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Shifting industries after a successful run as a CEO is a major decision to make for any leader. Patrick Bakker, after spending the majority of his career in the recruitment industry, made the move to become CEO of Colosseum Dental Benelux, a leading dentistry company in the European dental services market, just over a year ago.
“It’s quite nice to join a new sector, because after 20 years of being in senior positions of a staffing company, you’ve seen it all,” Bakker explains. “Now you have to start from a blank sheet, and the learning curve is amazing. I experienced a very positive year from a learning and development perspective. It’s not always easy to start from a blank sheet, because everything is new.”
“I think we now have a good balance of all the important pillars to operate well and to be successful.”
Since joining the company, Bakker has made some changes to operations and refocused the medical side of the business by adding a chief medical officer to the team. The new structure also includes an operations expert who is tasked with the success of all the clinics in the portfolio. “I think we now have a good balance of all the important pillars to operate well and to be successful.”
Advances in dental technologies have already improved the service received by patients and made the diagnostic process quicker for dentists. Bakker is constantly on the lookout for new innovations that can be deployed throughout the organization.
“In terms of digitalization, intraoral scanners are something we are really looking at and want to move forward with, as part of the digital improvement journey we are on. Intraoral scanners are developing enormously. To be honest, a lot of things are happening from a clinical perspective,” Bakker says.
The intraoral mouth scanner offers a high level of treatment convenience. Previously, the patient had to bite down on an impression tray (filled with impression paste), after which the impression was sent by courier to a dental laboratory. Now, using a scanner, the practitioner makes a digital impression within two minutes that the patient can see directly on the screen. And then the practitioner sends this digital file to the dental laboratory. With a high degree of predictability and highly accurate restorations, an optimal fit is achieved.
Incorporating cutting-edge digital innovation into Colosseum Dental Benelux can help to recruit and maintain talented staff. For Bakker, offering a modern working environment, where workers have access to all the latest technologies is essential.
“It makes total sense that students coming from university or dentists who are working, let’s say in the industry for a few years, want to work in an environment which is really up to date and modern. You achieve better service and better quality of care. But you also attract the right people, which is very important,” he adds.
“If we can attract the right people, and we can keep the right people onboard, we will be outperforming the market for sure.”
Fostering the next generation of dental professionals is one of the aims of Bakker and his team at Colosseum Dental Benelux. Investments are made in a young dentist development program in Benelux, with a professional academy open in Oslo where dentists can focus on specializations, such as implantology, to better cater to growing customer needs.
The single biggest challenge over the coming years will be to attract the right people. To achieve a competitive edge, hiring the best members of the workforce, including dentists, nurses and oral hygienists, is the number one priority of Colosseum Dental Benelux.
“If we can attract the right people, and we can keep the right people onboard, we will be outperforming the market for sure,” Bakker concludes.
In the past, a majority of dentists at Colosseum Dental Benelux were male, but this has changed in recent years. Today, women make up most dentists at the firm and workforce expectations have also shifted, according to Bakker.
“Most dentists want to have the right balance between work and their private life, with many working three or four days a week, instead of full time. That is something we can offer.”
The corporate structure of Colosseum Dental Benelux enables this type of flexible working and allows a broad range of specialization, with the firm even offering support to staff who are moving houses.
“All these kinds of things are very important to be more attractive for people who want to work in the oral health care industry.”