Nine out of ten dental offices in Korea use X-ray systems from this company
Nine out of ten dental offices in Korea use X-ray systems from this company
The utilization of dental digital CT, panoramic (full arch) and Cephalometric (full skull) diagnostic X-ray systems is more prevailing in the dental community in Korea recently. In fact, nine out of ten dental x-ray units purchased in recent months are most likely from VATECH. Vatech is a venture group specializing dental CT, panoramic and Cephalometric X-ray system in Korea, either separately or combination of 3 in 1, the new paradigm in the dental radiographic imaging industry. The company’s products occupy 95% of the domestic market and claim 30 ~ 40% market share in counties such as Germany and Japan, two of the most advanced medical equipment markets in the world.
95% market share within 7 years
During IDS 2009, the world largest dental exposition held in Colone, Germany, VATECH occupied the largest booth space among thousands of exhibitors from over 70 different countries, and successfully consummated sales contracts worth over $20 million dollars. According to Mr. Ro (51), chairperson, “In IDS 2007, no one knew that Korea even produced dental and medical systems” “After only 2 years, we are not only leading dental imaging market but also being considered as a preferred partner for technical cooperation and parts supplier by several top competitors.”
Mr. Ro took over the company in 2001 after running a well established machine fabricating company in Korea. VATECH System, the predecessor of VATECH, began its industrial X-ray equipment business in 1992. When Mr. Noh, chairperson, took over the company in 2002, the company’s focus shifted to dental digital X-ray since the X-ray technology began to evolve from analogue to digital. In spite of the clear set goal, there was no technology know how to support it
He invited hardware and software experts from Finland and America through his personal network fostered during his graduate study at Helsinki School of Economics in Finland. By 2002, the team developed the first panoramic X-ray system in Korea.
In 2005, the company developed the world first 3 in 1 (CT, Pano & Ceph) dental CBCT X-ray system and mastered its own digital X-ray sensor technology, the heart of diagnostic imaging system in 2007. “We were fortunate that the implant market grew significantly throughout the world at the same time.” Mr. Ro, humbly stated.. He also noted that “the success would not have happened if not for the countless sleepless nights by the R&D team and sales reps who had to sell products with no name value but with whole hearted effort.
Full time employees down to security guards
With the core advantage in dental diagnostic system, VATECH growth has been steady even though it might be considered as a small scrap in the entire medical equipment market. The revenue grew to 80 billion won last year from 54 billion won in 2005. Including the sales figure from E-WOO Technology, its sister company, the total revenue approached to 140 billion won last year. The number of employees also grew from 54 in 2001 to more than 700 including oversea branch offices.
A proper reward for the employees’ performance has been the top priority for Mr. Ro after the stabilization of the company. The top of the lists has always been “job security”. All 351 VATECH employees are full time (operations, manufacturing, warehouse, and even security guards) including 4 temp positions from last year. Sometimes a temporary contract worker is hired but rarely. “I enjoy the work even more now after feeling the sense of belonging and confidence as a full time employee” according to Mr. Cho with the import inspection team.”
More than 30 employees with disability or with bad credit record were also hired. “The work efficiency can be enticed from performance based incentives and salary according to the level of responsibility. Creating a good job while maintaining old one is the responsibility of a corporate management which is, ultimately, an important asset in the society.”, according to Mr. Ro.
Human Resource: Not major nor degree but achievement oriented
Vatech instituted the principle of an open and consistent hiring whenever qualified applicants are available, many with R&D experience in machinery, electronic, software, and production, oversea operation, etc… Often those applicants are referred by talent recruiting agencies and those with necessary skill set are identified by a series of aptitude tests and interviews.
Vatech is proud of its systematic human resource support system which is rare among small and medium size companies. Mr. Hyun Kwan Shin, the VP of Strategic management and planning team came from Hay Group. a renown consulting company, where he held the position of a Vice President.. His decided to join the company after his involvement as a consultant.. “The personnel system of Vatech focuses on the fairness during hiring, assigning, and promoting evaluation.” “The systematic HR implementation exceeds the standard of any other companies including some conglomerates” according to Mr. Shin.
“The company’s HR management is strictly based on not seniority, not academic degree but each functional role and accomplishment,. A job assignment and the level of salary depend on the ability of an individual and the system rewards those who stand out during a periodic performance evaluation. The initial salary of a PhD researcher may be higher than the one of a high school graduate on the production line floor. However, the annual pay increase and career advancement of someone with a high school diploma may be faster than anybody else since the evaluation system is degree neutral and only focuses on the actual achievement level each year. The responsibility for an individual or a team is quantifiably segmented and evaluated objectively. It fosters the competitiveness, not among peers but with oneself.”
The selected company is recommended by Korean Federation of Small and Medium Companies and Incrust..
People with disability are welcome, if ready to overcome the world
Having no temp position at VATECH is not incidental. Mr. Ro (on the picture) was involved in the student movement after enrolling Seoul National University in 1977 and lived through the struggle of labor movement. Later, his passion for the labor movement transpired the principle of a job security as an entrepreneur.
- Firm belief in hiring
I went through IMF as a head of another company and witnessed someone committing a suicide out of the fear of getting laid off. An employment is the matter of life and death for every person and family as well as the source of happiness. I truly believe that the fundamental contribution of a corporation to the society is the creation of a job security.
- How do you implement the principle?
I try to implement the idea of passing on a health business to the next generation through a sustainable management style. Elimination of temp jobs and hiring people with disability are the result of my effort to create a work place with no prejudice and discrimination.
- Don’t you have to earn a lot of money to create a good work place?
Absolutely. For a venture or small and medium size company, the strategy of becoming the best in the world in a specific niche market is a necessity to become profitable. Superficial growth in appearance is useless. We need more of strong and highly profitable small business with the core confidence in technology.
- What is your growth strategy?
The company’s goal is to develop new target segment and establish a distinctive self identity in the world of medical equipment market. To do that, I will focus on the strategic development of absolute competitive advantage in a niche market rather than existing market.
- What kind of talent are you look for?
I look for people with ability to conquer the world. VATECH is advancing into oversea markets and evolving to become a global organization and need people with right competency. We need people with not only language proficiency but also ability to embrace foreign culture and value the humanity.