presentation about marketing labs in the ever more digital dental landscape. His presentation kicked off a day that moved from the hands on first day to a more conversational and educational focus.

Dr. Mark Murphy speaks during the Zahn Expo

Dr. Mark Murphy delivers his keynote presentation during the Zahn Expo 2010.

Dr. Murphy, who serves as lead faculty for Mercer Advisors and consults to dental labs with his own Funktional Consulting after a career in dental practice and then in management of the DTI dental lab group, explained that marketing as a digital lab is really not all that different from marketing a traditional lab.

“It’s about the relationship, that’s what you’ve got to own,” he said.

While he focused his presentation on the ways dental labs can work to provide better service and stronger connections to dental clients, Dr. Murphy explained that digital impression technology is approaching a tipping point, and labs need to be ready to handle work that begins digitally. But whether or not a lab is digital, lab owners need to make their decisions based on sound business principles rather than gut feelings or slashing prices to stay less expensive than the next guy.

Rather labs need to decide what type of service they want to provide, what type of customers they need to be serving and then they need to work hard for their existing dentist customers rather than always looking for new accounts. He provided concrete steps to strengthening relationships with clients and stressed the importance of showing dentists what goes on in the lab so they understand everything that goes on when they send out a case.

“The crown has to be good, but it’s not about the crown, it’s about the experience,” he said.

Sessions then split up and former DLP editor Pam Johnson spoke to a smaller, but still crowded room about trends moving through the dental lab industry and how they could impact labs. While things started slowly, and a bit dry with all the numbers and charts on her slides, the lecture opened up and turned into a freeflowing discussion about issues such as the need for more definition in the educational requirements for lab technicians, worldwide standards for dental lab work and the growing impact of offshore competition and digital workflows.

Attendees including DLP contributor Peter Pizzi, CDT posed questions and shared personal experiences of lab quality and technician education overseas, as well as discussed the ways their labs were doing some offshoring of their workload or competing with labs offering dentists cheaper offshore options while trying to keep everything in house. No conclusions may have been reached, but the discussion felt productive and comprehensive.

In a Saturday session titled “Removeable Prosthetics: Practical Fabrication Tips, Techniques, and Products.” Thomas Zaleske, AS, shared some of the tricks he’s learned in his more than 20 years of involvement in removable prosthetic technology.


Zaleske showed how to fabricate esthetic and functional products in a consistent and accurate manner. He explained and demonstared a number of products and techniques that attendees can now impleent quickly and easily into their removable laboratory mode .

Stating he hasn’t “had a remake in nine years,” Zaleske described basic steps and techniques to troubleshoot problems with heat cure acrylics and covered the benfits of some of his favorite products including a variety of Keystone Industries products.

Mark Jackson, RDT, co-owner of DAMAS certified Precision Ceramics  Laboratory, used his Saturday afternoon course to offer tips and advice on a number of topics to help give attendees a competitive edge.

The DAMAS (Dental Appliance Manufactures Audit Scheme), is a pre-packaged quality assurance system geared for the dental laboratory to help raise the standards within the industry.

He shared a detailed process that covers things like quality control and corrective action, calibrating equipment , product labeiling, customer complaints and even the identification of products and materials that work best with your laboratory.

Following these steps to form a “new partnership” and deliver consistent products, Jackson said, can help your laboratory gain a competitive edge.




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