High level of vertical integration guarantees quality in medical engineering
The primary focus of a modern production philosophy is, on the one hand, a high degree of cost-efficiency and the implementation of high quality standards. As an important innovation driver of a company, its role on the other hand is to support the development processes and promote knowledge transfer at a technical level. “This clear requirement puts great demands on our staff and our internal structures”, said W&H Works Manager Roman Gratzer. The headquarters in Bürmoos, near Salzburg, Austria, is home not only to the Production department, but also to R&D.
A high level of vertical integration assists compliance with strict quality criteria. In addition, it also offers a great deal of independence, and thus improved dynamics and speed with regard to the provision of high-tech products. “We need to pick up on changes in the market rapidly and integrate customer requirements in new, sustainable solutions. The aim is to be the first onto the market. To do so, we put state-of-the-art technology at our customers' fingertips, offering them support and safety in their day-to-day work.”
Unique dental solutions
W&H has been an innovator in the production of precision dental instruments and devices for many years. The introduction of a new production system in the form of the daily quantity model in 1998 was an early reaction to changes in market requirements. A set product period of just one day means streamlined structures and assembly of the customer's exact daily requirement. “In addition to this efficient production system, we set great store in the bundling of production expertise in the company.
A high level of vertical integration is the only way in which we can manage to develop unique process knowledge and guarantee high quality standards in medical engineering. In addition, our product development allows us to respond quickly to specific market requirements”, explained Roman Gratzer. Above all, the works manager sees obvious competitive advantages in the close coupling of R&D and production expertise. “This allows us to expand our key technologies, which are unique for W&H and result in completely new dental solutions.”
Quality from a single source
Quality and precision right down to the smallest component – the demanding requirements in medical engineering require unique process knowledge and optimal proficiency.
Continuous process optimisation and the reduction of interfaces in the W&H production process not only result in improved cost control: the high level of vertical integration also makes it possible to monitor key quality products more closely. Strict statutory regulations in medical engineering require seamless quality controls. “Nowadays, however, controls on their own are not enough: to comply with the statutory requirements and the requirements of our customers, we place immense importance on the quality awareness of our staff. This is the only way to ensure quality at every stage of the process”, said Mr Gratzer.
However, from the perspective of W&H staff, high product quality is predominantly the result of proficiency. For this reason, the dental manufacturer not only works with selected experts, but has also been investing in professional training within the company for many years. “With our apprenticeship programme we lay the foundations for the next generation of experts early on and with our team organisation we ensure that the young members of staff take on responsibilities and work independently. With the high percentage of in-house production and the intelligent training of staff, W&H actively promotes the further development of its production expertise. “Our goal is to be on hand for our customers as a competent contact partner and solution provider, whatever questions or problems they have.”
Shorter time to market
Users benefit from the close networking of R&D and Production at the Bürmoos site with shorter innovation cycles. New solutions are available rapidly and facilitate daily work. The close cooperation between Marketing and Sales also ensures improved customer focus. Integrated processes from the initial product concept to development right up to customer service are decisive. “In the company we bundle as much expertise as possible and have the entire life cycle of a product covered. The concentration of different competencies at the headquarters puts us in a position to react to and satisfy customer requirements rapidly.
Dental technology “Made in Austria”
With clear devotion to its Austrian roots, W&H utilises the location’s significant advantages, and the family-owned company also creates added value for the region. In addition to the high standard of proficiency, W&H also benefits from the unique network of the Austrian technology hub. In the company we pay great attention to sourcing high-quality technology and raw materials from Germany, Switzerland and Austria and, in doing so, make an important statement: quality awareness starts with the location.
Based on its export quota of 95%, W&H is now one of the major powers in the Austrian economy. “The international success of our products is the fruit of our high quality awareness. The decisive factor is that the quality requirements are not confined to the products, but enforced consistently throughout all the areas of the company”, said Roman Gratzer.