10 Questions: Anne Steinbock, Whip Mix Corp.

March 19, 2013

A Q&A with Whip Mix Corp. VP of Sales & Marketing Anne Steinbock.

A Q&A with Whip Mix Corp. VP of Sales & Marketing Anne Steinbock.

1. As a company approaching its 100th anniversary, how does Whip Mix stay up to date with the changing dental industry?

We take a 360 degree approach to stay up to date. Mostly it’s by networking within our customer channels, dealers, schools, labs and dentists - by visiting labs, attending trade shows, educational programs and participating in organizations such as the NADL and the DTA (Dental Trade Alliance). We also host advisory council meetings several times a year at Whip Mix to get input from both dentists and technicians on industry trends and the challenges they face.

2. Do the changes affecting the industry change the fundamentals of what it takes to be successful as either a manufacturer or a dental lab?

The fundamentals for success remain the same. We continue to follow my dad’s words of wisdom: love the customer; make reliable products; strive to be different; give people tools to do their job; and keep it simple.

My dad, Ed Steinbock Jr., the second generation of the Steinbock family to lead the company, developed the product line and expanded sales globally during the 1950s until the 1980s.

3. You’ve recently launched investments and die stones while also providing CAD/CAM systems. How do you balance the needs of labs using traditional fabrication techniques with the influx of technology?

Most labs’ processes are a hybrid of both analog and digital workflow so we have to be knowledgeable in all processes. To support every dental professional no matter where they are on the technology journey, our Sales, Marketing, Technical Support and Customer Service staff is now integrated into one team for both our digital technology offerings and our traditional lab products.  

4. Tell us more about Whip Mix Technical Support.
We have a great technical support team including four Certified Dental Technicians, two 3Shape Certified Trainers, and several on our sales team have practical experience in dental assisting and hygiene. We have ongoing technical training for our team members so they can help technicians use technology and Lean Manufacturing principles to increase efficiency. We also cooperate with other manufacturers when our equipment is used for new materials. You could say we take a full circle approach to providing technical support.

5. Why is that last part important?
As the dental industry consolidates and the lab processes become more advanced, it’s important to work collaboratively both with laboratories and other manufacturers. The lines blur between who is a lab, a manufacturer, a supplier.

6. How important is Whip Mix’s reputation as a company that provides top quality customer service?
Good customer service is a given for any company. We’ve raised the bar to focus on earning customer loyalty. Through our Net Promoter Score program we ask a percentage of our customers each month if they would recommend us to a friend and what can Whip Mix do better. We use their feedback to improve our processes and products. I also encourage anyone to just call me (800-626-5651)!

7. What developments have come about because of these programs?
Some examples of improvements we’ve made based on customer input: sturdier packaging for our bulk gypsum and investment to reduce damage in shipping; new pre-weighed envelope filling machines and film for improved seal; pre- loaded firing programs on furnaces for popular ceramic materials; and more videos on usage and service of our products on our website,
whipmix.com. Many of these improvements required the company to make capital investment in equipment showing our commitment to supporting the lab industry now and in the future.

8. Does the type of service you provide to customers change as the nature of the products you provide changes?
At Whip Mix, customer service isn’t just the people who take orders - it involves everyone in the company - production, shipping, accounting and technical support. As our products become more complex, our technical support has become more comprehensive.

For example, we have furnace repair technicians who can troubleshoot a functional problem and we have experienced dental technicians who can walk a user through a firing adjustment to optimize esthetics. We conduct 3Shape Scanner training courses geared for both the novice and more advanced user and we customize training specifically to what a technician wants to learn.

9. How have webinars changed the way Whip Mix interacts with and provides training to customers?
Our webinars provide a low cost way to provide education and NBC recertification points. Best of all, the free, one hour webinars are archived on whipmix.com so they are available 24/7 to view. Often, viewers call seeking more information.

10. What’s on the horizon as Whip Mix looks ahead?
Whip Mix will continue helping our customers be successful by providing reliable products and technical support. We recently added the Roland Mill into our product offering and will include more materials relating to CAD/CAM technology in the near future.