It’s Monday morning and after being dragged out of bed by his two sons Gary Bond, strategic sourcing manager for The Dental Directory’s own brand UnoDent, is heading down the A12 to the head office in Witham. He’s got a full schedule ahead of him today and it all starts on his commute, having a hands-free phone-call with a corporate dental group.
“I often spend my commutes having calls with customers, suppliers or colleagues. This morning I’ve been liaising with a corporate dental group who are looking to find additional value in their current spend. Today we’ve been discussing their current purchases, where UnoDent can offer a greater value product, without compromising on the quality. It is key for UnoDent to operate as a service to dentists, whether that is a single practice, or a large corporate group, we don’t just sell a catalogue of products.”
It’s 8.30am and Gary has just arrived in the office. The first task of the day is always the same, monitoring the UnoDent service and product feedback received from dentists, or direct from The Dental Directory network of highly skilled and knowledgeable business consultants. It’s a task he shares with his colleagues Katie Higgins, regulatory affairs officer, and Lynsey Morrison, procurement manager for UnoDent.
“We supply around 12,000 dental practices across the UK so we’re always receiving plenty of feedback from them about our products, which is great. We encourage feedback from our dentists, good and bad, as we want to make sure our product offering is sufficient for the market’s needs. It helps us understand what we’re doing right and what more we can do to make sure we’re providing the best possible service to the dentist.
“We make a record of all feedback we receive so we can see if there are any trends and most importantly, any recurring issues. With all incidents it is important we communicate directly with the dentist, hygienist, or practice manager to ensure we fully understand the issue, the product is being used correctly and retain the confidence of the customer.”
Next on Gary’s agenda for the day is one of the three meetings he has this week. Today the meeting is to discuss supplier agreements.
“These meetings are really important, at UnoDent we work very closely and collaboratively with our manufacturers. We utilise the feedback we receive from the market to drive product developments, look at innovations to find better and improved solutions to market needs and drive continuous improvement. With UnoDent the dentist can have an impact on the products they use.
“We also want to make sure that our suppliers are sustaining the high service level required to be a UnoDent manufacturer, this means The Dental Directory can maintain its own high quality service.”
However, these meetings are not the only way that Gary ensures high standards are maintained with suppliers, visiting is also a key part of his job. Most recently, he’s travelled to Germany and Italy to visit suppliers.
“Visits to our manufacturers ensure standards are being maintained and help our understanding of how the products are made and what new technologies are coming out. It’s really important to make sure we’re always finding newer, better, more innovative products to provide our customers.”
After lunch, and even more calls with customers and suppliers, Gary is back at his desk to monitor everything from industry news to tracking what products are being bought in which parts of the country.
“We often find that some products might be popular in the North, for example, and not so popular in the South. This is often down to practices not being aware of the full extent of UnoDent’s portfolio, so we track these product sales to see trends and make practices aware of what products are available to them.”
What’s most striking about Gary’s role is just how much the focus and effort is placed on the customer; Gary is also responsible for improving and expanding the product portfolio of The Dental Directory’s own brand UnoDent.
“The focus with UnoDent is making sure we’ve got the products dentists want, at the quality they want, at the price they want. Our aim is to add as much value as possible to dental practices by providing them with the best possible products and services.
“In some ways, this is the most challenging part of the job, as every dentist has their own individual needs and desires. Sometimes we’ll have a dental practice approach us with a specific product that they want and it’s down to me and my team to source this for them at the right quality and price. On other occasions a practice or corporate will have a mainstay product which is too expensive and the UnoDent team will look at existing products to provide the value alternative, or go and find one.
“At UnoDent we’re here solely to provide for the dentist, we really do live and breathe to help our dental practices.”
Gary has been at The Dental Directory since September 2015, after working for a global machinery manufacturer.
“It was the attitude towards the customer that really appealed to me with the UnoDent position. I was initially drawn to the company as it combines both medical and retail industries. However, it really came across in my interviews just how much the entire company, not just UnoDent, is dedicated to customers. That is what impressed me the most and makes me proud to work for The Dental Directory.”
Before he knows it, the day is over and Gary is back on the A12 on his way home to see his family, put the kids to bed and hopefully catch a game of football.
“I’m a big football fan, which has been passed down to my two sons. I coach their youth football teams on the weekend, and in the evenings, when I am not catching up on work or attending industry workshops, I am generally organising for the upcoming weekend or participating in coaching workshops.
“I’ll be the first to admit I’m a workaholic, whether professional or voluntary, but that’s just part and parcel of doing things you love.”