Company Talk from Mexico
MEXICO CITY, Mexico — The following is a random sample of opinions by manufacturers and distributors in Mexico regarding the challenges they face in a foreign market, the products they make or distribute, and the potential they see.
International Marketing Services (IMS) is a company that offers marketing and sales services in Latin America to dental manufacturers.
"We work with small to medium size companies that don't have the budget to market and promote their products in the region," president Jorge Ibáñez says at AMIC Dental. IMS works for a group of 10 companies, most of them from the US but also included are a Swedish, a Chinese and a Brazilian company. In this way, IMS reduces the costs of attending dental expos.
At the Mexican expo he was representing two US companies, Spring Health Products, and Aribex. "A Pennsylvania-based company, Spring Health has two top products," Ibáñez says. "A high intensity LED lamp called the Cure, which cures through a 2 mm thick resin coat in 10 seconds and is very affordable. Its body is made of durable aluminum, it has great quality, and it has sold very well in all of Latin America."
Ibáñez explains that Spring Health also manufactures diamond burs, and that the founder of the company developed the electro galvanizing process for diamond burs. "All the rest of diamond burs copy this process," Ibañez says, "and these are of very high quality and moderately price."
"Aribex is a small and relatively new Utah-based company that only manufactures portable X-ray devices like the Nomad and the Nomad Pro," continues Ibáñez. Both reduce radiation levels to a minimum, by using both an external backscatter shield and an internal radiation shielding that protects the operator from radiation exposure.
The marketing expert says the Nomad offers also a great advantage: no need for a separate X-ray room, which allows dentist to maximize their space for clinical use and to move it between cubicles. "Children for instance get scared when they are taken to the X-ray room, which is no longer necessary with the Nomad," he said.
Where to manufacture?
Several US companies are now manufacturing in Mexico, which has the advantage of low wages and the disadvantage that when high-tech and abilities are needed, it does not always work as it should. This is the case with dental burs, which require a high degree of precision as well as time to master its manufacturing process.
"Making a dental bur is not an easy thing," says TriHawk's Scott McDonald whose company is based and manufactures in Canada. "Anybody can do a bur following ISO standards; the Chinese are doing it and selling them for 8 pesos here in Mexico. But its a junk bur —it doesn't cut well."
McDonald explains that training an operator takes a year, and that "it's more an art form than a science." He added that Trihawk's burs such as the Talon series are almost hand-made.
The Talon cuts through everything, unless it is harder than carbide itself like zirconia, but it will cut through porcelain, amalgam, teeth.
"This is the bur that we enter a market with," McDonald adds. "This is our first year with a distributor in Mexico and we are pushing in with our premier product, which is the Talon." McDonald says the Talon can cut a crown in 44 seconds and that "there's no bur like it in the market."
José Conte, president of the Italian company Maco, was in Mexico introducing its dental implants, both at AMIC Dental and through educational courses. "The great advantage of these implants is the good price-quality ratio they offer," he said.
Most implants are very similar, Conte concedes, but we have developed a systematic, easy way of placing implants in which everything needed is contained in a kit. The Italian manufacturer says that other companies sell all kinds of abutments that dentists never use, and that they have focused in the minimum amount of pieces needed for the Omnia line of implants.
A simple capsule is used to place the implant in the mouth, and once the screw is placed that's all it takes. Made of class 4 Titanium, Conte is convinced they have a great future in the Mexican market.
Nicolás Robotti's company Denimed manufactures dental units in Mexico, based on their proprietary Argentinean design, as well as piezo-electric scalers, compressors, X-ray devices. The company has been in Mexico for four years now.
"We are the first Mexico-based company that offers digital controls in our dental units," says Robotti, about their Capri Max and Mare Max lines. "Another advantage is that we have exported our quality standards, and are the only dental chair manufacturer here with ISO approval."
The commercial director of Denimed adds that their units offer the same quality than more expensive brands. "We are a little bit more expensive than Mexican chairs, but more economic than imported Brazilian brands," Robotti says.
He also mentioned that he has witnessed a marked improvement at all levels in the 53rd AMIC Dental.