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Interview: Attila Trägner joins ADDE board


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Trägner says that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has reminded dental dealers how vulnerable the market for medical devices can be. (Image: Attila Trägner)
Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

Thu. 17. December 2020


The ADDE has welcomed Attila Trägner to its board as it continues to represent the interests of more than 960 dental dealers in Europe. Trägner, who is CEO and country manager of Kulzer for Austria and Switzerland, said that he wants to assist ADDE members by providing collected insights gained through discussions at local and national levels.

Mr Trägner, congratulations on your appointment. What do you bring to the ADDE board?
Thank you. I was amazed when the board asked me to join their ranks.

I started in the dental industry in 2006. From the beginning, I was very keen on cooperation on a pan-European level. I have always enjoyed discussions with my colleagues at Kulzer in which we compared our respective countries and the characteristics of our customers. What are the similarities and the major differences? Can we attribute these characteristics to wider groups and perhaps even translate them into best business practices?

In my opinion, there are ADDE board members far wiser and more experienced than I am, and so I feel that my contribution will be more related to data and the modern technologies that are shaping our industry. For example, I may focus on the current trends in market data and how we can make use of them in our related projects.

How could such an area of focus benefit ADDE members?
By representing Austrian dental dealers and also those around Europe, I think that we can profit in two ways: contributing from the bottom up by providing specific answers to questions on a local and national level and by providing these collected insights to our members. Additionally, the fact that the ADDE’s contrast EU office is located so close to the European legislative institutions in Brussels in Belgium means that we can stay informed and provide our members with the latest information as quickly as possible.

We currently find ourselves in what is perhaps the most significant crisis that the dental industry has faced. What is most important right now for dental dealers?
The situation now is better than it was six months ago. During the pandemic, it has become apparent that placing multiple demands on important goods leads to bottlenecks in the supply of these goods to the market. This has also reminded us just how vulnerable the market can be when goods such as medical devices are sourced from outside of the European Union. I have spoken with several dealers, who explained to me the logistical challenges that they faced early on in the pandemic.

What is likely to happen in the coming six months?
The spring of 2020 brought with it a number of surprises for all of us, including for national governments. We were suddenly facing high demands on goods that we never expected would be in short supply. Now, I see a much greater degree of collaboration, more unified health measures and the first signs of COVID-19 simply being accepted as another factor in our daily working procedures. I think that the coming six months will bring a return—step by step—to normality.

What is one specific area in which the ADDE can support its members during the SARS-CoV-2 crisis?
The transition towards digital communication was something that happened very quickly at the ADDE and we are in a strong position to offer support to our member organisations in every aspect of digital communication channels and objectives.

How would you describe the current climate for dental events?
In my experience, several of the changes that we have witnessed in recent months were an acceleration of other developments that were already under way. Over the past few years, exhibitions and trade fairs had already presented a number of significant challenges for organisers. Those who were successful found ways to overcome and cope with these challenges. Their solutions included delving into state-of-the-art topics, providing interesting lectures and using new and exciting exhibition formats. My strong feeling is that we need human interactions in this trade and that most of the main benefits that come from events are gained through meeting with our partners and customers in real time. How will we present our products and services in the future? This is a question that I find very exciting, and there is a process of development currently being undertaken in this area.

Do you expect any positive developments to arise out of the crisis and the current business environment?
The way in which people think and talk about regulations and directives—of them primarily being restrictive in nature—has changed completely. Nowadays, we can see how important it is to have a surveillance system on a European level, particularly when it comes to important goods like medical devices. We also have a greater focus on hygiene and hygiene protocols. On top of this, a range of qualitative discussions are taking place about the future of dentistry.

What did it mean for you, personally, to be appointed to the ADDE board?
I was delighted and it gave me a huge motivational boost. To work together with such experienced colleagues is an honour that brings with it a great duty—I will give it my best!

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