Swift Dental digital transformation

Leading the dental technology industry with transformational software

Swift Dental is the UK’s biggest dental laboratory and a multiple award winner for its use of technology to revolutionise the sector. We’ve worked together for two years developing an ever-improving operations, sales and financial support platform for the business. The software has been a major factor in the company’s growing stature and stellar performance.

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 the comprehensive operations management software is allowing the brand to develop ever-stronger relations with their practice clients through consistently high product quality and timely delivery.

Swift's goal to develop 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.

Swift Dental HQ

The brief

Towards the end of 2015, the Swift Dental team recognised that their initial foray into software development was unleashing powerful forces in their organisation.

They had a talented freelancer on board who’d successfully created some bespoke order-tracking software to keep tabs on the growing workload in the business. Creating and implementing that software led to many realisations about workflow and process which even resulted in physical changes to the production facility.

By the time our teams first met, the Swift team had realised their software was now performing a central function in the business and needed greater standards of support, reliability and assurance. So they engaged Human to review the software and consider working together on all aspects of further development and maintenance.

What we did

  • Security & code audit: reviewing the architecture and all modules of the software to ensure the highest system resilience and data security. Any downtime can potentially cause delays in production with very real impacts commercially and in terms of patient treatment - so our first priority was to ensure maximum availability and performance.
  • Augment sessions: a series of ongoing workshops taking a thorough look at the key user journeys and flows in the business to see where further refinement and automation might make the difference.
  • Scope sessions: once opportunities for improvements have been found, working together to build story maps capturing the user goals and shared understanding that allow us to deliver new production releases.
  • User interface redesign: considering the needs of each user at key points of interaction and developing a look and feel to bring greater clarity.
  • Integrated bespoke CRM & management info: producing a new CRM module to help the sales team direct their attention to dentists whose order values had fallen recently. Tracking the assigned tasks that are known to make the commercial difference in these cases. Being proactive to understand any potential issues and to rescue lapsing customers ‘before it's too late’ has been key in maintaining strong growth without the need for costly new customer acquisition.
  • Evolution, (Human’s ongoing development service): working to constantly increment and improve the existing service between big production releases. This has been especially useful on occasions when essential and urgent work has been needed in a hurry - for instance to support an acquisition.

Crossing the threshold

The relationship started out with Human as an extremely safe pair of hands for the ongoing maintenance of the app coupled with the ability to develop and implement new features. The longer we work together the more it is clear that this is a transformational partnership in which our respective hard-won expertise combines to generate growth and value for Swift.

a transformational partnership in which our respective hard-won expertise combines to generate growth and value for Swift

Challenges addressed

Adopting legacy code from an incumbent developer

Swift had a great piece of software which was a credit to their work with the previous developer. Still, it’s always a challenge to take on code which wasn’t developed to our own strict standards. In this case collaborating with the Swift team on a thorough stage of review was the way to ensure visibility and joint ownership of the effort.

The learning curve on all fronts

Learning the operational model of a new industry meant we could bring the value of fresh eyes but also took a while to fully ‘click’. Lots of working together and not being afraid to get into the detail won out. It was a good reminder of the need to work #WithYouNotForYou

Our processes and rigours were also a little different to Swift’s previous experiences and so an ongoing onboarding process has helped smooth the way from freelancer-on-call to agile-team-in-residence.

Winning support across the organisation

By now the software is comprehensive in its use across the business so ensuring teams see the benefit of our work and participate in the process is vital to success.

cad cam

Impact

Swift Dental is experiencing strong growth and has identified our work on the software as a critical success factor. We’ve developed stronger capabilities for:

  • Improved decision-making through management information
  • More targeted and effective sales activity through CRM and data insight
  • Efficient production processes through user interface and workflow improvements

A programme of acquisitions is underway as smaller labs struggle to match the operational efficiency and effective sales support Swift realises through its platform. We expect there will be more consolidation as the industry, led by Swift, undergoes transformation.

Why does it matter?

Swift is reaping significant rewards as a result of two major forces our work together unleashes:

  • Becoming a software business in a state of permanent transformation.
  • Progressively improving and automating manual aspects of production and data handling.

It demonstrates the promise of more efficient service delivery in a range of sectors - especially in healthcare where greater efficiency means more can be treated and/or receive higher levels of care quality.