This month’s International Orthodontic Congress marks the start of a new phase of co-operation between UK laboratory manufacturer and distributor WHW and German manufacturer Dentaurum. The two firms have already worked closely with each other for some time, with WHW looking after UK sales to dental laboratories but this month sees the official launch of WHW taking on the responsibility for the sales of Dentaurum’s wide range of orthodontic products.
The new relationship is seen as a major undertaking by both companies, who have adopted the tagline ‘A Perfect Alignment’ for the new partnership.
As you might expect, this move has been some months in the making. Previously Dentaurum had been managing UK sales from Germany, after its original distributor went out of business. WHW director Mike Wright explains how the new deal came about, ‘We had established a good link with Dentaurum on the laboratory side. A lot of effort went into creating awareness of their product portfolio and as a result the reputation of the company was growing rapidly in the UK. Unfortunately as the sales were being handled directly from Germany, the same message could not easily be conveyed to the orthodontists. We’ve been talking about extending our co-operation for some time and we’re now ready to launch at the IOC.’
Asked what it will mean for WHW in the UK, Mike commented, ‘This will be a strong partnership. Dentaurum is a highly respected company throughout the world and we believe that WHW offers a similar type of service and quality of product to our customers. We feel this link with Dentaurum will raise our profile at the same time as increasing awareness of Dentaurum’s within the UK on the ortho side. WHW has expanded significantly over the last 18 months and this new project will see that carry on over the next 12 months.’
The recent growth has seen WHW up its staffing levels by 35%, with a similar increase in turnover. Mike is also keen to stress while the growth has been rapid, it has been carefully managed, with WHW already ahead of key targets which have been set over a five-year period.
Marketing director at WHW, Matt Fendt explains the work that has already taken place in preparation, ‘‘This new venture started as a conversation between myself and Dentaurum’s area sales manager for North and Southwest Europe/Africa, Bettina Graf and has taken a lot of work on both sides to reach this stage. For WHW it’s meant we have had to grow very quickly as a company, with recruitment and plenty of technical training to get us to a standard where we can offer the same levels of service that we are known for.’
The close collaboration resulted in ‘A Perfect Alignment’ strap line. It’s not just about the products but also about us delivering a high level of service to reflect Dentaurum’s position as a company, renowned throughout the world for the quality of their products. The strap line sums up where we want to be and where we will be in the near future.’
Claudia Stöhrle is head of international sales at Dentaurum and says that the secret of Dentaurum’s long-term success lies in its close contact with its clients. ‘Listening to them is our primary goal in order to meet market needs. Of course, we want proactive sales, but it needs much more than that. With WHW we are making sure that customers get detailed information on the products and the customers’ feedback will be implemented into future developments.’
‘Like Dentaurum, WHW is a family firm which cares about its staff and its customers, we are looking forward to working with an established local distributor again and know they will be very professional and deliver the service we expect. The UK will become a very important area for Dentaurum.’
Matt Fendt believes it is a testament to the quality of the Dentaurum products that sales did remain at a significant level throughout the time when the company didn’t have a UK presence. ‘Dentaurum was able to survive based on the strength of the products and of the service – which had to stay at a high level to retain the business.’
He goes on to explain that Dentaurum’s reputation in the UK is built mainly on the back of a small number of key products and that WHW’s immediate plans are to push the rest of the range. ‘We’ll be using proactive sales, events and courses, advertising and marketing to show the depth and breadth of the existing Dentaurum range,’ he comments. ‘In the grand scheme of things there aren’t many companies who can offer a range as big as Dentaurum’s and WHW know that it is important to highlight there is more there than is commonly perceived. The best way to describe the product range is cost effective, there’s a correlation between price and quality which orthodontists might expect but don’t always get.’
Matt expects initial growth to come from established customers growing their use of Dentaurum’s products, as they will now be offering 12 different brackets of differing price and material construction, the world famous tomas anchorage system, a new lingual system and thousands more.
To support the logistics side, WHW has set up a new collaboration with a very quick international expediter, with the aim of fulfilling UK orders directly from Germany with a delivery time of less than 48 hours – across the full Dentaurum product range. ‘The worst thing is to be out of stock,’ Matt comments, ‘ and we are confident that we’ll be able to offer such a big range and meet the requirements of our customers when it comes to price, quality and stock. We’re going to be able to compete on price with the cheaper products coming into the UK from all around the world as well as competing on quality with the best products out there. Bringing in new and different products from Dentaurum’s range will mean we’re not just replicating what people have already seen, which will hopefully spark a renewed interest in the famous brand.’
Bettina explains that working with WHW in the UK on courses and events will be important. ‘Many of our products do need to be shown and explained fully for orthodontists to use them in the best way,’ she says. ‘It benefits them enormously being able to handle the products and see how they can use them most efficiently. Marketing, brochures and catalogues can do a lot and start their interest but ultimately nothing beats hands-on experience. We have so much to talk about and show the UK and we are working with WHW to put this strategy into place as soon as possible.’
WHW also plans to assemble a group of key opinion leaders, a strategy that Dentaurum are keen to adapt globally.
WHW will have a key presence at Dentaurum’s booth at the IOC exhibition (booth no. 239) and are looking to create lots of awareness around the event. Special offers will be available on the stand to launch the new partnership.
Visit www.whwplastics.com to learn more