Eliminating Capacity Blockages
Here's a question for you?
Does your practice have a capacity problem or a demand problem?
Because you're dealing with one or the other right now.
Most dental practices we work with start out saying they have a demand problem and they think they don't have enough new patients coming in through the door.
You may think the same same thing especially when you see gaps in your schedule and say...
"If only I had more new patients to fill in those gaps."
I was once managing a group of practices in Georgia and working with the regional leader who running the local practices.
The regional manager kept saying that they needed to do more marketing... our doctors want more marketing... we need more new patients.
The thing is, their practices had new patients waits anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months!
So I said, let's do a test. Let's not spend anything on marketing (and not tell the doctors that we were running this little experiment.)
Guess what happened to their new patient flow?
New patients coming in did not change.
Almost 100% of doctors that come into the Team Training Institute say that they're facing a demand problem.
But after I take them in the video above, we find that they just need to a better job with what they have.
<h2> The Myth About Super Productive Dentists </h2>
I have observed dentists who produce $200,000 per month easily and other dentists who struggle to produce 20% of that. What is the difference? The myth is that super-productive dentists do a lot of big cases. The reality is that hyper-producers mainly do bread and butter dentistry. They have simply eliminated blockages to production.
It's our belief that practices will naturally grow until something stops them from growing. And what usually stops the growth is something that we're doing. It's our mindset or some condition of our physical space.
Here are some examples of common blockages:
<li>Inadequate investment in technology</li>
<li>Inadequate number of equally equipped treatment rooms</li>
<li>Too few chair-side assistants</li>
<li>Room turnover inefficiency</li>
<li>Lack of standard clinical protocols</li>
Hyper-producers know the early symptoms of blockages and aggressively treat them. The problem is these blockages are often too subtle to be detected by a busy practitioner. The symptoms don't feel significant to the capacity blocked as their plates are already full. They don’t have a sense of how much more they could be doing. An expert team is therefore an invaluable resource for any practice looking to grow.
One of the things that is subtle about capacity blockages is that you don't feel them. You can't put a number on them. It's a cost with no number.
Luckily, there is a way to can get a feel for your own capacity: The inability to accept emergency patients immediately. If you have new or existing patients with a dental emergency and you cannot see them today, you have a production blockage.
The symptoms don't feel significant, especially when you are capacity blocked, because you are already busy. And sometimes when one doesn't show up, it’s often a relief to capacity blocked practices. Once again, this is why having expert help identifying and addressing blockages is extremely beneficial.
Just like the symptoms are not always clear, the solutions may not be as easy as they seem.
Eliminating production blockages almost always involves investment in people, technology, equipment, supplies and/or facility. If the blockage is correctly identified and the correct strategy is used to solve it, the investment pays off rapidly. If the blockage diagnosis is incorrect, the treatment is less likely to be effective and the payoff is negligible or none.
For many dentists, the usual response to a production blockage is to misidentify the problem. Commonly the blocked dentist tries to ﬁx the blockage by trying to attract more new patients. These new patients only exacerbate the problem. Like a dam full to capacity, your practice cannot handle anymore without causing a spillover. The spillover in this case are the patients who don’t return to your practice. As you add more patients in the front door, you increase the patients slipping away through the back.
Once again, this is why having expert help identifying and addressing blockages is extremely beneficial. Any investment you make into removing blockages in your practice should have maximum effectiveness. When you are working with precious resources such as time and money, expert help can remove trial and error so you can start reaping the rewards.
<h2>The “Sweet Spot”</h2>
Whenever you run into capacity, whatever your capacity is, I call that a 'sweet spot'. People like to stay in sweet spots because the profit per effort at sweet spots is high. Also it usually requires an investment to get beyond this sweet spot. So people tend to like to stay in a sweet spot.
There's nothing wrong with saying: "I'm enjoying what I am doing. Right here is good enough." This is one perspective but more frequently, I find practices that are capacity blocked and try to eke a little bit more out of what they've got. These practices would do so much better if they just broke out and did one thing to eliminate a capacity blockage.
As the expression goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either you can be satisfied with your practice as it is or you need to make the necessary investments to grow. Eking out minor improvements will not get you the results you desire.
<h2>Weeding Out Dentistry</h2>
As practices get nearer and nearer their capacity, some get very good at weeding out less productive dentistry. They end up focusing more on the higher productivity in dentistry.
But that's not what usually happens. Usually what happens is that you get mired in busyness and you are not as productive. Decreasing demand because you don't have enough capacity isn’t a great strategy.
As I said before, practices will naturally grow until something stops them from growing and what usually stops the growth is something that we're doing. So choose to be happy where you are (assuming this is an option financially) or make the investments to grow. Any other move will not give you the results you wish to achieve.