The DentaLab System... serving dental laboratories since 1979
 
 
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May 2009

 

DentaLab News

from Mainstreet Systems & Software...

May 2009

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Product Costing

Training, Training, Training

We have been making good use of the training room in our new quarters here in the Village at Lederach. In addition to the benefits of first-hand education, these training sessions also serve to have you get to know us better and we to know you. We also find out that some things we tend to think are obvious in our software are not so obvious to everyone.

From the three training sessions we have had this spring, we have come away with a strong conviction that first-hand training and interaction are very good to offer. Our next group session will be on Monday, June 1. We are finding that Monday sessions work better than Saturdays for most labs, as this gives those coming from a distance time to travel here on Sunday, train for about 5-6 hours on Monday and then return home later that same day.

There is still space available for June 1. The fee is $150 per person for those with a service agreement; $220 person for those without a service agreement. Lunch and beverages are included.

The Best 4

Offering an excellent software program at affordable fees involves four essential components:

1) A mass-marketed base, which are the QuickBooks products for accounting and financial management from Intuit. These initially involved over three years of development and since then millions of additional dollars to make a system extraordinarily easy to use, yet rich in features and flexibility. In response to consumer requests, QuickBooks Enterprise can now have up to 30 concurrent users.

2) Software specific to the dental laboratory industry for case management to work hand-in-hand with QuickBooks, which is DentaLab for QuickBooks. This involved one year of initial development, followed by four years of continued enhancements and new features in response to the requirements for labs and computers, an investment of over four hundred thousand dollars. DQB can have up to 200 concurrent users.

3) The availability of customization for those who desire this for their business goals. The most common requests for customization involve forms such as work tickets, case labels, quality control feedback and invoices. Others typically involve specific work methods, marketing techniques and additional reporting.

4) Also of prime importance is the offering of a comprehensive support program, which includes keeping up with technological advances, compliance requirements, communications, guidance and education. This program encourages input from its users and is funded by the collective low monthly fees from many users plus billable hours for extra services. QuickBooks and DentaLab for QuickBooks are offered for standard license fees, with customizations and extra services based on billable hours.

Two Mini-Surveys

We would like your feedback on two topics this month:

Case Labels: We have already expanded the number of selections for case labels for the upcoming July release to include more sizes and more continuous (single) labels from both the Case List and when generating a case invoice. We will also update this to allow you to set your choice of format and printer in advance so that you do not have to repeat this unless you want to make a change. We also offer customization of label formats. Let us know 1) if you use case labels, how and when and 2) if you have any suggestions for these.

Materials Disclosure: Last summer, we added quite a few new features to make materials disclosure easier and in compliance with new government regulations. Let us know 1) if you are using materials disclosure, how and when and 2) if you have any suggestions on this topic. Let us also know if your state or province has new regulations to ensure patient safety.


 
     

Easy, versatile software for the modern dental laboratory.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: DQB has many note-taking spots. What is the best way to use these ?

A: Having lots of note-taking ability is a deliberate design feature of the system. Typically, users come to decide their own best practices with these and then use them consistently, so they know where to look for their notes. To start, learn how and where each is note is returned to you. For instance, customer alerts are popup windows, displayed at strategic points. Case notes and item notes, as well as doctor preferences by work center or item, will be on the work ticket and available for viewing during case entry. Case plans work best in situations where longer more extensive notes are needed, such as full mouth restorations, intricate implant cases, unusual medical conditions. Activity logs track your communications to and from your customers and have the facility to alert you on specific dates for followups, reminders. They can also keep you in compliance to track quality control issues and their resolutions.

Q: What is beta testing?

A: When we develop software, it goes through three levels of testing: 1) unit testing by the programmer(s) who has written the code 2) alpha testing by another programmer who will test its functionality and accuracy with deliberate mistakes to try to determine if the error-checking covers all it should and then 3) beta testing, which means putting the program through live production testing to see how the users respond, to test it against greater volumes in the lab, to make sure it is doing its job. When users make suggestions or ask for customization, they are expected to be the ones to beta test in live lab conditions and report to us the results.


 
     

With the same look and feel of QuickBooks.


 

Spreading the News

This is the name of our newest software product. Spreading the News provides for developing customer/contact email lists, which may be synchronized with QuickBooks customer records, imported from other systems through standard protocols or entered manually via the keyboard. Specialized email lists may be setup and customer/contacts assigned to one or more of these.

To develop newsletters for email broadcast, you can easily setup reusable templates for headers, slogans, contact information, and continual promotion. In addition, you can add new articles specific to a newsletter. You are provided with a pallette of color choices as well as a sleeve of icons with specific functions for choosing fonts, sizes, styles, insertions, etc. For most, these will be sufficient to develop an attractive newsletter, but those who are more adventrous can add additional HTML (HyperText Markup Language) commands to create a more dazzling design.

We've made it very easy for everyone to get involved with marketing, promotion and communication via the Internet. Spreading the News will be offered to our dental laboratory customers as well as entered in the Intuit Solutions Marketplace for other QuickBooks users.

We are in the final stages of developing Spreading the News and will be offering a free beta version for a limited time to a small number of laboratories. If you would like to send newsletters to your customers to help promote your business, please give us a call to put your name on the list.

More on Marketing

For labs of all sizes interested in developing their business, the dental lab industry has a new publication dedicated to this purpose. It is called Options and is published by Katada Media LLC in Connecticut. You can fax your request for a free subscription to 860-485-1650. Include your name, lab, address, telephone and email address, your primary services and size in number of employees. Their website is www.katadamedia.com.

Proceeding Cautiously

When we recently developed a special subset of the standard DentaLab for QuickBooks called the Starter version, this was in response to a number of requests we had from small labs wanting something even simpler and easier than the full version.

To our surprise, we found that the Starter version was also very appealing to some labs that wanted to move cautiously forward from their older dental lab software. By installing this on one standalone station, they could gradually adapt to new features and new technology while continuing their production on their older systems. The most prevalent reaction has been amazement on their part on how easy it can be to make the switch, how little resistance there has been from their staff even when they have been using their old systems for many years, and great appreciation for the efficiencies and cost savings in the new technology.

For those of you who have been clinging to very old systems, this approach may be very worthwhile, very affordable and require minimal extra time. Before your old system becomes totally unsupportable, very cranky and unreliable, consider taking this little step forward.

For some labs, Starter will be plenty and for those who find they want more features or more concurrent users, there is an easy upgrade to the full version.


 
     

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.

"Thanks for a great program!"

Dan Stenkilsson
Middle East Dental Laboratory
Dubai, UAE


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