Haye Hinrichs, President, MTI Dental
Question No. 1
Inside Dentistry (ID): The dental industry and the oral healthcare arena have been changing rapidly within the past 5 to 10 years. What do you see as the most significant of those changes?
Haye Hinrichs (HH): I would say that there are three changes that stand out. One would be the fact that clinicians are now faced with an almost overwhelming array of product choices, many of which, unfortunately, are not easily incorporated into a practice. A second significant change would be the fact that every year more dentists have retired than have joined the profession, while the demand for dental procedures continues to grow. And the third is the most recent—the severe downturn in our economy, which I suspect will affect our industry for at least the next year or two. The combined impact of these three changes is that dental practitioners need—more than ever—reliable, fairly priced products that can truly enhance their productivity. They cannot afford the interruption and inconvenience caused by a piece of equipment that suddenly stops working, nor can they afford to waste money on expensive, impractical devices that end up on a shelf collecting dust.
Question No. 2
ID: In what ways—both internally and in dealing with the broader oral healthcare marketplace—has your company responded to these changes?
HH: We are big believers in evidence-based dentistry. MTI manufactures and markets devices that have been documented to help our customers provide the best dental care possible for their patients. We regularly pursue dialogue with practitioners in order to fully understand their needs and to get important insights on how we can continually improve our product quality and customer service. In addition, we are more committed than ever to delivering the best value possible to our customers.
Question No. 3
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your #1 priority?
HH: Our mission is to design and manufacture handpieces and related products that give dental practitioners the quality they need at an exceptional value. We consciously choose to invest our resources in robust product designs and efficient manufacturing processes that result in unsurpassed reliability and unmatched bang for the buck.
Question No. 4
ID: What product categories—whether preventive, restorative, operative, auxiliary, diagnostic, etc—do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what’s currently available?
HH: When I meet with practitioners and ask them what kind of products they need, they virtually never ask for radically new innovations or begin a response by saying, “If only someone could invent a product that...” Rather, they usually say they wish that the products they’re currently using were more dependable, less expensive, or both. Fortunately, that’s MTI’s sweet spot, and that’s where we direct our innovative energies. When you think about it, what’s more innovative than a product that performs as well as the market leader but sells for significantly less?
Question No. 5
ID: What do you see as the best approach to the research, development, testing, and ultimate delivery to the market of such needed advancements?
HH: I believe the key lies in a more open dialogue between dental practitioners and dental product manufacturers, specifically between wet-finger dentists and design engineers. Such an honest exchange can ensure that new products are being developed to meet legitimate customer needs. For example, our discussions with practitioners revealed a need for an apex locator that was more compact, more accurate, and more affordable than current offerings. As a result, we are now launching a product, which we call pinpoint! , that delivers exactly that. Too often, manufacturers are developing new products with little or no customer input and end up trying to force these new products on customers who simply are not interested.
Question No. 6
ID: There are many challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today. How is your company helping to resolve them?
HH: The dental industry’s challenge is to provide increasingly better dental care as affordably as possible. And with a soft economy, dentists cannot afford to spend money on products they don’t need, or on products that don’t work effectively. At MTI Dental, our focus is on providing dependable quality and exceptional value. The truth is that our products perform at least as well as competitive products that cost up to twice as much. We believe that as dental practitioners come to learn about us, they will consider MTI to be the right dental company for these times. As a result, our biggest challenge is simply to get the word out, and we thank you for the opportunity to do just that.
About the Author
Lakewood, New Jersey