bonadent corporate profile
eeping the American Dream live
August 2009 â– dentaltown.com
corporate profile bonadent
Historically, the founding fathers built this nationally cherished aspiration with the intent to encompass all that dream has was available in America – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – hallmarks which united people on a common evolved quest for personal and national success. In the midst of over time. record high unemployment rates and based on today’s headlines, one might think the American dream has turned into a nightmare. However, one family, one organization continuously strives to epitomize the American dream of the 21st Century. Under the leadership of Bruce H. Bonafiglia, CDT, BonaDent and Danaren Dental Laboratories prove that it is possible for successful American businesses to provide opportunities to American workers and help them achieve their own American dream. The Bonafiglia dream began 60 years ago between a father and son. Angelo Bonafiglia, with the help of his father Henry, established BonaDent Dental Laboratories. Back then, if Angelo’s son, Bruce, wanted to spend quality time with his father it would have to be at the bench in his dad’s four-person dental lab, learning the business while watching over his father’s shoulder. From cleaning denture flasks and sweeping the plaster room floor as a child to washing cars and changing oil in his youth, Bruce learned the true meaning of hard work. As his father’s lab grew, Bruce became more involved with the technical aspects of the laboratory and began to experience the self-satisfaction of taking part in the completion of a great restoration. It soon became clear that he wanted the laboratory’s legacy to continue. Many members of the Bonafiglia family play an integral role in the overall success of the current operation. Since purchasing BonaDent from his father in 1986, Bruce has served as President and CEO. Angelo Bonafiglia, though officially retired 23 years ago, is still passionate about his legacy and craft. He splits his time at the bench between the Upstate New York lab and the BonaDent facility in Melbourne, Florida, operated by Bruce’s sister, Andrea. Daniele Bonafiglia Wirth, Bruce’s oldest daughter, serves as CFO of his companies. Daughter, Erin Bonafiglia is herself an accomplished technician and focuses her time on training her fellow technicians. The fifth Bonafiglia generation, grandchildren Ella and Harrison, are down the hall in BonaDent’s on-site daycare, patiently awaiting their turn. Today the family’s laboratories have grown to more than 225 employees, a far cry from the original two-room lab. Within the new 40,000 square foot flagship facility in Seneca Falls, NY, employees enjoy amenities including a Cybex fitness center, full service café, laundry facilities, hair salon and an on-site day care center. Personal conveniences are not the only benefits offered at BonaDent. Most importantly, an 84-seat auditorium and stateof-the-art hands-on training center equipped with four operatories and 12 dental simulators presents their technicians outstanding opportunities to train with world-class leaders in the industry such as Thomas Trinkner, Willi Gellar, Bill Blatchford and John Kanca, just to name a few. This unique facility helps BonaDent attract and retain some of the best technicians and dental professionals in the country. “As dentists from across the country visit and train in our lab, and work alongside our team, they come to understand why
Technicians and dentists routinely train with top clinicians in BonaDent’s state-of-the-art 84 seat auditorium.
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in today’s world someone would provide amenities like ours,” says Bonafiglia. When BonaDent was planning its new building, Bruce found it difficult convincing family members and his management team of why it was so important to devote such a large amount of the new lab space to education and hands-on training rather than laboratory production. It was a major commitment, but rather than sending just one or two technicians at a time to valuable training courses halfway across the country or farther, BonaDent routinely brings in top clinicians to teach a large group of its staff, which saves both time and money. BonaDent’s technicians learn from the best at a fraction of the cost. The concept of dentists and technicians learning together has helped his technicians understand the challenges that dentists face. Bonafiglia claims, “Two-year technical schools are a nice start but they can’t begin to compare to the continuing education opportunities that BonaDent and Danaren employees receive.” Left: BonaDent and Danaren’s onIt is his commitment to and deep-rooted site day care facility is fully licensed respect for technicians that continues to drive and directly down the hall from its technical areas providing convenient Bonafiglia’s business model – something that and highly qualified care to the chilwas influenced by an invitation to visit a dren of its parent-employees. competitor’s laboratory in the early 1980s. There, he was offered an opportunity to partRight: BonaDent’s team approach ner with that lab owner to outsource crowns assures dentists they will work with the to the Philippines, which at the time was same technician on every case. gaining popularity. Bruce reflects, “I remember leaving that meeting a bit scared and intimidated at the thought of what outsourcing could do to our small lab. This competitor’s lab was bigger and newer; he even had tufted leather chairs and a “It is not financially necessary for labs to use offshore facilfireplace in his office!” Admittedly a bit impressed and while also presuming that this could be a monetarily successful ven- ities, like those located in the Philippines and China, in order ture, he immediately thought of his friends and family who to provide low-cost restorations. I believe outsourcing to offwere back at the lab, working hard to follow their own shore facilities hurts all of us by undermining the American American dream. It was during his return to BonaDent that labor force and therefore jeopardizing our nation’s economy,” he decided to take a stand and do everything within his power Bonafiglia says. He disagrees with the claim that there are not enough techto show loyalty back to the U.S. technicians who had faithfully supported him and his father. It is this strong desire to nicians here in the U.S. to adequately serve the demand, as he’s support the American workforce that prompted Bonafiglia to been busy interviewing technicians from across the country create Danaren Dental Laboratory, a separate lab facility on whose jobs have either been reduced in hours or eliminated the BonaDent campus. Danaren combines lean manufactur- completely. It’s been reported that over the last five years thouing, CAD/CAM equipment and an assembly line process to sands of U.S. labs have closed their doors. “In the last few years create restorations that are not only consistent and beautiful we have provided opportunities for some small lab owners who but affordable as well. Named after his daughters, Daniele and have expressed that between offshore competition, in office Erin, Bonafiglia believes Danaren can substantially increase CAD/CAM technology, and the high cost of continuing educadentists’ income without outsourcing to offshore labs. tion and benefits, it’s just too difficult to keep their labs open. Combined, both full-service laboratories are capable of satis- There are plenty of talented U.S. technicians out there. I love fying any need a dentist might have, from traditional cases to that we can offer fellow technicians an opportunity to continue to flourish in their field.” full-mouth reconstructions.
August 2009 ■ dentaltown.com
corporate profile bonadent
Left: The assembly line processes at Danaren provide dentists with consistent results at competitive prices.
BonaDent and Danaren Laboratories, each with unique roles in the dental industry, are designed to compliment one another. BonaDent’s highly trained techMiddle: BonaDent technicians’ focus nicians are more skilled and welland attention to detail goes into every rounded. Bonafiglia says, “When restoration created at the facility. choosing BonaDent a dentist typically Right: It’s a family-thing at expects more comprehensive treatment BonaDent and Danaren. Pictured planning and prefers a higher level of lab are Daniele Bonafiglia-Wirth, VP communication and collaboration. of Finance (left), Bruce Bonafiglia, When choosing Danaren the expectaPresident, and Erin Bonafiglia, Ceramics Manager (right). tion is strictly for a lower price, consistent, quality product.” In order to meet this demand for a lower price Danaren utilizes lean manufacturing and assembly line efficiency. Danaren’s technicians focus on just one or two specific functions enabling them to become experts in that particular part of the process. Danaren’s most commonly fabricated restorations, which include single unit PFMs and small span bridges, start at $80 a unit with payment incentives. This price point, coupled with Danaren’s rapid turnaround times and direct communication, allows Danaren to compete against offshore labs. In addition Danaren provides doctors with the confidence that they are partnering with 60 years of laboratory experience in order to provide their patients with American-made, FDAapproved products. Not only has Danaren become an alternative to outsourcing while creating American jobs, it also gives doctors a choice when presented with a patient whose care is regimented by insurance companies. In the end, it is the shared responsibility of dentists and their laboratories to ensure each patient receives quality Very few small lab owners can afford the technology and dental care. Bonafiglia states, “I don’t quite understand why a high-end education opportunities that BonaDent and Danaren doctor would take the risk to send a patient’s case overseas to routinely offer to their staff and customers. save $10 or $20. Let’s face it, when laboratories outsource their In the future BonaDent and Danaren plan on continuing to work this creates opportunities for only one person, the lab invest heavily in the advancing technologies as they become owner.” BonaDent and Danaren on the other hand, have creavailable to help control costs and improve consistency. ated opportunities not only for the Bonafiglia family, but for “Although these new technologies have a steep entry level price, their employees and the surrounding communities as well. in our 60 years of being in the lab business we certainly have seen With the goal of keeping the American dream alive, Bonafiglia’s the benefits of what new technologies have brought to our indus- laboratories have created and maintained American jobs, kept try and we have adjusted accordingly. For instance, our PFM patient’s restorations in the United States, while at the same time crown waxers have been retrained and moved into diagnostic and keeping dollars circulating in our nation’s economy. A win for implant waxing.” A large percentage of BonaDent and Danaren’s the entire dental industry. PFM substructures are produced by rapid prototyping technolIs the American dream alive and well? It depends on who ogy. They are a certified 3M Lava COS and milling center as well you ask. Ask one of the millions of workers across the nation as iTero and Sirona inLab. “I think that all patients deserve who recently lost their job partially due to outsourcing, and affordable treatment and these new technologies have helped us you’ll get a resounding “no.” Ask a technician you pass in the keep restoration costs under control while improving consis- hallway of this family-oriented dental laboratory located in tency. In our labs, technology improvements mean technician Small Town USA, and chances are, you’ll get a resounding, advancement, not elimination” says Bonafiglia. “Yes!” ■
dentaltown.com ■ August 2009