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St. Paul, MN
Tom Engels, Division Vice President, 3M ESPE
Inside Dentistry (ID): How would you differentiate your company from others in the dental marketplace that distribute and/or manufacture products that are competitive to yours? Is it about size, service, quality, and/or innovation?
Tom Engels (TE): 3M ESPE sets itself apart from other companies through its uncompromising commitment to quality, innovation, reliability, and integrity. As a leading manufacturer of dental products, 3M ESPE’s foundation is in research and development (R&D). Our dedication to product ingenuity is bringing the latest technological innovations, such as 3M ESPE’s nanofiller technology and Lava™ crowns and bridges, directly into dental offices and laboratories around the world. With such respected product category brands as RelyX™ cements, Filtek™ restoratives, Impregum™ and Imprint™ impression materials, Lava™ crowns and bridges, and Adper™ adhesives, the 3M ESPE brand is world-renowned for helping dental professionals set the standard for patient care and dental practice success. Our employees work hard every day to earn dental professionals’ trust and loyalty.
ID: Fiscal year 2005 is just about over. In what areas did you achieve your corporate objectives, and are there areas—manufacturing, distribution, sales, service—that you would like to modify in 2006?
TE: We are very proud of our best-in-class performance with quality and customer service this year. We also are pleased with our global financial results. Like the rest of the dental industry, we have been adversely affected by the German market reimbursement changes, but we are in a good position to rebound going forward. Major new product launches like Filtek™ Supreme restoratives, RelyX™ Unicem cement and Lava™ crowns and bridges are performing very well.
ID: Do you see the oral healthcare marketplace—as a whole—being guided by a singular paradigm? If so, how would you describe it?
TE: There are many elements in the overall oral healthcare marketplace model. If I were to choose one element to focus on, it would be the ever-increasing global demand for improved care and access. Access to care is a concern in many regions of the world and a topic that definitely needs to be addressed. We are helping to address this issue through support of programs such as Give Kids a Smile and organizations including Oral Health America, as well as many industry associations. The entire dental value chain, from suppliers to providers, needs to work together to ensure the vitality of this marketplace in the future.
ID: How would you define your company’s mission in the dental marketplace as it relates to this paradigm?
TE: 3M ESPE’s mission is to provide dental professionals with innovative and trustworthy clinical solutions that help set the standards for patient care, and we strongly believe this mission fits very well with the increasing global demand for improved dental care and access.
ID: What research and development, and/ or product introduction initiatives, can we expect in the coming year(s) from your company in fulfillment of this mission?
TE: We are committed to continuing innovations in the product categories in which we participate, such as filling materials, adhesives, cements, impression materials, and temporization materials. We also are very excited about the innovations we are delivering in new spaces like digital dentistry.
ID: Given that there are some product categories in the dental marketplace that are saturated with competitive options, how would you best advise our readers to select products for clinical use?
TE: I think it comes down to a few points. First, determine what the company track record is for introducing quality products to the industry. 3M ESPE has been consistently delivering reliable products and services to its customers for decades. Second, find out if there is any substantive and clinically relevant research to back up the claims for any given product. Our company is grounded in research and development; it has a long trail of scientific papers and research abstracts verifying that our products do what we say they will do. We go through a rigorous approval process, highlighted by the verification of any claims attached to a given product. Lastly, clinical relevance cannot be stressed enough. More and more dentists are seeking clinical evidence to assist them in determining what products to purchase and use in their practices. With the talented R&D group we have here at 3M ESPE, and an external network of clinical evaluators, we place top priority on establishing clinical results that are truly relevant to dental practitioners. We’ve been very pleased with the results we are achieving with our new products, and dental professionals are looking for this kind of relevant clinical history on which to base their important purchasing decisions.
St. Paul, MN