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From the Managing Director
1 Dec 2016
As 2016 draws to an end, in addition to completing all the treatment plans so patients have great functional smiles for the festive season and to start 2017, it is also a great time to reflect back on the Calendar Year and to think about what we have done well, what we can do better and what do we need to stop doing.
In my view, the main issues for 2016 in Australia were the impact that health funds caused in influencing patient choices on where to have their Dental treatment and how much they should be paying for that treatment, and the many models of practice ownership that are being promoted in both Australia and New Zealand. Marv Sultry and the team at Independent Dental Networks have some thoughts on the future of the “traditional” form of Practice Owner ship that you may be interested in here.
As we all know too well, the two main Patient complaints are the fear of going to the Dentist and the cost that entails.
When there is a clear Customer requirement for lower costs, there will always be Entrepreneurs striving to meet Customer needs. One that was drawn to my attention this week was the Smile Direct Club (https://smiledirectclub.com/) who are offering straighter whiter teeth by completing an online questionnaire, taking your own impression and then receiving a prescription of aligners for $1,500 or split $1735 into monthly repayments of $99. No need to visit the Dentist and you get Whitening as well.
What is interesting about the Entrepreneurs is that they are appealing to a group of Patients whom I think are currently either non-attendees or at best ad hoc attendees to a Dental Practice. Therefore, in my opinion, these initiatives will have limited impact on Practice revenues providing that Oral Health Professionals and the Practice teams can communicate and deliver a value proposition for the patient to visit an Oral Health Professional.
Looking forward then, one of the keys to having a successful practice in 2017 will be Staff Training on how to communicate “Value”. A Practice Management Consultant at a seminar I attended in November stated that the average practice in Australia (I know no one is an average), has on average 12 hours down time a week. This down time is a great opportunity to train and I encourage all Practices to set both time and funds aside for that very purpose.
Dentistry is today also very much about technology and there are more and more opportunities to invest in technology.
In Australia, practices that turnover less than $2 Million dollars per annum are entitled to a great opportunity to update all their technology by taking advantage of the small business tax depreciation scheme, and talking to your Gunz Equipment representative and your accountant. It is unlikely that this scheme will be renewed and is planned to expire at the end of June 2017.
I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you this year, and for that, I thank you for your time. Those whom I have spoken to include both those who spend much with us and those who spend less. Whilst admittedly, not all the feedback I received has been positive - I do thank you for taking the time to give us the feedback on what we can do better for you. We have also received some great feedback on how the Gunz team and the products we sell have helped Oral Health Care Professionals to provide the best possible care. As we have done for the last 80 years, we continue to do our best to improve what we do as a result of the feedback we receive.
Finally, thank you all for doing business with us in 2016. As a 100% privately owned company, we too know the pressures of operating in an environment where global corporates are looking to dominate and we feel the impact of the ways Private Health Insurers want to do business. Peter O'Leary and I are very proud of our Australian/New Zealand heritage and take our responsibility very seriously in building on our 80 years of helping Oral Health Care Professionals to provide the best possible care. We look forward to continuing to help Oral Health Professionals provide the best possible Care in 2017.
On behalf of all the team at Gunz Dental, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.