More than two decades ago, Dr. Adisorn Hanworawong was manning his family-run business, Miracle of Smile (MOS) Dental Clinic in Bangkok, Thailand. About 14 clinics later, Adisorn was overwhelmed with the needs of the growing business, such as marketing and human resources, to a point that they were already in a ‘glass ceiling.’
This is where Oracare Group, a Singapore-based dental group operator, stepped in to help MOS Dental in its corporate operations and add nine more clinics to expand the Thailand-based clinic’s footprint. Andy Cropp, Oracare Group’s chief financial officer, said their expertise in finance, healthcare management, marketing, and human resources provided stronger foundations for MOS Dental.
“It’s about joining forces with other dental entrepreneurs. Getting behind them and helping unlock that potential where maybe their natural trajectory sort of plateaued,” said Cropp.
Cropp said the family-run business did not think of profitability for each of its clinics. What Cropp and Leon Luai, Oracare Group CEO, did was combine their expertise in hospital management and finance to build a stronger foundation for MOS Dental’s business.
“We implemented for them a finance system, which gave them a specific view of each clinic. Then that enabled them to really see where they are, in some cases, they’ve got too much cost in there, and it needed optimising,” said Cropp.
Specifically, Cropp said they reviewed how to make the staff more efficient and increase its patient flow.
“For example, instead of maybe needing five staff in a clinic, they could run it with four and that doesn’t mean to say that then somebody’s out of a job because as we pointed out, we’ve increased the number of clinics from 14 to 30,” said Cropp.
By doing all these, Cropp said they helped increase MOS Dental’s profitability twofold.
“Obviously, doubling the number of clinics will give you an increase, but in terms of the percentage per clinic – the profitability percentage for each individual clinic is at least doubled,” he said.
After being a healthcare executive for over two decades, Luai managed to increase Oracare Group’s dental clinics to 45, which are all over Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Luai said MOS Dental is already an established business in Thailand but he said their goal was not just about expanding dental clinics but also offering quality dentistry to the masses.
“It’s about creating access so that it benefits more patients and at the same time providing quality but at the same time affordable dentistry to the people,” said Luai.
Despite the macroeconomic struggle, Cropp said having several dental clinics operational in every country is more strategic.
For instance, Singapore was grappling with the initial outbreak and early lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic whereas Thailand was able to “weather this storm.” When Singapore finally recovered, Thailand was the one experiencing challenging periods due to the impacts of the Delta variant.
“When we had one part of the business that was suffering, financially as well, another part of the business was holding strong. When Singapore recovered, for example, then Thailand had its challenging periods, and we were able to sort of hold that up,” Cropp explained.
“Other macro factors that might impact economies, whether it be economic growth, inflation, political challenges, our view is that you can apply that methodology. We probably won’t have perfect conditions in every territory all at the same time. But it makes us more resilient to the challenges that might face one territory more than others,” he added.
With this, the dental group hopes to add at least one new territory in the region for expanding its footprint. Cropp said it takes years to build relationships with dental clinics to help with their business expansion.