Looking Back: Benco Dental

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When I visited Benco Dental for the third episode of the We Supply America docuseries, I was inspired by their family culture and their devotion to their customers. They go above and beyond just providing a product and stellar service, they believe that their role is to partner with their customers to help them grow their businesses and treat their patients.

As a premier dental supplier, they partner with dentists in more ways than one. They’re not just providing tools and resources, they’re helping their customers thrive. At Benco, a large showroom is available where customers can come through and try out all sorts of products and appliances. They even have designers that can help dentists determine the plans for their offices. 

Here’s a fun thing: During my time at Benco Dental, I got to check out their museum of dental equipment collected over the last century. It’s both a bizarre look into the past and a real tribute to the incredible advances the industry has gone through.

I connected with Managing Director Chuck Cohen to follow up on his team’s experience during the We Supply America shoot. Here’s what he had to say.

Dirk Beveridge: What compelled you to be a part of We Supply America? 

Charles Cohen: From the first minute you called, I loved the idea. I thought it was fabulous, and you were so enthusiastic. You were so enthusiastic about telling the story of distribution in this really positive way. It fit into something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, which is, just like you have said, distribution, in general, doesn’t get the respect it deserves for its impact on the economy and on communities. I loved how you were going to focus on highlighting the discipline of distribution and, as you put it, the noble calling of distribution.

DB: What was your experience like while filming? 

CC: My experience was great, but that’s the easy question. The real question is what was the experience of our people? I cannot overemphasize how enthusiastic they were about the recognition you provided. Not just the recognition of Benco, but of distribution as a whole. I think it mattered to them that you showed that we are a part of something bigger.

There’s that old metaphorical story about bricklayers. There were three bricklayers and when the first one was asked what he did, the first person said, “I lay bricks.” The second person, when asked what he did, said, “I’m building a wall.” The third person, when asked what he did, said, “I’m building a cathedral.”

There’s an element in that story that shows how important it is to understand that what we do matters and is part of something bigger.

I thought the idea behind We Supply America was an unbelievable and successful way to show Benco employees that what we do matters. It’s hard to see that what you do is important. We’re always fighting that mindset. Even when you pick up the phone or stock shelves, those actions are still important. Having you come and tell our story—and the larger story of distribution—was so exciting for our team.

DB: Do you have any stories or takeaways from the filming? 

CC: Seeing our organization through the eyes of someone like you was exciting for me. Seeing how proud everyone was—of the shirts, of the visit, of the lunch—was just exciting and enlightening. It was one of the first times since COVID that we had a significant number of people actually in the office. It was such a nice, beautiful day and everybody came to the office (masks and all), and they were enthusiastic to tell the Benco story. 

From beginning to end it was beautiful. 

DB: Do you think the episode accurately depicted you and your team? 

CC: Yes, very much so. When the episode aired, and it focused on our organization’s passion for the customer, I thought it really captured the essence of what makes us different. But even before the episode, your visit itself was a great experience. The episode was just a bonus. 

DB: Is there anything you want the viewers to know about your company that wasn’t clearly illustrated in the episode? 

CC: We want everyone to know that we have great people who do great work every day. I love how the episode came out. I thought it was appropriate. I thought it was inspiring. And I think our people did as well.

DB:  What was your team’s reaction to the episode? 

CC: They totally were excited about it. We got a lot of positive feedback both internally and externally. We are having discussions now about marketing that episode to a broader base than just Benco people. In a perfect world, we would love our customers to see it too and maybe our competitors too! 

DB: How has being part of We Supply America impacted you and your team? 

CC: I think everyone was walking a little taller and with a little more spring in their step, and that is worth a lot. The other unintended result—in a world where hiring is more and more competitive—I feel like we have been able to improve our recruiting. It helps create a positive vibe about the business. I noticed that our ability to hire improved after the episode.

DB: How have things been going since the filming and since the airing of the episode? 

The main thing is that we are trying to figure out how to use the episode with customers and as a recruiting effort. 

I also think people are still very proud of the episode. Today I was with someone from marketing and they were wearing the We Supply America shirt. Every time someone puts on that shirt they walk a little higher. 

DB: Is there anything else that you would like to add? 

I am very excited about and satisfied with our participation. I would love to talk to anyone considering it because it far exceeded my expectations.

Chuck and his brother, Rick Cohen, really lead Benco Dental with a mindset on serving each employee, each customer, and the community at large. To hear more about their passion for their work and how they run their business, check out this conversation. You’ll be inspired to hear about how this family-owned business managed the pandemic and supported its staff through it.  

Thank you to our sponsors

Infor is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the We Supply America tour in partnership with Dirk Beveridge and UnleashWD. Infor is a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, with a special focus on wholesale distribution. We use data-driven insights to solve emerging industry challenges and provide our customers with the modern tools they need to innovate and transform their businesses.

Proton is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the We Supply America tour in partnership with Dirk Beveridge and UnleashWD. Proton’s innovative artificial intelligence platform provides turn-by-turn directions for sales reps that sell various products by telling them which customers to talk with, when, and about what through our intuitive web app.

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