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An Interview with Shofu Dental Corporation
C. Brian Melonakos BA, MBA
President, Shofu Dental Corporation
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): What sets Shofu Dental Corporation apart?
C. Brian Melonakos (CBM): For decades, Shofu has maintained a strong reputation with dentists as a trusted company. Dentists know that Shofu products have been thoroughly researched and are clinically proven, and will not only provide outstanding value, but also offer unparalleled performance. Where some competitors may at times sprint hastily forward with new products, Shofu prefers a steady and thorough approach to ensure that our materials will be well received for many years to come.
ID: What are the 3 most important elements of your success?
CBM: Shofu has achieved great success over the past 90 years by maintaining a sharp focus on dentistry, superior products through research and development (R&D), and a patient-centered product portfolio. Although expansion through merger and acquisition activities is a tempting option for rapid growth, it can distract from a company’s core competencies. By focusing on generic growth and pouring all our effort into only dental and laboratory products, Shofu allocates substantial funding for R&D within a focused range of products. This allows us to take products a step further. Specifically, our giomer filler technology at the center of many of our restorative product lines has unique properties, such as sustained fluoride release through rechargability, acid neutralization, and an antiplaque effect. These patient-centered benefits exceed the limited scope of competitors just looking to fill holes.
ID: What is your approach to business?
CBM: Dentists and laboratory technicians put a lot of time and effort into making their business successful, but at the end of the day, they also usually want to spend more time at home with their families. We strive to develop products that help get them home on time and under budget. Materials that are more reliable, faster, easier to use, versatile, and less costly provide added value, making the lives of dental professionals a little easier.
ID: What inspires the forward motion of your company in today’s marketplace?
CBM: We are inspired by all of the advancements that are being made in modern adhesive and filler technologies. Materials are making leaps and bounds by way of bioactivity, esthetics, strength, and functionality. BeautiSealant, for example, has received unprecedented support from key opinion leaders, academics, practicing dentists, and hygienists who are amazed that they can now achieve superior bond strength verses competitors with no acid etching required. In the case of composites, Beautifil® II has just completed a 13-year clinical evaluation with amazing results. These new technologies allow us to consistently improve our offerings.
ID: What are your top initiatives for 2013 and 2014?
CBM: Shofu takes the concept of minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry very seriously. Materials such as our giomer product line, which has demonstrated bioactive/healing benefits and improved esthetics, remain high interest targets for future development. Over the next couple of years, we plan to expand our giomer technology into an increasing variety of dental applications. You will also see improvements in our well-known finishers and polishers.
ID: How is the global economy impacting your operations?
CBM: Despite the enormity of the US market, the importance of having a global strategy cannot be overstated. It is very important to achieve a broad base of support for products. Over the past few years, sales in Latin America in particular have seen unprecedented growth and have contributed meaningfully to our sales objectives. We continue to update our website and electronic infrastructure to be inclusive of our customers around the world.
ID: What is in the pipeline right now?
CBM: Dentists can expect to see the continued expansion of our Beautifil II composite, along with Beautifil Flow Plus injectable hybrid restorative in the very near future. Coming soon on the laboratory side will be expansion into CAD/CAM technology using the popular Ceramage® material and others.