The Last Mile

Columns , Current Issue

Editor’s intro: Going the “last mile,” and delivering your message and goals to referring doctors can result in a great return on your investment. Read about the possibilities in Dr. Albert (Ace) Goerig’s introduction.

Albert (Ace) Goerig, DDS, MS

I was reading an article recently about how cities around the world are developing new strategies to deal with the proliferation of delivery trucks. In the past, trucks would deliver in bulk to stores (they still do), and customers would go to stores to get items (they still do, less frequently). Relatively few things, such as large items, required actual delivery to a residence. Now, in our Amazon-fueled world, the smallest of items can trigger a shipment that needs to be delivered.

The interesting fact in the article that caught my attention was that close to half the cost of shipping an item is incurred for what is called “the last mile.” That’s the part of the shipment in which your package is sorted out from everyone else’s and placed on the exact vehicle that will deliver it to you that very day. It’s a management and logistics process that is completely personalized to the specific needs of each customer for every delivery.

I’m fairly confident that Amazon, when it opened as an online bookseller, never anticipated that so effectively mastering the final mile of delivery would lead the company to such dizzying heights of success. If Amazon hadn’t had that breakthrough, it probably would have still been a moderately successful online seller of books, but nowhere near what the company is today.

In my mind, this is a perfect example of the fundamental issues that hold back a business owner, such as an endodontist, from really experiencing tremendous success. We’re all familiar with saying that 80% of new small businesses fail. And yet, if you look at those businesses, they probably were doing the right things 95% of the time, but they just couldn’t figure out what made it all work. They walked away not knowing how close they really were to success.

Similarly, I would go so far as to say 80% or more of ongoing businesses, while not failing, have not figured out their “last mile” — how to bring everything together in a way that really clicks and unlocks the highest level of success possible. Endodontists are no different in this regard. Most endodontists are sitting in a comfort zone that is “good enough” but far less than what it could be.

It’s a credit to our profession that few endo practices actually fail despite high barriers and eye-watering costs to enter endodontics today: dental school, residency, buying a practice, investing in upgrades and technology, maintaining a modern facility, and employing a competent, effective team. There’s a lot at stake, and we should not be satisfied with “good enough.”

We need to master the last mile with our team, our patients, and ourselves as professionals engaged in the business of endodontics. We especially need to master it with our referring doctors by developing strong collaborative relationships based on clinical trust and value. It is a process of ongoing reinvestment, but when you go the distance on that last mile, the opportunities in endodontics are unlimited.

Dr. Albert (Ace) Goerig

Dr. Ace Goerig’s article, “The Ace Process — more time, more money, and more freedom,” can offer some additional details regarding delivering your message and adding to your practice’s success. Read about it here.
https://www.endopracticeus.com/practice-management/ace-process-time-money-freedom/.