Dental Insider Blog

Observation and Commentary On the Dental Industry

Dentsply’s Gary Kunkle Responds…

Posted by dentalinsider on September 28, 2006

On Tuesday evening I sent an email to Dentsply Chairman and CEO, Gary Kunkle, that asked a couple of questions that were not asked in the conference call. Early this morning I received an email reply from Mr. Kunkle inviting me to call his office to discuss my questions over the phone. I called Mr. Kunkle and here is a summary of our conversation.

Mr. Kunkle stated in the conference call that this new program will have a minimum impact on your business, while seeing an increase from the business of the discontinued distributors, that will be picked up by the “New” network of distributors. I believe that these “discontinued distributors” will actively seek to replace any and all products of Dentsply that their customers are currently using. I feel that if you have a good dental sales rep, who is tight with his/her customer, that sales rep can sway the customer onto a competing product with little effort. Do you feel that there is some merit to this?

He said that I had an excellent question that was not brought up in the call. He felt that while there is the possibility of that happening, Dentsply would do whatever it takes to keep the business.

I then asked about customer usage data that they will be collecting from the “Preferred Distributor Network”. According to the conference call and then confirmed by Mr. Kunkle, Dentsply will be collecting data from its distributors, “End user transactional data for each product at the customer level”. Sounds a bit like “Big Brother” to me. They feel that they need to know who there customer is and what products they are and are not buying currently. It looks as if they are in the planning stages of selling direct to the end user, a theory that has been rumored for years. Mr. Kunkle stated that 45% of Dentsply’s business comes from direct sales within their Orthodontic, Endodontic and Implant divisions. A much larger number that I imagined.

There has been some chatter in the dental industry that the “Big 2”, Sullivan-Schein and Patterson, have been putting pressure on manufacturers to to limit or narrow distribution channels. Mr. Kunkle stated that the decision to limit distribution channels was solely the idea of Dentsply and has been in the works for some time.

My last question was in regards to the separation policy letter, that states that any orders from discontinued distributors after September 26, 2006 will have to be “prepaid with certified funds”. Isn’t that a bit harsh on the people that helped build Dentsply to what it is today?

Mr. Kunkle explained that it is purely from a business standpoint and in addition, Dentsply is offering a one-time return without any restocking fees.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Gary Kunkle for taking the time to speak with me about these issues.

What are your thoughts?? Post them in the comment box below or send an email to


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2 Responses to “Dentsply’s Gary Kunkle Responds…”

  1. Dr. G said

    This truly amazing! Can’t anyone see through the smoke and mirrors? The “Big 2” type dealers have held a “gun to the head” of manufacturers for years. The arrogance of these dealers and manufacturers will just accelerate what is way overdue: Another Dental “Enron”. Meanwhile, the “discontinued” dealers business will flourish by promoting “second-tier” products, expose the Big Brother issue and most importantly, gain a stronger bond with their customers by maintaining their privacy. Dr. G

  2. metonk said

    I agree with Dr G. there are a lot of terrific second tier products with better pricing and better field expertise to back them up. Not to mention the great Independent Dealers that have a solid place in the market.

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