Q&A: Taking a Leader in Innovation to the Next Level
Taking a Leader in Innovation to the Next Level
WITH ED MCDONOUGH, PRESIDENT, PLANMECA USA
In September, Ed McDonough was appointed President of Planmeca USA, bringing with him a track record of successfully leading and developing several healthcare technology corporations, including those specializing in dental imaging equipment. He most recently served as CEO of McDonough Medical Products Corporation. McDonough spoke with Dental Product Shopper about why Planmeca USA is a special company and where it’s heading in the future.
What has been your first impression since coming on board at Planmeca?
Having a background in the dental field and having been a former competitor, I always viewed the company with great admiration and held it up as a gold standard in the industry in terms of the quality of their equipment and the technology. So, it’s been a great honor for me to join Planmeca. I think there’s a great legacy here and really a lot of opportunity for us going forward.
Considering your experience in healthcare technology, what kind of insight do you bring to Planmeca?
When I look back on what’s been successful in the past, and at times what hasn’t been as successful as we would like, it always comes down to the people. It’s always critical just to have a great, high-performance team in place. And I’ve always viewed my job more as being the coach and working together to focus on what our objectives are, what we’re trying to do as a team, and making sure that we align the company and the resources of the business to allow that to happen.
So, I hope I can bring strategic focus to the company and really help us define the handful of objectives that we really want to focus on, and then very aggressively pursue the achievement of those objectives.
What can you tell us about your plans for the next year or two?
Well, I’m just getting started, but the team and I are having some very meaningful conversations around our goals and objectives. We all feel very confident that we can aggressively grow the business here, and we’re starting to set some targets on doubling our sales here in the United States over the next 5 years. So, we’re discussing how we’re going to make that happen and what investments we’re going to make to achieve those objectives. But the group and I feel very confident about our potential to significantly grow the business here in the U.S.
Looking at the profession as a whole, what is your take on the adoption rate of digital technologies?
If you look back many years, sometimes the adoption of digital may have proceeded a little more slowly than many of us expected it would. But I think we’re at a point now where—based on everything I’m reading and seeing, and people that I’m talking to—we’re going to have a very rapid adoption, especially with some of the CAD/CAM products, like our Planmeca Emerald digital scanner. So, we’re very excited about that, and really working hard to get ourselves aligned to take maximum advantage of that.
Do the dentists who don’t adopt many of the new technologies get left behind or pushed aside?
I do think that dentists can have a competitive disadvantage if they’re not adopting some of the newer technologies, given the desire of their patients to have access to those technologies. Really, I believe that becomes part of our job. And that is where we put a lot of focus, making a big investment in education and training and after-sale support.
A big part of our job is not just selling the product, but being there every step of the way with our customer to make them comfortable with the product and being a continued partner after the sale.
I think we can help some of the dentists overcome whatever trepidation they may have with the adoption of new technologies into their office.
Planmeca has introduced many recent advancements and upgrades in CAD/CAM and imaging. What is most exciting for you right now?
That was certainly one of my attractions to the company. Planmeca is a world-class company and a leader in innovation in the dental space. A very high percentage of sales gets reinvested every year into R&D. I think there’s always been a very robust pipeline of new product development—it’s something the company really prides itself on, and it makes it very exciting for all of us to see these products coming out and to take them to market and be successful.
What is your initial take on all that goes into product development at Planmeca?
I’ve been to the company headquarters in Finland now several times, and I remain enormously impressed with the R&D team in Helsinki. I think it’s a very talented, very motivated team. And you just see it in the products that are developed by that group. There’s a lot that’s special about Planmeca. Being the largest private dental manufacturer in the world provides the company with some great competitive advantages. The company is big enough to make some significant investments in R&D, yet we’ve also had the continuity of ownership and the commitment from the original founder of the company, Heikki Kyöstilä. So, we’re still run very entrepreneurially and without a lot of bureaucracy, but just with a real focus on doing the right thing for our customers, and making those investments for the long term.
CAD/CAM TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENTS
In addition to unveiling the Planmeca Viso 3D imaging system last fall, Planmeca announced numerous product upgrades and technology improvements:
Planmeca PlanMill 30 S: The entry-level milling unit, ideal for the milling of inlays, onlays, crowns, and bridges, provides SMART software and a broad range of milling materials, now including zirconia.
Planmeca Romexis 5.2: In addition to an enhanced implant library, the imaging software features the Model Analyzer, which allows direct capture of intraoral scans for dental model measurement, visualization, and analysis for treatment planning or future use.
Planmeca PlanCAD 6.0.5: New features include Contralateral Copy for replicating contralateral dentition or design. HD Snapshot enables high-definition captures with Planmeca Emerald, and the PlanScan DASH increases the scanning rate of Planmeca PlanScan.
Planmeca Emerald: The scanner’s new Slim Line Tip is 27% thinner than the standard tip and is ideal for patients with smaller mouths or compromised dentition.