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Hi Greg, thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us. We’re very excited to give our readers a sneak peek behind the scenes at Core3D!
To start, let’s have you tell me a little about yourself and your role at Core3DCentres.
I am the General Manager of Core3D in North America, Our facilities include one in Calgary, Las Vegas and most recently, Troy Michigan. I started my career with Nobelpharma (now NobelBiocare) in 1988 and worked as an implant rep and sales manager. At Nobel, I was part of the team that started Procera in 1997. We launched Procera in Canada and I moved to the US in 1999.
An opportunity presented itself and I joined DSG as Director of Sales in 2000. In 2002 I started a consulting career. Some of the names I have consulted or worked with include Captek, 3M Lava, Dentsply Cercon. I was contracted with Cadent in 2005 (now called iTero)
I Joined the Novadent team in 2006. Novodent is a small group of large labs (Isaquah, Harmony, DFF, and Great White). My position with Novdent was Director of Sales and Marketing and I was located at Issaquah.
Left Novadent in 2011 and went back to consulting (working with Zimmer Biomet on their initial Encode/iTero workflow).
We were also working with labs and Oral surgeons to bring intra-oral scanning to market.
In October of 2015, I joined Core3D as a full time consultant and have been located in Las Vegas up to now.
I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve had the privilege of being involved in all 3 great dental technology revolutions: Implants, Intra-oral Scanning and CAD/CAM Milling.
What excites you the most about the most recent acquisition of Core3D’s Troy Michigan Facility?
Where do I start? The opportunity to earn the business and trust of customers who would otherwise not consider Core3D as an option is very exciting.
We hope to achieve this through a combination of offering 3shape support like no other reseller in our industry, continuing education that is focused on meeting our customer’s specific needs as well as implementing Quality Systems that adhere to FDA regulations but also deliver outstanding products to our customers.
How did this acquisition deal come about? It’s not like there was a giant ‘for sale’ sign hanging out front. Were there any other suitors?
I give credit to the team at Ivoclar. They had a particular purchaser in mind. Their number one concern was keeping the Troy team intact! With that in mind they also wanted their customers to continue to receive the best 3shape support and service the industry could offer. Maintaining the status quo was one of the toughest criteria with many of the major competing bidders looking to either consolidate personnel or pulling back with their level of support. The last piece of the puzzle was milling and material competence. Ivoclar was very concerned that the potential new owners be comfortable with the range of products that they were offering to their customers for the sake of continuity.
Core3D happened to be such a candidate! We have always been a committed partner to Ivoclar worldwide. This, combined with our strong vision and leadership made the decision an easy one!
The conversation began as a “what if?” with both sides ensuring that all the boxes were checked and that this could be a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Very quickly, it became apparent that the core values and visions were aligned between both organizations and the hard work began. This was not simply a transaction, it was a process of creating value!
With consolidation in our industry happening all of the time, there is much speculation that ‘Big Players’ such as Core3D, are simply out to acquire businesses for the sake of dismantling them. Staff and teams are broken up and re-assigned, equipment harvested and the focus simply on the bottom line. Is this the case with the latest acquisition?
The bottom line in our industry is a very finite and elusive thing! Today’s outsource pricing does not allow for any consolidation play. There is simply no advantage to rolling up unprofitable businesses to make even larger ones. We had to find a way to provide services that add value to the average small to mid-sized lab, while also becoming a support and production mechanism for larger labs to rely on.
Some of the challenges that even the biggest labs face are: the cost of capital equipment, the team to support them, and the ability to scale. Not to mention having the redundancy and a nimbleness to change direction rapidly with new technology and advances in materials.
A great example of this is Carbon. Carbon met with our team and came up with a cost effective compelling strategy that allowed us to quickly take advantage of their process and materials.
Core3D has invested in Carbon technology and prints 100’s of models per day using their CLIP technology! Look for Carbon to bring even more innovation to Chicago Midwinter meeting.
The Carbon Material roadmap has new offerings in surgical guides and stents as well as partials and dentures.
With new management, there is always some expected pushback. How do you, in your role as GM, plan on implementing systems from your other operations, while also maintaining the culture and existing workflow of the Troy facility?
We have a great team in Vegas. They have educated me about the many challenges of running a milling center in today’s competitive outsourcing market. The crew in Vegas always exceeds expectations! That can be said about Troy as well. They have a well-trained, motivated team with great management. I have already learned a ton from the team here in Troy and I am just scratching the surface. My job, is to not screw any of that up and take the best from each team and continue to enable and empower each crew with the right tools and processes to better support our customers.
Some examples of this are implementing the same complete top to bottom quality systems from our Vegas facility that was developed with the help of Tim Torbenson and Chris Brown at Evo820. Having a SOP in place is essential moving forward, but it is an absolutely disruptive process to implement in an already busy operation without the guidance of someone like Evo820. Tim and Chris are now evaluating our Troy facility DOMAS certification. We will then implement additional systems to allow
The Troy facility to add other materials to their production offering. This helps expand capabilities and capacities that better serve of growing customer base.
Another part of C3d business is contract milling for implant companies that have chosen to offer a digital workflow to their customers without the need to invest in the process. Core3D presently mills for companies like Thommen and Keystone, We also offer over 100 platforms of the most popular brands. This ability combined with C3D scan bodies and matching analogues make us an easy destination for those iTero and Trios cases.
What should incoming 3shape and milling customers expect to be different from core3d as opposed to their previous experiences? How does Core3d stand out and differentiate itself from other 3shape resellers in terms of licensing and support?
Education, education, education. What we’ve learned so far is that all labs are not the same! Therefore, their 3shape support, especially in the area of training, should also differ and reflect those needs. The 3 most impactful discoveries that we’ve found are: Basic Training, Competency, and Accessible Education.
For example, Basic Training would be applicable to those labs that have been scanning for a long time but recently lost their key employee, and they now have to quickly get someone trained in the shortest time possible. This happens quite often and we’re excited to offer something that will provide such a valuable tool to our customers when they are in a bind.
The next one, Competency: there is a big difference between knowing the basics of working step by step in order to design something, and knowing How it should be designed. We have started to develop programs with industry experts like Peter Pizzi and Jason Attwood who will teach the theory and concepts. Building on that, we at Core3D would then teach the processes behind how to achieve and materialize those theories and concepts in a separate session.
In order to offer Accessible Education, we would like to become the epicenter of CAD CAM learning. Core3D will be offering education in both locations: Troy, MI and Las Vegas, NV. That means you can get what you need no matter where you are located or what your area of expertise is. We will also be offering 1-hour webinar series’ so that those labs that can’t afford the time to travel have an opportunity to learn during their lunch.
We should also mention that we have invested heavily in Dongle support and 3shape loaners.
We recently purchased 25 scanners to put into our loaner library to support those customers who can’t afford any downtime should there be an unexpected disturbance with their existing digital workflow.
Core3D has really positioned itself as a leader in the milling center category. How did Core3D achieve this reputation?
I give all the credit of that reputation to Mark and Grant Maier. They have never lost the drive to be the best and the most innovative. They always said they would never be the cheapest, and that there would always be a place for those offering the best quality.
Stay tuned for more as we continue our interview and focus on more of Core3D’s educational offerings in Chicago this year and beyond, strategic product partnerships, collaborations, and cool new products that they are adding to their lineup!
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:
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.
Thanks you for agreeing to answer our questions! DentalTechTips is very excited about the 2018 edition of Panthera’s Mastercup competition.
To start, let’s have you tell me a little about yourself and your role at Panthera.
I co-founded Panthera Dental in 2012 with my brother. My role with Panthera is VP Marketing & Customer Experience. I am a daughter of a dental technician and I was literally born in the industry. I joined the dental world in 2006 with another company that was sold to Nobel Biocare in 2009 and I left that company in 2011.
With Panthera, I take care of everything related to marketing and communication. I also focus on our customer experience and how they conduct their business with us. This means training the customer service representatives and ensuring high standards and responses. I also work in project development and support our sales team.
Can we get a little background on the inspiration for the Mastercup competition? Who’s idea was it, and how did it all come about?
It was my idea. I wanted to find a way to give away something, but not with a random contest. I told myself that a challenge like this could be a nice window for us to show the industry that we care. We believe in our customer and we want to help them grow their own business by using our products.
What excites you most about the competition?
I am always thrilled to see who will register, some famous technicians and some unknown ones. I hope this year we will have some young technicians that will try to compete against the more experienced guys. I also hope to see more women joining in the contest.
Panthera has really positioned itself as a leader in the implant bars category. How do you expect the Mastercup competition to affect everyone’s perception of Panthera?
I think what has helped us most in the last 5 years for us to achieve our position in the industry is the fact that we listen to our customers. To further elaborate, I want to emphasise that 3 of our main products have been developed in partnership with 3 of our best customers. We are not here to force our customers to think our way, we want to think their way but using our know-how. The Mastercup is a reflection of this, the idea is to share the knowledge, we are proud of what we do and we want to share. With the Mastercup it is a nice platform to help the profession by showing to a wide audience how to complete a nice denture over implant bars.
The first Mastercup was launched last year, how would you gauge the success of the previous competition? Did it meet or exceed expectations?
It has exceeded what I was hoping in all my dreams. Not only have we had multiple registrations but we had very good registrations. There were some amazing presentations to choose from. The best part of the contest is the one I didn’t plan. Some of the participants (not even the winner) have used their Mastercup cases to make a full years plan of lectures around the USA to share with people how they made their case. That mean that the Mastercup has helped some technicians make a living from participating in a contest. This is just amazing!
What is Panthera’s vision for future competitions?
I hope to make it bigger, to attract more people outside North America, we even had a participant from France last year, I want more participants from around the world. Who knows, maybe in the future, Mastercup will have some regional contests.
Is there anything done differently for this year’s competition as opposed to last year?
This year will be similar to last year but way bigger! Prizes have doubled, we have strong partners and we want to make this event something solid. I think this year will be the opportunity to show to the industry that this is a serious contest and not just a “marketing trick”. It is a legitimate contest that we want to show gives back to the industry. This is why I made it free to participate and it will stay like that.
Partnering with Abutment Direct, Straumann, Ivoclar and LMT for this competition must have been quite an effort to co-ordinate. Were there any major challenges that stood out? Are there any other industry leaders that Panthera would like to, or already have in mind for the future to partner with?
It was not that hard since last year’s contest was a very good success. I have to admit it was even easy in some ways. All of our partners are more than happy to be on board because they have the same thinking as we do to share the knowledge with our industry.
In an effort to keep the competition manageable, it’s understandable that participation numbers need to be limited, if there is a greater demand in the future, would Panthera consider opening the competition up to a wider audience? What would that look like?
I am not closed to the idea, but we will see.
The main prize includes a trip to Quebec City. What would you, as a native of Quebec recommend for sights and activities that the potential winner should see/do to have a wonderful experience?
Quebec City is the oldest city in North America, with over 400 years of history. The city offers an amazing architecture, just walking the street is an attraction by itself. The boardwalk in front of the Castle Frontenac offers an amazing view of the St-Lawrence River. The name Quebec comes from the native culture meaning “Where the river narrows”, this creates the unique aspect of the city built on top of a cliff. Quebec is known for it’s high gastronomy cuisine, and french speaking in North America. Within 40 minutes of downtown you can be in pure wilderness and come back in the evening for a very Quebec style dinner.
Tell us about Panthera. A general statement:
You know I could write an amazing “marketing statement” about Panthera but I will keep it simple, we do quality for real and we care about our customers.
For more exclusive interviews, stick with DentalTechTips!
Read our news story on Panthera’s 2018 edition of Mastercup registration Here