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Electro Medical Systems (EMS) is a leading manufacturer of precision medical devices for dental prophylaxis. Recently, Dr Ernst Wühr was appointed the general manager of the Swiss company. Throughout his almost 20-year career in the dental business, he has gained profound expertise in the European and Asian dental markets. In this short interview, Wühr talks about his new role as EMS emerges from the pandemic-induced crisis.
Dr Wühr, what are your main objectives in your new position as general manager of EMS, and what are you looking forward to?
In fact, I have been a member of the EMS family since 2015. Especially the knowledge I gained in Asia and the Middle East, which I experienced as an extremely dynamic environment, will help me immensely now with the new responsibility. Some projects are simply more agile and faster to implement in these regions. The product cycles are also completely different because they are more dynamic. I am trying to take the momentum with me into this now larger task.
Precisely for these reasons, my new position and responsibility are less of a cold start with EMS and more of an acceleration in a positive sense. I am very pleased to be able to transfer the agile way of working that I have cultivated over the last few years to a larger area of responsibility. Especially the digital transformation of dental companies and change management in our Swiss company in particular are close to my heart. We have already set the course with all our power and determination—topics such as the digital competence of individual employees, equipping teams with the appropriate digital tools and integrating software into products are immensely important today. Actually, all dental companies should also become software companies in the future. Sooner or later, the customer will demand these competences from us.
However, I am most pleased that we occupy a particularly holistic market niche in the field of prevention. I consider it my goal to further promote the most modern prophylaxis method: Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT). Many patients have understood that there is a direct link between a healthy mouth and general health. Good oral hygiene and professional biofilm management significantly contribute to a stable immune system—and this is particularly important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, an increasing number of patients are seeking GBT as professional prophylaxis based on current state-of-the-art science and technology.
GBT is the preventive game-changer in modern dentistry. However, proper GBT only works with the high-precision original Swiss devices from EMS: the AIRFLOW Prophylaxis Master with the PIEZON PS Instrument, the AIRFLOW MAX and the AIRFLOW PLUS powder. Working according to the GBT protocol ensures the best results.
Owing to the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, these are difficult times for companies. How has EMS experienced the past months?
I suspect that we would all have wished for a different 2020—one without COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had just come back from a trip to Asia, and I had already seen what was happening in China. I then called my old mentor and asked about precedents in his long professional life and how he had handled such situations. However, when he told me that he had never faced a challenge of this extent in his 45-year professional life, I knew that we were entering uncharted territory and that there were no blueprints for our actions and decisions.
“We are coming out of the crisis stronger than we thought”
As a company, however, we were and are a thoroughly healthy enterprise. This has helped us immensely over the past year. We have used the time productively to educate ourselves internally and to train our staff accordingly and thus also to offer our customers—if not in person, then at least virtually—the premium service that they are used to and rightly demand from us. Our IT systems were already very advanced, but it was not always easy. However, I would like to take this opportunity to pay a big compliment to all our staff members. They have been very disciplined and patient and given their utmost to serve our customers in the best possible way despite all challenges. I think this deserves some appreciation. In the same way, our customers have reacted very well and with understanding when certain processes have taken longer than usual. In addition, our global position cushioned us and has allowed us to better manage the situation. Today, I can justifiably say that we are coming out of the crisis stronger than we thought.
You have been in the dental business for about two decades and have held a number of executive positions. In your opinion, what have been and will be the major changes and trends in the industry?
In retrospect, it has been of great benefit that I gained experience in the start-up and medium-sized sector as well as in large companies. I hope to maintain a hands-on mentality, which also helps me in my daily work.
In my opinion, the big trends in the dental industry, as well as in the medical industry, are, above all, artificial intelligence and big data management. In the future, the companies that will survive will be those that position themselves in the best possible way and offer the right conclusions and solutions for their customers based on data analysis. The networking and connectivity of devices and services will become increasingly important. Accordingly, it would be best to contact the customer before he or she even experiences a problem with a product in the future. The management of customer relations with the help of modern tools such as well-functioning customer relationship management processes will also be crucial and require large investments by medical device companies.
In terms of content, it is predictable that holistic approaches such as GBT will attract an increasing number of followers and thus shape the entire prevention segment.