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An Interview with Anton Woolf
Inside Dental Technology (IDT): The economy experienced a good deal of fluctuation in 2011. How has this influenced your strategy at the Argen Corporation?
Anton Woolf (AW): The current environment does not fundamentally change the core of our client-focused strategy—it serves to accentuate the importance of our continuous re-investment into services and products our clients rely on. The cornerstone of any client-focused strategy is predictability and trust, particularly in a world that is rapidly changing.
Argen has always thrived in a culture of innovation. Although we live in a dynamic business environment where there are many areas to consider, our team focuses on four critical areas to drive innovation: people, products, technology, and market conditions. A deep understanding of these drivers allows us to deliver meaningful client solutions.
IDT: How do you drive Argen’s culture of innovation?
AW: First and foremost, we invest in our human resources—the people that our clients rely on to build and deliver solutions. During 2011, we added additional technical and field service support personnel in order to be even more responsive to our clients. Standing shoulder to shoulder with our industry partners helps give us a better understanding of their current and emerging needs.
IDT: How does that influence the products Argen develops?
AW: For Argen, the creation and launch of new products is not simply part of a product cycle, but is innovation focused on delivering what our clients need within the framework of the market. This direct understanding of our clients’ needs is the primary driver of our product development.
When the conditions in the marketplace created a need for economical noble alloys that do not sacrifice quality for price, we focused our clients on NobleCrown NF®. This alloy is a robust solution for every crown-and-bridge application that meets the cost and quality requirements of the marketplace. Similarly, doctors and patients have enjoyed the reliability of full gold crowns. The industry would like to continue to take advantage of these trusted benefits, but at a price that a commodates the current market. We answered the demand with Argenco Y+®, an alloy that delivers the warm hue and high luster our customers desire with only 2% gold content, resulting in an attractive cost.
We also augmented our product line with solutions such as Captek, which help our clients differentiate their laboratories. Through the acquisition of Captek, we added to our expanding product line a well-recognized crown-and-bridge technology that has a high degree of demand.
IDT: You mentioned the importance of technology. How is Argen using technology to better serve the industry?
AW: Argen has a policy to continuously increase our reinvestment in state-of-the-art manufacturing and refining technology that positively influences our clients’ businesses.
Certainly, the accuracy of laboratory refining has always been a significant factor for our clients. Argen has a long history of leveraging the most advanced refining technologies to ensure that our clients receive the highest returns for their dental scrap. Now, due to the current value of precious metals, demand has increased substantially across the globe. To maintain the best-in-class service that our clients expect, Argen is committed to increasing the capacity of analytic capabilities through additional investments in technology, one of which is an additional ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) machine. The ICP delivers the highest degree of accuracy for advanced refining testing—this ensures that our clients receive the very best service and highest returns.
We are also excited about the expansion of our technology center, which was developed to help meet the emerging demands of our customers. More and more laboratories are incorporating a digital workflow into their operations, yet they still want to offer metal substructures. Without additional investment in equipment or process, laboratories can CAD design restorative components and send us data files, receiving back either noble or non-precious copings and bridge frameworks at very economical prices. As we continue to invest in this area of our business, we look forward to an even broader product offering in the future.
IDT: What can we expect to see from Argen in 2012?
AW: Although the economy has a degree of uncertainty, there are many more opportunities that exist in the global market today for the laboratory industry. From Argen, you will continue to see a high degree of focus on the launch of exciting new products and services that we feel will help our clients expand their reach within the marketplace.
Anton Woolf is the CEO of the Argen Corporation.