To start, let’s have you tell me a little about yourself and your role at LDN David.
First off, a little background on myself. I previously worked for 22 years in the Business Development/M&A area of the Cookson Group PLC. A U.K. based multi-billion dollar holding company specializing in three industrial segments:
- Precious Metals
It just so happens, SternGOLD (with the emphasis on gold) was owned by Cookson due to its long history in precious metals, not dental. I was asked to get involved (for numerous reasons) but it became apparent to me that the dental space was a very attractive business segment and was able to convince the Executive Board of that fact.
To make a long story short (and I can explain in more detail) it led to a management buyout of the Sterngold SBU (Small business unit) from Cookson in 2002. You know what they say, once you get in the dental business, you never get out! Well, here I am. I immersed myself into the dental space, with a particular emphasis in the lab segment. Sterngold was a charter member of the IDENTALLOY COUNCIL where I became secretary and, ultimately, President of this excellent non-profit Group. It also became very apparent to me how valuable and critical the lab segment was to the success of the Sterngold product line and success.
There were numerous milestones along the way during my tenure/ownership which I could elaborate on such as our association on the ERA Mini Implant with Zimmer amongst other matters. Let me know a good time to talk so we could get this story told. We at LDN are extremely excited about the acceptance in the field and the addition of carrying exclusivity on products from both Willmann & Pein and Thommen Medical are a testament to that. We have some other lines that we will be introducing soon as we are underway with due diligence on a few additions.
What excites you the most about your business and more specifically, your distribution model?
The excitement associated with LDN is that it is a unique business model that utilizes the dental laboratory as the key point of support. Which, by the way, is something that the laboratory technician does every day. A quick story, I was doing a lecture to an implant study club in New York and posed a series of questions before I started. I asked, if have a technical question/issue, how many of you call your implant sales rep (a few people raised their hands), how many people call the implant manufacturer (a few people raised their hands) and lastly, how many people call your dental technician and EVERYONE raided their hands. Case closed. That’s the exciting aspect.
LDN is a relatively new company, but you have quite a reputation in the industry with your previous experience, specifically Sterngold. How has this new venture differed from your past experiences?
Based on past experiences, it became apparent to me that the success of most products in dental (especially technical products such as attachments and implants, were tied to the acceptance and input from the technician involvement. Certainly, I experienced that first hand with the products I was previously associated with.
How do you expect this new distribution model to affect the dental industry as a whole?
In our opinion, the dental lab/technician is the biggest opportunity in dental. The level of technical expertise, product exposure, continuing education, familiarity with various systems and day to day problem solving and technical support is an underutilized resource. Our goal is to bring technical products to the market WITH the involvement of the lab/technician.
What is LDN’s vision for the future of the dental lab industry?
We will also be involved with numerous digital products which is a major focus of most labs. It is easy to point to that as a future opportunity but we also see other products that need to be supported by this proven source. This is a support function and not a sales function.
What advantages does LDN’s distribution model offer to your current as well as prospective customers?
The advantages we offer are great products directly from the manufacturer with the proper support from the lab. Most products require FDA 510k so we are shipping direct (in most cases) to alleviate FDA issues to the lab.
How will dental laboratories benefit from using LDN?
The major benefit we offer labs is that we are an organization that recognizes the value that the dental laboratory brings to the market and the need to offer high quality products to earn that support and expertise.
How will dentists benefit from using LDN?
Dentists/clinicians will benefit from having the proper technical support and involvement from a valued asset. In addition, there are numerous aspects that these products are utilized in the lab process as various stages. Having said that, both parties have a vested interest in providing the best possible result. They are not putting a “square peg in a round hole”.
How much do you expect your business to grow in the near future?
We expect tremendous results in the coming year which is off to a great start with our recent Corporate Sponsorship at the recent NADL Visions meeting in Las Vegas which included our introductory luncheon that took place prior to the meeting. Todd Fridlich, General Manager (and dental technician) of Thommen Medical was the Keynote Speaker.
Is LDN actively looking into opportunities and markets to expand into?
Right now, our business model calls for products distributed in North America as we have exclusive distribution rights to Willmann & Pein and the TST implant line of Thommen Medical. There will be additional products incorporated into the mix in the near future.
LDN (Laboratory Distribution Network) is an organization that is committed to the efficient distribution and product support for high quality, technical products.