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December 2015

DentaLab NewsDecember 2015
from Mainstreet Systems & Software

FAQ  DentaLab News


The best things about the holidays

First, we get to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and an abundance of good times in the year ahead!

Second,  there are two long weekends this year.  We will be able to take two breaks from our always busy work schedules.  Our offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25 for Christmas and then December 31 and January 1 for New Year's.  

For many years, the holidays and the need to do year-end computer chores clashed, but this is no longer true.   With QuickBooks and DentaLab for QuickBooks, information stays in the database and reporting is by your date specification.  This means you can, if you wish, wait until after the holidays to run year-end reports and no reinitializations or reorganizations are needed.  

You should have already setup your DQB holiday schedule for 2016.  If not, take a few minutes today. 

Technology we are looking forward to

Our power supplier PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company) has been saying in their ads this month that the days of being concerned about power outages will soon be over.   They have not told us the details yet but we will be looking forward to this new technology.   As long as we have electrical power, we can continue to work and to serve you no matter where we are and regardless of whether the roads are covered with snow and ice.

In the meantime, please leave a voicemail or email if you cannot immediately reach us.   Be sure to let us know who you are, the issue at hand, and how best to reach you.  

For the months ahead, no rate increases, annual reviews

We have always wanted to keep our license and support fees very affordable so that all labs could afford them.  We are also very aware of the challenges many labs face.  We have determined that for now we will be able to maintain our standard fee schedules with no increases.    

Last year, due to our very busy workloads, we did not promote the annual reviews as we had in prior Januarys but continued to honor any requests.   We have, however, encountered in our support calls the need for these.   The reviews cover the essentials for keeping your software up-to-date, reviewing your volumes vs your resources, making sure basics such as backups are being performed properly, reviewing new features that may be beneficial to you to save time, money or enhance your customer  service. 

We are pleased that a number of labs heeded our advice and moved ahead to implement new hardware and/or software before the holidays and year-end.  This has, however, kept us hopping so we ask that if you would like an annual review, please schedule a time in January or February to accomplish this.   Typically the reviews take 1 to 2 hours and you may, if not used otherwise, use the no-charge time in your service agreement toward the review. 


  Easy, versatile software for the modern dental laboratory.

To answer your questions...

Q:  We are adding a new staff member who will be working with DQB.   We would like to include in her training how to avoid the most common operational mistakes or misunderstandings.  Can you help us prepare for this?

A:  Yes, here from our support program is a short list:

  • Whenever you will be synchronizing DQB case management with QuickBooks (QB) accounting, be sure to have both of these programs loaded as well as the connector program.
  • There are standards throughout the DQB program that mirror those in QB.  Some of these include action menus at the bottom left to list your choices, use of date selections from graphic calendars for most queries and reports, easy browsing via next and previous buttons, records in basic lists such as customers and items cannot be deleted once they are used in a transaction but can be set to an inactive status.  
  • There are a number of features in DQB that require two steps, one for setup and another to apply.  For example, you first setup a price level and then you apply it to one or more customers.   A common mistake has been to just do the setup. 
  • To stay in coordination with surrounding technology and in compliance with government regulations, regularly review the newsletters and website topics provided by Mainstreet and then request authorization to download the updates.   Unless you have a terminal server, be sure to update the host/server first and then all clients in one session. 
  • Be aware that most messages you receive are to alert you.   These can typically be taken care of immediately.  Some examples are that a specific customer record is being updated by another user and is therefore temporarily locked to prevent conflict, that the net total of an invoice can not be negative (otherwise it should be a credit memo), that the end date of a date range can not be earlier than the start date.
  • Mainstreet's support program provides a variety of ways to help and guide new personnel.   As they go through the learning process, this is a very worthwhile resource to have.

Q:  We have been doing crown and bridge work and now want to add removables.  Do we need to buy more software?

A:  No, you do not need to buy more software for this.    DQB has been designed to handle multiple lines of work.   Typically, if you are adding a new one, you would add records in this order:

  1. In QuickBooks, add the items corresponding to your new products and services.  If you want to track the new line separately, you can add one or more accounts to your chart of accounts and assign these to the items. 
  2. In DQB, add a new work center.   Once you have synchronized the new items from QuickBooks, you may want to setup new standard procedures.   If there will be special prices for the new items for specific customers, update your price levels and assignments for these.  You can also add more lab notes to correspond to the new items for use in case memos, case plans, invoice messages.
   With the same look and feel of QuickBooks.

Valuing your expertise and experience

Several years ago outsourcing became the buzzword in this industry as the trade journals promoted this concept in article after article.  We saw both well established labs and newly formed labs jump on the bandwagon to have the work done in other countries that have much lower labor rates.  Many of these chose our software. 

As we followed them over the years, we took note that some achieved a good measure of success, other less so.   We also took note of what made a difference.  The most successful ones already had a significant amount of expertise and experience in the lab and took measures to assure the success of their new direction.  They made sure the technicians had a work ticket with both the case items and lab notes in their native language.   When the cases were returned to the lab from the outsource point, strong quality control measures continued to be applied.  These labs were honest with their customers on how their cases were being processed.  

In this month's Journal of Dental Technology (JDT) published by the NADL, there is an article titled Seven Sins of CAD/CAM that emphasizes the continued value of expertise and experience in the new digital workflows that are gaining ground in dental labs.  We particularly liked that this article covered not just the upside but also possible downsides, helping to educate those who need to consider introducing more digital technology into services.

Very often we see trade publicatons catering to the latest trend, to those who are spending the most advertising dollars.   In our support to a wide variety of labs with many different business profiles, we typically encounter a more realistic view of the challenges our customers are experiencing.   We see the need to cover both the upside and the downside, the risks vs the rewards, the need for gradual transitions.

Although labs have been officially classified as manufacturers of medical devices, we recognize that many who perform this work become true professionals with a great deal of expertise.   We urge you to give your support to those who provide continual education and resources to help you perform as and be recognized as a professional. 

Valuing Intuit and QuickBooks

In two of our custom development projects, our system designers and programmers were asked to work with two other software vendors.  In the process of doing this, we came to appreciate to an even greater extent the capabilities we have had working with Intuit and QuickBooks.   We found that the other companies had plenty of sales/marketing personnel but they could not provide the technical information we needed.  The capability of their software to synchronize or integrate with other software was very limited.  

We have never encountered roadblocks working with Intuit in our projects to synchronize additional applications with the accounting and financial management of QuickBooks.   Built into the design of the QuickBooks products is a great deal of flexiblity.   The information we have needed to take care of all the minute details that go into software systems has been readily available. 

Bottom line...we think you have made a good decison to choose QuickBooks and so have we.

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"This is a really great program!"

Debra Kornegay
Twin Rivers Crown & Bridge, Inc.
North Carolina, USA

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