Bruce V. Livingston is president of Boyd Industries Inc, in Clearwater, Fla. Livingston has been with the company for 23 years. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing and management from Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio.

OP: Boyd Industries has been in business for 50 years. To what do you attribute your success?

Livingston: It is difficult to highlight one factor that has provided Boyd Industries with success over the years.  Our success has been a culmination of listening to our customers to determine their needs, commitment to quality, and dedication to our employees and industry partners.

Many companies today make the mistake of designing products they “think” their customers need. Our philosophy is to ask our customers what they need and for them to give us honest feedback on our current products. One thing we have learned from our years of experience is that orthodontists are frustrated engineers that love to provide new product ideas and innovations. When we do finally come to market with a new concept, it has already been identified as a direction our customers want to go, which eliminates costly research and development misdirection and allows us to quickly respond to a market need.

Manufacturing companies in the United States are under “margin” pressure to survive. Every day we read about another company “outsourcing” its manufacturing offshore to save money and increase profit margins. In many instances, this shift in manufacturing philosophy is at the expense of quality. One really has to look at this trade-off when evaluating offshore alternatives. Boyd Industries manufactures every component of its product line in its facility in Florida. This vertically integrated approach allows us to closely monitor our quality. We really take pride in providing equipment that is “Made in the USA.”

Lastly, we are committed to our employees and industry partners. Our overall approach to business follows the “golden rule” of treating others as you would like to be treated. This philosophy carries over to our employees and business partners. If our employees are treated fairly and with respect, they will be productive employees who are committed to the success of the company. This also extends to our vendors; if you treat your vendors with respect (that does not mean negotiating for fair pricing), they will be your “partner” interested in not only providing fair pricing, but keeping you updated on emerging technology, materials, or economic order quantities.

OP: What type of products does your company provide to orthodontists?

Livingston: Boyd Industries offers a diverse product line, which includes treatment chairs, delivery units, task and intraoral lighting, practitioner/assistant seating, steri-centers, and E2 (entertaining environments) gaming systems for waiting areas and for chairside.

OP: Tell us about your most popular product.

Livingston: Our most popular and possibly fastest-growing product is our E2 line of gaming systems, which we introduced 2 years ago. The concept of this gaming line is to provide in-office entertainment for patients, siblings, and parents while they are waiting in your office. The system is compatible with all gaming platforms (PS2/PS3, Xbox360, Wii, and PSP). The gaming platform is enclosed in a locked climate-controlled environment with secured game system controllers. We also offer different color selections for the accent panel to match any office dÉcor. The gaming system can be customized with a company logo that is placed on the front panel of the gaming console. PSP is only available in a post, cabinet, or wall mount.

OP: How do your chairside delivery units ease an orthodontic treatment session?

Livingston: Ergonomics is probably the most valuable asset that our delivery units provide to increasing the ease of treatment and productivity in a practice. In today’s orthodontic market, the demand for chairside information and instrumentation is critical to efficient productivity. Computers are here to stay in the treatment area, and provide an essential tool to providing patient history and diagnostics to the practitioner and staff. All Boyd “computer-ready” delivery units have the following features to facilitate the use of computers: a GFI duplex outlet that is fuse-controlled to prevent the “shorting out” of components, electrical components that are isolated from water-related instrumentation, Cat 6 network cabling, waterproof umbilicals on all electricals to prevent a shock hazard, access holes for monitor and mouse cables, and a variety of flat-screen monitor mounts.

Boyd also offers side and rear delivery concepts with external or retraction capabilities of component tubings. The storage of ancillary supplies at chairside keeps staff from having to get up and search for supplies used during the day. Boyd delivery units feature different drawer configurations that can be customized.

OP: How important is it to work with a company that designs equipment specifically for orthodontics?  

Livingston: An orthodontist can appreciate working with a “specialty” company. If there was not a need for specialists, then every patient would get their braces from a general dentist. The same mentality carries over to orthodontic equipment. There are many “general practitioner (GP)” chairs and units that are available to orthodontists by dental dealers. One thing that all of these pieces of equipment lack is true understanding of how an orthodontist works and his or her willingness to design equipment to meet the specialized needs of today’s orthodontist. Side delivery versus over-the-patient delivery and fixed base versus lift base chairs are just two examples of nonfunctional applications of equipment. Specialized orthodontic equipment companies (ones that do not market equipment to GPs) understand how you work and provide equipment that complements the ergonomics of practicing orthodontics. In addition, orthodontics treat at least five times as many patients in a day versus a general dentist, so it is imperative to provide equipment that is capable of delivering deficiencies in patient treatment, instrument processing, and administration of patient load. The old adage “the right tool for the job” certainly applies. 

Lastly, in order to deal with specialized companies, look to companies that support the practice of orthodontics. Look to companies that contribute to the AAOF, attend trade shows, and work with your residency programs to educate the upcoming generation of orthodontists. Many companies can provide an attractive price, but are they really a “partner” with you and care about your success?  Your support of these specialty companies ensures the future development of the orthodontic profession.