Dentsply Sirona’s Andrew Robinson shares thoughts on his new role with the company, DS World 22, and how digital workflows can help patients and practitioners alike.
Andrew Robinson, Dentsply Sirona Senior Vice President, North American Commercial Leader, and Chief Digital Officer, sat down with Dental Products Report managing editor Stan Goff recently at Dentsply Sirona World 22 in Las Vegas.
Robinson talked about the event the company holds each year that features high quality education and entertainment, plus great networking opportunities and first-hand exposure to several companies and dental products and services on the trade show floor
DPR: Tell us a little about your background before you joined Dentsply Sirona.
AR: I've been with Dentsply Sirona for about 6 months now. It’s my first time in dental and prior to this I spent the last 17 years in the med tech and pharmaceutical side of things. I spent the last 14 years overseas working in Europe, Asia, Japan, and Singapore so I’ve had the opportunity to work in a lot of different environments and cultures. It's set me up well to be able to transition to something different than what I was doing before. I really have enjoyed the last 6 months. There's some differences, fun differences, between dental and medical device and so forth, but it's been a great 6 months so far.
DPR: Explain your role with Dentsply Sirona.
AR: My primary role when I started with Dentsply Sirona was with leading the commercial organization in North America. So that's really what I was brought into lead. Over the several months we had some other changes internally, and I took over the role of Chief Digital Officer. You should think about that in a way that it's really our digital efforts on the commercial side. So, it could be E-commerce, it could be digital marketing, it could be all those things that support the commercial side of the business. Now, we have areas that are focused on digital on the product side, but I’m a lot more on the commercial side in that expanded role.
DPR: Dentsply Sirona is a pretty comprehensive manufacturer in that the company offers everything from materials, to equipment to technology and also has world class educational facilities. I imagine that’s a pretty exciting company to work for.
AR: It is a powerful company. But you know, there's always challenges when you bring 2 big companies together and try to configure it [which is what happened when the Dentsply companies merged with Sirona a while back.]. I think probably that's been the case over the last couple of years. But I really feel like this event is kind of a real kind of nice turning point for us where you're starting to see all the power in strength of DS as a whole come together. You’ve heard a lot about workflows on the stage, about how our technology is not just technology in a singular sense, but it's actually enabling workflows across consumable parts of our business as well. So it's bringing that all together that I think we're starting to really see some good things happen.
DPR: There's a lot of excitement here around DS Core. Explain how this fits in and advances the digital workflows for clinicians.
AR: We are already proud about our breadth of portfolio, but I don't think we've actually captured that at times. But I do think you're seeing that on display at the DS World this year for sure. I mean this year, being face to face makes a huge difference. I can tell you is just it's so empowering and so exciting to see people face to face. We can't do it all the time, but when we do it’s really excellent.
DPR: In particular, with this event, you've got some really good exhibitors here, you’ve got really good partners, and it's nice to have something like this where everyone's starting to feel a little bit more kind of getting get back to normal as possible. Do you sense that we may be turning a corner?
AR: I think so. I think we're getting back to normal and it feels that way at least and there seems to be a good energy. I don't know if you all feel it, but I do. There's been a huge amount of engagement from the crowd. And then when you take a look at the booths, there's tons of people walking through there and having really great conversations about dentistry and that's really what this whole event is about. Education is one of the biggest parts of this event. We're just happy to bring it to our customers.
DPR: Even during the pandemic Dentsply Sirona managed to have several significant product launches and also virtual events. Elaborate on this a little.
AR: As long as you can get the products and you can get them out and continue to engage with customers, if that be virtually or however, it’s good for the business and the needs of patients. You have to adapt how are you bringing new products out but there's always a way to get it done. You know, probably the biggest challenge has been on supply chain but if you can accomplish and get through those challenges then you the customer deserves to be able to have new products despite the challenges with COVID and things like that.
DPR: What are the problems that you're trying to solve in terms of supply chain issues?
AR: Well, I mean, frankly, on the supply chain side is probably a little bit outside of my area of responsibility as we've got, you know, great leaders on the supply chain. But I think it's really, I mean, getting out in front a little bit and securing supply well in advance of when we have big product launches and where we see strong demand, but I think actually we’ve made considerable improvements to where we were 6 months ago. So, there's a big amount of focus going on making that supply chain much smoother, despite some of the challenges where you have, you know, single source suppliers and things like that. We're doing a lot of work there to smooth that out, maybe build inventory in advance. Because ultimately, it's the customer experience. Does the customer get the product that they want when they want it? And if something happens, where we need to be able to repair it, do we have the parts available? And as a manufacturer, it's our responsibility to take care of that. So, there's nothing going on. It doesn't mean it's assault, but we're certainly doing a lot of work to fix.
DPR: The economy scares everybody these days. But you listen to some of the speakers the last few days [at DS World] discuss the fact that you can make an investment in some of these products, some of these digital workflows, and all of a sudden clinicians may be adding ortho cases they weren’t doing before, or working in a bit more of implants. I imagine it’s nice to be able to offer solutions to clinicians that help them increase their production, especially coming out of a pandemic and some tough economic times.
AR: Sometimes there's fear of trying to go into a new a new procedural workflow, but the technology that's coming out from Dentsply Sirona is actually helping those that might have had that fear, kind of get over it and broaden their opportunities for the practice. There's challenges in the economy and macro level stuff, but the patients still are going to need a root canal, and patients most likely are going to need a clear aligner of some sort. Our technology enables practitioners to be able to get into those different workflows in an easy, efficient way. DS is following through on placements of new equipment and technology and really supporting them through that evolution, and that journey.
DPR: Tell us a little about the launch here of Primescan Connect, the new laptop-based intraoral scanning solution designed to offer dental professionals a fast and efficient intraoral scanning experience without requiring a bulky desktop.
AR: Primescan Connect is our new intraoral scanner utilizing the same, shall we say camera scanner that is in our full service program. But the difference with this one is it's more portable, and it's laptop based and it connects to our DS Core platform.
DPR: Is there anything else you’d like to address about your company?
AR: The only thing I'll say is I think there's going to be a lot of news stories coming out in the weeks and months to come. You've seen some of the transition that we have at the leadership level with our new CEO Simon Campion. It's a great time for the company to get that stability and the leadership spot and it coincides with the week we kick off DS World. I think you're going to see a lot of great stories come out of this company in the years to come. We're pretty pretty excited about where we're headed. And both on the technology side and the consumable side, but just overall in the organization as a whole.
Everything starts with care for the patient. We have a sign up that says you know, your job is to take care of your patients. Making sure you can take care of them is where we're well positioned.