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01 Jan 2006 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 22

Gunz Dental reaches 70-year milestone

The largest Australian-owned dental distribution company, Gunz Dental, marks its 70th anniversary in 2006. And while the history and pedigree are long and distinguished, the company's chairman Axel Buchner and managing director Trevor Martin aren't resting on their laurels.

"Being in business for 70 years is a great achievement in any industry," said Mr Axel Buchner, "but in dentistry where there is constant change, it makes me particularly proud. However, whilst our history and company tradition provides a solid base for us, our efforts are very much focused on the future. We have a great team throughout Australia and New Zealand who continue to innovate and strive to deliver the best products with outstanding service to our customers, and this philosophy will help ensure a positive future for Gunz.

"Ultimately, it is our customers who determine our success and everyone at Gunz is looking forward to celebrating this milestone through the year with the people who have helped us become the largest Australian-owned dental importer and distributor in the country."

Mr Buchner said that throughout the past 70 years, the company has focused on providing innovative solutions and forging strong relationships with the dental profession both here and also in New Zealand.

In 1936, Mr Rudolf Gunz founded his company with only a few sole agencies, including Premier and Ela, both leading brands also looking back over 70 years with Gunz. To-day, Gunz Dental has grown to represent over 25,000 product lines from many of the world's leading manufacturers including Belmont, NSK, Acteon Group (Satelec, Sopro, Pierre Rolland), Premier, Ultradent, DMG, VDW/Antaeos, Wieland, American Orthodontics, and many more.

Mr Buchner started work in management at the company in 1963 when Rudolf Gunz & Co was a wholesale-only business selling to the many dental depots who then retailed the products to practices and labs. Over the years, Gunz introduced and exclusively represented many brands that have become household names such as ESPE, KaVo, Kerr, 3i and Ormco, and who then established their own organizations. Gunz only commenced retailing direct to the dental profession in 1992.

"I've witnessed tremendous change during my 43 years with Gunz," Mr Buchner said, "and there are many dominant areas now such as infection control that simply didn't exist when I started with the company. The materials have also progressed significantly and I can remember working with manufacturers from the temperate European climate to develop products suitable for the very different conditions in Australia.

"One of the greatest changes I witnessed was the transition to sit-down-dentistry in the mid-1960s. New equipment concepts came on to the market and we introduced the first electric micro-motor with variable speed foot control and high torque. This development, together with reclining chairs and improved operating stools, enabled the dentist to operate with the patient in a supine position.

"Another watershed moment was when we introduced fibre optics to Australia in 1982 at the Perth Dental Congress. We had the first model from Midwest and then NSK and KaVo released versions soon thereafter.

"The other major change I remember is introducing glass ionomers in the late 1980's. We worked with Dr Graham Mount in Adelaide to further develop the product and we conducted a lot of training programs around the country. Australia has had a love affair with GICs since then and only now are they becoming popular in the USA."

But Mr Buchner was keen to talk about the future. He said he expected new technologies to continue to dominate the dental market for the foreseeable future and that Gunz would further invest in this market segment.

"We constantly look for new, user-friendly, innovative products offering improved clinical outcomes to bring to the market," he said. "We are also working on better in-house training and education for our representatives so they can pass on that knowledge to their customers."

Gunz managing director, Trevor Martin, commented: "Over the last few years, we have also upgraded the infrastructure of our logistics and distribution systems and introduced innovations such as the EzyOrder barcode ordering system to streamline our customers' ordering process and inventory control.

"For the future, Gunz will continue to adapt to the changing needs of the dental community, listen to and talk with our customers and provide first-class delivery of the highest quality products backed up by increased education and ongoing support."



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