Safco Dental Supply — accurate and reliable service

Accurate and reliable service from Safco is rooted in traditional core values.

What orthodontists should expect from their dental supply company

Safco’s customer service representatives

When Harold Saffir started Safco Dental Supply 75 years ago, he envisioned that the surest means to success would be the ability to delight customers in every way. Quality products at low straightforward prices, fast friendly service, and accurate, reliable order fulfillment would keep practices running smoothly.

With all of the changes in the dental market and in technology since 1945, the means to fulfilling those goals have certainly changed, but thanks to Harold and his son, Ken, that business philosophy has been permanently embedded in Safco’s DNA. To this day, Safco’s success has indeed been dependent on its motivation to capitalize on new opportunities while remaining firmly rooted in the traditional core values that have propelled its growth for decades.

Harold Saffir shown with his wife, Joyce
Harold Saffir shown with his wife, Joyce
Ken Saffir
Ken Saffir

It all started with one product

When Harold started Safco in 1945, it was a home-based mail-order business with just one product — dental anesthetic. Having earned his chemistry degree at the University of Chicago, Harold developed and manufactured the product himself. As more and more dentists came to recognize the quality and reliability of the product, Safco gained a loyal following. Other manufacturers soon discovered that Safco could provide a new path to selling their products. Then in 1975, Harold’s youngest son, Ken, joined Safco at age 26, bringing with him a youthful flair for marketing and technology that would be the foundation for future growth. And grow they did.

Safco branched out into a variety of private-label products and added more and more national brands. Ken recalls that “by the time Safco computerized its systems in 1986, we had about 650 inventory items, and a good customer was someone who ordered 3 times a year.”

Safco now offers over nearly 20,000 dental products

Today Safco carries products from nearly every top manufacturer: 3M, Dentsply Sirona, KaVo Kerr, Septodont, Premier, Coltene, Young, Kulzer, and over 200 others. And every product is purchased directly from authorized sources, fully covered by manufacturer’s warranties.

Safco also offers over 1,300 Safco private-label products that offer quality and reliability at economical prices. When Harold developed that first anesthetic product, he was committed to ensuring that it would meet all the standards that he would demand if used on his own family. That is the commitment Safco upholds to this day, and its selection continues to grow, with some exciting new additions coming in 2020.

Safco orthodontic product catalog

Safco expands into orthodontic products

Many orthodontists have long turned to Safco for their infection control, operatory, hygiene, and many other products. With Safco’s recent announcement of its new relationship with OC Orthodontics, orthodontists now have access to a wide assortment of respected, high-quality, competitively priced brackets, buccal tubes, ligature ties, elastomerics, and more. This is in addition to a broad selection of orthodontic instruments from manufacturers like Hu-Friedy and Integra Miltex, cements from GC America, and 16 brands of alginate, including Safco’s own private-label offering. All of these products and more can be found at You can also request the new Safco Orthodontic Catalog at or by calling 800-621-2178.

Honest and transparent low prices

Harold knew that by keeping overhead low, he could offer lower prices than most other distributors. Rather than hire an expensive sales force, he decided to sell only by direct marketing. He also felt that customers would appreciate the opportunity to order at their convenience without spending time with a sales rep.

Harold and Ken also found that they could build greater trust with customers by ensuring that prices did not vary from customer to customer or vary from published prices. Safco today still adheres to this paramount pricing philosophy — every practice, large or small, pays the same low price. And every price customers see on Safco’s website or current publication is the one they’ll see on their invoice. And on top of that, Safco offers free shipping for orders over $70, with no need to meet annual purchase levels or to join a special purchasing program.

Safco’s two school bus-sized carousels work like the retrieval system at your local dry cleaner, rotating to deliver exactly the right products for each customer order
Safco’s two school bus-sized carousels work like the retrieval system at your local dry cleaner, rotating to deliver exactly the right products for each customer order

Making ordering easy and worry-free

In 1999, Ken presented Harold with the idea that an organized, informative catalog would help dentists order products faster and more easily. As Ken tells it, “My dad was skeptical, but he let me try it anyway.” The idea was a huge success and remains a key customer resource, communicating the latest product features and benefits to customers with an easy-to-read design, large color photos, and third-party product reviews from The Dental Advisor and Reality.

Safco’s proficiencies in product presentation and navigation proved to be the perfect springboard to developing what many of their customers tell them is the fastest, easiest dental product website in the industry. The first step was in 2005 with a simple “quick order pad” that made it easy for even the least tech-savvy customers to order from Safco. According to Steven Murovannyy, Safco’s Director of eCommerce, “Today features all of the helpful product information, photos, and low prices Safco is known for. We’ve made it extremely easy for customers to quickly find and order exactly what they need, see the latest free offers, shop from their order history, create shopping lists, track orders, view invoices, and chat with our customer service team.”

Over 75% of orders now come through Safco’s website, but many orders are still placed by phone. Whether calling Safco to place an order or just to ask a question, customer service representatives are trained to help customers quickly and efficiently, not to pressure or upsell. There are no commissions or incentives to promote anything other than excellent service. Many of Safco’s customer service representatives have dental office experience, and all receive ongoing training from vendors to stay knowledgeable on the latest products.

Brad Joerger, Director of Customer Service and Vendor Relations, explains: “Quality service is what’s most important to us. We really are second to none in terms of how we bend over backwards to accommodate our customers.” All customer calls are answered quickly; if customer service is too busy to answer a call within 30 seconds, the phone rings on desks throughout the office. Safco offers a uniquely liberal 30-day guarantee, ensuring that any product can be returned for any reason for a complete refund and no shipping costs, even if it’s already been opened. “We also recently extended our hours to better accommodate our West Coast customers,” Joerger adds.

Safco’s high-capacity refrigeration center assures that all temperature-sensitive products are delivered with the longest possible shelf life
Safco’s high-capacity refrigeration center assures that all temperature-sensitive products are delivered with the longest possible shelf life.

Accurate, reliable order fulfillment

Safco’s 162,000-square-foot facility near Chicago features state-of-the art technology and rigorous quality control to get orders out quickly and efficiently while ensuring that customers receive exactly what they order. Safco uses voice-picking technology and efficient barcode scanners to pick products and verify orders: “Our technology plus visual inspection of every order has enabled us to achieve over 99% accuracy, and we’re always striving for 100%,” stresses Paul Kearns, Director of Operations. “We want to make sure that our customers are always getting what they ordered.”

And to make sure products are delivered in pristine condition, Safco’s entire warehouse is temperature and dust controlled. The high-capacity refrigeration center assures that all temperature-sensitive products are delivered with the longest possible shelf life. Safco even affixes a bright green label to every refrigerated product reminding customers to refrigerate it in their office.

Safco’s two school bus-sized carousels work like the retrieval system at your local dry cleaner, rotating to deliver exactly the right products for each customer order. This allows Safco’s warehouse staff to get orders out with tremendous productivity. And nearly a mile of conveyer track with electric eyes, switches, and scanners guide their voyage from warehouse floor to delivery vehicle.

Further investments Safco makes to ensure orders are delivered in pristine condition include sealing and bagging bottled liquids, using the highest grade shipping boxes available (certified by UPS as meeting their Eco Responsible Packaging Program), and adding recyclable, biodegradable air pillows.

John Fuerst, Safco President and CEO
John Fuerst, Safco President and CEO

Safco’s people make it all happen

Safco has always shown a high level of commitment and generosity toward its employees. John Fuerst, President and CEO since 2012, believes that providing them with opportunities to broaden their knowledge and to work with great teams contributes to a more satisfying work experience. “I was hired to develop Safco’s next generation of leaders and advance Safco’s technology. Creating a fun, supportive, and healthy workplace also matters,” Fuerst says. At Safco, this includes everything from providing a full-featured on-site fitness center, maintaining an outdoor garden and walking path, and providing company breakfasts and lunches throughout the year.

Safco remains dedicated to its tradition of treating customers, employees, and vendor partners with respect, friendliness, and a genuine commitment to do things right as it continues its quest for innovative ways to improve operations, to ensure quality, and to offer its customers a full spectrum of the best product choices to meet their needs.

Dedicated people checking every order. Proven processes that quickly move products from their shelves to your door. That’s what you should expect from your dental supply company.


This information was provided by Safco Dental Supply.

Accelerated orthodontics is increasingly accurate and reliable. Read Dr. David Alpan’s article on this subject here.

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