NOTHING VENTURED

We speak the language of our customers

The dental world met end of March at the biggest trade fair in Cologne – the IDS 2017. On this occasion “Capital Ideas” had the opportunity to ask the largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies about its strategy, goals and plans in Russia. Below you will find an interview we conducted with Albert Sterkenburg, Senior Vice President, Economic Opportunity Countries, and Volker Vellguth, Vice President & General Manager CIS, MEA, India.

It is probably a challenge for someone who has never had a dental treatment before to find transparency in the overwhelming offering of treatments and services available today. What services can you perform with the products from your company?

Sterkenburg: DentsplySirona is the world’s largest manufacturer of dental solutions and market leader in the areas of dental consumables, equipment, digital technologies and integrated end-to-end solutions (complete range). This connection is setting new standards in modern dentistry. Practitioners can experience the benefits resulting from the combination of products to create a predictable therapy procedure with DentsplySirona in a number of different fields and integrate them into their working processes.

We provide integrated workflows that combine dental products and work steps in both the practice and the laboratory intelligently and efficiently.

This is particularly clear in endodontics, where innovative products, such as the new 3D Endo software in combination with Orthophos 3D devices, put the dentist in a position to reliably plan an endodontic treatment digitally.

DentsplySirona also provides an integrated workflow that represents a front-to-end solution of leading technologies and innovative products as a clinical treatment pathway "Root to Crown Solution". The treatment pathway also includes the "Class II Solution" as an optimal restorative option after endodontic treatment. The "Class II Solution" from DentsplySirona Restorative is the only complete solution for the optimization of every step in the treatment of Class II lesions. Class II lesions make up 50 percent of all composite fillings in a general dental practice.

Furthermore, integrated implantology is another example of DentsplySirona’s system expertise that no other company can provide in this form. The concept includes all phases of dental implantology, forming them into an integrated process. It begins with a reliable diagnosis via a 3D X-ray image with subsequent digital impression with CEREC. Both datasets are then integrated in an implant planning software program. For the insertion itself, there is a comprehensive selection of proven and scientifically documented implant systems available. The complete process of scanning, planning, insertion and restorative treatment is intuitively and systematically supported. The final prosthetic solution can either be manufactured via the laboratory or directly at the chairside.

DentsplySirona sells its products globally. What are your biggest markets and how high up does Russia stand in the ranking?

Sterkenburg: DentsplySirona is the global market leader in the highly fragmented, attractive, growing dental market.

We have more than 40 locations and sell our products in over 120 countries. Our biggest single markets are the USA, Germany and Japan. Russia is one of our key markets because of its market size, importance in adopting digital technologies and driving major dental trends forward. For these reasons we invested in a state of the art training and education center combined with a showroom where we educate hundreds of dental professionals from all over Russia per year. We are committed to the best clinical education possible and continue to invest in this area to support the Russian dental professionals in their practices.

We deliver dental solutions with a strong focus on quality, innovation and service to drive better, safer and faster dentistry around the world. Being close to our customers is key: We support them, listen carefully to their needs, are open for discussion, and guarantee first class service.

In 1997 Siemens sold its Dental Systems division to a group of institutional investors. On 1 October 1997, Sirona Dental Systems GmbH was founded. When and why did Sirona decide (back then) to enter the Russian market and how did the company implement this decision?

Vellguth: We are following in Russian a long-term growth path. Although there have been also setbacks in crisis we believe in the potential and the future of the Russian market. Both, DENTSPLY and Sirona, have seen these chances very early and benefit from these early decisions to invest in Russia. From April we have one common branch office in Moscow and in total more than 140 employees all over the country.

From April on, we have one common branch office as well as a training and education center in Moscow, and from there 140 people dedicated to Russia (the others are in Ukraine and other neighboring markets). We as DentsplySirona provide the largest and broadest clinical education platform in the industry. We intend to use our size and scope to better train and educate our customers in every way we can.

You are now active in Moscow, but can dentists in other Russian regions also acquire your products?

Vellguth: The fact that we are present in Russia's capital city shows how important Russia is for us. Of course we offer our products and services to all dentists throughout Russia. Our strong partnership with dealers allows us to offer our portfolio to a broad customer base. Furthermore it is very important for us to support our customers with a comprehensive training offering, and best in class service and education.

Our commitment to innovation and clinical education is at the heart of DentsplySirona. We employ more than 600 engineers and scientists and develop more than 30 significant new products annually. In embracing education not only in word, but also in action, we train more than 300,000 clinicians each year in the largest clinical education platform in the industry. We are convinced that trainings will become more and more important because it is not only about the products but complete solutions and workflows – from diagnosis until the final supply. For this reason we plan to enlarge our educational offers.

What difficulties did DentsplySirona encounter in establishing itself on the Russian market? Or did everything go smoothly? That doesn't happen very often. What worries of a commercial nature do you have right now?

Vellguth: Our premise is to act locally and think globally. It is important to understand the local market requirements and the needs of dentists. That’s why we invest continuously in our local presence and attract the best talents to support customers. We speak the language of our customers and most important – we are close to them. DentsplySirona is very successful on the Russian market thanks to its highly committed and talented team.

We perceive that dentists in all countries we are active in have one prioritized goal: improving the oral health of their patients. DentsplySirona is the company providing all the equipment and consumables a dentist needs and – this is the most important fact – delivers products that are compatible with one another. We think through all processes within a single treatment and are able to deliver fully integrated processes – for example, in implantology. Just as an example, we are the only company able to achieve what we have in terms of integrated implantology treatments. We are sure that dentists in Russia benefit from these solutions.

There is no doubt that Russian dentists attach much importance to quality. But this comes at a price, and not every Russian clinic or practice can afford such devices. Who are your customers and how many are there? And can you give specific examples?

Sterkenburg: Our customers in Russia know how much we value them. Our mission is to enable dentists and dental technicians to better care for their patients. We want to be partners in creating better, safer and faster solutions through training and education, service and support, and of course innovation. We work with our customers in every conceivable way to turn our vision into reality, provide innovative solutions and contribute worldwide to the improvement of dental health. Our products offer very high added value at an attractive price. Due to extensive market research and our close collaboration with dentists and dental technicians, when it comes to product development we can tailor make our products for the specific needs of customers in several countries. Our clinical procedures and dental solutions allow dentists to safe considerable amount of time whilst delivering better and safer dental care. Time savings allow the dentist to treat more patients – and thus improve efficiency in dental offices.

I assume that you not only supply dental technology in Russia, but also offer after sales service. How does this work – Russian specialists or employees from Germany?

Vellguth: As I mentioned earlier, from April on we have one common branch office in Moscow available to meet the needs of our Russian customers. At DentsplySirona, service does not stop when a product is sold – on the contrary. DentsplySirona meets and exceeds the worldwide guidelines for medical devices and continues its traditional commitment to users and patients with a comprehensive quality management program. This commitment also extends to our suppliers and service providers. We want to use the opportunity to set a standard for quality in our entire industry, which will benefit dental professionals and patients alike.

For example, we have a quality assurance process which mandates that we stay in contact with our customers, and listen to them so that we can continuously further develop our products and services. For that, the key to success are our employees and the commitment to providing the best products and strong focus on customer service and after-sales support. DentsplySirona provides an impeccable technical service directly on the spot with our team and our partners in Russia. We are focused on quality, innovation and putting the customer first.

Russia is currently experiencing difficult times: the rouble is weak and sanctions have been imposed. Have these negative developments affected your business in Russia? Can you name specific sales figures and are you able to say something about the trend in sales?

Sterkenburg: As DentsplySirona, we have more resources than anyone else in the industry. The fact, that we can now offer the entire portfolio, from equipment to dental consumable materials, make us an important business partner for dental professionals in Russia. We are committed to help them going through sometimes tough times but we see consumer confidence increasing again in Russia.

The trends in sales are aligned to the global mega trends in dentistry which are: the risen patient awareness and the growing demand for modern practices focused on single visit and aesthetic dentistry. An increasing number of teeth are being retained, providing a growing need for preventive and aesthetic dentistry. The increasing acceleration and adoption of digital technologies. And last but not least the practitioner demand for efficient and enhanced capabilities are driving the need for integrated solutions.

What is your assessment of business conditions in Russia? What do you regard as especially positive and what in your opinion needs to be changed most urgently?

Vellguth: We need to put all our focus and efforts in jointly further advancing dentistry. Our vision is to deliver innovative dental solutions to improve oral health worldwide. I have visited hundreds of dentaloffices all over the world. There are differentdesires, but one thing is clear: The world is changing and therefore we see changing needs of dentists and patients around the globe. Being as close as possible to our customers – this is mandatory for all our employees, and not an option. Our sales and service team, consisting of more than 100 sales and service professionals, works tireless on site to meet the needs and wishes of our customers, tailored by region.

We speak the language of our customers and provide individual, custom-made solutions. No dentist should have to do without comfort, high quality, or safe hygiene. And no patient should have to do without patient comfort. That is our belief.

Looking back to the International Dental Show IDS in Cologne: What may we expect from DentsplySirona?

Sterkenburg: The IDS as the world's leading trade fair in the dental sector is always a highlight for DentsplySirona. Here, as a company, we take the opportunity to present our innovations for practices and laboratories to an international specialist audience. Our aim is to completelyunderstand the processes of dental treatment from diagnosis to the final care of the patient. For this, we connect dental products and work steps to integrated workflows in practice and labs in an efficient and intelligent way. As the world's largest manufacturer of dental solutions, we have set the goal of advancing innovations in dentistry. We work closely with our customers, dentists and dental technicians. In this way, we ensure that these innovations in practice and laboratory are of maximum benefit to our customers and their patients.

The connection of products to a predictable treatment and therapy process already succeeds in many different areas. Examples include implantology and endodontics. DentsplySirona is the only company in the industry to offer products and solutions for therapy from a single source. From diagnosis with 3D imaging systems, to planning with advanced software, to treatment with innovative instruments and materials, to the final supply with a direct or indirect restoration, DentsplySirona is committed to seamless quality. These integrated workflows were demonstrated to our customers at our booth at the IDS trade show from 21 March to 25, 2017.

DentsplySirona is the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, with a 130-year history of innovation and service to the dental industry and patients worldwide. DentsplySironadevelops, produces, and markets comprehensive solutions, products for dental and oral health, and medical consumables that are part of a strong brand portfolio. As The Dental Solutions Company, DentsplySirona supplies innovative and effective high-quality solutions to improve patient care and to ensure better, faster, and safer dentistry. DentsplySirona’s global headquarters is located in York, Pennsylvania, and the international headquarters is in Salzburg, Austria. The company’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol XRAY.

Note from Capital Ideas:

DentsplySirona is the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, with a 130-year history of innovation and service to the dental industry and patients worldwide. DentsplySironadevelops, produces, and markets comprehensive solutions, products for dental and oral health, and medical consumables that are part of a strong brand portfolio. As The Dental Solutions Company, DentsplySirona supplies innovative and effective high-quality solutions to improve patient care and to ensure better, faster, and safer dentistry. DentsplySirona’s global headquarters is located in York, Pennsylvania, and the international headquarters is in Salzburg, Austria. The company’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol XRAY.

 

Albert Sterkenburg - Senior Vice President, Economic Opportunity Countries

Volker Vellguth - Vice President & General Manager CIS, MEA, India

CAPITAL IDEAS

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