Planning For Success
Planning For Success
William ‘Bill’ Rogers, CDT, is the managing partner at Rogers and Associates, LLC, in Harahan, La. The two-employee laboratory provides full and partial dentures and implants to about 20 regular, local clients. Rogers estimated the laboratory’s annual revenue to be between $110,000 and $125,000. Rogers said communication skills and expertise make the laboratory stand out in the crowd.
JDT: As a whole, what attitude does the dental laboratory industry have toward strategic business planning?
WR: That’s a real tough question for me to answer. I was in education for the past 20 years. When I went out on my own (Rogers opened his laboratory in September 2003) I did a lot of planning ahead of time. It made getting a business loan extremely easy because when I went to the loan officer, I had everything laid out. Also, because of planning I know when I’ll purchase equipment, when to hire an employee, what I need to do and when and how to market. No way could I have done a lot of this if I hadn’t planned it out ahead of time.
JDT: What is the biggest issue facing the dental laboratory industry right now and how should it be addressed?
WR: The biggest problem is the growth in technology. To keep up with it is nearly impossible unless you’re a Glidewell-sized laboratory. Most labs, with fewer than five or six employees, can’t keep up with it. You’d go into bankruptcy. Either you’re going to outsource it or you’re not going to do it. The economic and knowledge demands behind (technology) make it impossible. I’m not sure there is anything that can be done. Companies need to make new technology so they can make money. Dentists go to seminars and come back and say they want this product. Then the next week he goes to another seminar and says he wants this product. You can’t keep up.
JDT: What has been your proudest moment as part of the dental technology industry?
WR: Probably getting the NADL Educator of the Year Award. I used to teach at the LSU School of Dentistry before retiring after 20 years because I wanted a new challenge.
JDT: Why did you choose to work in the dental technology industry?
WR: When I was in high school, I didn’t like high school. They had a high school program that was vocational dental technology. I found out I had a good talent setting teeth.
JDT: What is the best advice you’ve received about succeeding in this industry?
WR: Probably to learn everything that you can. Get as much background and education you can. In every seminar you go to, try to find out one piece of information you didn’t know before.
JDT: What advice would you give to someone about to embark on a career in dental technology?
WR: I would say the biggest thing is to get educated. This business isn’t for everybody and the best way to find out is to go through school.
JDT: What is the most rewarding part of being a dental technician (or in the dental industry)?
WR: Seeing somebody smile when their teeth go in.
JDT: What is the biggest motivating factor driving you to succeed?
WR: Keeping food on the table for my kids. (Laughter) Besides that, I want to succeed in the career path I’ve chosen. I think that motivation to succeed is just inborn.
JDT: How many years have you been in the field of dental technology?
WR: About 30 years. I started in 1975 when I was in high school.
JDT: Is there anyone else in your family who is in the field?
JDT: When you are not working, how do you spend your time?
WR: Taxi cab. I drive my kids (Jourdan, 14, Casey, 10, and Shaun, 8) from here to here to here. I run between Scout meetings, baseball, mostly it’s my kids’ stuff.
JDT: If you were not a dental technician (or in dental technology), what profession do you see yourself in?
WR: Probably some kind of plant management. I like to keep my hands busy. I get bored. I’m not a paper pusher.
JDT: Would you choose the career of dental technology again?
WR: Probably, but the economic factor is better with other jobs. I do enjoy what I do, but the money is hard.
JDT: What is the most difficult aspect of being a dental technician (or working in the laboratory industry)?
WR: Meeting deadlines. You’re just trying to juggle so many things.
JDT: What contributing factors have helped you grow your lab business?
WR: My experience and name recognition in this area.
JDT: In 10 years, in what area do you think the most significant changes in dental technology will take place?
WR: Probably most of it will take place in crown and bridge - all of the CAD/CAM and scanned Procera. I think the crown and bridge people will have a harder time than the denture people.