We had another interesting thought experiment today. We imagined that we wanted to go into business selling a product (tangible good) to orthodontists and thought about what that would be. It was tougher than we thought because most of the things we wanted to sell were services not products. To come up with more than one item we had to think seriously about things that most orthodontists find cool and attractive and thus would sell well instead of thinking only of products we like or we would use. Here’s what we came up with, ranked in order of salability for our theoretical business:
Practice Management Software
Sales for scanners and printers are red hot these days and it seems every orthodontist wants or needs one. PM software still pulls down big bucks despite the rise of cloud-based platforms and we assume this has not changed due to the small size of the orthodontic market and the high cost of creating an innovoative PM software platform from scratch. (As an aside it would be awesome to see a PM software that was not based on or derived from OPMS as almost all the available PM software are basically digital versions of a paper chart instead of native digital formats). CBCT are still all the rage despite questions about their application and we don’t see that changing soon.
Where are the brackets or orthodontic appliances or even the curing lights? Why aren’t they on this list? Would they even make a list of the top 5? Probably not because of the influx of inexpensive brandless alternatives that have reshaped the orthodontic supply business. It is becoming acceptable in orthodontic circles to save money and this is having a significant impact on stakeholders in the orthodontic space. We are curious to see how this will impact other products, including those on this list. How long until these relatively expensive items are in competition with much lower cost competitors from overseas? Will “quality” and brand be able to overcome significant price difference? Something to think about. The only constant is change.