By Kevin Henry, Editor
Editor's Note: I recently sat down with Craig Bruns, president and chief executive officer of Danville Materials, to find out what's new with this highly respected dental manufacturer.
Kevin Henry: In my experience, Danville is best known in the dental world as the leader in air abrasion — the PrepStart and the newer PrepStart H20 (right) are considered the industry standard. In 2012, what else should the company be known for?
Craig Bruns: Danville's distributors and the users of our products and materials know us as a company that consistently delivers quality technology at affordable prices. Danville does have an engineering background, notably with the Prepstart, Prepstart H20, and our Microetcher (upper right), so many of our users think of us as an equipment manufacturer. But we also have strong research and development capabilities and a full pipeline on the product side. On the materials side, our impression materials, temporary crown and bridge materials, and award-winning Starflow and Accolade flowable composite materials are three of our top selling product lines. We're also a strong leader in desensitizing, and yes, we're well known for our place in etching and abrasion history.
About Dr. Ray Bertolotti
1984 – introduces "Total Etch" and "Caries Detector" in the U.S.
1985 – coins the phrase "adhesion dentistry"
1985 – introduces Panavia
1989 – introduces Tin Plating
1992 – introduces self-etching primers
2004 – introduces HealOzone
Note: The sectional Contact Matrix system, Microprime B, Accolade PV, Microetcher sandblasting, cantilevered adhesion bridges, and intraoral tin-plating are also Dr. Bertolotti's innovations.
Henry: Tell us a little about that history.
Bruns: It goes back to 1984, when my co-founder and colleague, Dr. Raymond Bertolotti, first introduced "total etch" in North America based on Japanese research and the techniques he saw being practiced by Prof. Fusayama in Japan. He has been widely credited as the guru who, in 1985, actually coined the phrase "adhesion dentistry." In fact, Dr. Bertolotti first used adhesion dentistry when he retitled his "cosmetic dentistry" seminar, reflecting the true nature of what he was using to achieve esthetic results. His materials and techniques continue to reflect a compilation of international knowledge, which has evolved into a "how to" seminar of international reputation, having now been presented in over 30 countries.
Henry: So what exactly is Dr. Bertolotti's role in the company?
Bruns: That question gets asked a lot. Everyone knows that Dr. Bertolotti has a hand in Danville, but I don't think everyone knows that he is actually one of the owners and co-founders of the company. This is a guy who was a pioneer in the era of modern dentistry, along with several others such as John Kanca and Gordon Christensen, who really brought the concept of etching and direct bonding to our profession. Danville is proud of our association with Dr. Bertolotti, and many of our long-time customers are practitioners who had the experience of attending his early lectures, and experienced first-hand how he revolutionized what it means to practice dentistry on a day-to-day basis.
Henry: What should dealers and reps know about Danville's business philosophy?
Bruns: The most important thing for the industry to know about Danville is that as of late 2011, we no longer sell direct to the dentist. This was a strategic business decision that we made back in 2010 and officially implemented last year. The bottom line is that we view our dealers as our most important strategic partners, and the small amount of direct business that we were doing, which in reality represented only 5% to 10% of our total sales, was undermining those relationships and holding us back as a result. We recognized this challenge and knew that our model had to change, so we got in touch with our dealer partners last year to let them know about our plans to eliminate direct sales, and to find out what we needed to do to strengthen and support the distributor model. The transition is now complete — we officially stopped taking direct orders in September of 2011, so all of Danville's products and materials are now available exclusively through authorized dealers.
Henry: What have you done to strengthen your dealer relationships in light of eliminating the direct sales channel?
Bruns: We've worked with dealers in developing new promotions on key products, offering product and technical training, and even providing podium support for CE lectures on request. We're also making major upgrades to our trade advertising, online marketing efforts, and social media efforts to drive even more sales to our channel partners. Most importantly, we've worked very hard to communicate our important shift of eliminating direct sales channels to the dealer reps who talk with dentists and take orders on a daily basis. Through a new partnership with CoreStrength, one of the preeminent manufacturer representative firms, we are now building a fully trained outside sales force providing nationwide support for all dealer reps across the country, with dedicated reps in select markets as of January 2012, and more being added every quarter. We're even developing an iPad app for sales reps!
Henry: That's exciting news! With all of the new marketing expenses today, costs associated with upgrading technology, and keeping up on R&D, many of today's manufacturers are looking offshore to decrease costs and boost profits without increasing their prices. How does Danville stay so competitive in terms of pricing?
Bruns: Danville Materials is committed to research, development, and manufacturing here in the United States. In fact, we have some of the industry's top chemists under our roof and recently completed a multi-million dollar expansion of our state-of-the-art chemistry facility in Southern California. Our corporate headquarters, as always, remain in Northern California, along with our onsite Clinical Affairs Director, Dr. Patrick Roetzer. Having said that, we keep prices down by staying focused on what we do best. Because of our strong patent portfolio and in-house research and manufacturing, we are able to bring incredible value to the dental marketplace without ever sacrificing quality.
To learn more about the company and its products, please visit www.danvillematerials.com.