Dental Insider Blog

Observation and Commentary On the Dental Industry

Joe Sakaduski’s Thoughts on New York Show

Posted by dentalinsider on November 28, 2007

If you’re not reading Joe and Nancy Sakaduski’s Marketing Blog, you are missing out on some great insight from two of the industries great minds. Joe has posted his thoughts and observations from the Greater New York Dental Meeting.

Well another Greater New York Meeting is almost in the books, and it seems a few patterns don’t change. There were dentists on Sunday, nobody on Monday and Tuesday, and there will be a few dentists on Wednesday. With the outrageous costs of hotel rooms, and increases in just about everything else, the New York Dental Society needs to realize what a tremendous financial drain a four-day meeting is for manufacturers. Talking about biting the hand that feeds you! – Joe Sakaduski

You can read the rest of the article here.

Send us your comments or observations on the NY Dental Meeting.

DI

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11 Responses to “Joe Sakaduski’s Thoughts on New York Show”

  1. Dental Guy said

    What is this obsession with Patterson’s stock price? Everyone knows that equipment has been slow to sell lately, but consumables are doing fine. It just seems like people get in a big tizzy about Patterson’s stock price instead of focusing on the fact that dentists continue to earn more $$$. Clinicians are just cheap. If equipment manufactueres can find a compelling reason for dentists with ancient equipment to uprgrade, they would do it. However, dentists that have been practicing 25 years with the same a-dec delivery system are not interested in spending a fortune on a new system because their old chair and delivery system continue to get the job done.

    As for as the ever increasing costs of attending dental meetings, the manufacturers can stop their complaining. They are the ones that keep on paying all the money to attend these shows! If you don’t want to pay, don’t come! Booth space for the Midwinter Meeting sold out months ago. So, there is obviously a high demand for booth space. Recently, I was chatting with a person new to dental that was previously in another industry. The executive pointed out that he had been in the wrong business for many years because he couldn’t believe how good the margins were in the dental industry.

    The dental industry is certainly in a state of flux, but it never ceases to amaze me how people get so bent out of shape over the most random stuff!

    Off the top of my head, the biggest dental equipment manufacturers are Danaher (Kavo/Pelton Crane), a-dec, Sirona, Planmeca, Midmark, DentalEZ and numerous others. Equipment might not be as profitable as it once was, but none of these large companies appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

    Oh well, that’s my two cents!
    Dental Guy

  2. Frank said

    I just found this site and find it very informative. Having been in this industry for a couple of decades, I have seen both the best of times and the worst of times. I have seen the industry go from independent supply houses to the corporate powerhouses and saw some of them fall, Healthco, JB Dental Supply, etc.

    Dental Guy – I agree with some of your points, but I feel that the Patterson stock situation is something to worry about. It is a good benchmark for the state of the dental industry. Lets face it, the economy is in poor shape right now and I feel that it will get worse before it gets better. I think that the current housing situation will weigh heavily on dentists and therefore our industry. The next big issue to face this country is the mounting consumer debt and how that will have an effect on the economy. Only time will tell. In my territory, my customers are complaining about cancellations and trouble filling the schedule. Equipment sales for the 4th quarter are slow this year. Dentists are not willing to make the purchases. I disagree that dentists are making the most money now than ever before, that is simply not the case. Equipment manufacturers are going to have to realize that in the near future, equipment sales are going to be flat or slightly down. As you said the industry is in a state of flux and in those times, dentists are cutting back, and the first thing will be equipment purchases.

    I am interested in hearing what others think.

    Frank

  3. Frank…Welcome, glad you found us. You make some good points. I came across this article today and it is not very encouraging for 2008.

    Yahoo Article

    We have also been hearing that some dental equipment manufacturers are starting to eliminate smaller dealers in favor of the big boys. Not a real prudent move at this juncture. More on this in a future post.

    DI

  4. No question, the current housing/debt crisis will have a negative effect on the economy… which will also cause some dental patients to cut back on dental visits.

    On the other hand — as revealed in the report “5 Trends That Threaten Your Dental Practice” — more and more patients are now getting dental insurance coverage. This trend was actually birthed out of the last recession (2000-2001), when employers were unable/unwilling to offer raises… so employees began asking for increased benefits instead.

    Still, as dentists find it increasingly harder to fill their schedules, they’ll inevitably be tempted to cut back on “discretionary” expenses.

    And that typically ends up being equipment purchases, and marketing.

    Yet as the above report exposes, those cost-cutting decisions could end up back-firing on dentists in the long run… because new patients are the life-blood of any dental practice… and advances in technology can often help attract new patients as well.

    – Tom N.

  5. AssociateQ said

    The word “Discretionary” seems to take on a new meaning depending upon the specific situation, as well as a different meaning for each person.

    Not that any of the airlines are doing all that well these days, but there is a quote from the Gordon Bethune, formerly of Continental Airlines, that I like to refer to it times like this. He said, and the quote will vary depending upon where you read it, but basically he said “you can’t take the cheese off the pizza”. He said this as other airlines were making cutbacks to onboard meals, drinks, etc, etc.

    It is a perfect analogy that fit any aspect of business. It slow times, in times of bad business, when your customers are not spending, the last thing you want to do is give them a bad experience with your comapany. You can apply this saying in so many different ways, but I look at the way Gordon applied it to his business. Basically Continental was the, and is, the luxury carrier. And he basically said that it hard times the last thing we want our customers to do is feel like they are overpaying for a ticket with us, then go shop the flight around and fly with Southwest.

    What I take away from the story is that companies should continue to do what they do. If you are a high end dentist you better keep being one and buying the newest technology that has brough the patients in to see you. Becasue if you start to get cheap, they are going to go down the road to the dentist that is cheaper.

    Now take this with a grain of salt because I believe old Gordon stepped down as head of Continental a year or so ago. But he did turn Continetal around and make them a powerhouse pre-9/11.

    Marketing is wonderful thing, and once people realize that every, and I mean every, aspect of their business is marketing they start to understand how important it really is.

    Q

  6. Dental Guy said

    Great Comments Q!

    On my flight home for Christmas, I will be enjoying lunch time meal service on Continental for my 2.5 hour flight. It may just be a small sandwich, baby carrots, and a piece of chocolate, but Continental’s mealtime snack service makes a flight much more pleasant. Not only does their product still have the “cheese” (the ham sandwiches do too) but their ticket agents and staff continue to be best out there.

    I would also like to point out that Southwest now offers more “cheese” than many other old-line carries. New planes and on-time flights with friendly customer service that is self-empowered to help you with your problems. They also provide a complimentary “snack pack” for 3+ hour flights. It isn’t a sandwich, but it’s still greatly appreciated! I would also like to point out that booze on Southwest is only $4!! For years, beer was only $3 compared to $5 on everyone else. Sadly, beer prices have gone up 😦

    On another note, did anyone else notice Sirona’s excellent earnings report? Maybe some of the earnings bounce is just benefiting from the strong Euro, but their commments did not seem to hint at any problems with Patterson.

  7. On another note, did anyone else notice Sirona’s excellent earnings report? Maybe some of the earnings bounce is just benefiting from the strong Euro, but their commments did not seem to hint at any problems with Patterson.

    It was Patterson was claiming a slowing economy was affecting sales and revenue. Something that I picked up the Sirona conference call is that Patterson is paying Sirona $10 million dollars a year for the rite to distribute the Cerac units.

    DI

  8. Dental Guy said

    Don’t you mean $100 million?

  9. AssociateQ said

    DG – You want to be on time you take Southwest. Plus, they now have the biz class fares that let you board first and give you a free drink. Ever since they got rid of that insane boarding process it has been so much better. And you are right they are starting to offer more than most carriers, including America Worst otherwise known as US Air. They are simply horrible. I was being cheap the last time I flew an international flight and I realized I had made a mistake from the minute I checked in at the airport. When we were finally able to board our plane, which they had taken from another flight, it was the biggest piece of crap. This thing was falling apart. It was pretty funny when the Captain had to come back and try to put my armrest back on. After messing with it for like 5 minutes he got frustrated and was pounding on it with his fist to try to get it to snap back in place. I was amazed at the difference between US Air and Continental. They both fly the same type of 767 and when I go international I go Business/First Class. In that cabin Continental’s planes are a 2-1-2 configuration, but US Air is a 2-2-2. Plus the have an extra row in the same amount of space.

    But the whole thing is that it shows the difference between carriers. And personally I will never fly US Air for international flights. I try to avoid them for domestic flights unless they have the only non-stop to where I am going. But here is the thing, I used to fly America West/Us Air all the time. They used to offer a good price and good service. Now they have gone way, way down hill and it is due to their cost cutting.

    So the same can be said about nearly any business. When you start to cut costs you lose something. Personally I think people are willing to pay a few bucks more for a ticket if they can get the service or product they expect and that makes them happy with their purchase. In the dental industry the problem is that people do not really have a clue what they are getting, so what any of us might think of as being good really is not applicable. The fact is that patients go back to a particular dentist because of the experience and not the product. And I am not saying the experience is not part of the product, but how many offices are decked out with all the latest gadgets, offer all kinds of services, offer oral and IV sedation, nitrous and everything else under the sun. But when it comes to cutting a prep, selecting the proper restoration and offering work from quality dental labs the dentist could be worthless.

    Basically in order to keep them coming back the docs will need to keep buying the latest technology to lure patients in and back. I guess it covers up their inadequacies?

    DI, as far as your comments, I just don’t understand why Patterson pays to distribute the Cerec, it simply has never made sense to me. I mean it would be one thing if they had the lock on the blocks, but now you can get blocks from a variety of sources. And the sources are not all “generic” blocks. Plus, I thought I saw that Sirona was coming out with their own brand of block too. That whole situation is something I think is the most insane deal I have ever seen. Can anyone explain this twisted little scenario to me?

    Q

  10. Dental Guy said

    I think the scenario you just pointed out is very twisted. As I recall, Sirona announced that their branded blocks were being manufactured by VITA. However, Ivoclar Vivadent bought a stake in Sirona last summer. Does anyone know how big that stake was?
    So, why would Ivoclar buy a stake in Sirona and then let Sirona sell branded blocks made by their competitor??

    As for you being one of the lucky guys in BusinessFirst, I can’t wait for the day that I get to sit up front and have one of the meals created by Michael Cordua.

  11. AssociateQ said

    You got to go Biz First for Trans-Oceanic flights. I simply can’t hack coach any more. I got spoiled as one time we got a kick ass deal on upgraded tickets. Every since then I won’t acept anything less. I mean it is like those seats keep getting smaller and smaller. Or maybe I jsut keep getting bigger and bigger?

    For US flights coach is fine. Unless you are going LA to NY or something then by the time you hit cruising altitude it is time to land. Especially when you have to make connections. First Class for US flights is a joke. Won’t pay for it. If I have the poitns to upgrade that is fine. But usually I save that for vacations.

    Q

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