The DentaLab System... serving dental laboratories since 1979
 
 
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November 2008

 

DentaLab News

 

from Mainstreet Systems & Software...

November 2008

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Frequently Asked Questions
DentaLab News
Product Costing

Winter Has Arrived in Pennsylvania

When we returned from our California trip and sunny 70 degree weather and slipped into a late-night restaurant for some hot soup to adjust to the cold, we were delighted to come out to the first winter-wonderland snow of the season. With winter now on our doorstep, we want to remind all of you that, should snow and ice prevent us from getting to the office, we will still be working from our homes equipped with computers, email and voice mail. Should you need to leave a message for us when we are not in the office, be sure to include your name, your lab and your return contact information.

As always, we have had a number of labs tell us they would like to launch DentaLab for QuickBooks in January to start off the new year. With this in mind, we want to tell you again our holiday schedules and ask that you not wait until the last minute to get started. First, here are the days we will be closed:

  • Thursday and Friday, November 27-28, Thanksgiving
  • Wednesday and Thursday, December 24-25, Christmas
  • Wednesday, December 31 at noon, New Years Eve
  • Thursday, January 1, New Years Day

Because not all the labs we service honor these holidays, we will check for email and voice mail messages on these holidays.

Before beginning case entry and scheduling, you should have your customers, employees, items and work centers setup and reviewed, plus any other basic lists you plan to use. If you are planning to have us do data conversions or customize forms or programs, we will need adequate time to do this right and have you review our work.

And in this month of giving thanks...

We would like to thank all of you who have helped make DentaLab for QuickBooks such a grand success through your reviews and selections, your ideas, your participation in the user group, your recommendations to other labs, and all the other things you do!

An Inside Look at Google

When Elaine last visited Silicon Valley in California, it was December of 2003 to meet with the folks at Intuit, who were recruiting us to synchronize our DentaLab systems with their QuickBooks products. There were many lasting memories from that trip...seeing where Apple, Intuit, Yahoo and other major companies in the computer industry headquartered, visiting San Jose, the city at the heart of Silicon Valley, where three little boys sang Feliz Navidad for her, meeting the guys who invented the Palm, the first digital assistant that led to Blackberries, IPhones and other handy devices.

One of the most memorable days from this year's trip to Mountain View was the one she spent at Google headquarters. This company and its amazing new business model have fascinated us from afar, so it was terrific to have the opportunity to be with them first hand. We use google searches and gmail almost every day and other google features such as their maps and books whenever we need them. A google search engine is also built into the QuickBooks products of its nextdoor neighbor Intuit.

We learned that almost everyone who works at Google is an engineer or director of some kind...optimization engineers, graphic design engineers, network engineers, software engineers. The process to get hired is very rigorous with creativity and self-motivation high on the list. Everyone is expected to follow the 80-20 principle, with 80% of their time and effort toward their job and 20% toward other activities of their own choosing, such as trying out new ideas, working toward a better environment or a charitable cause, keeping in good physical shape, attending seminars and listening to invited speakers. Once a week, the founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page along with some of the directors hold an open forum in the main cafeteria where anyone can attend, speak and listen.

On the office campus, there are complete fitness centers, massage therapists, endless wave swimming pools, beach volleyball courts, bikes, many food and refreshment centers with healthy organic choices, laundries, daycare centers...all free and readily available to the employees, All of the roofs have solar panels, supplying more than 30% of their energy needs. Everyone is given a laptop of their MAC v. PC choosing, which they tend to carry everywhere, and their desks are remarkably free of paper. The software is developed using Linux, all data servers are built inhouse and their search engine techniques are top top secret, as are all of the searches you personally make using google...they are keeping stats on search requests, but nothing on who makes them.

During their free choice 20%, employees developed gmail and solar-powered conference room reservation systems attached to each room's window. The artwork surrounding the Google logo that you see in gmail and other places was once done by one person but now there are four. In addition, children were asked to submit their entries in a contest and the winners were awarded college scholarships.

During Elaine's time there, because of her involvement with copyright education and with leadership for women, they discussed their concerns regarding copyrights in relationship to the Google Books project and their concern that in recent years, far fewer women are choosing to become computer professionals.

Reminder re Training in California

Killian Dental Ceramics in Irvine, which is down south of Los Angeles, has graciously offered their beautiful training facilities for DQB training and workshops similar to the ones we had here in Pennsylvania in October. We would like to hear from both DQB users and prospective users if you would be interested in coming to a Saturday session at Killian and if there are any dates in the winter months January - March that are more appealing than others. Please give us a call or send an email by December 10 if you are interested.


 
     

Easy, versatile software for the modern dental laboratory.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some of the most common mistakes we should try to avoid?

A: The #1 omission is not taking just a few minutes to read documentation. While we try to make software intuitive as possible, there are some specifications and requirements that need to be followed. #2 is not understanding the difference between software and hardware, often resulting in unreasonable expectations such as wanting software to overcome or fix all hardware issues. #3 is not understanding that software is dynamic and technology does not stand still, which means it is very important to be sure you are maintaining your system and keeping it relatively up to date.

Q: What should we do if an error message pops up?

A: First of all, be sure to read the text within the error message, then try to determine if this is something you can take care of, such as correcting an invalid date. If you can not figure out what to do, the next thing you should do is highlight the message to select it, then press CTRL+C to copy it into the Windows clipboard. Next, bring up your email manager and save the message by pressing CTRL+V to paste. Then send your email to us, letting us know which feature you were using when the error occurred. If you prefer sending via fax, you can paste into any word processing or text document instead, then print and send.


 
     

With the same look and feel of QuickBooks.


 

A True "No-Brainer"

"This is a true no-brainer"....stated one lab upon reviewing the Image Scanning Supplement. This module very quickly and easily recoups its costs in labor savings....no more detailed filing or searching through paper documents when questions arise on prescriptions and other case documents, no more refiling and hoping that you don't accidentally misfile in the wrong folder. In addition, there are savings on space and security requirements.

Prescriptions and any other documents sent from the dental office to the lab can be scanned during case entry, which provides for automatic indexing so that these can be viewed at any time from the case screen. In addition, these can be reprinted, sent via email, marked up to clarify specifications. Any digital documents sent directly by the doctor to your computer can also be linked to the case for the same easy lookup.

As computers have come down in cost, more and more labs are adding extra stations throughout the lab for their technicians and managers to do these types of lookups whenever needed.

Analyzing Your Information

Already built into DQB is analysis of production from several angles: by product groups, by customer groups, by work center. This production analysis is based on schedule dates and reflects both work in progress and work invoiced. To date, we have depended on the wide range of flexible reporting within QuickBooks for sales and accounts receivable analysis by invoice and payment dates.

One of the dental laboratory aspects not built into QuickBooks is an analysis of lost revenue from remake cases billed at less than 100% of standard pricing vs. revenue from standard invoicing. For the upcoming release, we have started work to add a new tab in the Reports Center for Sales Analysis. We would welcome your suggestions for including any other sales analysis that might be useful to you in this new section.

Catching Up

Last year at this time, the current release version was 1.12. Now, if you check the About box under the top Help menu, you should be at version 1.16, reflecting 4 more quarterly updates. If you have a service agreement and have not updated in a while, please call soon to make sure you are up to date.

If you have not had a service agreement and wish to catch up with the users group, please give us a call. If you wish to see the changes that have taken place this past year, go to our website www.mainstreet-systems.com, then the Support section and Quarterly Releases to see the lists. The fee to update your system will depend on how far behind you are and how much extra support will be needed to bring you up to par.


 
     

Customization is available for all products.


 

Product Costing
Knowing the cost of producing a product or service is essential to any business. This knowledge can become critical if faced with competitive pricing or with opportunities for new business based on meeting price requirements. Cost analysis is an important part of maximizing profits. At times it may uncover ways to reduce costs.

  • Estimate production costs
  • Allows for price experimentation, potential profits
  • Easy to understand samples included to get you started
  • Clear and comprehensive reports
  • Integrate with QuickBooks, DentaLab for QuickBooks, or create your own entries

Available now at a special introductory price.

Call 1-800-257-4535 or visit www.mainstreet-systems.com to learn more about Mainstreet Systems and our software designed specifically for dental laboratories.

"I first met Elaine in 2002 when she was supporting my employer's DOS based version of Dentallab (DLAB). From the start, she proved to be not only cordial, but an extremely knowledgeable source of information. We constantly asked her for customization and functionality that were well beyond what her software was originally intended for. She did it quickly and accurately. Best of all, she did it because her company is focused on customer satisfaction."

Shane Purnell
Phoenix Business Systems
MO


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