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Interview: German dental industry is still heart and driving force of IDS today


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Burkhard Sticklies is the spokesperson for the Association of the German Dental Industry. (Photograph: VDDI)
Dental Tribune Germany

By Dental Tribune Germany

Mon. 6. March 2017


The International Dental Show (IDS) provides the best competitive conditions for a sporting, ambitious and collaborative performance comparison, as well as numerous opportunities to gain information, to network and to engage with colleagues from around the world. Dental Tribune Germany spoke with Burkhard Sticklies, spokesperson for the Association of the German Dental Industry (VDDI), about the upcoming IDS in Cologne in Germany.

Dental Tribune Germany: Mr Sticklies, the VDDI has been in existence since 1923, at that time under the name of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers, as the organiser of IDS. What has changed from the beginning to the present day?
Burkhard Sticklies: The beginnings of the VDDI in 1916 and its first dental show took place during a time of crisis that cannot be compared to the present day. However, there is one important commonality in that the objectives at that time were the same as today: to represent the joint interests of the industry, explore new markets and expand existing customer bases.

Today, the VDDI is an internationally respected industry association that is a successful representative of its industry’s interests at all levels. It is successful because it seeks to link its interests as closely as possible to those of its partner associations.

The task of organising IDS is managed today by the commercial enterprise of the VDDI, the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Dental-Industrie. Nevertheless, the German dental industry remains the heart and driving force of IDS today. Just like at the beginning, it has the objective of entering into fair competition with directly comparable foreign companies for the benefit of users. This global competitiveness is without doubt one of the outstanding success factors of IDS.

At the turn of the century, the traditional trade fair industry was considered obsolete. What is the secret of IDS, particularly since the dental fair in 2015 achieved record results?
Digitalisation has resulted in significant changes and upheavals in the economy and society. Even at an early stage, there were ideas to establish virtual trade fairs that were to supersede traditional trade fairs. Experts are in agreement that virtual information offerings are a meaningful complement to fairs, but cannot replace them. This applies to fairs in the dental industry too. It is not without reason that it is often referred to as the “dental family”. Like any family, it wants to get together and interact personally. There is nowhere better for that than at IDS.

As a fair, IDS must satisfy the requirements of industry and of professional visitors equally. What are the challenges and how are these managed?
The requirements of both exhibitors and visitors are very similar, as both want a worthwhile visit. Exhibitors want to display their products in the best possible manner, and visitors appreciate the range of products. IDS provides space for the entire diversity of the dental industry while providing the comprehensive overview and compactness expected of a leading international trade fair. IDS is comfortable to navigate, with easy circular routes around the halls. The IDS app is a useful tool that helps with planning, orientation and visiting the trade fair.

What can exhibitors and visitors look forward to at IDS 2017?
They can look forward to the experience of hospitality offered by the world’s leading dental trade fair. They can look forward to direct and lively exchanges with colleagues from around the world. They can look forward to a sporting, ambitious and collective performance comparison under the best competitive conditions. This will all be covered by around 800 media representatives.

IDS is considered to be an innovation driver. What inspirations can be expected from it?
Trade fair visitors will see new things in all product families and applications concerning dental and dental technology services. Dental technology and the dental industry are outstandingly innovative and dynamic areas of the global health sector. It is impressive time and time again to see that collaboration between manufacturers and users of the products, along with dental research and materials science, regularly results in new product ideas and processes. In view of the large variety and multitude of new developments and significant further enhancements of proven products and services, it is not easy to pick out only a few examples.

What do you envision regarding the development of the industry in the coming years, and in what way does IDS influence this development?
The German dental industry is active in all world markets and closely monitors market developments. In 2017/2018, our companies will be presenting their German-manufactured products at more than 20 foreign trade fairs, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. At every such event, the joint German pavilion is a strong magnet for visitors. This applies equally for developed economies, as well as developing regions and markets. New middle classes, as well as the demographic development in ageing societies, provide good prospects for continued positive development of the dental market.

As the world’s leading trade fair, IDS is a powerful driving force in the dental health market. Trade fair visitors from around the world verify their concepts for the future at IDS and receive additional ideas through the exchange of opinion with developers and manufacturers. In that manner, they gain clarity in key practical and laboratory areas that are important to them, make investment decisions during IDS and thereby ensure lively follow-up business.

Thank you very much for the interview.

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