We all want to be more efficient, and certainly more productive with our time. In orthodontic practice, like any other business, efficiency and productivity can seem as very similar terms. But innately, they are a different mindset.
Efficiency is about doing the same with less.
Efficiency is a great goal when it comes to treatment time and other metrics. We want to achieve the expected results with less time and less resources to minimize the cost of treatment and/or improve treatment profitability. I would caution that concentrating on efficiency in staff utility can limit practice growth.
Some practices work to improve labor efficiency by finding ways to reduce the number of labor hours required to produce the same level of output. This translates into savings because the company spends less on wages and other labor-related costs. Efficiency, then, is about decreasing in an effort to improve profitability.
Productivity is about doing more with the same.
For a practice, it is directly tied to performance. With higher productivity, an orthodontic team can produce more with the same amount of relative work. In contrast to efficiency, productivity is about expanding the output in order to deliver greater growth from the same workforce.
When it comes to practice productivity, implementing better techniques and systems are best suited for doing more with the same amount of resources. The biggest difference from efficiency being that you are driven to grow and leverage increased production to reduce the costs of business and leverage that growth to improve other metrics. This further reinforces the concept of the top line vs. bottom line in orthodontics.
Consider a productivity mindset that is fostered by avoiding bottlenecks in your practice that prevent team members from getting things done. This includes simplifying office systems so an orthodontic team can deliver great care to patients without complex and bureaucratic steps. Every business is fraught with organizational obstacles that prevent growth. Orthodontic practices are no different.
Productivity mindset is also nurtured in organizations that inspire their team’s talent to achieve their best potential. Inspired employees can produce more than 2 times what a satisfied employee does. This comes from a practice culture that promotes inspirational leadership. This leadership style promotes a positive office culture that leads to greater productivity.
In today’s economic climate, developing a productivity mindset is important to nurture growth. Efficiencies are certainly important in treatment, but think about implementing steps to gain productivity with your orthodontic team.