I’ve been thinking and writing a bit lately about digital dentistry. I should amend that statement – I’ve been thinking about it for most of my career. Recently, a mentor said something rather innocuous that has been jostling about in my brain ever since. He said, “we’re competing with FedEx.” In the context of the conversation, he was referring to the increasing number of entrants in the “digital dentistry” (intra-oral and counter top 3D scanners and fabrication devices) category and how they all seem to be trying to battle each other with particular feature-based arguments. His comment was that he doesn’t see the other devices or technologies as the primary competition. In the grander scheme of things, we’re competing with FedEx.
In other words, as the category moves from niche to approaching mainstream, we are challenging the status quo of traditional clinical workflows. The digitization of dental impressions, whether intra-orally or from a physical impression in a counter top device, allows efficiencies and cost savings that the conventional logistics do not. We now send data from point A to point B, rather than sending an impression, a model, etc. We’re competing with FedEx.
Of course, the brands will still compete with one another. And this competition at the brand level serves in my mind to underscore the greater point. The category has matured to an extent that allows this feature-based competition between widget manufacturers A – Z. Such competitive arguments and positioning assume the validity of the category. And this is something which was not taken for granted just a few short years ago.
So, this concept of “competing with FedEx” obviously really resonated with me. As someone who spent years in the trenches of the early battles to prove the validity of the digital dentistry category, I feel a certain satisfaction in seeing the battle progress. So, are we competing with FedEx? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for reading.