15 February 2013

John Fachchin: We Regard Furniture to Be a Dentist's Working Tool

John Fachchin:Dental Art is known around the world as a manufacturer of the most modern and at the same time exquisite furniture for dental clinics. The company creates not only unique design solutions, but also a space arrangement phylosophy in general. The Dental Art's phylosophical system always brings to the fore the doctors and doctors' everyday tasks, to solve which Dental Art involves innovation technologies. We discussed the process of creating unique furniture with John Fachchin, the company's Director for Exports.

— Year after year, Dental Art brings new designer and technological solutions into the work of dental clinics. What solutions do you consider interesting and important?
— As far as furniture manufacturing is concerned, we have innovations that one could call unique. Take the new model of Zero hygienic modules: it is not alike any other product of similar purpose already present in the dental market. Such projects as Zero are of primary importance for our company, because Dental Art positions itself as an innovating manufacturer in the global market.

— I think you were the first company to create a product line like Epta Movï.
— Some elements of the line already existed in other, non-medical areas, but we have applied them to a completely different level. Take for example the system for monitor installation with retractable top, which was entirely our innovation. These products belong to the upper price segment, they are expensive, but they provide breakthrough opportunities and affect the development of the furniture market. The things that are of importance for the market are important for us as well. Whereas if talking of such product lines as Fringe, we see that we have a different situation. We are creating a new line, but the furniture itself does not undergo cardinal changes. We are playing with details. The main goal we have set for ourselves when creating the Fringe line was to offer our customers good designer furniture while remaining in the medium price segment. Therefore when creating it we always kept an eye on the price of the final product. What have we done?

FringeWe’ve found a new, very high-quality mechanism for “sliding”, made the drawers bigger, because, when it comes to dental furniture one should bear in mind that it will be used to contain tools and materials. The compartments inside the drawers became modular, which means that a doctor can individually decide how to use the workspace.
Considering such product line as Fringe, we can mention new solutions in manufacturing, which make difference to the quality. Development of a product within the price range of a previous line, but superior in quality requires the introduction of new technologies in the manufacturing process.
This fact will pass unnoticed by the end user, but such solutions are of major importance for the company.

— When was Dental Art established?
— The company was founded in 1966; it was named Dental Art and was based on a small enterprise engaged in the production of goods for kitchen. Later, in 1976, with the arrival of a new partner already working in the dental market, we decided to start producing metal products for dentistry. Since then the company specializes in the manufacture of furniture for dentistry exclusively. We also have a line of furniture for reception with some accessories to it, but its share in the production is of course much less compared to dental furniture.
Typically, the reception furniture is a part of general projects to equip some new clinics. The first Dental Art's market was Italy, then we approached the German market, the company began to gradually build production and we started to export to different countries. Step-by-step we reached the markets of the US, South Africa, all countries of Europe, Middle and Far East and Japan. Last year we increased our sales in the Middle East and started to work in Asia: China, Malaysia and Singapore. Of course, over the years we increased the number of product lines and changed the products themselves. The pace of products updates in dental market is rather low, if one compares, say, with the market for kitchen furniture. A new line there will appear every year. However, lately we have started to change more often as well. In the past we renewed our range every ten years, it took really long to create something absolutely new. But times change, and we now present new lines every two to three years.

 new lines furniture— One, probably, needs a large creative team to introduce new lines?
— The company employs two people who specialize only in developing new products. Our products do not fall into the “standard” category, so we have three designers, who create designs on orders, and another three people are preparing sketches. To find out an opinion of an independent designer or obtain some new ideas we may turn to third-party specialists. But we can say that almost all our projects are created by our company using its own resources. A separate team is usually formed for each project, including at least one person from each of the four departments: design, sales, marketing and manufacturing.

Definitely, we expect that the designer will be able to propose something completely new. At the same time, it is very important to get feedback from the sales group, to understand what the consumer wants, and from the manufacturing department, which is to confirm that the customer's desire is technologically feasible. This requires a real team effort, involving at least six to seven people.

— How long, on average, does it take to create a new line?
special terminal units — Speaking of such line as Fringe, which brings together a number of components, its creation involved many people. From my own experience, I can say that it is impossible to fully realize such a project in less than one year. Sometimes it takes even longer. We pay a lot of attention to details, which are important for dentists, because it is for them that Dental Art creates its furniture. That is why we focus our attention on hygienic characteristics and cleaning efficiency. Time is also consumed in engineering small parts.
Thus, we use special terminal units and plugs, so that when you close a drawer, it performs silently and smoothly. These details are not visible, but they are indispensable in use. We can make them as most companies do: applying minimum efforts just for the sake of appearance, but Dental Art pays a lot of attention to this area, because we regard furniture to be a dentist's working tool.

— We have visited your production floor, and, as far as I remember, there were fewer workers than machines.
— Our company has two manufacturing departments. One of them makes all metal parts: performs metal cutting and painting. Technology and equipment are of great importance for this department. Our assembly department employs more staff, as they bring together individual parts making sure everything is in perfect condition before shipment.

regard furniture— In which countries Dental Art enjoys the most popularity? And what can you say about the Russian market?
— Our main market is still our domestic market — Italy. We are well-known there. However, in general we sell 20% of the products in Italy whereas 80% is exported. We are well represented in France, where the market is to some extent similar to Italian. These are the two main countries followed by Germany and the US.
Speaking of Russia, the first thing to be noted is that here we use a different strategy to maintain the level of sales, because we work only with UNIDENT on exclusive terms. And I believe that the considerable results we achieved here will be multiplied in future. Of course, this is all thanks to the UNIDENT's marketing strategy: exhibitions, publications and the attention paid to the products at large. The Russian market is peculiar, so we need a partner, who is aware of its specific features. In all such matters we fully rely upon UNIDENT.
We see that in Russia our products is ranked among the luxury furniture category, where design is important and Italian quality is recognized. In Italy and in France in addition to the high-end segment, some of our products fall into the medium-price range. The amounts that dentists are willing to invest in furniture differ in different markets. In France and Italy our prices are generally reasonable. The Russian market is also gaining momentum, and we are pleased to be able to work for the Russian dentists to supply them with exclusive high-quality furniture. This is important for us.

— You work with customers from a wide range of countries. Were there any unusual projects that you remember?
— For me the tender in Malaysia was unusual. We had to equip a laboratory, and all our products were sent to a number of small Malaysian islands. Sometimes, to get to a clinic, we had to go on a boat with all these big boxes and large furniture. For me, let me stress, for me personally, it meant completely new circumstances and experience. Just imagine: an advanced laboratory, first-class materials, everything to the highest standard located on small islands in Malaysia. But we enjoy ourselves, when something of this sort happens.

laboratorySometimes we receive orders for VIP-clinic projects in the Middle East or North Africa, or for monarchs of some countries. In such cases, cost is not a concern, but the task is to create something unique, something of the highest class, to use the best technology, not leaving a single detail overlooked. True, this is a rare case, but we get great pleasure from such projects.
Dental Art has plenty of means for the implementation of ideas. Therefore, if someone wants to get the best result in terms of aesthetics and functionality, we are able to offer a great deal. It was a great pleasure implementing a project in the United States for one of the best labs I've ever seen. Everything was performed in blue with blue-metallic finish. The dental lab got such an air, that it became more like a boutique. It was beautiful. Sometimes I visit Paris: one of our very important customers, a prestigious dental clinic, is located next to Louvre. A beautiful place, a beautiful building in the city center and high-class services. And it is a great pleasure to know that the reputation of our products is high enough to have been invited to work in such place.

project in the United States— For UNIDENT, Dental Art is primarily associated with you personally. Will you please tell us, when you started working for Dental Art.
— I joined the company in 1997. For the first three years I was dealing with the quality management system: certification, ISO 2001, quality control and all related matters. Then I moved to the export department and in a few years became its head. Thus, I've already worked 15 years for the company, of which 9 years I've been engaged in foreign trade. It is an interesting job. Surely, there are markets in which we have been operating for many years, and we need to maintain and develop them. At the same time, recent years brought the opportunity to enter new markets and gain new experience. I like doing this.

— You have a wife and a baby-son, who is two years old…
— …two years and nine months.

— How do you feel being a father? Did this role give you anything new? What personal changes did it bring — at work and at home?
project in the United States I believe, that every father and every mother will say that the arrival of a baby changes everything. This is hard to explain, but it is true: it changes the way you feel about life, about your wife, there comes a sense of responsibility that fills you. All this you get in doubled amount, because you have to think about the future, plan how to grow and develop. The same concerns remain, but I find it easier to understand some things. Similar to many children missing their fathers, my son misses me. And I miss him. Sometimes I find it difficult to cope with this feeling.

— John, thank you for the interview. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about the company first-hand. We wish your company many interesting projects, and we wish family well-being to you personally.
— In my turn, on my own behalf and on behalf of Dental Art I would like to wish UNIDENT further progress and I look forward to continued cooperation.

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