What a good supply rep does: the ways in which supply reps work with dental assistants.
Subject: Dental equipment and supplies (Distribution)
Commercial agents (Practice)
Author: Biersack, Greg
Pub Date: 07/01/2012
Publication: Name: The Dental Assistant Publisher: American Dental Assistants Association Audience: Academic; Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 American Dental Assistants Association ISSN: 1088-3886
Issue: Date: July-August, 2012 Source Volume: 81 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 690 Goods & services distribution; 200 Management dynamics Advertising Code: 59 Channels of Distribution Computer Subject: Company distribution practices
Product: SIC Code: 3843 Dental equipment and supplies
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 303225255
Full Text: At the ADAA Round Table education sessions held recently during the Texas Dental Association convention in San Antonio and Pacific Northwest convention in Seattle, Burkhart Dental had the opportunity to meet with several groups of assistants. Through the use of a "gift analogy" we were able to share 10 things that we believe a good dental supply rep should do. Each thing was represented by a gift that we gave to the assistants in attendance to help tell the story. The response was so positive that we were asked to share this story with more dental assistants. Here is a part of that story.

First, a good supply rep builds an optimal order for you. He or she does not simply take the order or ask the assistant to do the work in placing the order. Instead, the rep takes all of the necessary steps to make sure that when the shopping bag is full the office gets the absolute best products for the lowest possible cost. We provided the assistants in the session with a tote bag and asked them to remember what a good rep does as the assistants loaded their bags with more gifts.

Second, a good supply rep recommends products that are a better value. Like flip flops from the Gap and Old Navy (parts of the same company), many products available in dentistry are the same but with lower costs. A good rep will recommend private label and off-brand products that perform similarly while saving you money The assistants in our session left with a pair of flip flops with an attached label that read "Did you know Gap and Old Navy are owned by the same company? You can purchase flip-flops at Old Navy for a fraction of the price. Like Old Navy, your account manager will suggest better value products to save you money."

Third, good supply reps order your direct-only products for you. They recognize that your time is valuable and that it is best spent in patient care and production. They should supply you with a tag system for your direct items and ask you to just throw them in with the regular tags when they need to be reordered. The reps make the call for you. To demonstrate this, those in attendance filled out a tag with their name and address for a Philosophy 3-in-1 shampoo kit. We ordered the product from Amazon for the assistants in attendance and they received the items the following week.

Fourth, a good supply rep provides services of value specific to your needs. Nordstrom has personal shoppers at every store. They are available to every customer at no additional charge. They will suggest, search for, wrap and even marl your gifts. You might call ahead and say that you are in a hurry and need a new dress in a certain size and explain a few of your likes and dislikes. When you arrive, they will have picked out several dresses that fit your criteria and have them ready for you to try on and even provide some possible shoe choices. A good rep will customize the service to fit your needs and the needs of your office. He or she will suggest products that are appropriate to your business and will save you time by shopping for you. Those in attendance left with a Nordstrom gift card to help them remember that they should expect this type of service from a good supply rep.

Fifth, a good supply rep processes coupons for you. Manufacturers offer thousands of coupons every year that allow you to save money on the products that you already buy.

But what assistant has the time to fill out coupons, match them to an invoice and send them to the manufacturer? Well, good supply reps and their companies should do this for you. On average, an office can get free goods that are valued at five to 10 percent of their annual purchases. This means thousands of dollars in savings. Your office receives the free goods without you having to do anything. Why should you have to do the work? As a gift to help make this point, the assistants received a tube of lip gloss with a label that read: "We process all of your coupons for you automatically; in fact, this lip gloss was one of them!"

It is a true pleasure to share this story with the assistants who were in attendance at the roundtables. They all walked away with some nice gifts, but more importantly, they learned about the type of service that they should expect every day. Burkhart is proud to offer this level of service.

These activities are just five of the 10 things that good supply reps do for their clients. To learn about the other five, go to www.burkhartdental.com/assistants. Additionally, we will be making this same presentation at the ADAA roundtables in San Francisco at the ADA Annual Session. We hope to see you there.

Greg Biersack is the Vice President of Operations for Burkhart Dental Supply. He has been with Burkhard for 16 years. Prior to working for Burkhart, Greg was a Naval Flight Officer in the US Navy and served in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He earned his Bachelor's degree in business from Ohio State University (OSU) in 1987. He also earned his MBA at OSU while teaching there from 1993-1995.

Greg Biersack

VP of Operations

Burkhart Dental Supply
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