Editor’s Note: The following is a recent interview with Larry Katz, the president of Zenith Dental.
Proofs: The Zenith name has always been used in conjunction with DMG. What are the positives of having a partner so closely affiliated?
Katz: The answer here is very short and simple - DMG is terrific at what they do. When a company can give you advances in chemistry and full cooperation ... well, what more can you ask for? Just as important, DMG shares our vision and we work side by side in an effort to create products that will enhance the craft of dentistry. Zenith and DMG have established themselves as reputable companies with an emphasis on innovation, education, and technology. The positives are obvious in that DMG products live up to their claims and Zenith Dental lives up to its commitment to the dental practice and dental supplier.
Proofs: At the ADA meeting in Las Vegas, Zenith launched some new products that are entries to other dental categories. What does this say about the future direction of the company?
Katz: It says that we are growing the Zenith Dental Company. At the ADA meeting last October, we introduced Spirapost, an innovative product that is changing the way dentists use endodontic posts. In November, we expanded once again with the launch of Kolorz brand preventative/hygiene products. We are fortunate to be introducing unique ancillary products and product lines to the dental practice. These new products show another aspect of our company and help us to grow our product offering into other areas of interest. Our main focus remains with DMG products and innovations. The additional product lines round out our company and broaden our appeal to other dental professionals.
Proofs: In the early days, Zenith changed from a company that sold and distributed private-label products to one that distributes high-end branded materials. How did the company make the transition?
Katz: The transition was uniquely challenging. In private label, the focus is on lower pricing and commodity products. We wanted to concentrate on proprietary products and bring new technologies to the industry. Branding was the only way to go. The challenge was for us to find the right product/products, then build more of an infrastructure. The process was lengthy and difficult. We were lucky in our timing because DMG’s Luxatemp was just being developed and we knew that was a unique product the profession needed; other DMG products of similar technology followed. The infrastructure was just a matter of time and effort.
Proofs: Zenith was founded in 1983. Since its inception, what is the one change in the dental industry that has impacted your company the most?
Katz: I’d say the consumer demand for a new look through esthetic dentistry and the realization by the dental professional to meet consumer demands. Twenty-four years ago, there wasn’t the awareness there is today on how a beautiful smile can change not only the visual look of an individual but the psychological outlook as well. The savvy dentist who embraced this new direction added to the demand for products that enabled him or her to become an artist. This phenomenon resulted in the manufacturing of highly esthetic cements, provisionals, veneers, ceramics, and other materials that help make up the artist’s palate. The demand remains for more and more products that help the dentist achieve the esthetic results necessary. The general public is becoming more educated about oral health and knows that going to the dentist is no longer a “drill and fill” experience - but can be an adventure in looking great.
Proofs: Zenith is in a very competitive market. In what ways do you make the brand stand out from the competition?
Katz: Our products speak for themselves. Not to be repetitive, but DMG is a big part of what makes the brand stand out. It’s our ability to provide superior products to the marketplace that live up to our claims.
We are involved with many teaching institutes and lecturers, where we are asked to help facilitate an environment to better enable the education of their audience. Another way that we distinguish ourselves is through our people. We are a company with a big commitment to developing and maintaining loyal customers - both on the vendor side and the end-user side. Our customer service is exceptional. Our people do whatever it takes to make sure our customers are satisfied without all the hassle of red tape. We live up to the reputation of our products and to the standard of excellence we have in our company.
Proofs: This month brings the IDS in Cologne, Germany. What makes that show so significant in your eyes?
Katz: Every two years, dental professionals from working clinicians, academicians, researchers, dealers, and manufacturers are exposed to new products and new innovations from all over the world. We get to see the future of our industry from a global perspective. I highly suggest that everyone in our industry take time out to visit this international show at least once to experience the energy in dentistry.