Triangle Tweeners

CureMint Lands on the Rapidly Growing Triangle Tweeners List

CureMint Lands on the Rapidly Growing Triangle Tweeners List

Triangle Tweeners

The sixth annual Triangle Tweeners List just dropped. It’s the who’s who of the up-and-comers in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Over the years the list has grown to now represent 230 local area startups.

This year (well it’s the 2020 list released in 2021) CureMint made the cut having raised their seed round from CoFounders Capital back in early 2020 just as the pandemic hit.

This is a great honor and just another point of validation for relocating CureMint from Los Angeles to the thriving Triangle area. “We feel surrounded by kindred spirits striving towards disruptive greatness each in our own verticals and in our own way.”

The startup community in the Triangle is amazing. And it’s all thanks to local leaders like Scot Wingo, the brainchild behind the Triangle Tweeners List. This is Scot’s passion project and one of many ways he gives back to the local community. Thanks Scot!


Recruit Rockstars Logo

Recruit Rockstars Podcast: Why VCs Drilled into the Dental Market

Join author and recruiting extraordinaire, Jeff Hyman, as he interviews Co-founder and CEO, Brandon McCarty on how he attracts top talent.

Brandon and Chris
Brandon McCarty (on left) with Co-founder Chris Rathgeb (on right)

Jeff Hyman knows the recruiting world inside and out. He launched the Recruit Rockstars site (and a book with the same name) to help scale PE & VC companies with top talent.

Learn how Brandon launched the company and moved it from Los Angeles to the booming Triangle area of North Carolina. Find out values are important to him and how vision plays a key role in attracting top talent especially in the early days of a startup.

McCarty shares his views on distributed teams or virtual offices and the challenges they pose and how setting a strong foundation makes a difference.


The Unicorn Finders

Unicorn Finders Podcast: From Cannabis to CureMint with Chris Rathgeb CTO and Co-Founder

Join the team from Unicorn Finders peel back the layers of how CTO, Chris Rathgeb, thinks about technology and hiring developers.

Successful startups have a diversity of talent at its foundation. Co-Founder and CTO, Chris Rathgeb’s journey reinforces this notion. Join the Unicorn Finders team in this light-hearted discussion around technology and software development.

Learn how Chris went from getting his first computer at age 10 to his addiction with the game EverQuest fueling his curiosity to learn how to hack and reverse engineer games in his teenage years which led to the creation of his first business at 15.

By the college years, his undergrad and Masters in Computer Science led him to work for one of the labs for the Department of Energy specifically on the cyberwarfare team helping them reverse engineer malware.

Listen closely to discover whether or not Chris is the founder of Bitcoin – sorry no spoilers!

Next Satoshi, I mean, Chris embarked on the path of app development. During this period, he launched multiple businesses some successful, some not so successful.

Eventually, a friend introduced him to the world of cannabis, another high point in his life. But only because he got to help build the technology around this rapidly growing market.

It was years later when he was obsessed with the idea of building a company that was product-led with the customer and the problem to solve at the forefront that he happened to meet his co-founder, Brandon McCarty who just so happened to be solving the dental procurement problem with same approach in mind. This synchronous meeting led to the birth of CureMint as it exists today.


Interview: How To Increase Your Dental Organizations Evaluation

An Interview with Matt Wilkins, Owner/Principle of Large Practice Sales

To kick off 2021, we interviewed Matt Wilkins, Owner/Principle of Large Practice Sales (LPS). LPS helps dental organizations and doctors achieve higher evaluations and connect with the right partners for future acquisition initiatives. 

With CureMint’s mission being to help dental organizations scale across North America, naturally, we wanted to hop on the phone with Matt and discuss acquisition strategies and the best way to increase an evaluation in 2021. 

Here’s what he had to say! 

CureMint: Tell us a little bit about your background.

Matt: I don’t really have a typical background. In school, I received a master’s in accounting, then decided to go to law school. However, I never really wanted to be an accountant or lawyer. My theory was to know the numbers and rules of business and give myself a healthier chance of being successful in the field. I’ve started and run multiple companies, from e-commerce retail to running a DSO. Currently, I help dentists and dental specialists find capital partners to help them grow and expand their empire and assist doctors in developing an exit strategy that aligns with their wants and goals.

 

CureMint: Describe a dental organization that might be prime for a valuation. (number of offices, revenue, operational infrastructure)

Matt: Truthfully, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question. The perfect office, or group of offices, looking for a valuation depends more on the doctor/management goals vs. where they are in their business cycle (meaning it’s not just about retirement). I believe the prime candidates are twofold: Doctors looking to plan an exit strategy long before their actual exit, OR doctors who have a great business plan or vision and want help executing those visions (i.e., capital resources to achieve that vision). 

 

CureMint: Describe exactly what investors are looking for. What attributes are attractive for an investor — how do they get a higher valuation?

Matt: Investors are looking for a consistent return and scalable growth. They are also looking for doctors who are easy to work with. What I mean by being “easy to work with” isn’t that they take direction well or are willing to submit to unwanted change, but instead are open to a collaborative approach on how to run their business. One of the hard-to-quantify things that makes a company more attractive is how scalable the organization actually is, from clinical, procurement, marketing, accounting, and HR standard operating procedures. Basically, standardization and structured operational processes, especially cost drivers, indicate how scalable a practice is, thus warranting a potential higher valuation.

 

CureMint: How long does a valuation take?

Matt: This question depends on the doctor or organization we are working with, but we target two weeks. Once we have the data we need, we can give a valuation and possible structures for a potential transaction.

 

CureMint: Are there steps a dental organization can take during the valuation process to bump up their final numbers?

Matt: Specifically, in the valuation process, likely not. Often, doctors look for ways to increase EBITDA, resulting in a higher valuation, but they make cuts detrimental to their overall business. Whereas proper procedural and operational processes, such as supply chain management, should already produce lean expense variables. However, finding a capital partner involves more than just a valuation. The method of finding the right partner can sometimes take six months to a year. During that time, we are continually working with our clients to help them make moves to increase the margins of the business while providing analytical data for all potential partners to look at. This includes refining reports out of accounting or practice management software to offer industry-wide metrics they can benchmark their practice and even recommend new products or services that we believe could benefit the business.

 

CureMint: How does technology play a role in evaluating a dental organization?

Matt: In what we do for our clients, technology most often helps us access data and analytics. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to figure out answers to diligence questions partners may have with the current technology and software available in the dental space. On a more subjective level, in my opinion, tech — when used appropriately — often helps bridge the gap between the doctor’s vision and executing that vision.

As it pertains to the valuation, I think technology can play a crucial role in answering scalability questions, which is one of the most critical drivers of a practice valuation after profitability. Private equity groups and invisible DSOs aren’t looking for the great practice that will stay the same forever; they are looking for a business that they can help take the organization to the next level. What’s better is if that business has ideas or practices that would help other practices in the group.

 

CureMint: How do you measure technology’s impact on a valuation? 

Matt: To be honest, it’s really tough. The solutions technology provides don’t always directly correlate to some specific financial metric that an analyst or DSO may be looking for. However, one of the most important things — and where I think LPS stands out from our competitors — is that the story you present or pitch to potential partners is often the difference between an extraordinary value and a traditional value. Our process adds real value! There are many successful practices in the dental space… so how do you set yourself and your practice apart from other practices? I think technology can play a crucial role here. While it may be tough to give a direct numerical impact to valuation if you have two business and both have substantially the same P&L, but through the use of technology, one has fewer employees, more access to data to make business decisions, and is all-around a more efficient enterprise, I can assure you: Not only is it worth more; there will be many more interested bidders for the practice.

The single most significant thing you can do that can drive up the practice’s value is to have a business that attracts more bidders. I think technology can play a crucial role in establishing this “attractiveness.”

 

CureMint: Can you give us an example of a valuation/acquisition gone right/wrong?

Matt: I’m going to provide you with two examples that may surprise you.

Conducive acquisitions are about picking the right partner. Probably one of my happiest clients to date is in an extremely rural area in the US. The doctor felt like he was alone in his practice and felt like he couldn’t grow to his potential, given his area of operation. We helped him find a geographically agnostic partner. He sold 60% of his business and retained 40%. His new partner helped him supercharge his growth, and now they have four locations. The cool thing is, his 40% retained equity is worth vastly more than 100% of his original practice. On the flip side, one of the worst acquisitions I have ever been a part of was a doctor who had a few specialty practices and somewhat of a checkered background that he attempted to hide from everyone in the process. We helped this doctor find not only one, but two great partners. Unfortunately, during the thorough background check that is a standard process, it became evident that the doctor lied about his past and attempted to conceal it. So, while we were able to achieve a tremendous initial valuation, the diligence process crushed any hope this doctor ever had of doing a deal.

For whatever reason, this industry tends to be quite secretive, and I’ve learned that transparency tends to be a much better tactic for a seamless valuation/acquisition!

 

CureMint: Describe how CureMint can help increase your valuation.

Matt: I want to answer this question in two parts.

Suppose you are a larger organization or group practice. In that case, CureMint can streamline your purchasing process and allow you to access analytics that is typically exceedingly difficult to obtain, if not impossible. The data and visibility CureMint offers empowers group practices to make cognitive decisions and action plans towards mitigating their supply costs; while simultaneously facilitating better cash flow management. CureMint can also prevent an ordering assistant, in most cases in each office, spending 50% of their time scrolling through catalogs searching for supplies or logging in and out of multiple supplier ordering portals.

CureMint offers a one-stop-shop for dental offices to procure supplies, regardless of the vendor. 

Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments for a fast-growing group is that CureMint allows you to onboard practices more efficiently and better than any other solution I have seen as it pertains to the purchasing process. Enabling you to alleviate an integration pain point for the doctor and staff you are looking to acquire. On the opposing side, if you are a small group, one doctor, or fewer offices, you might think you don’t need the data or analytics that CureMint can provide. This is where CureMint’s GPO partner, SourceClub, really shines through. SourceClub provides small practices the same, and in most cases, better purchasing power than larger DSO’s receive. SourceClub offers additional value by eliminating the need for a smaller organization to spend the energy and time negotiating their own pricing with suppliers. Typically, smaller organizations don’t have the buying power or economies of scale to drive substantial supply costs reductions. I’ve been really impressed with the CureMint product, the team behind it, and the executive level experience that their GOP leadership has. I’m quite confident that if utilized fully, CureMint can help any dental organization out there.

To learn more about LPS visit their website at https://www.largepracticesales.com/


Step 9: How To Rinse, Repeat, & Save in the Future

At CureMint, we’re committed to driving down costs as we help your dental  organization reshape its supply procurement strategy. In this blog series, we’ll guide you through nine easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses so you can better manage your finances and become more profitable in the dental industry.

Well, friends — we’re friends by this point, right? — we’ve been through a lottogether. Remember when you were so intimidated by the prospect of negotiating with vendors for better prices on your dental supplies? You were so green then. Now, you’re a seasoned veteran. You’ve seen it all.

So you’re evermore prepared to do it all again.

Continued vigilance on angling for the best deals is the best and arguably only way you’ll continue saving on supply costs for your dental organization. We know it’s a relatively simple yet involved process, but the time and effort spent in the undertaking yields a high return on investment.

STEP NINE: RINSE & REPEAT

As a handy reminder, here’s a recap of what exactly those first steps entail.

  • Step 1: Organize & Formulize
    Collect the last 12 months of your supply spend into a spreadsheet. Request your order history from your primary dental-supply distributors and suppliers, then organize them by relevant product information (name, manufacturer, SKU, price, etc.) to create your starter formulary.
  • Step 2: Request for Quotation (RFQ)
    Send your RFQs to all the major distributors in the dental industry and smaller local suppliers you might like to work with in the future. Once all your RFQs have returned, enter that data alongside your starter formulary.
  • Step 3: Start Negotiations
    Calculate price-per-each for every product, focusing on one category at a time. Formally reach out to your top choice of vendors with a courteous but direct message about lowering prices. Then, contact your other partners and see how competitively they can price their products.
  • Step 4: Review All the Data
    Enter results of negotiations into your master spreadsheet. Compare the best deals and lowest prices with the side perks and other services offered by all vendors.
  • Step 5: Conduct Clinical Evaluation Trials
    Recruit a Clinical Evaluation Team (CET) from your dental offices’ organizational leaders in the clinical staff. Obtain samples of products in consideration for consolidation, then ask your CET to review each product with a simple rating system.
  • Step 6: Evaluate Trial Results
    After collecting results from CETs, calculate each product’s average score. If a product’s trial scores cross your threshold, you should keep them in mind for consolidation into your primary formulary.
  • Step 7: Finalize Supply Consolidation
    Isolate winners of clinical evaluation trials and keep them on your Primary Formulary while moving other products to your Secondary Formulary. Then, communicate often with your clinical staff about any upcoming changes to your office supply lists.
  • Step 8: Track & Manage Compliance with CureMint
    Set systems to encourage formulary compliance with the aim of maintaining savings on supply costs. See how each office in your dental organization spends its supply budget with CureMint, procurement-system software specifically designed for the dental industry.
  • Step 9: Rinse & Repeat
    Whoa, this is getting meta.

If you want to maximize your supply savings, continue the nine steps for every category and subcategory within your formulary. Depending on your number of locations, size of your formulary, and participating CET members, this consolidation should take you anywhere from 6-18 months to complete — no rest for the weary! 

Indeed, this nine-step process is meant to be repeated year after year. Products, distributors, and manufacturers change every year, if not every month. This requires your organization to continually stay on top of the changing dental supply chain market. Whether it’s new products entering the market or old manufacturers looking for better market share, by following the steps we’ve outlined in this blog series, you’ll always be able to extract the absolute highest value from your supply expenses.


Step 8: How To Track Spending & Manage Formulary Compliance

At CureMint, we’re committed to driving down costs as we help your dental  organization reshape its supply procurement strategy. In this blog series, we’ll guide you through nine easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses so you can better manage your finances and become more profitable in the dental industry.

The heavy lifting of our nine-step process may have concluded, but as we said in Step 7, your work has just begun. Sure, you’ve laid the groundwork for big-time savings on your dental organization’s supply costs, but now, you’re sending your new formulary out into the world — in other words, into the hands of your staff. What good is all the work you’ve done if no one follows the new standards?

In this penultimate portion of our nine-step process, we’ll teach you how to easily track and manage your supply expenses so that your hard work will not have been in vain. 

STEP 8: TRACK & MANAGE COMPLIANCE WITH CUREMINT

Each office in your dental organization must follow your formulary guidelines and purchase the products approved by your clinical trials in order to appropriately realize savings driven by your negotiations and consolidations. Compliance may be low at first, but don’t let that discourage you. But simply informing clinical staff that a product has been moved off the Primary Formulary won’t have much of an effect on ordering habits. Of course, we have a few tips to improve and ensure compliance with the new formulary.

You need to be able to evaluate an office’s supply orders and confront them when staff strays from the formulary, but you also want to grant some autonomy for unusual, one-off products, or special products for certain staff members. One very helpful tip for striking this balance is to establish formulary adherence rules. These rules may be fluid for each organization, or even among general dentists and specialists.

Perhaps the most common rule we’ve witnessed is what we’ll call the “85-10-5” Rule: 85% of an office’s supply expenses can be allocated to the Primary Formulary, while 10% may be allocated to the Secondary Formulary and 5% may be allowed for off-formulary purchases when the need arises. Some organizations exclude the 5% off-formulary spending, whereas other offices like to give their doctors more than 15% supply autonomy. Regardless of exactly where you might land with your proportions, it’s an easy rule to remember and provides ample leeway for discretionary spending.

Another way to establish clinical compliance among your offices is to enact a “carrot-and-stick” approach for financial responsibility. For a “carrot” example, organizations could reward doctors with monthly bonuses equal to, say, 50% of the difference between their budgeted supply expenses and actual expenses. If you wanted to implement a “stick” when and if an office overspends, you could say that doctors are financially responsible for any off-formulary purchases over 5%, or 50% of any secondary formulary purchases over 10%. Of course, you should come up with your own “carrot-and-stick” model that best fits your company’s culture and staff.

At this point, you ask, “How can you track and manage spending?” You could track formulary compliance and spend through our old friend, the Excel spreadsheet, but that’s very difficult to maintain. We recommend a procurement-system software — namely, CureMint.

CureMint is an intuitive procurement software built specifically for dental organizations. CureMint allows you to digitize all of your suppliers, products, and pricing on your own personal Amazon of an online catalog, all conveniently segmented into an unlimited number of formularies. These functions provide you with the ability to track key data points, such as what percentage an office is ordering from which formulary, as well as build custom approval workflows to proactively bring to your attention any offices straying from the formulary plan. CureMint makes it easy to change and consolidate products on specific formularies, so when offices go to order supplies in the tool, the formularies appropriately match the trials and consolidations performed thus far. Not only can you more easily track compliance; it’s just simpler for your offices to order in a compliant manner with CureMint.

With your compliance guidelines and CureMint in place, you might be thinking, “Finally! My work here is done!” But you can’t wash your hands of responsibility just yet. Cutting supply costs requires constant vigilance to always find the best deals… but we’ll save that for our last installment.

Keep a lookout for Part Nine: Rinse, Repeat, & Save in the Future

Can’t wait for the next blog? We don’t blame you! Download the full guide to get immediate access to our last Step.


Step 7: How To Consolidate & Finalize Your Formularies

At CureMint, we’re committed to driving down costs as we help your dental  organization reshape its supply procurement strategy. In this blog series, we’ll guide you through nine easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses so you can better manage your finances and become more profitable in the dental industry.

Clinical trials have concluded. Your CETs have approved products, and the trial results have been analyzed. You’ve solved any possible pricing irregularities and determined the best compromises between product quality and price. Now, it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Dental tools on a dentist’s chair with white background

In this part of our nine-step process, we’ll combine the results of trials, price comparisons, and negotiations to finalize your choices for the best supplies at the best price for your dental organization. There may be some bumps in the road as we enter the home stretch of our nine-part process. However, if you have taken ample time for clinical trials, smartly selected the best products, and given your staff plenty of notice, you’ll smooth out any issues your team may experience and start saving money.

STEP SEVEN: FINALIZE SUPPLY CONSOLIDATION

After completing Step 6, you’ll have a list of the highest-scoring supplies from clinical trials. You’ll want to isolate these winners and keep them on your Primary Formulary. Spending off your Primary Formulary will form the majority of your dental organization’s budget, so reserve spots on this formulary for the most-essential supplies which everyone uses. Vendors you’ve consolidated to will likely also be on the Primary Formulary.

Any other products your organization will keep ordering will now be placed on a Secondary Formulary, set up in the same format as your primary. Once you’ve finalized consolidation, you will remove all other products in each category from the Primary Formulary and place them on the Secondary Formulary, leaving each trial-approved product on the Primary Formulary. The Secondary Formulary will be for any particular supplies that certain staff members just can’t live without or specialty supplies your office rarely orders.

Tell your clinical staff of upcoming changes to your office supply lists immediately after you’ve reached final choices for the Primary Formulary. It’s best to notify doctors, dental assistants, hygienists, and any other relevant staff members as soon as possible so they can prepare for changes. In fact, a good standard to live by at this stage is over-communication.

We’re going to take a second to underscore over-communication during this step. Ensuring everyone on staff is crystal-clear on supply changes will ensure closer compliance with the new formularies, so you should have a strong communication strategy in place. One hard-and-fast rule we like to apply in this stage is, “Third time’s a charm” — in other words, notify your offices on three separate occasions before completely overhauling the formulary. The first notification should proclaim the winners of the CET trials, scores, product information, where to order the products, and which products will be moved to the Secondary Formulary. Secondly, drop a friendly reminder that the change is imminent; a week before is a good benchmark. Finally, the day before implementation, remind your staff once more of the changes in the formulary. If you only drop one or even just two notices of supply changes, you run a high chance of confusion — if not outright animosity — over the changes. And the last thing you need is a team of furious dentists on your case. However, you shouldn’t have much trouble if you’ve been open and upfront about the formulary changes and given plenty of notice for the final consolidation.

With this step complete, you might think you can coast to victory. Well, sorry to break it to you, but your work has just begun. In our next installment, we’ll be going over how to track and manage your formulary saving so all your hard work will not be in vain!

Keep a lookout for Part Eight: Tracking Spending & Managing Formulary Compliance

Can’t wait for the next blog? We don’t blame you! Download the full guide to get immediate access to Step 8.


Step 6: How to Evaluate & Pick Clinical Trial Winners

At CureMint, we’re committed to driving down costs as we help your dental  organization reshape its supply procurement strategy. In this blog series, we’ll guide you through nine easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses so you can better manage your finances and become more profitable in the dental industry.

In our last post, we went over how to conduct clinical trials, testing out the top contenders for your dental organization’s new formulary to find the products preferred by your clinical staff. This process likely took some time. But remember the old proverb: All things come to those who wait.

If you’ve handpicked a crack team of doctors and provided a reliable infrastructure for testing out the products in question, then the step of evaluating trial results should be relatively easy. Following our advice to the letter up to this point, including all that extra homework from earlier phases, will pay off and relax this part of the process.

However, it may not be painless. There may be a few tough compromises in these next few steps. Still, those impending conflicts are essential to the process and the continuing quality of care offered by your dental offices — not to mention the satisfaction of your clinical staff.

But have no fear. You’ll be saving money regardless, and that’s the point of this series, after all!

STEP SIX: EVALUATE THE TRIAL RESULTS

The first move in this step is to collect the results of the clinical trials from your team. If you followed our advice to the letter, you would have distributed a simple form (like the one in our ebook) to evaluate each product. A straightforward quantitative method such as the five-point scale will make the top picks from evaluations much clearer.

Next, we’re going to ask you to do some simple arithmetic. And you know what’s really great for arranging a set of numbers together? Our old friend, the Excel spreadsheet! Once you’ve collected all the CET evaluations, input all the scores into another designated spreadsheet. Calculate each product’s average score by adding all the scores for each product and dividing them by the number of doctors involved in the trial.

If a product’s trials result in a score of 3 or higher, you should keep them in mind for consolidation into your primary formulary, which we’ll do in Step 7. However, if all products within a category score a two or below, you’ll need to continue with another round of trials, testing out the next best deal.

While rare, your trials may suggest consolidating to an item that doesn’t save your organization money. If reducing supply costs is your #1 priority and you can take no further course of action, avoid this fluke by deepening your analysis of price-per-each values. For example, consider the hypothetical gloves formulary we’ve been using. Your annual organizational spend on gloves in total is $3,976.01 in this situation. If you divide that by gloves ordered — 348,250, to be exact — you end up with $0.0114 per glove. By that standard, any glove costing more than $0.0114 would end up costing your organization more money.

Drawing out this imaginary situation further, let’s say that Gloves Galore returned their RFQ at $0.014 per glove, which is $0.003 cheaper per glove than their original cost. If both Sammie’s Manufactured Gloves and Bob’s Manufactured Gloves score below a three on their trials, your next choice would be to consolidate to Gloves Galore. However, consolidating to Gloves Galore would cost your organization an additional $899.49 annually.

Again, this rarely happens within an organization; if it does, it would be financially beneficial not to trial Gloves Galore and instead leave all three gloves on the formulary and choose not to consolidate this category in this specific case. But, if you can find some room with upfront costs, this is where those side-perks and other benefits we’ve discussed in past iterations of this blog might come into play.

However, it’s more likely that the winners of the clinical trials will be readily apparent by the time you’ve found the average scores. This crème de la crème will soon take its rightful spot in your primary formulary, which we’ll discuss in our next post.

Keep a lookout for Part Seven: Consolidating & Finalizing Your Formularies


Step 5: How to Conduct Product Trials Efficiently & Effectively

At CureMint, we’re committed to driving down costs as we help your dental  organization reshape its supply procurement strategy. In this blog series, we’ll guide you through nine easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses so you can better manage your finances and become more profitable in the dental industry.

At this point in our nine-step process, we’ve been working mostly in the abstract. You’ve organized and reviewed a lot of purchase data, and you’ve negotiated with vendors and suppliers about the products used by your dental organizations. Now, we’ll apply all our conversations and research to real-world situations. It’s time to start clinical trials.

When it all comes down to it, you want to arrive at the best decision possible not just for your DSO’s bottom line but also for your clinical staff — after all; they are the ones who will use these products day in day out. Clinical evaluations ensure comfort and satisfaction with new products, but they also facilitate purchasing compliance to the updated formulary.

In the following steps, we’ll go over how to set up clinical trials, evaluate results, and decide which products your dental organization will use in the future. There may be tough conversations and compromises to be made in these steps, but they are essential to the process and the continued quality of care offered by your dental offices.

For now, we’ll start with how to conduct trials.

STEP FIVE: CONDUCT CLINICAL EVALUATION TRIALS

Think of your clinical staff at your different offices. Who’s on your A-Team? Which staff members have the best reputation? Who might have the best sense for a good deal? Which clinicians are the organizational leaders?

Keep a running list of folks who might fit this profile, as you’ll soon call upon them to conduct trials as part of your Clinical Evaluation Team (CET). The CETs will be the members of your dental offices who will test the products you’ve reviewed as the best choices for the Primary Formulary.

The makeup of your CETs might vary widely, and it’s all dependent on the size of your dental organization. Some CETs we’ve seen have consisted of 30 clinicians; others have been one sole doctor. Some teams might include dental hygienists and assistants, while other offices compose their CETs by picking doctors alone. A Chief Dental/Clinical Officer, if your organization employs one, serves well as the group leader, but often, a doctor heads up the team. Regardless of how you form your CET, do whatever you believe will be best for your organization.

There are other points to consider, as well. For one, don’t overload or under-staff your CET; that way, you’ll avoid too many conflicting opinions or a lack of score diversity. A CET too small might also negatively affect formulary compliance further on down the road.

Also, make sure you pick the most financially savvy team members. These clinicians serve as the driving force behind product consolidation, and they’ll most likely understand the stakes and reasoning behind your final decisions. They will prove to be helpful allies once you finalize product choices, both in conforming to the formulary and explaining your options to other staff members.

Once you’ve assembled your CET, the next natural step is to obtain samples of the trial-specific products. When doing so, do your best to avoid distributors and source directly from the manufacturer. Suppliers will likely send you free trials if they’re top contenders for your business, so try to secure these product samples without paying for them.

Now, trials may begin. While conducting the trials, make sure your team keeps track of their opinions of each product. The easiest way to do so is to distribute an evaluation form with a 1-to-5 ranking system, where 1 signifies the worst product put on God’s green earth, and 5 states it’s the best thing since intraoral scanners. Click here to download our CET Evaluation Form.

A few words of advice in closing: Do not rush this part of the process. Clinical trials may take some time, but trust us when we say that time will be worth it. You’ll come to the correct choice when you find that sweet compromise between the lowest price for your dental organization and the best product for your clinical team.

Keep a lookout for Part Six: Evaluating & Picking Winners from Clinical Trials


Step 4: How to Determine the Best Price on the Best Products

At CureMint, we’re committed to driving down costs as we help your dental  organization reshape its supply procurement strategy. In this blog series, we’ll guide you through nine easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses so you can better manage your finances and become more profitable in the dental industry.

After the flurry of activity we saw in Step Three, this portion of our nine-step process might seem like a step back. But when reviewing offers, you need to take some time to collect yourself and compare your options.

Though it may seem boring on the tin, reviewing all the data is a rather dramatic step in this journey. Here’s where the foundation for future consolidation begins. It’s when you start deciding who will receive your business. Again, you’ll be glad you’ve already done all that homework and research in the primary phases of this process, as we can calculate on a granular price-per-unit level who’s offering the clearest savings for your practice. Along with upfront pricing, other factors should be considered during data review when determining how to move forward and which vendors genuinely offer the best holistic deal for your dental organization.

With that, let’s jump right into it.

STEP FOUR: REVIEW ALL THE DATA

We last left off with counter-offers from suppliers and manufacturers, seeing who will get most aggressive with their pricing to gain or retain your business. By now, you may be able to predict what we’ll do with this information as it trickles in: Plug it all into your master spreadsheet!

[Get access to the master spreadsheet in the full 9 Step Guide]

You’ll want to make apples-to-apples cost comparisons between these new price schedules, your old supply cost data, and the proposed prices you’ll receive from different vendors and manufacturers. Using the latest prices from all these collected quotations starts by breaking down each product’s price-per-unit cost. Once you’ve completed those calculations, you can then map out your potential savings by referencing these new pricing schedules side by side. With all the possible deals lined up, you quickly determine where you’re possibly able to consolidate your spending, whether that’s between brands or vendors.

You’ll plainly see who’s hungriest for your business once you have all these new quoted costs laid out in front of you. However, recall that we asked for possible side perks from each supplier when we sent out those RFQs. Compared to the easily quantifiable differences in price, these benefits might seem more intangible than just saving more money upfront, but they should never be discounted.

If you’ve done your due diligence during RFQs, you’ll recall deal sweeteners offered by different manufacturers, like volume-discount ladders, rebates, training, and continuing education allowances. All those factors combined with the lowered price schedules will be worth your consideration, and if you’re facing a dilemma between two potential deals, these side perks may help tip the scales toward one vendor over another. Depending on your organization, these considerable benefits may even help you save money in other avenues aside from face-value supply costs. Though the focus of this series has been on streamlining and reducing your supply costs, you can see in the current review stage how this entire process holds the potential to help your dental organization save money in other areas.

You now know which products will deliver the quickest, most significant savings on your dental organization’s supplies. You’ve also begun figuring out which suppliers and vendors might prove to be your most beneficial business partners. To establish which product is best for your offices, however, we’ll have to test them out in the real world with the people who’ll use each product every day. But we’re saving that critical phase of our nine-step process for next time.

Keep a lookout for Part Five: How to Conduct Product Trials Efficiently & Effectively

Can’t wait for the next blog? We don’t blame you! Download the full guide to get immediate access to Step 5.