Poll Results & Procurement Executives’ Thoughts

The Poll:

Group Dentistry Now recently posted the following poll question on LinkedIn for seven days. The post had nearly 8,000 impressions and a total of 81 people voted.

Poll question for DSOs, groups & practices ONLY – not for vendors! When choosing a vendor partner, what factor is most important to you?

□ Cost/price
□ Patient/Clinician Satisfaction
□ Vendor/DSO relationship
□ Education/training/support

Why post the question on LinkedIn?:

  1. Group Dentistry Now’s extensive dental following, both clinical and nonclinical.
  2. The respondent’s profile is linked to their vote so we could verify what DSO, dental group or private practice the person works for and their title. This ensured the accuracy of our findings. (Please note that 5 vendors responded to the poll. Those votes were deducted from the final results: 1 from cost/price, 3 from patient/clinician satisfaction, 1 from DSO/vendor relationship and 0 from education/support/training.)

A sampling of respondent’s titles:

M&A Director Pediatric dentist Director of Revenue Cycle
VP of Business Development Multisite Dental Executive Business Development Specialist
VP Strategic Development University Relations Executive RDH
Field Operations Business Development Mgr Procurement VP
Director of Procurement Chief Strategy Officer VP Marketing & Growth
VP Brand & Consumer Experience Dentist Director of Clinical Advocacy
CEO VP Marketing Director Marketing
Director of Integrations COO Director of Revenue Cycle Management
Managing Partner Chief Clinical Director Senior VP Finance
Dental Practice Manager Buyer Founder
Healthcare Operations and Revenue Cycle Leader VP Revenue Cycle Management Founder/CFO
Co-founder/Dentist Anesthetic dental hygienist Dental practice coach
Director of Revenue Owner/dentist Director Recruitment and Marketing Strategy
Director of Dental Hygiene Health Strategy Officer Founder & COO
Director of Education Senior Procurement Leader Real Estate Growth Manager
Head of Corporate Development (Strategy, M&A and Business Development) Dental Educator Dental Coach
Office Manager Dental Practice Operations Director of Operations
Business Management Asset Management Expert Strategic Advisor
Executive Board Member Head of Marketing & Growth Clinical Educator
Director of Clinical Advocacy Chief Dental Officer M&A VP of Business Dev
Facilities & Procurement Manager University Relations Educator Director of Network Security

Five Procurement Executives’ Thoughts:

“While price is always a factor, quality is the utmost priority. We take the stance; if you would not use something on your mother, you should not use it at all.” – Thomas von Sydow, Chief Operations Officer, Cornerstone Group.

“When choosing a vendor partner, it is difficult to pinpoint what is the most important aspect. Pricing is very important, but being the most cost effective does not necessarily mean it is the best option. We take the satisfaction of our doctors and patients very seriously as they are the ones in the trenches, and it is my job to make sure their materials are priced appropriately. The support, training and education a company can provide, to me, is one of the most important things and it goes hand in hand with the relationship we as a DSO have with our vendors. When vetting a vendor, the level of CE, training and support our doctors will receive is one of my main questions I make sure to ask. The material and price they set for us is great, but it is nothing without the education and support they are willing to provide along with it.” – Abigail Castro, Procurement Specialist, GPS Dental

“We value most the vendor-DSO relationship. We believe that by investing time in creating a solid foundation and cultivating a good and long-term relationship with our vendor partners, we will succeed in obtaining the overall benefits like best price, patient/clinician satisfaction, and education/training/support. As a growing DSO, we want to guarantee a win-win environment. For us, it has proven to be the most successful in obtaining better customer service support for our practices. In addition to generous sponsorships, the many opportunities for continuing education for both our clinicians and administrative staff truly set our partnership apart. In addition, the competitive pricing, high-quality products, quick response on equipment service calls, and white glove service with technology integrations further emphasize the strength and depth of our vendor relationships.” – Karla-Marie Santiago Melendez, Director of Procurement, Oakpoint

“Pricing is a game of smoke and mirrors based on many factors: buying size & buying influence.  With that said, I believe pricing always seems to be #1 but is it really that negotiable?  Field salespeople also come into play for pricing bids from manufacturers/distributors. Education/training/support VERY Important!  Depending on the product/service, this area is #1 for me.  It is important to understand the indications of a product, clinical or not, but equally it is how to use it.  When this is done properly, it becomes the sales voice for conversion too. The next two on your poll are important but that falls into manageability and managing expectations. There is much more to procurement than cost negotiations.” –  Monique Kramer, Director of Vendor Partnerships, Dental Cooperative

“There are many layers to this question but to answer it, it depends. Budget constraints, goals, DSO or clinician needs, and overall satisfaction are always top priorities when choosing who to partner with. I would be remised if I didn’t add cost is always a consideration along with the value added by the vendor partner. If we are looking for the preferred vendor like implants or software then education, training, and provider support are essential, however, when looking at non clinically sensitive items, pricing and logistics are the two main drivers. When it comes to more clinically sensitive categories the clinician’s satisfaction is at the forefront while balancing costs within budgets. Recently we went through a main distributor RFP and took into account many factors like vendor collaboration, ongoing support, net down costs, DSO and center support, added fees or lack of added fees, logistic cost and timing, and overall partnership on how to support our centers to ensure completion and timely orders. Whoever we elect to partner with, the most important aspect to consider is putting the patient first while using a good, valued quality product within budget.” – Carey Lasher, Chief Operating Officer, Independence Dental Services