Eva-Maria Meijnen, Managing Director PlusDental

Eva-Maria-Meijnen-–-PlusDental

Tell us a bit about how you reacted to the corona situation with your business?
Our Vision is to democratize state-of-the-art dental care. Our transparent aligners correct malocclusion in a pain-free, invisible, and affordable way. In our normal business, we offer a free consultation with our network of dentist partners in DACH, UK, and ES about suitability for our transparent aligner treatment.

Our partners take a 3D scan of our patient’s teeth (using fully digitalized 3D scanning technology), which we can use to plan a course of treatment with transparent aligners. We offer this treatment proposal for free and let the patient decide if they’d like to proceed.

Due to COVID-19, we had to close down our activities in most of the practices to support the stay-home initiative. 

We have great people and use high-end technology in our company and thought about how we could make use of our assets in these difficult times.

What was driving the decision to act this way?
The shortage of protective gear in many medical institutions was very obvious: through the media and also through the feedback we received from our dental partners. We knew we had key resources at hand and we looked for a way to make a meaningful contribution to help those with the greatest burden and the biggest exposure.
 

To what extent did the decision-making process differ from "business as usual"?
The decision process did not differ much from other urgent situations:

  • you have a problem/crisis and an idea about what needs to be done
  • you get together a small team of experts
  • you prototype your idea, gather feedback, improve the product so that it matches requirements
  • you come up with a plan on how to scale
  • you communicate it within the organization so that everyone is aware and the ones who are impacted know and can contribute.

That is exactly what we did in the case of the face shields: 

  • we searched for possibilities to contribute and learned about the possibility to use 3D printing technology to produce protection gears
  • we called in a small team of experts to meet on a Sunday in our dental laboratory in Berlin to prototype the shield
  • we improved the product to make it more robust and improved the production process to match high volume production requirements
  • we reached out via social media to our network to verify the demand of the face shields
    after receiving a lot of positive feedback already hours after our post we called in a small team Monday morning to make up a plan how to scale it and we informed all of our employees in our Monday all hands and asked for volunteers to support the project
  • we set-up a project team, conducted training and made a shift plan to scale output and started the production of face shields Tuesday night

Thanks to the contribution of our employees we were able to distribute the face shields for free to hospitals and medical institutions in Germany and internationally. So far we produced and shipped more than 6000.
More details on our face shields can be found here.

What do you personally learn from this experience?
I was overwhelmed by the positive reaction of our employees: by the immediate response and the willingness to work through the nights to support others. The commitment, creativity, and team spirit are outstanding in these difficult times. It showed me once more what a fantastic team we have.

What is your message to business leaders who are experiencing difficulties at the moment?
The crisis is enormous. It puts many healthy businesses in extreme critical economical situations. But there are also positive aspects to gain. We have brilliant brains in our companies and we have outstanding technologies. Instead of sending everyone home and watching the development inactively, search for possibilities to use your resources to support overcoming this crisis. Your employees will honor your impulse with their commitment and loyalty and it will make you stronger as a team.


Who should we interview next?
Christian Vollmann, founder of nebenan.de. With his platform he promotes the active support within the neighborhood in the corona crisis: e.g. making purchases for people with increased risk, offering help for families with kids, or supporting the survival of the shops in the neighborhood by buying vouchers now to help them through the crisis. During the crisis, he offers all services to communities and businesses for free.

Do you want to share a story about an inspiring business leader who takes action and pursues new ventures despite the corona-times?


Send us an email
stories@corona-ventures.com