07 June 2013
Schabi Michaeli: We Are Always Open for Dialog
SGS implantation system has been around for a year and a half now on the
Russian market. Even if the time is rather short, Swiss-made implants have
become available in many clinics over Russia, and so specialists not only are
able to get a general impression about the system, but also appreciate the
first results of SGS-based reconstructions. Mr. Schabi Michaeli, President of
SGS is sharing his impressions about the Company’s operations in
— How do you see the Russian dental implants
— This is a fairly new market for us, but the companies
that work here are also present in Europe, and we have not come across a single
manufacturer that we don’t know. I would call Russia a growing market, it is
hardly saturated, and doctors here need training. It’s my estimate that it will
take about five years for the implants market to take its fill. Russia will be
a very attractive region not only in terms of sales; it will also become a
highly competitive market – something we are looking forward to.
A company needs a partner to reach out to any foreign
market. Every nation has rules and competitors of its own, and diverse problems
invariably arise. In Russia, our products are represented by UNIDENT. I believe
that UNIDENT is doing a great job, because both dealers and doctors now
recognize the Company. UNIDENT is making our work much simpler.
— Would you please tell us about SGS, about its
history, and your current position in Europe?
— SGS is part of a large holding group that
pursues a whole range of activities, and SGS Dental was created six years
ago. We started out with manufacturing of implant suprastructures and implant
accessories, but three years ago we decided to go for the entire implant
system. We have numerous highly professional partners who assist us with
research and improvement of technologies.
Right now we operate in all European countries, including
the UK. We also work in India, and we are making our first steps into the US.
Our plants are based in Switzerland, Germany and Hungary, they use the best
equipment and employ leading specialists. Our logistics system in Central
Europe is rather well developed, and it enables efficient supplies to Russia,
Ukraine, to countries of Asia, and Central and Western Europe. Our plans for
the nearest future include strengthening our positions on the North American
market and reaching out to Argentina and Brazil in South America. I am
confident that our products will be available in every region worldwide in
— You have two implant product lines: standard
and premium. How different are they fundamentally?
— This year, we have upgraded the processing technology
for our standard implant line, because we were not quite satisfied with our
original technology. Even if the standard line’s system is inexpensive, our
requirements to it are rather high, and we are doing our best to keep the
rejection rate below 1.5%. In the premium line, we have managed to achieve just
that thanks to the use of calcium-phosphate coating of our implants, but we
were able to have comparable performance in our standard product line because
now we use titanium oxide in sandblasting. Our new formulas combined with this
technology produce entirely different hydrophilic properties in our implants,
and Russian dentists will have a chance to try our new results in the near
future. Nevertheless we have been observing that Bonit-coated implants are
getting more popular in Russia.
As I said before, our premium line differs from our standard
line. Our implants receive double acid etching, and then a coating of
calcium-phosphate (Brushite) is electrochemically applied. The coating
dissolves some 6 to 12 weeks later, and thus ensures that osteointegration
occurs sooner. Considering that immediate load on implants is becoming
universally accepted now, early osteointegration is increasingly in demand.
– Is Bonit coating a unique development offered
– It isn’t. We contract the implant coating function to
the Germany-based DOT who have the world’s best laboratory for implant coating
research. Their client base includes many major dental implant system
manufacturers in the premium class, and with their enormous laboratory they are
the global leader in this sector.
— Who is the hands-on developer for the implant
— Development is handled by Guy Crichel, my business
partner. He is our think tank, the tech-wizard of our implant science. Guy has
worked 17 years in the sector, he started as a lab assistant, but today he runs
one of the world’s best laboratories. I would say that the engineering part of
the process is a key to creation of dental implant systems. Indeed, even with
the best dentist who can perform top-quality surgery, all efforts will fail if
the implant technician is unable to build what the doctor has in mind. But Guy
knows all specifics, he works with a score of implant systems being used all
over the world, and he knows their every strength and weakness, he knows the
way to join up the components into the resulting integrated system that will be
Of course it was difficult to get started, but we enjoy a
serious advantage: we make products of superior quality. In addition, doctors
and other specialists can recognize our faces, and they are certain that we can
handle any problem that confronts them. Compared to our competition, it is
easier for us to adapt to the market. Each market and each nation has its own
requirements for which we adapt. It means special spare parts, special bases,
and special methods that doctors use in their work. Both our implant system and
our employees are flexible enough to consider all that.
— You have great sales plans for SGS on the global market, and
you are present in many regions even now. Yet you claim that you can quickly
handle all issues that confront your dealers and consumers. How is it
Photo with Tamaz Manasherov, Isaac Mikhaeli, Guy Crichel and Aleksandr Dzhanhoteli
— Well, I pay much attention to this, and I think that
this approach is our great competitive edge. When you go global, it does not
mean that you must become faceless, it doesn’t mean that you stop taking care
and delegate it all to your managers. We employ many high-value specialists –
from production control to logistics managers – because we have selected the
cream of the best. However, it is also very important that we maintain and
build up personal connections. For example, if a specialist in Poland has a
question, they can make a direct phone call to Guy and this is just standard
practice. It really makes me happy that UNIDENT supports us in this, because
its employees are always easy to communicate, and all issues get sorted out
soon. To me, this interaction is the most efficient format for cooperation,
both for us, and for specialists who work with our system. It’s all in full
view: that’s where we stand, and that is our product, and this is our strategy,
and we are always open for dialog.
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