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Success story: Biting back expenses

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UPS integrated solutions help dental supply company Exacta Dental control costs.

Exacta Dental Direct, a company that provides bridge and crown materials to dentists, is always looking for innovative ways to connect with its customers. Case in point: an employee discovered an inexpensive online service that produces customized, child-friendly videos.

Exacta Dental doesn't mark up shipping, "so our customers can see the shipping cost and make an informed decision."

On the Exacta Dental blog, he explained how dentists could use the films to improve the office experience for their young patients.

And Exacta Dental knows that environmentally friendly practices are important to its customers, so it has implemented creative strategies to reduce waste. Recently, the company shrank the size of the mixing tips it sends with its materials. That small change eliminated up to 30 percent of the waste material produced during the production process, while still giving dentists the materials needed to do their jobs.

"Providing customers with savings has always been important to us," says John Pankuch, president of Clinton Township, Mich.-based Exacta Dental. "With the new, smaller mixing tips, we can provide increased value to dentists at no additional cost."

In addition, when Exacta Dental Direct discovered it could participate in the UPS carbon neutral program and offset its shipments' carbon emissions, the company quickly signed on.

"To my knowledge, we're among the first dental supply companies offsetting our emissions," says Chase Wade, director of operations for Exacta Dental.

Streamlined shipping

Before turning to these creative solutions, the company has to make sure dentists have the supplies they need, when they need them, so they can take good care of their patients. To help, the dental supplies company has integrated UPS shipping with the Exacta Dental Direct website. That way, when dental office customers order supplies online, they can see exactly what the shipping costs will be based on the shipping speed they selected. They can choose UPS Next Day Air® if a patient urgently needs treatment or they can choose a more economical, slower option for a less urgent shipment.

"We're able to calculate real-time rates and quotes," explains Wade. And by extending that functionality to the company's website, Exacta Dental's customers can choose the shipping method that best meets their needs.

"Most of our shipments go ground, but we make any level of service available [to our customers]. We don't charge handling fees or mark up the shipping fees, so our customers can see the shipping cost and make an informed decision," Wade says.

The sophisticated software can identify, for example, whether a UPS Ground shipment would arrive the next day, avoiding the added expense of UPS Next Day Air. Julie Morris, UPS senior account manager for the Great Lakes District, estimates that this functionality saves Exacta Dental $5,000 a year.

And the company's customers are more satisfied. "Integrating with UPS's online tools gives the customer more control," Morris says. "It helps with customer loyalty, and it brings Exacta Dental to the top of the game in customer service. It's an important differentiator in the marketplace."

Bonus: UPS's built-in address validation saves Exacta Dental about $1,200 annually by freeing up time that customer service representatives were spending correcting addresses.

Any business that ships to customers faces queries from those customers checking on delivery status, and Exacta Dental is no exception. When those calls come in, voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) integration between the Exacta Dental and UPS systems can pull up customer data automatically, and quickly and accurately answer these calls without the need for a customer service representative.

Offering solutions

Wade says he appreciates how the UPS team takes the time to understand his business and offer services that might benefit him. For example, his team was able to use UPS Merchant Services from UPS Capital® for payment processing, saving $1,600 a year while improving service with a program that's compatible with the company's existing software and offers next-day funding. Exacta Dental also is considering using customized shipping labels and including UPS Cargo Insurance in its plans for next year.

Wade says, "What I really liked when I started working with UPS is that the account manager made the point that they are more than a shipping company. It's nice to know that they want to learn about our business and see if they can help us with the services they offer."

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