An Interview with Garrison Dental Solutions, LLC
Managing Partner, Garrison Dental Solutions, LLC
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): If you had to describe Garrison to a new customer, what would you say?
Tom Garrison (TG): The business originated in the family dental practice across the parking lot from our current headquarters. Because the company was founded by dentists, we pride ourselves not only on launching products that are thoroughly field tested before being released, but also on the fact that the Garrison name is synonymous with high-quality products, as reported by our dedicated customer base.
One of Garrison’s main advantages is its relatively small size. We are leaner and meaner than the competition, and this allows us to rapidly execute our initiatives. Also, we enjoy a high level of support from our customers. Dentists trust Garrison products because there’s a measure of their input in everything we manufacture. We’re unique in that we are a market leader in a category that was previously undiscovered.
Our approach has been to own that category. Over the years, Garrison has redefined how Class II composite restorations are tackled. Customers tell us our unique matrix products reflect simplicity and promote better dentistry via an improved clinical outcome. On a global level, dentists tell us we are the matrix company. So, when a clinician is thinking about matrices and wedges, we want them to think of Garrison first.
ID: What three factors have been most important to Garrison’s success?
TG: First, our level of interaction with our customers. Because dentists use our products in their offices every day, we rely on them to do the “heavy lifting” of making product improvement recommendations. Because of our close-knit relationships with clinicians, we have cultivated a solid reputation for providing improved clinical outcomes in relatively standard procedures.
Second, the dedication of our employees. From the beginning, our employees have felt a true sense of family and it’s reflected in their hard work. Our employees place a high level of trust in the business and this inspires a sense of ownership in everything they do. This level of dedication is reflected in the positive feedback we hear from our customers at trade shows and over the phone. We truly believe that the vast majority of our success has come from the hard work of the team as a whole.
Third, our overall persistence and willingness to adapt. When the company was started 17 years ago, we never thought that it would blossom and grow as well as it has. We attend a myriad of national, international, and state dental shows, always working hard to spread the word. As a result, we’ve managed to thrive even throughout the global economic crisis. Despite increased competition, we have continually looked to improve our product, service, and quality—and some of our best growth years have been during the global economic slowdown.
ID: So the global economic situation hasn’t been a big factor for Garrison’s business strategy?
TG: We aren’t focusing so much on how unstable the global economy is. Rather, we look at what we should be doing in a given territory. The world is a big place, and there’s plenty of opportunity in general dentistry. Basically, Garrison succeeds when it delivers useful products that solve common problems for dentists. Our best growth year ever was right in the middle of the global financial crisis, because we launched Composi-Tight 3D™, which made Class II fillings much more predictable for our customers.
ID: What inspires the forward motion of your company in today’s marketplace?
TG: A dedication to continuous product development fuels our momentum. We don’t sit back after a product launch and pat ourselves on the back if it’s successful: we sift through post-launch data gathered from our customers, analyzing what’s going well and, most importantly, what may not be going well. That’s how we feel a successful business ultimately survives long term and thrives. In addition, we’re always looking at not only what everyone else in the industry is doing, but also what they aren’t doing to provide continuous value to our customers.
ID: What are your top initiatives for the rest of 2013 and into 2014?
TG: We’re in the process of expanding the scope of our core business to help reach our growth goals. As a medium-sized manufacturer, we have our sights set on the next level and we are satisfied with our 2013 YTD performance. While we have several projects in the queue, we are always looking for new product opportunities and partnerships, always keeping the question in mind, “How will this (product, service, idea, etc) help our customers improve their dentistry?” For 2014, we will continue to expand our reach further into global markets. We currently have a brick-and-mortar sales office in Germany and we are looking to replicate our sales outreach in other major European markets.
ID: Finally, can you tell us what we can expect from the Garrison pipeline?
TG: We are continuing to listen to our customers (and non-customers) to try and improve the product categories for which we are known, while also experimenting with ideas and materials that are not currently on the market. Currently, we’re in the final stage of development on a new wedge that addresses a common issue in the Class II composite procedure. We’re confident our customers will appreciate this newest Garrison innovation.