01 How long have you worked in the dental industry? I have been around the dental industry my entire life because my father owned a dental lab. I began working at A-dec more than 25 years ago, and have worked in all areas of the company. This has helped me develop a broad understanding of every aspect of the company. I became president in 2007.
01 How long have you worked in the dental industry?
I have been around the dental industry my entire life because my father owned a dental lab. I began working at A-dec more than 25 years ago, and have worked in all areas of the company. This has helped me develop a broad understanding of every aspect of the company. I became president in 2007.
02 What prepared you to become President of A-dec?
When you work in this industry, you learn that relationships are so important. I worked in customer service and the schools and government areas to build that knowledge. I also have a strong understanding of the business processes, the people, and how all the steps in manufacturing are impacted by decisions made in each department.
03 How long has A-dec been in the dental industry?A-dec was incorporated in 1964 to design, manufacture and sell a patented high volume evacuator. A-dec is built around the need to solve problems and make things easier, more reliable, productive and ergonomic for dental professionals. We make and sell only dental equipment. We are proud to help solve those problems and add calm, efficiency and reliability to dental practices.
04 What makes A-dec delivery systems so popular and sets them apart from their competition?
Quality is the No. 1 issue with a dentist. Because of this we have become highly vertically integrated so we can control the materials and processes of the parts used in our products. This allows us, and not suppliers, to control our destiny.
05 Tell us a little about your R&D and your facilities.
For the last 40 years, we have been invested in finding creative solutions to solve problems with our customers and this has helped us define where engineers can add value by innovating. Our founders, Ken and Joan Austin, established a practice of designing all of our products right here, and we now employ more than 100 employees in engineering to continue that legacy.
06 How are “lean” principles applied at A-dec?
Lean principles, when applied company-wide, can contribute significantly to improving productivity, simplicity, and quality. Our aggressive program, started in 2006, has allowed us to stay globally competitive using these principles. In our machine shop, we’ve significantly reduced setup times through the use of SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies) and “zero setup” machines. We’ve also applied single piece flow and pull systems in our assembly and warehouse areas to reduce WIP (Work in Progress) inventory and increase throughput. And in our administrative areas, we’ve found success using value stream mapping and focused kaizen events to improve the efficiency of our administrative processes.
07 What can you tell us that might be a surprise to dentists who are not familiar with A-dec’s history?
Ken Austin, our co-founder, started his entrepreneurial activity in the automotive world by designing manifolds for cars. He held a Bonneville speed record at one time.
08 The A-dec LED light was recently introduced. What makes this a great choice for dentists?
Our LED light was recently awarded the 2012 Silver International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for Medical & Scientific Products. Not only is our new LED light ergonomic, easy, clean and very attractive, but it also has some of the best specifications of any light on the market (color, temperature and color-rendering index). If dentists check specifications, they will see our LED light performs like no other.
09 Are there plans for big product launches soon?
Soon dentists will be able to retrofit our LED dental light on our existing light system, so dentists with A-dec 6300 halogen lights can buy just the new LED light head and have it installed.
10 What are you most proud of in terms of what A-dec provides to clinicians?
We are proud of our reputation for reliability and solving problems in the dental profession, and proud to carry that tradition of excellence forward, as we are seeing with the recognition we are receiving today for our new LED light.