Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans: Karl Schumacher dental instruments and consumable products are for doctor’s who specialize in dental surgical procedures. We are uniquely focused on delivering the products, education and service that are technology-driven, but human-inspired, giving dental professionals the specific confidence, they need to change lives.

Our main office is located in Linden, NJ, just outside New York City, but additionally we distribute products from IL, TN and CT. Our service and repair center is located in Chicago, IL.

Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans: My name is Jon Watsabaugh and I am the Managing Director of Karl Schumacher Dental. After obtaining my business degree, I went into retail sales and sales management during the era of the first affordable “home computer system”, when families were really beginning to make their first substantial desktop computer, monitor and printer purchase for their home.

From there I joined a pharmaceutical company and then specialty pharmaceuticals, eventually finding my way to the earliest days of Align Technology and Invisalign in 2003. From there, I knew I was destined to help change the dental industry and loved the idea of changing people’s lives through creating beautiful smiles. Helping Align go from start-up to achieving $300M in sales was a big-deal back in those days, and we were revolutionizing the orthodontic market and creating the lift-off for the clear aligner industry.

Years later I have helped other successful dental start-ups such as Novalar (OraVerse) and Convergent Dental (Solea) with the first-ever dental CO2 dental laser for hard and soft tissue.

Now to Karl Schumacher Dental where we have provided imported German and domestic surgical and operative instruments of the better grade since 1947. Born in Germany, the company’s name-sake, Karl Schumacher immigrated to the United States in 1934 and worked as a representative for a German steel manufacturer. His knowledge of specialty steels led to an opportunity to develop, in conjunction with an oral surgeon, one of the earliest steel bone plating systems. With this start, Mr. Schumacher personally traveled the country and called on dentists to develop a personalized relationship and to better learn of their needs.

We have a 70-year legacy of providing the highest quality instrumentation to dental specialists so that they can deliver the best surgical outcomes. But that’s not enough today. We feel the word outcome has a much broader meaning than it once did. Today, outcomes refer to end-results of all types, including, education, phenomenal ordering experiences, flawless customer service, warranties that matter and relationships that are technology-driven, but human-based.

Today’s dentist requires specific confidence in all parts of their professional life. We get it. We understand special, because special is all we do. We invite all dental specialists to let us be a part of their journey because Karl Schumacher dental instruments and products provide the ability to deliver the best surgical outcomes by putting confidence in your hands.

Q 3. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans: In the early days, it was all about making visits to offices and speaking with the users of our products. We eventually migrated to conventions, print, and ultimately to digital with internet and email. Having an omni-channel approach in today’s market place is critical to our success and I don’t believe one is more valuable than the next. It is more about the right message for the right audience and then backing it up with outstanding products and service.

Q 4. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans: Again, there are no shortcuts. We believe and strive for 3 things; first, doing the right thing always, even when nobody is looking. Two, teamwork and trust. Three, have a passion for winning – in that order!

Q 5. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans: Working with dental professionals to provide quality outcomes.

Q 6. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans: The easy answer is Apple, because they innovate and offer great-performing products in a simple, clean, and easy-to-use way.

Q 7. How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans: Our field sales and support teams are known for their technical and clinical knowledge, as well as their friendly and prompt responses. They provide innovative solutions to tough clinical problems and that is why we consider them one our strongest company assets and recognize them as critical to our success.

Q 8. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans: The question is not how long, but in the pursuit itself. I enjoy the collaboration and the evolution of process from concept to execution or launch. It’s in the journey where the best discoveries are made, and I don’t believe those worth pursuing for our customers and products have a time limit when they will help provide excellent clinical outcomes.

Q 9.What motivates you?

Ans: Helping be a part of a profession and industry to puts smiles on people’s faces. The feel-good part of dentistry highly motivates me. Also, providing products and instruments that help generate outstanding clinical solutions.

The highlight of my week is when I meet a customer at a convention or their office and they tell me that a unique product like our Proximator has revolutionized how they do extractions and it’s the one instrument they can’t live without!

Q 10.What are your ideals?

Ans: I still subscribe to the golden rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you. In business, integrity is above all. I also deeply believe in teamwork, communication, and that there is no substitute for dedication and hard work.

Q 11. How do you generate new ideas?

Ans: Karl Schumacher has a legacy and long history of innovation by listening to the needs and ideas of our customers. Our award-winning Periotomes, Proximators and lineup of Atraumatic Extraction Forceps are perfect example, which came while listening to customers over the years. It this same pursuit that led us on a journey to provide the highest quality bone graft substitute products and surgical consumable products to which we’ve recent launched our own brand that meets the same high standards of performance that we subscribe to on our instruments.

Q 12.How do you define success?

Ans: Our goal is to provide our customers with reliable products of the highest quality which produce confidence in a dental practice. We define success in happy customers and dental professionals who are pleased by the results from using Karl Schumacher products to help create outstanding procedural outcomes and beautiful patient smiles!

Q 13. How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans: By listening to and putting our customer’s needs first, then providing solutions to their clinical challenges. We strive everyday to meet and exceed their expectations. One example of this is the lifetime guarantee on every single one of our Karl Schumacher Extraction Forceps. Another is the service and repair department that we operate today, even on other company’s instruments.

Q 14.What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans: As a family owned business, Karl Schumacher’s legacy has been carried forward in a rich tradition of knowledge and experience. This has allowed Karl Schumacher Dental to continue to adhere to Mr. Schumacher’s attention to detail and assurance of customer satisfaction. We are proud of this entrepreneurial legacy and are committed to exceed each customer’s expectations, so much so, Mr. Schumacher’s signature remains our corporate logo to this day.

However, times are changing, and the dental industry is no exception.

Technology has automated almost every experience under the sun and we are increasingly identified by a number, status-level or some other broad category label that tells the world something about us.

However, a “number” or “label” will never be able speak to anything except activity level.

In the vein of entrepreneurialism, where is the personal touch? Where is the differentiation Where is the human connection?

We believe that rarer are the companies who combine a quality mind-set with an approachable, helpful and personal approach to working with customers, and we believe that given a choice, that is the type of company customers will choose.

Q 15. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans: Winning-awards is always fun and gratifying. Our Proximators have won the same award for most Outstanding Oral Surgery and Implant Hand Instrument for eight consecutive years between 2008 and 2015. The awarding body finally disbanded the category in 2016 because we were the only ones that had ever won that award. That’s a clean sweep and is very gratifying professionally.

The thing that gives me the greatest satisfaction is when we receive un-coerced compliments like this one on our Facebook page, “These instruments make me a better dentist. They are not cheap but you get way more efficiency, comfort, and productivity when you buy instruments that actually work and last !!! Love love love this company and the way they stand by what they produce. They are always trying to engineer things to improve them, look at things differently – and think of ways that we can be better doctors ! I love how good they make me look when an extraction goes almost effortlessly !!”

That also makes me feel pretty good.

Q 16. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Ans: We want to create and foster an environment that puts our customers first and empowers our employees to take care of their needs above our own.

Q 17. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Ans: I started in computers and migrated to medical and then to dental. I wouldn’t change anything because I have learned valuable lessons at every stop. Perhaps it would have been nicer to find the dental industry much faster because I thoroughly enjoy everything about it.

Q 18. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming successful entrepreneur?

Ans: Hard work + perseverance + good luck and some breaks along the way = success. Nobody, and no single company ever achieved success completely on their own.
I wouldn’t call myself an entrepreneur per say, but I know that the formula for success is hard work, discipline, and never giving-up. Anybody can be successfully with those three qualities, and it helps to catch a break now and then, but you must be present to win!

Q 19. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?

I would tailor this questionnaire to my interviewee and not ask so many questions about entrepreneurs if the person is not one. I sense this was geared to somebody other than me or our situation. Rule #1 is to know your audience and adjust your message.

I felt that half of this was questionnaire was not applicable to me or the company that I oversee.


Company Detail:

Company : Karl Schumacher
Contact : Jon Watsabaugh
Address : 737 E Elizabeth Ave
City : Linden
State : NJ
Zip : 07036
Phone : 800-523-2427
Email : custsvs@karlschumacher.com