An Interview with GC America Inc.
Inside Dentistry (ID): Who is GC?
SCOTT BRADSHAW (SB): GC was founded in Japan by three chemists in 1921 shortly after World War I. They had three criteria: 1.) develop a product that is needed in people’s lives; 2.) develop a product that requires advanced technology; and 3.) develop a high-value-added product.
The first product, introduced in 1922, was a dental cement and it failed. It was a failure because of the elitist viewpoint of the founders. As a result, they accepted the market feedback and changed the organization to meet the needs of the user/customer and adopted what became known as Semui philosophy.
ID: Tell us about GC’s philosophy and the culture behind product development and manufacturing.
SB: The global philosophy and culture of GC worldwide is rooted in the Japanese word Semui, a term that comes from ancient Buddhist teachings. It compares to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is a philosophy of respect for others and doing good for society.
Today, GC has over 11,000+ products that cover a broad spectrum of the dental profession—from the operatory, laboratory, and dental hygiene. This puts us in a unique position to support all aspects of dental care and provide customers with dental materials and equipment that are quality tested for safety, reliability, and effectiveness, not only for the patient, but also for the environment.
ID: How does this philosophy and culture project itself in GC’s approach to product development, management, and customer relations?
SB: We believe our mission is to respond to the changing needs of global markets. Critical to that process is listening to and respecting our customers’ needs and the demands of the market. We then take those expressions of need and develop products that not only will help our customers, but also are beneficial for the patient. By following this philosophy, we stay sharply focused on meeting the needs of customers and contributing to society by introducing products that improve oral hygiene and the general health of all people. As a sector of the medical industry, our first priority is to develop products that are beneficial for others.
ID: GC recently celebrated an anniversary. In looking over the history of product development over the last 90 years, what is the key to GC’s ongoing success?
SB: To be successful, you have to practice both change and the ability to stay on course. Keep in mind that with change comes opportunity and if you are not providing your customers solutions, you will not be successful. GC pays close attention to changes in the industry and acts accordingly.
For all of GC, innovation has been the key to our growth and this cannot be accomplished without Kaizen Innovation, a Japanese business practice. For us, this means we break with the status quo and look for constant improvement. This is accomplished through daily Kaizen improvement.
ID: Looking ahead to the future, what new product innovations and initiatives does GC have in the works?
SB: We are very excited to have introduced MI Varnish™, a fluoride varnish with RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP) Technology, a special milk-derived protein that strengthens teeth by releasing calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. A unique and innovative product embracing our Minimal Intervention philosophy, MI Varnish brings bio-available calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to the tooth surface. We all know that fluoride is an important tool in the fight against caries and its benefits are boosted by calcium and phosphate supplements helping to maintain a healthy oral environment. MI Varnish with RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP) provides these essential minerals to reduce hypersensitivity.
MI Varnish is a new addition to the RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP) family. MI Paste™ and MI Paste Plus™ (900 ppm fluoride), are one-of-a-kind products that restore minerals and enrich saliva. Our offering of MI Varnish and MI Paste or MI Paste Plus provides a comprehensive in-office and at-home system for the dental professional. MI Varnish used in conjunction with MI Paste and MI Paste Plus with RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP) results in a well-rounded treatment plan for strong, healthy teeth.
The global vision that the corporation has set forth as a challenge to all GC associates is to be the number-one dental company in the world by 2021. Currently, we are the number-one dental manufacturer in Japan and one of the leading dental companies worldwide. Within that vision is our commitment to develop cutting-edge products that will keep our customers one step ahead of the curve in their ability to react to changes in the market and have products as their disposal to better serve their clients and the patient. GC looks to bring value to the customer and will contribute to the health of society as a whole.