Step 3: How To Negotiate With Suppliers Like a Boss

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.


Ready to take charge? Here's our third installment.

We’ve been doing a lot of homework up to this point in our nine-step process. But here’s where the rubber meets the road: manufacturer negotiations. You’ll be thankful for all the preparations we’ve guided you through when you start contacting suppliers and enter the negotiation phase. You will have witnessed some savings in Step Two, but you’ll really start saving money for your dental organization from here on out.

This may be the fun part for some of you, and we’re sure you’re chomping at the bit for the chance to haggle. But if you’re unsure of how to confidently aim for the best deals, don’t worry — we have your back.


One of the most significant pieces of advice anyone can ever give you about negotiating is to have as much information on your side as possible. The more you know, the better you can angle for a deal.

If it helps ease your mind when considering this part of the process, think of when you’ve bought a car. Once you find the right make, model, and trim for you, you’ll want to know how much they’re selling for and start comparing prices. You’ll likely read some reviews of the different dealers you’ve visited and see who provides the best warranties or customer service. You’ll ask for a financing quote based on what you’ll contribute upfront as a down payment. You’ll definitely take a few options out for a test drive, then maybe even hire a mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection to ensure you aren’t driving off the lot with a lemon. And you can use all these points as leverage when you sit down with the salesperson to hammer out the details on finally purchasing the car.

Now, consider what we’ve done to this point. As it stands, we’ve already compared prices, received quotes, and learned about some of the side perks certain vendors or suppliers may provide you when buying from them. We’ll get to the test drives later with clinical trials but now’s when the haggling begins.

Once your RFQs have returned, calculate price-per-each for every product, focusing on one category at a time (for example, gloves, as we have to this point). Calculating the price of each individual unit is vitally important, both now and later in the process. For now, when you negotiate with vendors, it’s more important to know you purchased, say, 348,250 individual gloves than knowing you bought 1,311 boxes of gloves, as different glove brands come in different quantities. Figuring out price-per-each will help narrow down your options soon enough.

Now is the time to formally reach out to your different suppliers and vendors. Don’t fret if you don’t consider yourself a natural-born negotiator — just be honest, direct, transparent, and courteous, and you’ll do fine. Just shoot over a message like this:

Hey Bob’s Manufactured Gloves,

We are looking to consolidate all of our glove purchases to one manufacturer with the hopes of getting a volume-based discount. We currently order approximately 532 boxes a year from you, representing about 46% of our total glove purchases. I want to give you a chance to win the other 54% or 188,650 individual gloves, but I need you to get as aggressive as you can on pricing.

After you’ve dropped a line to your first choice, you should contact your other suppliers. Let them know that, as they aren’t the cheapest option, they have a chance at winning more of your business, as long as they beat your price-per-each calculations.

Again, be as respectful and tactful as possible while also laying out the situation plainly; whomever you decide to work with, you’re entering a business relationship with one of these parties, so it’s best to be on good terms with all potential partners.

Simple as that! As you can see, negotiations don’t have to be stressful or painful. It’s just a conversation between two partners, looking to do some friendly business together. All you need to do now is wait for the counter-offers to roll in, and then, we’ll move forward with price reviews.

Keep a lookout for Part Four: How to Determine the Best Price on the Best Products

Can’t wait for the next blog? We don’t blame you! Download the full guide to get immediate access to Step 4: Reviewing Your Data & Prepping for Clinical Trials.


Step 2: How to Request Quotes & Prep for Vendor Negotiation

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. Now, let’s dive into our second installment!

Achieving the best deals on your most essential supplies has always been critical to running any dental practice. And, especially now, cutting supply costs has never been more vital to your organization. With distributors competing like lions for market share, you need to figure out how you can secure the products your dental organization requires in the most cost-effective fashion.

Yet there’s never a better opportunity to angle for better deals.

In the first part of this series, we took you through organizing a starter formulary and analyzing how you spend money on your dental organization. In this post, we’ll use your findings to get the best prices on your supplies. This is where you’ll determine your baseline for negotiation. You’ve assembled and reviewed your current spending, so now, you’ll supplement that with price-point comparisons from other vendors and suppliers.

Download the entire 9 Step Guide to Driving Down Dental Supply Expense here.


They say knowledge is power. As we stated in the previous installment, your starter formulary is the foundation of driving down your yearly costs. And now, with all of your spending information collected in one spot, you’ll strengthen your case moving into negotiations.

Your first move here is rather direct: Send out your starter formulary with pricing requests, or a Request for Quotation — an RFQ. This RFQ will make it clear to distributors that you desire a fresh price comparison on all the products you’ve been ordering over the past year.

Without an RFQ, your distributors will work on the assumption that they can simply sub in cheaper products than what you’ve been ordering. However, that’s not your aim at this juncture. Whenever feasible, you want the same high-quality products your staff is used to, just at a better price. After all, why skimp on quality?

In a way, negotiations begin during the RFQ stage. When drafting your RFQ, we recommend you supplement your request with a few deceptively simple questions, such as:

  • Where are your distribution centers and/or corporate support sites located?
  • What are your standard shipping transit times or rates?
  • Which dental service organizations (DSOs) have you recently added to your clientele?
  • Have you lost any DSO accounts in the last 12 months?
  • Can you provide any references from other DSOs?
  • Do you offer any training?

Along with gathering this intel, take this time to seek other possible variables to sweeten your pot. If you play your cards right in negotiations, you can finagle such extras as a signing bonus, early-pay discounts or rebates, continuing-ed allowances, corporate meeting sponsorships, marketing material, or volume discounts.

To that final point, here’s a tip for larger dental organizations that’ll blow your mind: You may be able to arrange a Cost-Plus Transparent Pricing Model. Whether they admit it or not, distributors manipulate price margins based on volume, demand, or their profitability budgets. A cost-plus contract requires that the distributor standardize the percentage of their markup to all inventory, transparently against the manufacturer’s production cost. Medical organizations have already taken advantage of this pricing model, but the dental industry has yet to catch on. If you buy supplies at high volume, you should ask about establishing a cost-plus contract.

Again, knowledge is power — use all these pieces of information as bargaining chips in negotiations.

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. That may seem daunting, but the more knowledgeable you are about your pricing options, the better deal you’ll be able to negotiate.

The power of the RFQ comes from your commitment to the consolidation of suppliers. You may find that, in analyzing your ordering history, you are buying the same products from different distributors. Your RFQ will clearly state the total volume of spend to that product category the distributor can expect if you were to direct 100% of your spending to them.

Once you have all your RFQs returned, it’s time to enter that data from each distributor alongside your starter formulary, as shown below:

Dental RFQNow that you’ve created a single source of data, you can easily compare your previous 12 months’ total spend to the new price points each distributor quoted you following your RFQ. While prices for certain products may be higher or lower depending on the vendor, in this example, we can see that Distributor 2 can deliver total savings of over $6,000 on the exact same products you are currently purchasing from Distributor 1. With all that in mind, you can enter negotiations with suppliers to get the best deal possible, whether you opt for a new vendor or stick with your old reliable at a better rate.

TIP: Unit of Measures(UOM) – Not paying attention to UOM will likely result in overestimated savings, or potentially even an increase in spending. 

For example, offices will likely order house brand products from distributors. The distributors bidding the business that doesn’t currently work with the DSO can’t provide pricing for other distributor’s house brand gloves. Instead, they will provide pricing for their house brand gloves. However, their UOM may differ from that of their current purchases. So, pay attention to the price per each, instead of the price per product.

RFQs represent a bit of heavy lifting, but you can already see how this process quickly points out where savings can be made in your dental organization.

In the next steps, we’ll take all the information we’ve gleaned from the RFQs and apply them to negotiate the best possible deals for the products your offices love.

Step 1: How to Organize Your Supply Expenses & Create A Formulary

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

The dental industry has witnessed remarkable sea changes in recent years. As group dentistry continues to grow and private equity seizes on investment opportunities, this market is quickly becoming a whole new ball game. With the current compression on profitability, you must utilize every tool at your disposal so you can manage your overhead while remaining competitive in this rapidly changing environment. And there are precious few avenues to cut costs while also delivering the top-notch dental care your patients expect.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that the way your organization sources dental supplies is stuck in the 20th Century. Improving your sourcing process is the foundation of driving down supply costs. Removing the middleman whenever possible and streamlining your supply chain will help you save money, so you can refocus your resources on important overhead expenses and provide the best care possible.

So, let’s start this process by engaging in some simple budget analysis.


Before diving into how we can help you organize and analyze your dental supply budget, here’s a farcical example of how simple this process can be from one of the most eccentric corners of the Internet: Twitter.

This may seem like an absurdly silly example, but the basic message holds true. In all walks of your life, understanding your budget is fundamental to optimizing your financial responsibility. And once you layout your spend history, ways to cut costs become glaringly simple. In this example, your organization is @dril, and your outdated method for handling your supply chain is their monthly spend on candles. Once you recognize you’re overspending on sourcing supplies, you’re en route to freeing significant capital to invest in the most important parts of your practice.

Firstly, you’ll need to organize the last 12 months of your supply spend. Start off by requesting your order history from your primary dental-supply distribution partners such as Henry Schein, Patterson, Benco, Darby, or whomever else, as well as suppliers to whom you send direct orders, like Brasseler, Komet, Ultradent, and others. You’ll need a few specific pieces of information:

  • Manufacturer
  • Item SKU Number
  • Item Name and Description
  • Item Category and Sub-Category
  • Unit of Measure (ie, quantity of product per order)
  • Quantity Ordered
  • Product Price

When you’ve collected all the requisite information, combine and organize your 12-month spend history into an Excel spreadsheet. We call this your starter formulary — a custom consolidated supply catalog from which your office’s order products.

Here’s an example of how your formulary should look to ensure we can most smoothly import your information:


By the end of our nine-step process, you’ll have primary and secondary formularies, and quite possibly some specialty formularies — but that time will come. As far as the here and now goes, this will be the basis of our project. It may seem daunting at first, but as we move along, your formularies will become simpler and easier to manage and navigate.

But for now, there we have it: All your most important supply expenses, all spread out and right in front of you, all for your benefit. You may find yourself surprised at where your money goes. You’ll definitely see which products are most vital to your organization, and you can use those most-important purchases as touchstones as we progress through this nine-step process.

Can’t wait for the next blog? We don’t blame you.

In fact, you’ll soon be speaking directly with your product vendors — but we’re saving that for our next installment. Keep your eyes peeled for Step Two: Request for Quotation.

9-Step Guide to Reducing Dental Supply Costs

It's time to take control of supply costs and vendor relationships.

Learn how to drive down dental expenses while building a procurement strategy that continues to deliver savings year after year.

Fill out the form below to get immediate access to the 9 Step Guide.

This guide will teach you how to...

  • Analyze &  Understand Exactly What You're Purchasing
  • Receive The Most Competitive RFQs
  • Negotiate With Suppliers Like A Pro
  • Select The Best Partners For Your Dental Organization
  • Drive Formulary Compliance Like Never Before

I have spent over a decade in the dental industry specializing in supply chain management and procurement. This guide is a perfect reflection of how to build a cost-reducing formulary, and gain buy-in across your clinical team. If you’re ready to increase savings and improve vendor partnerships start reading now!

Brad Freeman
Head of Strategic Sourcing Services, CureMint

CureMint Inventory Management

Why Software Is Not Your Answer To Dental Inventory Management

Yes, we are procurement software, and yes, we just said this

Whether you are an emerging organization of three to five offices or a larger dental enterprise, truly accurate inventory management always seems just out of reach or, even worse, is ignored altogether.

What do we mean by inventory management? In this article, inventory management means that at any moment you know what products are on the shelf in a given office.

Unfortunately, the current perception is that you need inventory management software and that this software will magically solve all your supply problems.

However, the fundamental flaw of purchasing, managing, and tracking inventory isn’t the decreasing accuracy of glove count or the spreadsheets you diligently try to fill out; it’s the process itself. Regardless of your purchasing practices or software solutions, the reality is a physical person must manually enter supply data for multiple offices into a system leaving the essential process of managing inventory open to inaccuracy and inefficiencies. And yes, scanning is still considered manual.

The harsh reality: 

Even with today’s inventory management solutions, to achieve the best and most effective outcome, you still need manual compliance at the office to solve this problem. Nevermind the scalability challenges if you have multiple locations; when it comes to driving operational excellence is adding another task to your overworked staff checklist the best idea when you want them focused on providing the best patient care and service possible?

So, what can we do about it?

Identify the root problem you want to solve and start at the beginning.

Ask yourself, “What problem am I trying to solve? Is it always knowing what’s on my shelf, or is it to ensure I am not buying more than what I need to serve my patients in this period of time?”

We know inventory management is the answer to these questions, but the process itself may not be practical. So, why not empower your staff and solve the actual problem by prioritizing purchasing compliance, using data and budgets to ensure you are not overspending, automating decision-making and approvals, and leveraging receive and reconciliation functionality in support of keeping accurate records.

Prioritize Purchasing Compliance

Compliance can be captured in one word: predictable behavior. But, before you can truly drive company-wide compliance, you have to answer a few questions:

  • How do we order supplies?
  • What do we buy?
  • Where do we buy it?
  • And what does that current process look like?

To get started, create one environment where all office purchasing and vendors/suppliers can live. By creating a single controlled environment, then mandating that all purchasing takes place there, dental offices can not only control costs but increase formulary acceptance by simply encouraging the right behavior in the right place. More importantly, that behavior is producing data, and now that data is captured in one system. With all of your data in one place, you can begin to build a single source of truth for what is actually coming into the organization, the true savings of each supplier, and the KPIs that make each office run more efficiently.

Use Data to Drive Purchasing Behavior

Now that all of your purchasing data is in one place, it’s time to turn that data into valuable information to drive better decision making. For example, as your purchasing compliance increases, your data becomes more accurate, enabling you to review historical trends and plan the supplies you need based on last month’s revenue and this month’s scheduled appointments. Think of it this way: If your offices can forecast the number of patients for the next three months, why would you buy supplies to serve double or triple of what is forecasted? It’s unnecessary to buy supplies for 100 patients when you know your office will only have 25. By eliminating autopilot purchasing behavior and uncovering relevant inventory data, controlling cash flow and operational costs can become less daunting and more manageable.

Automate Decisions & Workflows

Automating is one the easiest and most efficient ways you can improve your office’s operational reality and overall mood. Whether your office orders inventory every two weeks or every two days, office managers should have the freedom to purchase what they need when they need it without interruption. Implement a system that gives the appropriate employees remote control and visibility into the organization’s purchasing behavior and product catalog while fostering a hands-off approach to individual office inventory needs.

Set this plan in motion by finding a solution that:

Drive Accurate Receive & Reconciliation Data

It’s hard to keep track of received orders with just a few offices, but as you scale, it becomes impossible to do it for an entire enterprise with hundreds of locations. More frequently than not, a dental assistant is on the phone or writing an email to a distributor explaining that an order was not completely fulfilled, only to have the burden being placed back on them. In the era of knowing where every online purchase is at any time, there is no reason why dental offices should not have the same experience. Don’t let headquarters pay an invoice for supplies that have failed to arrive. Try a technology that gives you full traceability of every order placed by every office in your organization. For example, CureMint’s receive and reconciliation features allow you to see what has arrived, where and at what prices, so you can accurately keep track of your supplies at the agreed-upon price.

Today, dental offices are running primarily on fixed costs, making ways to save money few and far between with cash flow left in the balance. And right now, with saving money at the center of everyone’s minds, initiatives like improved inventory management supporting that goal are paramount.

As offices begin to reopen, there is an opportunity to update some programs that take up valuable employee time and unknowingly cost thousands. Start looking at how your offices purchase supplies and invest in ways to support positive, sustainable change across the organization.

DSO Procurement Webinar with Group Dentistry Now, CureMint, Envista, dentalcorp & Rock Dental Brands

This event has already taken place! Below, you can watch the full panel discussion and see the poll results from the webinar.

Webinar Poll Results

On May 20, Group Dentistry Now and the expert panel from CureMint, Rock Dental Brands, dentalcorp, and Envista discussed the future of dental procurement with over 633 registrants from around the country. During the webinar, we asked the question: “Do you know your formulary acceptance rate?”

Out of 100+ polled, 49% responded “I don’t know” and only 15% said their formulary acceptance rate was greater than “80%.”

Cofounders Brandon McCarty and Christopher Rathgeb

Press Release: CureMint Raises $1.25M In Funding

CureMint Raises $1.25M in Funding for Healthcare Procurement Solution Focused on the Dental Industry

Durham, NC based CureMint champions next-generation procurement software while boosting the local economy  

(Durham, April 27, 2020) –

Cofounders Brandon McCarty and Christopher Rathgeb
Cofounders Brandon McCarty and Christopher Rathgeb

CureMint is excited to announce the company has successfully raised its series seed financing round totaling $1,250,000. Cofounders Brandon McCarty and Christopher Rathgeb will use the funds to advance product development, hire local engineering and operational roles, and scale the company’s highly competitive go-to-market strategy.

The funds were raised with support from Raleigh-based venture capital firm Cofounders Capital.

“Over the past 4 months, we have talked to all of the stakeholders in Dental Support Organizations that CureMint is serving. Brandon and his team focused on the user experience first to ensure adoption, which is what great companies do,” states Tim McLoughlin, Partner, Cofounders Capital. “When everyone in the organization loves using the software, it leads to frictionless onboarding and rapid standardization and ROI for ownership. That combination made it an easy decision to invest.”

Currently, the North American dental industry is plagued with inefficient procurement technologies and practices. Spend under management suffers while innovation takes a back seat to clunky, legacy systems costing dental practices, large and small, absorbent amounts of time and money.

Brandon McCarty, CureMint CEO and Cofounder, states, “CureMint was founded with a purpose to help the lives of all we touch. Our core competency is in building delightful technical solutions to make our end users’ jobs easier and more productive. Now more than ever, it is important we execute on this purpose as our overworked healthcare professionals are trying desperately to get the supplies, they need to do their jobs.”

With a rapidly growing customer base, increasing from 10 to over 120 in one year, CureMint aims to be the single solution meeting the increasing demands of dental procurement.

“We are extremely grateful that Cofounders Capital believes in our mission and team, and we look forward to using this capital to further support the local economy and great talent base that exists in the Raleigh-Durham area,” McCarty continues.

CureMint is thrilled to not only take on the challenge of dental procurement but support the local workforce and economy. CureMint is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina’s leading start-up hub and workspace, the American Underground and plans to start hiring immediately.

“Durham boasts a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem that has contributed to North Carolina’s tech industry 20.6% growth over the past five years, the third-highest growth rate in the country,” states Adam Klein, Chief Strategist, American Underground. “This is just one of the many reasons why we see burgeoning companies, like CureMint, move their companies across the country and choose to call Durham, NC their home.”

About CureMint®

CureMint® is the leading dental procurement software helping dental organizations scale across North America. Founded in 2017, CureMint’s purpose is to bring relief to the dental industry’s extremely fragmented and painful procurement process. By providing an intuitive ordering experience, increased spend visibility, and holistic office management, CureMint empowers dental organizations to realize streamlined operations and untapped profitability. CureMint is headquartered in Durham, NC with offices in the American Underground.

Media Contact:
Tara Fusco
Chief Marketing Officer
[email protected]

CureMint Named 20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers by CIO Review

CureMint Named 20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers by CIO Review

CureMint Named 20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers by CIO Review

CureMint Named 20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers by CIO Review

I am excited to announce CureMint was named one of the 20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers – 2019 by CIO Review. This listing focuses on companies that are at the forefront of procurement and impacting the industry. CureMint was featured in the Comprehensive Approach to Spend Under Management issue as one of the top providers for dental organizations seeking operational efficiency and solutions to scale!

A majority of industries today have moved away from archaic procurement and supply chain processes in an effort to optimize workflows, lower costs, reduce errors, and improve productivity. However, the healthcare sector—and, in particular, the dental industry—still takes a backseat when it comes to adopting e-procurement solutions. This is primarily due to an industry that is just beginning to mature; where such investments play a significant role in impacting their bottom line.

As a result, dental practices lack an efficient e-procurement mechanism for need identification, invoice approval, and payment processing. To address this innovation gap, CureMint was founded. The company developed the first-of-its-kind, all-in-one marketplace and spend management software that is specifically tailored for dental organizations.

“The idea was to build a platform that not only centralizes the e-procurement process but also the supply chain process, bringing about efficiency in business transactions for both the supplier and dental organization,” explains Brandon Patrick McCarty, co-founder and CEO of CureMint.

Replacing conventional paper-based and email processes that were used to manage procurement transactions with CureMint’s eProcurement software, dental organizations have been able to increase operational efficiency significantly. With the help of the software’s dental-specific intuitive interface that can be used without prior training, a dental assistant can manage their organization’s purchasing and sourcing processes. In addition, the platform works closely with dental vendors to ensure efficiency gains and visibility are occurring for both sides CureMint empowers dental practices to gain real-time control over their budgets by delivering meaningful insights into purchasing behavior and stop rogue spending before it begins. “Without investing a significant amount of time and resources, dental practices can make better business decisions and increase profit,” says McCarty. This software is especially a boon for smaller dental organizations that do not have a dedicated procurement department and rely on a single employee to manage purchasing supplies, among other duties. For this reason, the CureMint team’s focus always lies in reducing the complexity associated with e-procurement operations; “so that a dental assistant can love using the system as much as the CFO and procurement manager,” states McCarty.

In one instance, McCarty mentions how CureMint helped a client consolidate and bring visibility to their organizational spend. The client was preparing for aggressive business expansion and anticipated that its 10 offices in different locations would grow to over 30 within a year. However, each of their branch offices was using separate supplier accounts and payment terms to transact with the vendors. Thus, the vendors failed to realize that all the different offices belonged to the same organization. Consequently, the pricing was disorganized and the client’s management team lacked visibility into their procurement processes. With CureMint’s help, the client was able to consolidate its procurement processes into a single platform and effortlessly keep track of their formulary while negotiating better terms and pricing. More importantly, they were able to increase productivity based on the insights gained from their spending behavior.

Over the years, CureMint has been carefully considering the demands of its customers and implementing features to accommodate such requests. This can be further emphasized through the company’s rapidly growing customer base, which increased from less than 10 to over 120 in a year. CureMint intends to leverage this momentum and expand its reach while remaining focused on enhancing its e-procurement platform. “We want customers to touch and feel the impact of our system rather than unproductive demos and talking; this means onboarding clients in minutes, an accomplishment that has not been achieved by any of our contemporaries so far,” notes McCarty. With a zealous mindset to transform purchasing and sourcing processes into an organizational advantage for dental organizations, CureMint intends to eliminate the complexity associated with e-procurement and make its platform accessible to all.

Dentistry Uncensored Podcast: Procurement Made Simple Featuring CureMint CEO

Dentistry Uncensored Podcast: Procurement Made Simple Featuring CureMint CEO

Watch Howard Farran interview CureMint CEO, Brandon McCarty, on the revolutionary procurement technologies entering the dental space.

It’s about buying the right things at the right time. – Brandon McCarty, CureMint CEO

From legacy purchasing practices to realizing untapped profitability, Howard and Brandon discuss how to uncover the true cost of supplies and create a smarter, more centralized spend under management strategy.


Podcast Transcript

Howard: it’s just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Brandon McCarty he is a CEO and co-founder of cure mint Inc a technology startup that provides the power of enterprise procurement for any size dental organization Kerman is the first and only all-in-one marketplace and spend management software designed specifically for the unique needs of dental practices with cure met software dental practices enjoy their own organizational Amazon where only predetermined products are offered controlling when those products can be purchased and by whom while gathering meaningful data on spending habits to empower better business decisions CureMint provides an intuitive Amazon like experience optimized for each organization curbing rogue spending and realizing increased operational efficiency using CureMint is very simple sign up simply identify the number aprox you have enter each physical address and send an email invite to your staff boom you’re ready to go pay month-to-month no commitments no startup costs so cure mints cloud-based system gives everyone in your organization access to the right vendors anytime anywhere and from any device relish the time saved through the removal of inefficient paper and email processes turn your purchasing and sourcing processes to an organizational advantage save source from multiple suppliers seamlessly through cure market unlocking thousands and contracted savings and perks gain real-time control on office budgets and stop rogue spending before this he was the CEO and co-founder of CGC an innovative consulting firm that provides fundraising marketing services to nonprofits he also served as an adjunct professor for Pepperdine MBA course where he taught funding entrepreneurial ventures and just five short years ago Brendon served as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment where he deploy was deployed four times and conducted over a thousand Special Operations missions Brandon thank you so much for doing that while I was sitting home eating Cheetos

Brandon McCarty: yeah well one thing I’ll make clear up I did not do a thousand it should have been a hundred so a thousand I was a hundred it says on yes okay so when I make sure I’d have all the guys back in the day making sure they  called me to call me on that one so so where where were most what country were most submissions in in the Middle East so the hot spots over there for sure yeah

Howard: well I’m thanks for serving I hope you’re okay I hope you survive that so um Precure so so I call it a the cycle right I mean Joseph shooting her got a Nobel Prize in Economics Austrian economists talking about business cycles and I it’s the consolidation cycle so when I was old are you Patrick I’m 34 okay so I’m 57 When I was your age there was a there was like 15,000 micro breweries and then it all consolidated everybody was your drinking bud curers and mech and then it D consolidate again so when I got out of school in 87 there was a there was a dental supply company in every city and then I met the founders that rolled him up Pete foreshadow Patterson a lot of these guys got a line to credit and they wouldn’t bought out all these mom-and-pop deals and rolled up Patterson shying all this stuff like that and then about ten years ago it was completely consolidated were probably almost all the supplies probably 75% of supplies were brought by Patterson shine Banco Burkhardt and then as soon as it hit that max its D consolidating again and there’s dental supplies companies open up a live podcast four or five in the last six months I mean so it’s at a remember that game what was it called pong where you move the bearer ya pong so it’s just a pong and the stock market goes up it comes back down it consolidates addy consolidates um where are we now in in dental supplies is that mainly what you’re procuring its dental supplies that is mostly that or is it office supplies it’s not lab right right

Brandon McCarty: so well today we’re focusing primarily on clinical or dental supplies as well as office supply so really anything on the front office and in back-office peace now laboratory is a whole different animal we haven’t really tackled that yet but to answer your question on the by the yeah the question and word that where’s the space or what we do I I always say what we do is we just continue the relationships the dental organization whether it’s a solo office group DSO whatever it is the relationships that they already have in place we bring efficiency to those relationships and it starts with buying things so it’s online it starts with making sure your whatever the relationship the contract in place is being fulfilled then we’re talking about span management data making sure the right things being purchased at the right time every time that’s really what Kermit does

Howard: so I so where does this come from when you were in the military were you in supply chain management or was that it

Brandon McCarty: no I did not I did not wake up saying I want to tackle the dental procurement problem that was never a thing of mine um the actual problem happened I was in school so I was getting my executive mba at Pepperdine University and in my class there was a classmate his name was Vlad and he was actually like employee number four of implant direct back in the early 2000s and he had been a part of that working with the ability to sell directly to the dental office so he met in business school in 2015 and he was just telling me that at his company which was the part of Danaher at the time that there’s a really big problem the supply chain primarily around group practices the ability for them to buy things for multiple vendors and enforce the contracts you know make sure that it’s really easy for all their practice to buy thing have data pay for invoices all of that stuff was just really chaotic a lot of waste and money being done and in the organizations we’re asking the suppliers to solve the problem and their suppliers right they’re not technology companies and so there was this opportunity and that’s where we uncovered it and then you know we spent the first year and a half just asking the right questions right like going to people and asking them this really a problem what could be build that would solve this problem asking both the vendors as well as the organization’s right what are the their pain points and that’s kind of where the solution came from and

Howard:  we’re but by the way why did you use the I oh it’s a your website yes cure meant dot IO and IO on

Brandon McCarty: the domain name is it’s the the British Indian Ocean Territory I notice it if you see it a lot in high-tech companies well why did you pick that well I oh yes technically it is the Indian Ocean type of thing but really we look for it as input outputs it’s a technical term about everything in computers is an input of an action and then an output of a result and then really that’s what the IO means that’s why you see a lot of technology companies with that and so how long has it been out so Curemint was founded in July of 2017 and we released our first product to market in October of last year so we’ve been on the market for about 13 months so you’ve had a one-year journey around the Sun how was your first journey around the Sun with cure meant it’s been really good we’ve we’ve learned a lot like I said we you know we started with talking to like the top dental support organizations and that exists and then we actually begin working and finding a tremendous value proposition to group practices with five locations and even solo practitioners and so we’ve had a really good customer base that have touch really every type of segment we learned a lot about what are the things that they care about and stripping away complexity and a lot of features that no one cares about and just providing them what they need

Howard: so what do you learn I love these podcasts because you know Dennis’s fragmented most of them are solo practitioners or they’re driving to work right now they they totally know their personal framework but they don’t get a/c dentistry at 30,000 feet you’ve been looking at the dental supply business from 30,000 feet for a long time woody what do you see in that you don’t think the individual see down in their office

Brandon McCarty: I don’t think they realize how much I call it fat or waste occurs in that part of their business everybody’s so focused on the revenue side of things which makes sense they look at supply costs they go you know on a good day you know maybe that’s four percent of revenue you know sometimes it’s eight percent they go that’s not only not gonna move the needle for me but if you look at it and you think about all the time that it takes you’ve seen dental assistants spend a lot of time shopping looking for the right price on all of the knowledge that’s inside of a lead dental assistants brain where if they get sick where they leave all of that’s lost you know so the scalability or the efficiency of their practice we’ve talked to Lee dental assistants who tell us the number one thing they hate is ordering things we’ve worked with our platform where doctors have found that like putting a lot of pressure on one person to make ordering actually is really cool if you can delegate that through multiple people and then only one person approves the orders and it will actually freeze up on the right people to be at the chair side and so there’s a lot of things with the purchasing process that isn’t just saving a couple bucks on a you know on composites it’s about you know making sure things are paid on time having analytics about what you’re buying make really good business decisions that it really doesn’t exist especially in the smaller emerging market

Howard: so one thing that I’m that’s kind of a weird is um you know you go to the Greater New York meeting four years in a row Amazon’s got a booth there and so I you must be a fearless guy because I’m thinking my had if I starting a company and I saw Jeff Bezos in the same space I’d probably run in the corner and go find my pacifier my binky and I quit his Amazon gonna own the space you obviously went to Pepperdine so you got to be sharp obviously you had to think I’m going up against Jeff Bezos what how did you how do you wrap your mind around that

Brandon McCarty: well I think the first part came for us is to asking the actual people that would use and pay for curemmint what they thought about Amazon and one one of my examples was they had a we talked to a twenty location practice and they’re like yeah we spent we opened up Amazon and we ended up spending about $40,000 a month over budget because people were buying vacuum cleaners and all kinds of stuff and so what you find with Amazon is yes you know what they do really well is put pressure on the supply chain in terms of cost efficiency logistics what they do do really well is make it a really good user experience what are the procedures that need to be done and narrowing down a list of products and forcing that the analytics that go with that Accounts Payable so we look at Amazon is basically an integration to curemint so if you want to buy off of Amazon we’ll integrate our platform with with amp you want to buy from Amazon will use curemint you can buy from Amazon but let’s put some control measures and visibility in that before you actually just open up the full marketplace to your practice

Howard: well it’s kind of interesting that you’re doing this and you went to Pepperdine because Jorge Pepperdine did the same business thing but without us applies so you’re like George junior and you’re doing it with our dental supplies it’s kind of interesting so so Amazon has clearly not taken off and when I talked to big dental CEOs of Dell today on the show I had the the head of the three MS dental division and I asked him the big question I said when are you gonna have all this on Amazon he says he says you know what’s really weird Howard he says everybody asked me that question except dentist and and the Amazon deal it’s like you know everybody talks about it in the professional dentist but not not the guy he’s actually numbing up a patient and drilling a filling I and I also think the relationship business I mean I watched it for 32 years that the supply guy comes in he always brings Donuts he always tells your old heavy dental assistants how young and gorgeous they look and it’s a wining dining they feel special do you think is that why you’re focusing on DSOs because when when somebody calls me and they say how do you recommend entering this into dentistry well what is the channel is it directed distributors and online scene what are your and I said you know Denist reshef says it involves cooking a great meal with fancy ingredients and throwing salt shakers around and all that stuff go straight to the dentist if it involves a intelligent business decision go to the DSOs and the first thing out of your mouth was dsos DSO so are you finding that dsos when it comes to the business of dentistry you have their attention until proven otherwise

Brandon McCarty: yeah I think there’s there’s a lot of pressure on them you know majority of them are backed by private equity there’s an expectation of return on investment and in an margins but also I think it’s not just about profitability for the DSO space it’s this balance between freedom and control and so they’re trying to figure out the ways that provide you know the freedom like what you just talked about what the individuals solo office has but really just educating them on hey yes you might like these other items but this is what could happen if you just use this particular products there’s if the ability to provide products not force anything but educate and provide analytics about why you shouldn’t or it might not be in the best interest to do something like that and it is in the best interest for everybody it keeps down costs and allows you to take on patients and in the lower cost for the patient themselves because you don’t have all these overhead costs that type of thing

Howard:  so if you got any big toes let you put there than the name on there you tell people that you got their account or anything

Brandon McCarty: so we are about a year old so we have significant relationships with the dental support organizations the larger ones but we have some functionalities we’re still working out in relationship with them in the certain vendors so we have about 300 locations on our platform we do we have a one large organization and then we have some more of the emerging groups right now and so you know around five locations then we have a few solo practitioners on the platform as well

Howard: so who’s your large one can you say that one

Brandon McCarty: are you guys familiar with the Shulman group Shulman group no so tell me about that one we’re the showmen group Shulman groups an association that just into a dental support they just changed their business model so there were a hundred and twenty entities or organizations inside of that we’re all members a part of the

Howard: showman group are you spelling Solman group s CH UL ma n s CH u L 1 L a man the Shulman group and its dental dentistry orthodontics no orthodontics okay so so tell me your journey with them

Brandon McCarty: yeah so I mean it really it was around my relationship started through the our consulting workshops getting to know some of the larger ATS those pieces so Chris fairness was an executive director for the 80s oh and then he ended up getting hired to run the Schulman group as they change into a DSO model and he knew of us and he said we were a great fit to help them get there spending so think of it as a hundred and twenty individual dental owners and they’re coming together to create one organization and you know they got to get there they’re purchasing in place and all the efficiencies that come with that so curemint it’s been helping them first understand what are they buying who are they buying it with providing that insight and then let’s how do we figure out a way to provide no specific lists of products with vendors that they have strong relationships with without forcing any sort of change but more guiding towards what’s possible with analytics and data so that’s um that’s orthodontic product Howard: so you’re seeing orthodontic products is switching to more of a dental supply company as an association dental support organization sorry that particular one yet they

Brandon McCarty:  were basically let’s work together and create economies of scale and work as one versus a lot of different entities and

Howard:  so um I noticed with orthodontists that you they’re a finicky Bunch like if you are if you’re a rep and you sell orthodontic supplies to a general dentist and they were that honest finds out you’re gone they have to have a different sales force calling on dentists so so that’s did you find any of that

Brandon McCarty:  I found that the marketplace of what we had to build for them is unique because there’s a lot of products with different variances right so there’s the upper left the upper right and so the ability to centralize all of the things that they buy in one login no matter who the vendor is and all of the workers those that go that was a unique kind of I’m just wrong ger that and we can do that we go to a regular dentistry that things that are really easy for us and so it was it was a little bit more complexity than at a general dentist piece but you know it worked out good for us and establish some really strong relationships so there’s a lot of Technology on this so kind of give a verbal demo I mean talk they’re driving their car what exactly is cure meant

Brandon McCarty: so we break up ecommerce think of it as different modules or buckets of functionality so the foundation of the whole platform is ecommerce so the ability to buy things and so what we do is we we shift the idea where you have to learn how to buy things from all your different vendors and what we do is we established one way to buy things and all the vendors come to you so that allows you to have one user experience anytime you buy anything one login for any vendor that’s the first foundation part of curemint so you know you could have five different vendors in there multiple manufacturers and there’s one ecommerce system so that’s the foundational piece then we have a module or a bucket called spin management and really what that says is hey what’s the budget for my practice or multiple practices maybe it’s based off of my revenue and I have this general guideline of what I want to buy so let’s put a budget out there make it visible let’s maybe add approval workflow so our things are over budget or if I want to delegate purchasing to other people I can do that so that’s their spend management piece and then all obviously and then we go into data analytics which is our third bucket so what are we buying well what’s our historical data where we purchased what SKUs are we buying and then we go into predictive data so what what will I probably be buying in the next 30 days based off of my patients that are coming in and then obviously having to all analytics around like what I’m you know the amount of money I’m spending on products is that good what’s the industry base benchmark for this so that’s the third module we also have what we’re working and we’re not quite there yet as inventory management so what is at my practice at any given time and what should I be buying there’s another module here then we get into accounts payable so a lot of you know solo practitioners maybe they buy via credit card right well they buy something they swipe the card or other card entered in but we have something we call like a net 30 agreement so you pay for everything at the end of the month how do you manage that how you see the invoicing how do you confirm that what you ordered you actually received back orders all that type of stuff is all done inside of our platform so one one-stop-shop ecommerce or each procurement

Howard:  well you know I it’s kind of funny everybody loves transparency for everybody but themselves you know I mean I mean you know and I I mean I raised four boys the only time they all went in one room and shut the door I mean you know you don’t have to have an IQ room or warmer than the North Pole to know hey why do they all go in one room so that our pricing is it’s just not transparent like like right now under dental supplies on dental town we post under practice managed ministration it says what percent discount is everyone getting off of the catalog prices retail for dental supplies from shine patterson Benko I mean it’s just weird why so they have a catalog price and I’m the only one that doesn’t do it in the media business so that and the dental magazine business here’s your your fees and everybody wants to wheel and deal and like go play with all the others here’s the ad if you don’t want to add go yeah I mean I mean III just and also part of its America like it when you go to a lot of countries half the fun of shopping is bartering and and they just love it you know at the price gonna if you walked into any mall and Chandler where you were born or grew up born or Chandler Arizona you were born into a just brother grew up there I mean could you imagine going to the mall and say you’re up there could you imagine or the mall in Chandler and when to barter down what you’re buying is so so why why your price is not transparent white white is a doctor have to ask on dental town what percent everyone is getting off of the catalog price

Brandon McCarty:  a great question I think you know that would be something that asks the vendors why do they do that I think a lot of it has to do with I know we deal with a lot of things like points right I buy ten things and I get one free and does this happen to my points and I think it’s this idea the hunt of a deal I think that’s where a lot of it comes from but that to me is just a waste of time and energy and it’s a lot of costs for the vendors to manage something like that is a lot of cost and so why don’t you just get the best deal every single time and let’s make sure that we’re buying a certain volume that they can expect and let’s cut on all the fat of the marketing and this is just create efficiencies so we just get what we need and stuff like that so the answer to why I don’t I think it’s just behavior people like the idea of they feel like they’re getting a deal but you’re right I mean you know that’s one of the things Kermit does really well is all of the every customer has their own price and our platform handles that and you know whatever it is your price that you’ve negotiated our platform manages that and that’s what people do so that’s part of the thing here and I think it’s personally it’s a lot of inefficiencies and waste and management

Howard: so um what I think part of it also in dentistry is you know you know when you’re and I’m when you’re in college I remember one time that the sickest feeling I ever got my life is after a chemistry test I knew I flunked it and then when they put the answer there’s 40 questions I miss like nine but then after the curve that was an a so they’re always wondering how they are in relationship to the other hundred guys in their class so a lot of it they you know they don’t want to feel taken advantage of what is and then some of the hurt feelings are like okay I’ve been buying from you from 20 years but a DSO comes in town with five locations and he gets he gets the big deal and so it’s like okay dental supplies is maybe 12 I mean I think Stan Bergman is the one who told me on this podcast that 18% of his supplies goes to dsos and I’ve had other data points at 12% of offices or dsos but man it’s like they get all the good deals hell they’re not even they’re not even 20% of the market so here’s the eighty percentile working boys like me and like we’re chopped me so how do you how do you wrap your mind around that

Brandon McCarty:  I think that’s a good point and it’s some of the things that we’ve dealt with is it’s the way that the practice is ran right so when we go with a typical solo practitioner or you know a couple locations you know they might have 17 vendors that they buy from right and they might buy this one thing over here because they love it right and they might buy this other thing over here because they love it and there’s no you know and they’re shopping around and they’re doing all of these things you go with the DSO what the way that they work is they say here’s a hundred and seven products this is what we’re gonna buy if you want to buy off it that’s fine but we can guarantee a volume on these specific products and so now the vendor knows that they’re getting this particular type of volume and then there’s also efficiencies about being paid on time accounts payable there’s all these other things that decrease costs for the vendors so that’s why they can decrease the margin so and I think that’s one of the things that Cureminttries to do is that let’s bring this procurement efficiency that the enterprise level organizations get let’s bring it to a solo practitioner so they can begin to run their supply chain just like the DSOs do

Howard: so what’s your prediction on Amazon yeah you think they’re on you think they’re gonna focus more on big b2c markets or do you think down the road they’re gonna get better at these little b2b markets like dentistry

Brandon McCarty:  I think Amazon has a lot of pokers in the fire that’s not just around the the marketplace component of their company I feel as if the b2b play for them on this piece I don’t think I still think there’s gonna always be a play for education it’s more than just products I feel like we’ve come across where it’s about education and relationships and this about what to you and questions that they have because you know at the end of the day you are buying medical products right and there’s things here that you have to like know what you’re dealing in questions and be honest you know the average buyer at a dental practice practice isn’t the most you know sophisticated buyer where all they do is buy things right they have they spend time with patients and so to just unleash Amazon where you can buy anything you want I think there’s a risk and I think why a lot it hasn’t adapted so I don’t see that really ever fully happy maybe the disposables and stuff like that but a lot of the market will always be it’s being sold from experts where questions and niche focus could be

Howard: so what percent of dentists there’s a thread on dental town again they keep putting the supply threads under our price management says just curious how many of you order your dental supplies yourself and rose tendon loop says or Tommy says I negotiate my own orders next guy says I order myself quick when using recent products page and easy to stay on budget next little guy Laura I order all my own supplies – I make a very detailed spreadsheet if it doesn’t take you long so what would percent of dentists you think order their own supplies and is it tend to be like the real organized dentists I mean like Laura says she makes a very detailed spreadsheet I don’t think 1% of the planet even knows how to make a detailed Excel spreadsheet so what are you seeing in the field what percent of the dentists are like Laura making a detailed Excel spreadsheet and what percent of them are just not that organized and the rep comes in with donuts and the assistant orders everything you’re out of

Brandon McCarty:  I think it’s probably about30 to 40 percent have some sort of spreadsheet of the things that they often buy really thirty to forty percent I when we went through our maybe it’s the type of customers that come to cure minute right that’s probably skewed a little bit right people who are attracted to what cuemint does probably are a little bit more organized to that but we’ve seen quite a bit where they actually have a list and what we do is we make that an e-commerce system for them now and they don’t have to manage it on spreadsheets anymore so

Howard:  so you make an econ website forms so you have the software C’s go in and populate it and you you should go to dental town and do a search for dental supplies I mean there’s a gazillion threads talking about this which is always confused me because I always thought man your Labor’s 25% your lab bills ten I don’t care my electric bill is I mean I mean when it seems like when a lot of dentists are talking to me about supplies I would say what’s your labor costs and then he’ll give me a number and I’ll say was that include FICA matching and health and journey you know they don’t know the numbers and so um but I don’t know what why do you what do you think is the cost of dental supplies do you think it’s real important to dentistry middle importantly less important do you think they’re focused on labor and lab or are you thanks wise

Brandon McCarty:  I think it all kind of connects I don’t think it’s just about the percentage of dental supplies I think it’s about the culture and the operations of your company how do you buy something and what’s the process how much brain power spend all you talked about labor costs right if you have one person dedicated to ordering things three times so for three hours a week is it a month if the doctors doing it how much time is that being taken right and so and it’s low-hanging fruit so yeah maybe it’s not you know the biggest thing on your P&L; statement but it’s low-hanging fruit where it’s very easy to resolve and fix that and what if it was completely off your brain and you knew you were buying the right thing the right time every time and then let’s say you know every month you’re able to get at a report that had the detailed specifics of what you’re buying and when then you can make decisions off that what could you do with that time on other things and so that’s kind of where I look at this is yeah it’s not just about decreasing your cost from 8 percent to 6 percent it’s about the ability to have begin building standard operating and procedures around everything in your practice and this is one thing that’s being neglected

Howard: so you say approximately 30 to 40 percent of dentist order their own supplies and then your concern is what was the what was the opportunity cost of their time when they were doing all that and could have been doing other stuff so I’d say my the 30 40 % wasn’t that I thought doctors were actually placed any orders it was that do they track what they buy in spreadsheets that was what I meant by 30 to 40 percent so 30 to 40 percent of dentists track their order supplies with a spreadsheet what we’ve seen that come to kurma yes on an Excel spreadsheet

Brandon McCarty: yep they have a list of who are their vendors what are their user name and passwords about how do they log in who buys what who’s their sales rep yeah

Howard:  I am I just fell deeper in love with my homeys every day they never cease to amaze me but what percent of the dentists actually ordered their own supplies without a spreadsheet well in terms of doctors who place orders

Brandon McCarty:  I would say I’ve I’ve really found hardly anybody who does that it’s usually delegated to like a lead dental assistant I haven’t found many doctors who actually place the orders themselves

Howard: so the assistant places the order but a third about 30 to 40 percent so just a third of dentists or tracking it on an Excel spreadsheet damn they’re so complicated how how can they track their supplies on an Excel spreadsheet and not even know their overhead so it’s that’s that’s very very interesting on this deal um it’s been out a long time

Brandon McCarty: net 32 I’m still trying to figure out what is your unique selling proposition I think net thirty twos been out there a long time they were kind of came out when about Amazon did what’s your if someone said what’s the difference between you and that’s 32 what would you say well first of all net 32 is actually right in the neck of the woods that we’re kurma thisit’s in the raleigh-durham area so that’s a small note so yes 32 is a marketplace that when you log in we call it a competitive marketplace you’ll find a product with multiple products and SKUs and in prices and you find the best price right curemint is not about saving you getting you the best price what we’re about is making sure the ordering process or the actual act of ordering is the most efficient thing as possible so what to order who do you want to order from delegating that and having the data behind it that’s what Karen’s about so if you wanted to buy from net 30 to our platform you would actually be able to build an integration where you can access those products but you could actually delegate who does it and have you know approval processes on what they can buy that type of thing so we’re more of an operational tool we’re not necessarily a a competitive marketplace that’s not what we’re about so are you saying you’re agnostic to where you buy the supplies correct yeah you the customer or the dental organization they dictate what’s in Kermit so what vendors what products so maybe they only want one product from one vendor that’s the only thing that goes in kurma so the dental organization creates their own e-commerce site

Howard: Wow so I always you know group practice has a lot of challenges because I’m you know dentist you know they’re all humans are complicated but I then this might be a little more complicated than the average what do you think you how would you describe it if you were back with your with your army buddies was it army yeah so if you’re back with your army buddies they said hey what are the dentists like well how would you describe and compare it to your back to your buddies

Brandon McCarty:  I think doctors have a lot on their plate I think they the mind switch from taking care of patients and you know that the care part and then switching to business and operations in math and in finance and negotiate and then the HR in dealing with people and the feelings there and then going back to being clinical I think that that’s swap back and forth is very rare not many people do that that’s why you see the separation of operations so I always admire doctors about their ability to do those types of things and so I always call them kind of like unicorns in a way the ability to do both of them I think a lot and the best ones know the things that they’re best ask some of them are better at the business side and they enjoy that more and they hire more associates other ones know that they’re not good or not they’re their best part and so they don’t so I think that’s that’s how I feel about it it’s always interesting to talk to a particular doctor and see where their areas of joy is and hopefully if it is on the practice side our platform to take a little bit of the business side off the plate

Howard: so when I was a little boy in Kansas all the pharmacists own their own pharmacy and they were apothecaries in Kansas and you know they had the logo of the bowl and then they all got rolled up into Walgreens and CVS II you’re an outsider just coming into dentistry do you think that’s where dentistry is headed where do you where do you think it’ll be in a twenty the next generation at twenty years from now

Brandon McCarty: good question I think that’s obviously the everyone’s asking that I don’t know I think there’s challenges that the DSOs have come across and I think I think there’s a balance I don’t know and

Howard: what I think the DSO challenges are

Brandon McCarty:  I think a lot of them it’s them again the balance between the freedom and control part right like you’re a business you’re trying to you know decrease costs increase revenues and then there’s a a person side to this and there’s the healthcare side it so that balances is challenging and in you know in a way that’s good but I think that some of the things are going through and I’ll see there’s a really big pressure on growth and a lot of them have grown so fast that they’re it’s hard to find the right doctors right it’s about the growth of the industry and how many practices there are and so how do you find the right doctor that wants to work in the middle of Kansas and right and so I think that’s a lot of the challenges that the DSO that found is like how do I get the right talent and doctors in these locations yeah

Howard:  I just lectured at the there’s about a hundred DSO guys in Scottsdale and you know I’ve been lecturing those guys forever they always tell me their biggest challenge is finding a dentist I mean they’re average dentists I mean they usually only work a year you know they my gosh when you when you get these DSO that five hundred to a thousand locations on any given day ten percent their offices are down don’t have a dentist in there and so um and then and in group practices causes a lot of it because I’ve seen this I think this is the natural order thing you know when you have a family you know you have dad you know the family when you have group practice because the old of us those one group practice because they don’t want to have all their eggs in your basket or Howard’s basket and they wouldn’t cover more hours well then half the staff thinks this doctor is the good one and the other half thinks this one and then this doctor he doesn’t want to agree on a bonny agent or someone else because part of his pecking order his ego is that he wouldn’t saw Gordon Christian the god of dentistry and he said this is the best bonding agent and this other guy says no hanky I know John K so so then they ended up having different gloves different bonding agent and then you’ll be at the bar drinking with the dental supplied rep for that office they go I could cut their supply bill 20% by just eliminating duplicate products Abani agents gloves so how do you deal with group right did you find the group practices more challenging when you say Gruber talk about like the dental support organizations no no just two or more doctors in the same room yeah because you know some people have a DDS which means a Doctor of Dental Surgery you don’t know about nothing else and then some of these doctors have the do a degree Doctor of everything and you know they just they’re not gonna negotiate there Bonnie agent or gloves Durham price they always know what’s best and so how do you approach that challenge

Brandon McCarty:  data you know we just looked through it and the first thing is like do you know what you spend you know what you buy you know from who right and the first thing is do you care so the way I approach it is first of all do you care and then you look like hey you know if you could save five ten thousand dollars what could you do with that so that’s the first part so do you care then the second part is like hey just get visibility and data on that piece and then bring and I think we see the information when you go yeah there are four products that are duplicates and you can make that invisible to them in a very simple and understanding way I think common sense comes apart and they go alright do I really need to do this I think it’s the first about bringing visibility to it I think that’s a really big problem in the space is there isn’t visibility people are the ones that are using spreadsheets you should look at the spreadsheets you wouldn’t want to look at those either right and those are the ones that actually have the to that and so I think it’s about data invisibility once you see where your money’s going at that granular level it becomes pretty encouraging to change it

Howard: so do you have any dating share of like what are the top five or ten categories for supplies of where where’s the most money I mean should they

Brandon McCarty:  I don’t know where they’re spending the most money so should they be focuses on gloves or birds or in pressure injury where where do you think’s the low-hanging fruit of where the most waste is I think the most waste it’s obviously off to the bigger size products I don’t think disposable or anything like that is the biggest thing I think it’s more about the bigger higher price items and like the things that they are high quality or it’s not high core lower quality or however you want to want to phrase it I think that’s where a lot of the changes in prices but in terms of categories and and where is to save money I think it’s just about limiting to the amount of things you buy instead of having for just have one and then you go to the vendor and you say this is what I’m going to buy this is the volume you can expect for me and that’s where the costs come from when you have this big catalog that you’re buying from that’s where your costs increase so so what are these what are these expensive things that you say they’re mine you’re saying they’re the most fat to me German and else flies seldom comes from disposables it’s these bigger ticket items what are these bigger ticket items what are you when I say bigger ticket I’m saying not gloves right I’m talking about like yeah burrs or saying it is burrs example of non-disposable things that I’ve seen that significantly more than a pack of gloves would be like burs endodontics type equipment stuff like that yeah

Howard:  so what what is your biggest challenge you’ve been around the Sun one time and congratulations of that what was the most challenges for the first lap around the Sun

Brandon McCarty:  I think this was a really a big challenge but one of the things we found really really interesting was when a customer would come to us and they would want to use curmintand they would say hey I want to get all my order history that all the other things I’ve ever bought in the last 12 months I want to put in the curemint so I can log into one place and so what we do is we go out and we reach out to their vendors on their behalf and we ask for that information and the fact that some vendors would literally tell us no we are not going to give you their pricing or their products was something that was really interesting to me where they would straight up told us no you’re not we’re not giving the price to them and I just thought that was an interesting dynamic that threw me through a loop where it’s like you’re not gonna tell or give the customer the thing that they want you’ll still know what they’re paying what do you mean by that you you would put a dentist would order on cure meant explain it again in detail yeah so you might have a particular distributor let’s say that you work with okay examples drop names you mean like Benko correct okay throw a shy and a Darby a Midway a distributor along those lines and you know you buy things for a full year and so we would ask like hey give me the usually it’s like a hundred and seven things that you’ve purchased from this dish Midway or from Darby or shine right over the last month I want those SKUs and the price that they pay for it I’m gonna put it in curemint so that they can log in to one place for all of their vendors and order things and the vendor would look at us and say or tell us no we’re not gonna give you the price or the products so the distributor’s won’t give you the data of the purchasing history some of them want some of the will oh yeah a lot of them do there’s only a couple that won’t and it’s it’s a very strange so who are the ones that don’t I don’t want to put anybody on on blast on that one

Howard: but Dentistry Uncensored sensor I know I know and man yeah so will you lose that earlier that there’s a lot of cultural stuff in purchasing I mean I remember one time I mean like some countries like to barter and some don’t some think bartering since ultry I remember one time I walked in this place and for some reason I thought I need to say they wanted me to go on debate this guy on water fluoridation and I sorry I saw this suit place I thought you know I’m gonna go lose this III need two suits and the guy looked at me he asked me a couple of questions and then he stopped and made me a drink and I said where’s the only place I’ve seen this in Vegas they give you a free alcohol because they want you make up and I thought oh my god cover your wallet this guy thinks I’m gonna about to get real stupid so I’m so but back to the the employee turnover so when I talked to dentist specifics why did you quit and you know that DSO and by the way that the employee turnover is the same in DSO as it is private practice you’re dealing with the dentist I didn’t go to eight years of college to be your little boy and show up at eight o’clock and and all that stuff and you know it’s it’s staff turnovers you know they they they had a big case on Friday and they’re worried about it and they go in there for their big case and their assistant quit and they got some temp agent girl that they’ve never met before couldn’t pick her out of a police lineup and then and then what but when it comes to your genre supplies it’s Burres if you told every dentist in a group practice they could only use fibers for every filling or crown we gotta agree on fibers you would probably have a triple murder homicide suicide shootout because they’re artists man they they I mean if you limited me to fibers I’d quit I mean you know I have to have a so um birds is a very complicated one in it yeah and

Brandon McCarty:  I think that’s where the good dsos don’t limit those things they have the ability to maybe in this particular category there’s certain ones and something and it’s really about just putting data like hey yeah I’m an artist and I like these multiple options and then just you explain to them this is the impact of those options right and then they make the decision if that’s the route they want to go and that’s the route they go but making it visible I think that’s really what the good the better DSO is do they don’t they don’t mandate any of those types of things huh

Howard:  so so what is the biggest categories in supplies term what people buy it yeah I mean dollar amounts like if I ordered you know $100 a year or dental supplies what would be the the biggest side category and top three in totally this

Brandon McCarty:  I might have to pull up the specifics on on that we haven’t really looked at it in terms of the category piece because a lot again a lot of ours is orthodontics right now so there’s a lot of ortho products that would probably make it significantly more but clearly disposables trays tray covers gloves cotton balls that type of stuff everybody orders so that’s probably we have a lot of that across all of our organizations but clearly the orthodontic products is what kind of our biggest thing right now we can base off of our customer base so

Howard: so your first year in sales you’re having the most luck and market penetration with orthodontics well primarily because

Brandon McCarty: we landed a very large customer with over you know 270 locations that’s primarily why and you said SG management because that other deal was I SG management so is that why you have a location out there and

Howard:  I notice on your locations that you have you’re out there in Durham North Carolina but you also have a deal in Los Angeles so is that were here met was founded in Los Angeles we actually moved the headquarters out here in May so we’re no longer in LA so what white why did you do that

Brandon McCarty:  yeah I just never really wanted to live in Los Angeles to start kind of where my career took me and so we were getting to the point where some significant growth for the company and we wanted to build the team and we wanted to build it somewhere else and so we moved to the Research Triangle area a lot of really cool talent out here in terms of engineering and computer engineers software engineers there’s three really cool universe with a lot of young talent and so we wanted to build the company out here okay

Howard:  so let’s see so they announcing a new member-owned here it is right now okay so announcing a new member-owned orthodontic dental support organization and the former the former human study club is just announced that it has reformed as a DSO formerly known as SSG management and formerly as SG the organization is independently owned by its members each member orthodontist has an equal share in the innovative LLC its members are among the top 2% of orthodontic specialist who practice and I say it’s collectively the 134 SC members have 282 practice locations with annual revenues of 400 million dollars I wonder if they have a what their and is it a I wonder what their exit strategy is yeah

Brandon McCarty: you’d have to ask them I know their goal is they seen all of these individual working by themselves and they said what if we came together and worked economies of scale together and part of that there’s a lot of things right marketing and education and then part of its dental it supplies themselves and accounts payable and recruiting of different talents so all of those things coming together

Howard:  yeah do you think it’s this market and this DSO I mean you know it goes up it goes down you know 80 was bad Black Monday was 87 the y2k bubble pop March of 2000 Lehman’s brother was 10 years ago you went to Pepperdine do you think do you think we’re at the end of a long expansion bubble again or do you think are you seeing this on dental and for you specifically orthodontics that seems to be your strength key area that was the health of this look to you

Brandon McCarty:  the only thing I’ve seen is that the space is again grew really fast and I think there’s talent issues and in doctor issues I think that’s the biggest thing so I do see maybe a sloth in potential growth for a little bit but I do think there’s this clear efficiencies that aren’t that haven’t been in the space for and I think that it’s making the right progress there and taking costs out of things that don’t need to be there is it’s good for everybody and I think it’s gonna continue to move that way and I think and just mental support organizations that lazed that idea I think it’s spreading into every type of business model whether you’re a private practice or not and

Howard: so I continue I think to continue to see that trend yeah my earlier feelings about the value of dental plays like if I was Bob Bray who’s a founder and CEO of the Shulman group I’m I obviously know he probably had more attention focused on smiles direct Club and their IPO than the cost of his electric bill of these are or supplies did you agree or disagree

Brandon McCarty: yeah I’m sure they did and that’s probably why you know there’s an idea here of how do we work together as a group to compete with all the external factors but a part of that is everything you don’t just pick certain things to focus on it’s all about the business and so you find all of the things and they all add up and so part of it is supply cost yeah orders have any other unique challenges because I’m

Howard:  I’m dental town but I also north of town and this will be on the orthodontic or ortho town have you learned any unique challenges that orthodontist I have there and facing that you’ve been able to help with

Brandon McCarty:  I think in general again we’re a procurement platform so the ordering process is relatively the same in terms of any type of doctor or dentist right so whether it’s general dentistry orthodontics endodontics the way the practice gets the supplies they need to fulfill the patient needs is generally the same and so what we’ve learned with the orthodontics is it’s across some of our other customers what we do have general practitioners with seven locations and in one location and it’s just having to buy the right thing at the right time and having data on what’s going on versus seeing it 45 days later what if I saw it right away interesting

Howard: um so California and you are you love California the the CD California Dental Association just started out what would their own dental supply ideal that was a a big deal and then the state I’m in Arizona which is right next to it they just saw a man it would they they just rolled out their own what are your thoughts on the Dental Association’s specifically the CDA

Brandon McCarty: I would just ask people why do they think that’s  happening right or what what’s the point of that and again you know the way they’re able to get these costs is taking the consolidation of so people are going to buy you know an average $4,000 worth of dental products per practice and let’s put it into a handful of vendors and therefore we decrease costs and so that concept is the same thing idea so they’re doing it’s taking this idea of 17 vendors were Brian from and let’s centralize and coordinate it down to one thing and that’s where again a lot of just waste and cost is affecting so I think it makes sense I think everybody should just narrow down what they’re doing and be more narrow and specific on things and I think that’s what everyone’s doing

Howard: so yeah if you’re all things all people you’re you’re nothing to no one so I so I’m trying to go to dental supplies what are what are other challenges that dentists or happen with their supplies that you you hear on the street

Brandon McCarty: one of the things we found a lot was you know everything being in one staff’s head about how things work where – by who – by from passwords that type of thing and at one of the doctors said if I lost my Leben Telesis and that’s $60,000 that I lose that takes me three four months to get back and so and you look at and you go talk to the lead then that’s one of the things they hate doing is the fact that everything’s put on them so what if you could build a platform that took a lot of the ordering out of there and tells them what they need to buy or and even potentially automates their orders so that there’s always the things that they need and they can be more with the patient and that’s kind of where we found a lot of trouble parts here is like let’s take off ordering from them it’s not about the actual pricing of products but the fact that I have to order things and faxing orders or phone calls or all that type of slop

Howard:  it’s so true about long-term staff but what I do is I call it the the Mack truck so you and I each have an MBA I couldn’t get into Pepperdine so I just went to the local State ASU and they they always called the Mack truck sent him they said look I’m every human eventually dies your time does run out and sometimes it runs out by your run over by a Mack truck and when they start looking at the forty to sixty thousand bankruptcies a year in the United States they said you know a lot of these were great businesses that just ran out of cash so do you have a line of credit and an LOC and and you know you just have to have that for rainy days you never know what you’re gonna have a heart attack I mean I talked to a desk who would he say the other day it was so sad but anyway his um his daughter had a really bad disease and long story short he couldn’t pull himself together to work for a year but he he you know he survived and and then another thing is um what I do on my management team is they have to have a binder that I tell them I said when I get the call that you’ve been t-boned by a Mack truck in the intersection on the way to work and you’re no longer with us I want to know where in your cubicle is your binder and we’ll just say you know we don’t even care and here’s the binder everything you need to know and as you get really high up the management chain like like Lori’s the president for 20 years that’s three binders so so yeah so that so that that’s just a basic deal and profitable businesses run out of cash I try to explain cash flow to kids in dental school like this say let’s say that your dental office cost you $1 a month to run so a dollar month so three months be three dollars so you do some dentistry on this guy and it costs a dollar but he doesn’t want to pay you for three months well you got to have three dollars in the bank to pay all your bills for the next three months until you get the three dollars from this guy so a lot of companies were profitable their account receivables were big everything was great they just ran out of cash and so that’s why you have a line of credit for cash flow problems these dentists use the same account for 30 years they never got a statement cache so most of them already know what it is and they look at accounting as something for the IRS for a third-party tax collector not managerial economics and and then the other one what you just talked about is the Mack truck deal that’s why embezzling takes place so much I mean they just don’t have protocols they just don’t have systems so what advice would you give them I think to and it’s hard really but I think it’s to start thinking about personally

Brandon McCarty:  I would look at what do dsos do well and you can pick apart the things that you don’t like about them right but look at the way that they run the business and the ability to create a hundred locations to work in unison and in some capacity operationally and figure out what can you take from that to implement into your practice so you talked about the cash flow right a lot of dsos have net 30 or net 60 agreements what if you bought your products and you didn’t have to pay for them for 30 or 60 days much more

Howard:  what is that the Wells Fargo plan remember when they sold those on what were those checks called what were those checks at Wells Fargo sold traveler’s checks right yeah well and so so grandma would buy $100 of traveler’s checks next time she’s on vacation but she didn’t spend half of it but they leaned her top drawer for 20 years and Wells Fargo’s like right on man thank you for that so so you’re saying the DSOs a lot of them have negotiated net 30 60-day payments and the vendors

Brandon McCarty: actually like that because they get all their payment at one time and it allows them operationally to know when they’re getting paid at what time that’s all in one place versus all these micro transactions happening and so again it’s just this idea of waste in the space and let’s to create something where for the office yeah they get net 30 agreements right so they don’t pay they haven’t an extra 30 days of cash and then the the vendors know when they’re getting paid things but the idea is how do you manage all of that stuff and so that’s where technology comes in and I think that’s where a lot of the players when we talk about procurement the average you know private practice thinks you know all right well this is gonna save me a buck on you know composites it’s not about that it’s about you talked about the Mack truck thing right like how do I create my operating procedures around my this so that anybody can be plugged in and do it and the second part is you know the financial sides and the data and the analytics around what’s going on and yeah just because your son practice and it’s not you know 50 percent of your cost but like start treating every part of your business like a business and I think there’s a lot of things that come from that

Howard: so my gosh I can’t believe we went over an hour is there anything that you thought we should talk about that I was too dumb to ask no I thought you did a really good job on the questions

Brandon McCarty:  I think the procurement space is it’s something that’s relatively foreign to a lot of people and in on top of that it’s the impact of what it does and I think you last saw a few questions around what’s the impact of doing it right it’s right or what is wrong looks like and what’s the impact of that I think that’s the biggest thing we’re looking to do here is just educate on the impact of what right looks like in the procurement space can I ask you a couple overtime questions sure it’s dentistry and sense right I like to keep it I don’t want to talk about anything everyone agrees on but I get this question I wouldn’t what if a young dentist said to you what’s the average markup on dental supplies that you know and they said that’s how they ask it what’s the average markup on dental supplies how would you even approach that answer

Brandon McCarty:  I actually asked this question the other day to a couple manufacturers and the range is anywhere from you know 20 to 35 percent so it’s 25 and

Howard:  what do you think it is for is the individual small-town homeboy versus Heartland with a thousand locations some of the numbers we got you know we’ve talked to people you know the difference of

Brandon McCarty:  about 50 percent yeah and

Howard: and the the biggest the biggest news in dental supplies along dental town for years was the big old class-action lawsuit in shine patterson Bancomer k by slate short recovery whatever any thoughts on that any now those your friends and family so I mean is that channel conflict is what I’m saying like are you not gonna answer that because next time you’re at the bar somebody just say yeah I heard what you said on

Brandon McCarty: no I mean for us you know we were just getting started when that all that happened so it was really interesting to us and we just looked at it from our perspective we’re supplier agnostic and we looked at a lot of waste that occurs from both a vendor’s perspective in a dental organizational you look to resolve that so when we heard that it was something that the bystander we were like that’s interesting we didn’t quite understand why because you know if you can get the volume what does it matter if it’s a hundred solo offices or it’s one DSO and so that’s kind of how we felt about it I obviously got settled and all of that type of stuff so it was a what was the takeaway if you had to summarize it to some kid I mean you lived all the way through it I mean how would you summarize it what what went down what I read was that you know they specifically chose not to work with the solo practitioners and if I were to assume why it’s practice there’s probably a lot of margin on those guys versus the DSO there’s not a lot of margin so if they start treating the whole industry like DSOs then they’re gonna lose a lot of money and so they didn’t want that to occur allegedly right so it makes sense of what their motivations would be but that’s kind of my opinion is that we don’t know what happened but that’s kind of the idea of what they said and then another

Howard:  another couple things that’s were there’s a lot of people assume they have a lot of extra fat and margin and their dental supply deal but they want that relationship because their equipment needs that their compressor goes out it the chair won’t recline so it’s kind of a peanut butter and jelly relationship how do you how do you coach people using cure mat versus I need someone to fix my suction one of the things

Brandon McCarty:  we’ve found with curemint and this is what we talked to the vendors we talked about earlier they don’t give us information because they feel like educating the customer means that they’re gonna lose margin we tell them is that we found that the average dental customer doesn’t care about the price similar to what you just said it’s not the biggest thing they care more about the if something’s broken the sir the education the relationships that’s the thing that’s the most a priority for them and so what I would say with our platform is we continue the relationships you have and we make it more efficient for you to continue those relationships

Howard: there’s a threat you got to go on downtown just search there’s a thread four pages long with a hundred and eighty replies how do you lower your dental supply bill so just to be clear dental supplies is not lab but that’s kind of confusing because a lot of guys when you look at their numbers you know they have CAD cam and they buy all these cad/cam blocks and that’s under dental supplies you’re like well if you weren’t having the CAD cam that would be coming in lab and now I’ve noticed with the bigger dsos whenever I’m looking at numbers now they’re combining lab and supplies so it’s no longer lab was eight to ten supplies for to say it just one number now and I think that’s gonna be a trend because it’s kind of murky what is a what is a supply but then you got equipment do you sell any equipment what we do in our system is

Brandon McCarty:  we don’t sell early anything we allow you to access this stuff that are being sold to you from the vendors and then managing what’s being purchased from what vendor and then any sort of maintenance a type of thing we actually would have managed that the financial and the the procurement process of getting that done

Howard: what we’re would implants go say say you got a a periodontist and he sinks 500 implants a year is that dental supplies is that lab uh how where do you where do you put the hundred dollar implants at that’s a more of a counting you know general ledger question

Brandon McCarty:  I think it depends on how the practice wants to do that I think everyone’s a little bit different on that I look at that as supply costs I think all of that is what is that what are the supplies it takes to serve the patient and so lab in and supply cost would all fall under one but I do think it’s important to math inside of that chart of account and that’s kind of where CureMint helps is like what are the actual things being purchased or what are the categories and even more granular what are the actual SKUs that are being purchased right and like where does that been having that we have that granular information then it empowers you to make decisions on do I have six over the same thing do I want to buy this one thing from somebody else right that type of stock huh that’s

Howard: uh that’s and then um just couple of random questions you talked a lot about Amazon what about eBay you know you always hear you know don’t sign my eBay is that a is that a deal is that a big deal

Brandon McCarty: so we have people right now that we have a thing we call external ordering so people order off of ebay right now and then what they do is they send us a snapshot of the order we put that inside of Kermit and so they still have the analytics of what are they buying they can track the receipt of that product all in one place and so whether it’s eBay or Amazon it doesn’t really matter what the product is it’s just you know any now the question is how much time did you spend going to eBay versus somewhere else right and so the visibility of that data will be there you could look at it later and go hey you bought these things off of ebay and you saved you know a buck per item was that worth the time it took you to log into a full other platform right and then you have the information to make those decisions same question with Allah baba I think it’s the same

Howard: same concept it doesn’t matter but are you seeing Alibaba I’ve never seen Alibaba okay but you see eBay okay well again thanks for serving why I did not and that is amazing I’m so excited that you’re doing this I hope you crush out of the ballpark dentistry is changing so fast and I’m I just think you got a winning deal and thank you so much for coming on the show and please please go to gentle town and search general supplies they’d love to hear from you and because the end of the day do you think my homies want to go to a course on how to do bone graft II and place an implant or save 50% on gauze keep it question I their hurt hurts not in the business I mean I’ve known these guys for three decades they there chefs man they want to cook they it’s all with their hands they’re in there working with their hands all day long doing surgeries I mean when I work at that it offices one comes in and they’re in severe pain I mean I feel like Superman and I can fix that that’s what I want to do I’m gonna figure out if I said solar-powered electricity I didn’t you know what I mean I yeah so so go in there and help those guys do a search for dental supplies and share your knowledge and and it’ll be good karma and I’m sure you’ll get rewarded back with new customers absolutely I’d love to chat with anybody and figure out how we can help how do they contact you I mean go to our website so cure Mateo and you can go ahead and just we have like a contact form or request a demo we can talk about the system or you could go ahead and email me my email is Brandon at Kara make that I have and I apologize that when you said when I looked you up and said Derham I said Durham he forgot the Raleigh and then I was I can’t believe I made the 57 didn’t know there’s a der ham and a Raleigh Durham but they’re both in that triangle research park yep think of it as like Mesa and Chandler it’s the same concept as Durham in Raleigh or right next to each other all right buddy well you have a rockin great day and thanks for coming on the show absolutely

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