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10 Questions: Leif Ebert, President of VOCO AMERICA

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2012-01-01
Issue 1

01 How did you start your professional career? After I obtained my MBA, I joined a consulting company in Hamburg, Germany. We helped start-up companies figure out their finances and we wrote business plans that helped them receive money from state, federal or European funds.

01 How did you start your professional career?
After I obtained my MBA, I joined a consulting company in Hamburg, Germany. We helped start-up companies figure out their finances and we wrote business plans that helped them receive money from state, federal or European funds.

02 How did you transition from that into the dental industry?
In 1997, I joined VOCO’s marketing department as a product manager and two years later I became director of international marketing. At that time VOCO was already active in more than 100 countries, but had not yet entered the U.S. marketplace. There was some initial hesitation to give such a responsibility to a young guy like me, but they did it and I am sure they are happy today. In Germany I grew up next to an American Army base and had a lot of American friends.

03 What is your role with VOCO?
As the President of VOCO America and VOCO Canada I oversee all fields of our operation and supervise our 75 employees in North America. Because my day-to-day routine consists of lots of paperwork and working with lawyers, accountants, insurance companies, etc., it can be easy to lose touch with the customers. To battle this, you will find me from time to time at trade shows and visiting local dentists. I try to do what our sales consultants do to understand the needs of our customers.

04 You call yourselves “The Dentalists.” What does this mean?
“The Dentalists” expresses VOCO’s exclusive specialization in dentistry. As material specialists, we only concentrate on this field of activity and maintain close cooperation with dentists and more than 150 universities and research establishments across the globe. The slogan is a commitment to all of our employees. Intensive product training of our dental consultants is key and an ongoing process. Our reps act like consultants to the clinicians rather than sales people.

05 What else sets VOCO apart from other manufacturers?
Privately owned VOCO GmbH Dental Materials, a worldwide active developer and manufacturer of advanced dental materials, is in its 31st year of service to dentists and dental technicians. What began in 1981 with a handful of products and a very small staff has developed into a worldwide active operation of approximately 500 employees and more than 150 different dental materials; 60 of them are currently marketed in the U.S. Unlike many other major companies VOCO is proud to develop and manufacture all of its chemistry-based production on its own.

06 How does the company’s manufacturing process work?
We use state-of-the-art technology and there are several developments that make it easier to manufacture products or give us new opportunities to increase quality. Most of our manufacturing is totally automated. That means we can start manufacturing the same day that we receive an order from our distribution partner. This ensures our customers receive the freshest product possible. On the other hand, new developments like nano technology allowed us to achieve a product quality that had never been possible before.

07 How does being privately owned help?
We have the advantage to do what is right for our customers and our business. We do not have to act for short-time success to make shareholders happy. Our strategy is very simple: listen to the customers and give them products that meet or exceed their expectations.

08 Are you surprised at how well GrandioSO was received?
We are not really surprised by the success, but rather happy that our customers indeed like the material. We had been very successful with the first Grandio composite and by keeping a close contact to our customers we knew they liked the handling and wear characteristics and they suggested improvements in polishability and light sensitivity. With GrandioSO we simply gave them what they asked for. I am just glad that we at VOCO have the chemists who are able to provide winning products.

09 How does VOCO help dentists stay informed?
Magazines like yours are very important for dentists to see what is new on the market, but we at VOCO believe our customers have to see and feel the materials in person. Therefore we are committed to the high expense of well-educated dental consultants. In North America we have more than 60 representatives and plan to expand the number. VOCO is also very committed to CE and sponsors many hands-on courses and seminars, and also provides free CE live webinars every month.

10 What can we expect from VOCO in 2012?
First of all I would like to thank our customers for their support. We know they have many choices of great dental products and we are thankful that they choose VOCO. For 2012 we are introducing with x-tra base a new flowable bulk filling composite that allows to cure 4 mm layers in 10 seconds. Additionally, we have a new core build-up composite GrandioCORE. Our first step into implant dentistry is our new Quick Up Implant Pick up material that cuts procedure time in half and avoids accidental locking of dentures with the implant parts.

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