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Reflections on my Journey with GC

The path was far from easy, but the unwavering support of my incredibly supportive wife and children served as the cornerstone of my resilience to where I am today.

Hi!!! I am Ram Govindan, Country Manager, Malaysia, GC Asia Dental Pte Ltd. This is my journey in the dental industry. Hailing from Georgetown Penang, I made the pivotal move to Kuala Lumpur in 1984, setting forth on a journey rooted in humble beginnings. The path was far from easy, but the unwavering support of my incredibly supportive wife and children served as the cornerstone of my resilience to where I am today.

Their encouragement and belief became my pillars of strength. Today, as I reflect on my journey, I stand proud, a testament to perseverance and the enduring power of familial support. I never had an easy journey, coming from family of 7 brothers and sisters, at a very young age I learnt from my father who was the sole breadwinner at that time the meaning of family values and responsibility. Since a very young age, my passion for bodybuilding has been an unwavering force in my life. The iron grip of determination took hold early on, driving me to explore the realms of strength, discipline, and physical transformation. What started as a youthful fascination evolved into a commitment that not only thought me the meaning of discipline but also instilled in me an unwavering “never give up” attitude.

However, guided by divine plans for each individual, my path led me into the realm of the professional workforce. Following four years of working in Penang without any sign of career advancement, I made the decision to embark on a career change in Kuala Lumpur. At the age of 30, while employed in Cooperative Society marketing, the realization dawned on me that my professional trajectory was stagnant and lacked any significant progress.

Encountering my mentor was a turning point; he initiated me into the realms of sales and marketing. When he inquired, ‘Are you willing to speak to 10 to 15 people a day?’ I confidently responded that I was already engaging with 20-25 individuals daily in my current role. Despite my lack of knowledge in sales, I found the initial journey quite disheartening.

Nearly succumbing to discouragement after three months, it wasn’t until the Director of the company (dealing in office equipment) recognized my deficiency in sales expertise. He promptly enrolled me in a one-day course that proved to be transformative. Within the subsequent six months, I ascended to a managerial position within the company, marking a significant turning point in my professional trajectory. As I always tell my team even today, sales is an art. Selling involves more than just following a set of procedures or techniques. It requires a creative and strategic approach, akin to the way an artist crafts a masterpiece.

In sales, understanding the unique needs of customers, effective communication, and adapting to different situations are essential components, much like an artist choosing the right colors, strokes, and techniques to create a compelling piece of art. It emphasizes the importance of skill, intuition, and a personalized touch in navigating the dynamics of the sales process.

This subsequently allowed me to lead the Government Business in the Klang Valley, an endeavour that was very distinctive. For me, it extended beyond mere financial gains; the thrill lay in securing substantial orders and facing the challenges of earning trust as a dependable sales manager and a friend. Successfully closing significant deals, I had the honour of interacting with both humble and high-ranking government officials. Despite a subsequent attempt to venture into my own business, which proved unsuccessful, I redirected my focus towards other markets and, serendipitously, found my way into the Dental Market.

Diethelm Days

My entry into the dental industry in 1996 was purely a twist of fate or by accident. Joining Diethelm Sdn. Bhd. (Dental Division) for a span of three years, I found myself immersed in handling a diverse range of materials such as Kuraray, J Morita, Anthos, Kromopan, and Astra. The novel experience of engaging with dentists proved to be invigorating. Building connections in the dental industry, whether with fellow sales personnel or customers, brought a refreshing dynamic. I relished the challenges of ensuring the satisfaction of both dentists and customers, making those days a truly exciting period of learning.

N K Luck Days

In 1998, I received an invitation to join N K Luck Sdn. Bhd., a proposition I embraced to deepen my knowledge of dental materials. It seemed like the ideal avenue to expand my understanding in this field. In this role, I engaged in selling a variety of products including Denstply, Septodont, some Endo, some Ortho, and acrylic teeth. A distinctive aspect of this experience was the outstation travel using a van loaded with valuable dental materials. The prospect was somewhat nerve-wrecking, considering the substantial value of the materials onboard. Parking the van overnight added an extra layer of concern to the experience but nevertheless the experience thought me a valuable lesson on responsibility.

GC Calling

Ah, the incredible year of 1999 at the Lake Club during the MDA Dinner – a memorable event etched in my journey! Picture this: walking around with a mug of beer in hand, I crossed paths with a remarkable figure from GC, none other than Mr. Eddie J. Balchin. Our conversation about the market and my endeavors was filled with enthusiasm and laughter. Unexpectedly, Eddie proposed an exciting opportunity to join GC. Frankly, I had been contemplating a move away from the dental market, eyeing other sectors. After an hour of engaging banter, Eddie popped the question, offering me the role of Sales Executive at GC Asia Dental Pte Ltd. The prospect, distinct from working for a dealer, instantly captivated me. I served as a Sales Executive until 2007, and with the departure of the then manager, Dr. Nathan, I enthusiastically assumed the role of Country Manager for Malaysia. What a thrilling turn of events!

The Force Awakens with GC

Let me tell you about the electrifying chapter when GC Asia entered my professional life! It was a game-changer as I stepped into the role of Sales Executive, contributing to the exponential growth of the GC Brand in the dental market. Before this, Glass Ionomer Cements (GIC) were merely a mystery to me, an untapped potential in my career.

Delving into the basis of the material, I was utterly astonished at the sheer brilliance of GIC and perplexed as to why it wasn’t the go-to choice in the dental profession. The realization hit – the GC brand and GIC were represented by a modest company, and sales personnel showed little interest in enhancing market share. The sales figures were downright disheartening.
Then came the exhilarating turning point – GC’s decision to establish a local team. The pressure was on, and dealerships underwent a transformation. The momentum was building!

Enter the scene-stealing CDE programs (ART) stretching from Perlis to Johor Bharu and Sabah to Sarawak. Can you fathom the excitement? We orchestrated a staggering 70-80 CDE programs annually, sometimes even pulling off two or three in a single day! The dynamism and enthusiasm during these programs were nothing short of infectious. Oh, what a ride it has been with GC, propelling not just the brand but my passion for making a lasting impact in the dental arena!

Capsulation

Ah, that was the era when GC unveiled capsulation, and let me tell you, we embraced it with unbridled passion! Our mission? To elevate capsulated Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC) into the material of choice in every clinic. Now, convincing dentists to adopt this revolutionary form was akin to charging headfirst into a formidable wall each time.

Undoubtedly, challenges awaited – a new delivery system, heightened costs for dentists, and a barrage of issues, particularly with capsules failing to work chairside. Replacing these capsules became a routine, and some dentists reverted to the old Powder and Liquid system. But, oh, our tenacity paid off! Through our enduring relationships with dentists, most stuck with the capsules.

In Malaysia, we refused to yield, relentlessly pushing capsulation forward. Today, I stand with immense pride as the majority of my sales stem from capsulated GIC. This journey, marked by trials and triumphs, echoes the passion we poured into making capsulated GIC a cornerstone in the dental market.

Preventive

GC has consistently championed Preventive Dentistry, showcasing its commitment through the introduction of a diverse array of preventive materials. Innovations like Fuji 7, Saliva Buffer Kit, Tooth Mousse, and Tri Plaque ID Gel, coupled with our collaboration in Minimum Intervention Dentistry, have revolutionized treatment options for dentists. I take immense pride in being part of the introduction of these materials to the Malaysian Market. Today, these materials have become integral to dental treatments.

A heartfelt appreciation goes to GC for not merely resting on the laurels of Fuji IX GP Capsules’ success. Instead, they continue to push boundaries with a fresh and innovative range, including Resin-based materials like Gaenial Composites and Bonding, Solare Composites and Bonding, and various new composites unparalleled globally. Working with GC has been a breeze,and I extend my gratitude for their unwavering innovation and dedication to the dentist’s welfare in material production. Fuji 7, Tooth Mousse, Injectable Composite, Tri Plaque ID Gel, and distinctive composites in the realm of Aesthetic and Cosmetic Dentistry stand as testaments to their commitment to pioneering unique and groundbreaking dental materials.

Conclusion

Reflecting on this enriching odyssey, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the guiding lights who played pivotal roles in shaping my extensive and thrilling career with GC. My sincere appreciation goes to my mentor Mr. Jagan, Mr. Edison De Cruz from SBL, Mr. Kuan of Diethelm, Mr. Jeffrey Teh, Mr. Eddie J. Balchin, Dr. Pia Trinos, and the dentists whose influence has been instrumental in molding me into the professional I am today.

To the younger generation embarking on their own career paths, I offer this piece of advice: Discover your passion and pursue it relentlessly. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and surround yourself with mentors and influencers who inspire and guide you. Your journey may be challenging, but the lessons learned and the experiences gained will undoubtedly shape a rewarding and fulfilling career. Always remain open to learning, stay passionate, and believe in your ability to make a significant impact in your chosen field.

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