10 Questions: Ken Serota, President of Hu-Friedy

March 21, 2012

01  You were recently announced as President at Hu-Friedy. How do you view your new role?

01  You were recently announced as President at Hu-Friedy. How do you view your new role?
I view my role as helping the company continue to grow globally by consistently bringing products and services to market that help dental professionals perform at their best. This is a wonderful time to be working side by side with our Chairman and CEO Ron Saslow. I am excited to partner with Ron as Hu-Friedy looks toward the future and continues to focus on expanding our brand’s worldwide reputation for superior quality and performance.

02  What is one of the first things you did in your new role?
Well, it’s been quite a year travelling! I’ve been meeting with customers all over the world at trade shows, dental offices and various schools and universities. Through my travels, I’ve gained first-hand knowledge of the important issues and opportunities our industry and customers are facing, and how Hu-Friedy can assist.

03 What do you see as one of the primary needs facing your customers today?
A key learning from my discussions with customers is a better understanding of the balance between their responsibilities as a practitioner and business owner, and the different sets of pressures that comes with each. One hat is focused on delivering the optimal level of care to patients while the other hat is focused on running the business.

04 How does quality factor into how a business person invests in his or her practice?
Working with the highest quality products to deliver the highest level of performance is the foundation for overall practice efficiency. Coming from several industries in my professional career, one thing I have learned is that investing in quality costs less in the long run, and that’s no different in the dental industry.   Hu-Friedy products are durable, long-lasting and require less frequent replacement, which results in an overall lower cost of ownership.

05 In today’s economy, is the concept of brand still relevant?
Absolutely! Now, more than ever, brand is crucial in communicating reputation, quality and value. For us, the brand starts with our 300+ skilled artisans who work at our manufacturing plant in Chicago. Everyday I see these dedicated employees come to work with the singular goal of advancing dental performance. A brand is about the experience you have with it and our people have always felt that our instruments are an extension of the practitioner’s skill. That kind of passion will always be relevant.

06 What is Hu-Friedy doing to manage through this tough economy?
In a word, innovation. We focus a lot of attention on research and product development. Our product development team has been hard at work identifying opportunities to bring new or improved products to market that deliver Hu-Friedy quality in more ways. New products like Hu-Friedy Hand Essentials™ and Hu-Friedy Pedo Crowns have been well received by our customers. Continue to watch for more new products from us in the coming months.

07 From your perspective, how has the dental industry adapted to the new world of social media?
There’s no question that social media has transformed how we communicate, connect with one another and absorb information. At Hu-Friedy, we continue to see our customers engage with us online, through our various websites and our multiple social media outlets. Our online membership numbers continue to grow on our “FriendsOfHu-Friedy.com” website, with more than 21,000 members to date. Members value the ability to connect with other clinicians, take online CE and trial new instruments.

08 How else have you engaged with dental professionals online?
One of my favorite online initiatives we did this year was the Facebook page geared around the Host Nevi® 4 campaign (facebook.com/nevi4), which has nearly 1,400 friends. It’s been great to see Nevi’s hosts take pictures with him in their hometowns, and to see the dental community rally around this mascot version of our Nevi 4 scaler. By coupling this campaign with the $40,000 “Host Nevi” scholarship fund we were able to have a little fun while supporting the advancement of dental performance through education.

09 Hu-Friedy also recently launched “HowTheBestPerform.com.” Why was it created?
At ”HowTheBestPerform.com” we’ve created 10 principles for superior practice performance, to help offices work smarter, faster and better by investing in the right systems and instruments.  The site has a wealth of videos and educational content that can make a real impact for practices, especially in today’s economic environment.

10 With 2012 upon us, what can we expect to see from the company next year?
We’ve always been committed to helping dental practices perform at their best. Hu-Friedy will continue to invest in research and development designed to deliver innovative offerings that will help practices provide the highest level of care, while at the same time driving overall practice efficiency and performance.