Building in systems and languages of trust: imes-icore

As a first-time exhibitor at the recent IDEM 2024 in Singapore, imes-icore’s physical presence of both staff and equipment represents the realisation of a picture over 20 years in the making since its founding in 2002. Dental Asia speaks with Christoph Stark, CEO, and Christian Mueller, COO and managing director, of imes-icore on how it plans to complete this frame.

imes-icore
From left: Christian Mueller, Christoph Stark, David Figge, Joerg Brenn, Dominik Kreuzer, and Nik Koh

On 31 Aug 2023, imes-icore opened its new Competence & Service Center in Singapore as part of its global expansion strategy in Asia. Responding to a strong demand for CAD/CAM systems in the region, the centre was established to support its regional customers in covering all aspects of its CAD/ CAM systems, from installation, service and maintenance support, and training for end users.

Helmed by Joerg Brenn, general manager of imes-icore Asia, who holds over 30 years of experience for building offices from scratch in Asia Pacific, Brenn was joined by the visiting management team from imes-icore some eight months later at IDEM to mark not only its presence, but ambitions in Asia.

“We have been serving Asia since many years, but it was just a region where we ship our machines and that is it. Now we have a strong footprint here and we have a commitment linked to this footprint. We came to stay here,” said Mueller.

Mueller noted that the opening of its Competence & Service Center Asia has been received well among its distributors and end users. “What we hear is a lot of positive responses, and what we see in general is that our customers appreciate our approach to be closer to them,” he added.

imes-icore’s distributors are positioned as the first level of support for end users. The office in Asia now forms the second level of support for customers, by working closely with distributors on competence and qualifications through initiatives like its CORiTEC training academy, extended warranty contracts, and preventive maintenance services.

“I think it is still important that the first level support is still up to the distributor. He must be responsible because he sells the machine. But we are now here to do the second level of support with close access in the same time zone. We can make sure the dealer has the right qualifications and is capable to provide the best possible support,” said Mueller.

Moreover, Stark highlighted that with imes icore’s systems being positioned as a premium offering, the level of support provided should be of an equally premium service that inspires trust in its users.

“The name is important to understand, ‘Competence & Service Center’, because this is exactly what we mean — service and support training. The dental technology in Germany is the highest worldwide. We want to bring not only the service for the machines, but also the applications and indications needed for the user to produce. We want to train our customers and this is only possible with our own staff,” said Stark.

A-ONE-STOP-SHOP

Inspiring confidence in its investment and goals in Asia, the pair pointed that among the mass, middle, and premium offerings, they see enough potential in the Asian market for its premium class systems. Moreover, they believe that customers seek value above anything. For imes-icore, this means a seamless and integrated workflow for a hassle-free experience.

“It is our philosophy to offer open systems and workflows, but we think there is a great benefit to have all the bits and pieces fit together. A customer does not want to care if a CAM works with a machine, tool, or milling strategy because they can trust our system where everything is validated and integrated,” said Mueller. Moreover, beyond the ease-of-use which integrated systems provides, integration is how the pair sees technology developing within the next 5-10 years, where advancements will push systems towards digitalisation and automation.

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Ahead of its first IDEM showcase on 19 Apr, the new imes-icore Competence & Service Center Asia hosted an open house on 18 Apr for guests and partners

Recognising this shift, imes-icore rolled out its Dental Smart Market (DSM) in 2023, as an integrated and automated platform for its customers and marketplace partners to facilitate services such as procurement, maintenance planning, inventory management, and real-time status updates.

“With this digital network, we can send a message directly to the machine even before the user knows the next step. We can offer users the right time for maintenance or to change a part. We can offer users better solutions for dental applications, such as denture production, by sending direct information to optimise their workflow. These are all digital because with these solutions, we are able to support our global customers globally despite tight time, labour, or geographical constraints,” said Stark.

The DSM in combination with the Smart Control User-Interface also provides diagnostics opportunities through smart control systems and notifies users of potential errors. “If you analyse the root cause of a complaint with the machine, you figure out that 80% of the cases go down to approximately 10 root causes. The machine can tell you in 80% of the cases what the issue is and how to fix it, either as a user or a service partner, and these are the things which we will expand,” said Mueller.

Stark envisions that through DSM, the intelligence of its systems would be as easy to use as a “coffee machine”. He added: “I always say that a milling machine alone is no solution — the milling machine is only one component for a whole production solution. We are not only a milling machine builder. While other companies only offer machines, customers need much more such as the right CAM, materials, interfaces, and tools. A machine is only a machine while customers are looking for production systems.”

Beyond building its DSM ecosystem, Stark highlighted that the foundations for imes icore’s expansion strategy in Asia was laid prior with strategic acquisitions to build a comprehensive portfolio of premium offerings.

Since 2018, imes-icore developed into a group of companies with the goal of offering dental production systems, consumables, and services to the market. Pritidenta, a German manufacturer of premium zirconia blocks, was acquired along with i-ProDens, a German technology and milling centre.

To read the full article, click here or refer to Dental Asia May/June 2024 issue.