Swift Dental automated order processing

Accelerated growth thanks to swifter order processing

Swift Dental are the UK’s largest and leading dental laboratory. We implemented a new booking on and digital archival workflow which achieved significant time and cost savings. Raising a single order now takes seconds instead of minutes. The implications are massive: a state of permanent transformation delivering huge benefits.

Swift Dental is a multiple award winner for its use of technology to revolutionise the sector. By optimising operations, introducing production automation and ruthlessly pursuing higher quality standards, Swift is making impressive headway on its ambitious growth journey.

There’s plenty of competition for Swift in this highly fragmented industry but they are developing ever-stronger relations with their practice clients through consistently high-quality product and timely delivery thanks to their comprehensive operations management software.

Their goal of developing even more repeat business from dentists will rely on maintaining these high standards whilst introducing more value adds to help practices unlock their own efficiencies and standards improvements.

The need for a more streamlined process

The brief: Design and implement a more streamlined process for Booking On, a key activity within order fulfilment at Swift.

Thousands of orders arrive throughout every month from practices up and down the country. Each imprint must be modelled and the instructions from the dentist read and raised as an order.

This data entry, product selection and booking workflow was becoming a bottleneck and an obvious target for efficiency improvements. In addition, paper copies of all patient records were causing an ever growing physical data storage legacy - both costly and potentially risky.

The new booking on process needed to facilitate a doubling of orders without increasing the admin overhead. Is also needed to tackle the paper storage challenge by moving to digital archival.

Renishaw-4

What we did

  • Ethnographic visits and interviews with booking on team
  • Scoping workshop with leadership and functional team
  • Research into scanning solutions
  • Workflow re-design
    • New lab tickets with pre-printed bar codes
    • Automation of most data entry from form at point of scanning
    • Improved clarity for information layout, tab order and product addition sequences
  • Production of replacement modules for the existing software
  • Implementation of secure cloud-based document storage (via AWS)

Crossing the threshold

Swift understood the value of working with Human most clearly when we suggested combining work to revise the booking on workflow and the document storage solution. It was a great augmentation of Swift’s operational knowledge by Human’s technology insight. Achieving both aims in the same piece of work inspired the joint team to consider what other radical efficiencies might be possible.

Challenges faced

  • Helping the booking on team to adjust to the new workflow
    • Working together in person to test and implement the new process
  • Integrating new modules into the legacy code
    • Progressively preparing the app for a shift to microservices
    • Flagging and acting on opportunities to simplify and standardise order data throughout the rest of the software

Impact

From 120 seconds per order to 3 seconds per order

The project forms a clear demonstration of the value of permanent transformation and its relationship to business growth.

Coupled with automation in the production process it means the admin team can become more specialised in understanding and responding to the needs of dentists - value adds - rather than simple manual handling of information.

Patient records storage and retrieval are now more secure and cost-effective. If the team needs to review dentist lab tickets these can be opened instantly from within an order rather than being requested for physical delivery from the archive storage provider.