Now it’s time to take a look at a small but competitive business making a difference for the Korean economy.
Corporate social responsibility activities provide consumers with a positive image of a particular company and influence their purchases of products from the company. But in reality, it is far from easy for businesses to do something valuable in society and increase sales at the same time. Here is a company that is walking the path of both sharing and growth. Let’s hear from Jang Hyun-yang, president of Daeyang Dentech, which is an exporter of mobile dental equipment.
In 1988, when the Seoul Olympic Games were held, Daeyang Dentech was founded as Daeyang General Trading Company. It imported medical devices from overseas to supply them to dental clinics in Korea. The company also provided after-sales services as well. I found that there were so many poor countries in the world. I entered a volunteer group of dentists who offered free medical services in various countries. I provided necessary medical equipment so the doctors could treat patients in other countries properly.
In 1988, Mr. Jang began to take charge of the provision of medical equipment as a member of the Dental Mission for Christ, a volunteer organization of dental specialists. For that purpose, he visited some 70 countries, including Afghanistan, Yemen and Cameroon. While engaging in volunteer activities in different countries, Jang started to develop mobile dental equipment.
I never really thought about making money by creating new dental equipment. I found that dentists, without equipment, could do few things outside. It came to me that they could showcase their abilities only when they carry medical devices with them. So I came up with a portable dental unit, which can be loaded into the car trunk. When it is unfolded, it turns into a clinic itself. The unit has a dentist’s chair, lighting equipment for dental use, high-speed and low-speed handpieces, scalers and scrapers as well as suction apparatus. Dentists can bring the handy mobile dental unit with them anywhere in the world.
The regions that the volunteer group visited were mostly remote areas where there was no electricity. The medical staff did bring a compressor that is used to operate devices with pressure, a dentist’s chair and X-ray machine. But in many cases, it turned out those devices were simply useless, due to the lack of electricity. Whenever problems arose, Jang re-assembled emergency tools to help out the doctors. He felt an acute need for mobile medical equipment. In fact, his company delivered a bus equipped with dental apparatus and instruments to Friendship Hospital in Uzbekistan in 1994. He utilized his knowledge and technology he had accumulated in this field to create a mobile dental unit that can be used without any problems anywhere. He showed prototypes to dentists and improved shortcomings, if necessary. As a result, he was able to release a new product in 2003 to obtain a patent. The aluminum box contains equipment needed for all dental treatments, including an air compressor set, tubing, lighting apparatus and a dental chair.
This special product is in the form of a suitcase. But when it is unfolded, it creates a perfect environment for dental treatment. Previously, dentists would bring medical devices and put them on a table with other tools as well. So, the place tended to be messy. But in this box, dental equipment, a table and other things are neatly arranged in separate sections. It has widely been used in various parts of the world. Even advanced countries like the U.S., Germany and Japan are envious of the product.
In 2003, the mobile dental equipment was registered with the Korea Food and Drug Administration and also with the Public Procurement Service. The innovative product was most welcomed by dental schools. Eleven colleges of dentistry nationwide, including the one at Seoul National University, purchased Daeyang Dentech’s equipment to provide volunteer medical services during vacations. Also, about 300 organizations in Korea, including the Smile Charity Foundation and community health centers across the nation, use this mobile dental equipment. Now it is exported overseas as well.
We export the product to some 50 countries. It is being used at military units and health centers in those countries. In Europe, in particular, doctors carry the equipment with them and visit elderly patients’ houses or nursing homes, as senior citizens have a hard time going to clinics. The mobile equipment is selling well in Sweden, Germany, Hungary, France, Italy and Spain. But I think the effect is the most conspicuous in Africa, where medical facilities are extremely poor. Also, countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, are quite pleased with the product. I imagine Indonesia will promote the import of this product at the governmental level.
The mobile equipment featuring various dental devices has been well received in various countries, as it is solid and easy to use. Daeyang Dentech prints the names of its employees on its products to indicate that they devoted themselves to making the products with great responsibility, so the equipment can be used without problems even in remote areas. From the manufacturing stage, the company takes both dentists and patients into consideration. And it is determined to continue to foster the spirit of sharing.
I hope my company will contribute to relieving the pain of as many patients as possible around the world. I’m very proud that our equipment is being used at places where patients are given medical treatment. I do hope that this precious product will benefit people who live far away from civilization and therefore have no chance to see a dentist. Someone else will succeed me to lead this company in the future, and I hope they will keep this legacy intact.
Daeyang Dentech is manufacturing products to help out patients suffering from dental diseases. The company envisions a new way for how it can achieve growth through sharing.