Companies and commerce
The aim of this chapter is to outline the benefits of working collaboratively with the dental trade to benefit both the dental team and patients.
The chapter should increase awareness of the benefits to the dental practice of working with the dental trade in a collaborative manner.
Dentistry is increasingly ‘big business’. Dental practices and dental laboratories spend large amounts of money on products, materials and equipment, purchasing from a large number of dental companies, including manufactures, distributors and service providers, collectively called the ‘dental trade’.
Assuming that a dental professional is looking for better ways to promote oral health and learn about modern approaches to oral healthcare provision, this will be assisted by identifying and then selecting suppliers from a wide range of manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. The dental industry serves the needs of the entire dental care team, supporting them in a number of ways to deliver a high quality service and safe, effective care for their patients.
There are literally thousands of companies across the world that supply products and services to dentistry. Increasingly, dental practices and laboratories are targeted with product and service information by telephone, direct mail, through the dental press or by visiting sales representatives. With so many companies demanding time, how does a dental team decided which ones they would like to do business with, and in what ways?
Most countries have a dental trade association. These associations are the bodies that represent manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors who market products and services to the dental industry. By way of example of what to expect from a trade association member and to outline the benefits of dealing with companies that are trade association members, the British Dental Trade Association (BDTA) will be considered.
The BDTA, representing the UK dental industry, provides members with a range of services and benefits designed to enhance the performance of the industry, and dentistry in general. The BDTA relationship to dental care providers within the UK is summarised in the following statement: ‘To provide the best service to your patients, you need dependable support from your suppliers. BDTA members fulfil this need for the whole dental team.’
This is achieved by a set of commitments.
→ Commitment to quality. Member companies must adhere to an agreed code of practice. This is an indication that member companies are actively engaged in creating and maintaining industry standards.
→ Commitment to training. Member companies are encouraged to participate in professional training initiatives. The Dental Industry Training Institute (DITI) is the training arm of the BDTA. Under the BDTA’s Code of Practice, members are responsible for ensuring that their staff are appropriately trained and have the experience, product knowledge and ability necessary to perform their duties properly and effectively. These duties include, for example, effective and timely responses to customer enquiries.
→ Commitment to service. The BDTA acts as a conciliatory body for dental professionals if high standards are not being maintained, or in the event of a dispute.