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How Brexit affected CosTech

Oct 5, 2021
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At the recent Dentistry Show a lot of dentists asked what impact Brexit had on the laboratory and whether we needed to make any major changes as a result. It’s a good question and we wanted to share how effective our Brexit plan was with those who didn’t get to meet us at the show.

Initial concerns

Once Brexit was confirmed, the main things we considered were the effects on staffing levels and our supply chain. Like most British businesses we’d acquired several staff from Europe and were taking advantage of cheap, fast transit on incoming materials. As it turned out, the plans we were putting in place for Brexit would be instrumental in seeing us through the coming Covid pandemic too.

Changes to our supply chain

We spoke with our main suppliers regarding arrangements for denture teeth, ceramics, milling blocks, etc… Early turbulence aside, the supply chain quickly stabilised and barring some slightly longer lead times and increased prices, there has been little change in how we operate.

Changes to staff

It’s no secret that the UK has been low on qualified technicians for many years and at peak, 50% of CosTech’s workforce were foreign nationals who had completed all or part of their training abroad. Following Brexit & the Covid-19 pandemic, understandably many of these people decided to go back to their home countries and now just 7% of our technicians are from outside the UK.

Making up for lost technicians

Numbers of UK technicians are in sharp decline and despite actively recruiting for the last six months we have still not made up the shortfall in lost foreign technicians. Luckily, we began heavy, sustained investment in our digital team in 2012 and Brexit provided the impetus for us to replace more of the manual labour with a digital workflow. This allowed us to increase capacity and improve consistency despite having a smaller team.

Preparing for the future

Since our inception we’ve always taken on trainees at the laboratory and continue to put promising lab assistants through the available apprenticeship schemes. Having said that, intraoral scanners are now commonplace, and more dentists are sending scanned impressions than ever before. The future is in Digital Dentistry and we’re ready to take it on.

*Sneak Preview* Digital Dentures

If you saw us at the exhibition, you would have had a sneak peek at our 3D printed dentures. These are currently only available upon special request as we’re still integrating them into our workflow. Watch this space for more information as they’re coming soon, and we expect them to make the NHS denture process faster and easier for dentists and patients alike!

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