This is a Relationship Business
There are threats to your business, but nothing that strong relationships can't combat. Your competitors are trying to create relationships with your accounts. You are already competing for your customers' business against supply arrangements, buying group discounts, management arrangements, and service incentives. All of this intended to increase profits but not yours. So it is time to start working with your customers to provide services and a relationship that is not easily broken by competitor with a cheaper price or some other arrangement that cuts you out! You must be competitive and develop a relationship with your customer where they need you for more than just the commodity price that your competitors offer. Your customers are less likely stray if you are offering them a partnership. Loyalty is never earned with price incentives or discounts, but through strong relationships built on mutual benefit. How are you working with your customers to build those relationships? —Jason A. Meyer, managing director, HPC Puckett & Company.
Based in San Diego, Calif., HPC Puckett & Company specializes in mergers and acquisitions of wholesale optical laboratories. You can send comments or questions about this article or any other Dollars & Sense articles to Jason A. Meyer at email@example.com.
Hoya Vision Care Opens Lab in South Carolina
Hoya Vision Care recently acquired New South Optical Laboratories in Greenville, S.C. and is now operating the lab under the Hoya Greenville banner. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Pictured at the lab's grand opening are, left to right, Donnie Cross, Hoya Greenville Lab general manager; Donna Simmons, Hoya Greenville customer service manager; David Stewart, Hoya territory sales manager.
VisionWeb Integrates with Diversified Ophthalmics' Practice Maximus Software
VisionWeb's ophthalmic product ordering service is now integrated with Diversified Ophthalmics' Practice Maximus optometric management software. With this module, eyecare professionals using the Practice Maximus software can now place orders directly with any of VisionWeb's lab partners from within their practice management software.
John Granby of Deschutes Optical Dies at 59
BEND, Ore.—John Granby of Deschutes Optical passed away here on Aug. 16 after battling ALS disease for the past several years. He was 59 years old.
In 1989, Granby founded Deschutes Optical, a wholesale lab in Bend, Oregon. He established a branch in Boise, Idaho a few years later. Granby commuted between the two businesses in his private plane or on one of his Harley Davidson motorcycles. Deschutes Optical was acquired by Essilor several years ago.
Granby is survived by his wife, Debra, his mother, Lee Granby, a twin brother, Richard, and two sisters, Paula and Mary.
Contributions can be made in Granby's name to Partners in Care Hospice, 2075 NE Wyatt Court Bend, Ore., 97701.
Herbert "Buddy" Cohen Dies at 83
Optical industry veteran Herbert "Buddy" Cohen died on May 30 following a long illness. He was 83 years-old.
A resident of Dix Hills, N.Y., Cohen spent virtually his whole career as a sales engineer for Coburn Optical Industries in the Northeast. During his 35 years with Coburn, he was instrumental in helping to automate the lens fabricating process by selling and installing state-of-the-art generators, polishers and edging machines.
He is survived by Doris, his wife of 62 years, sons Mark and Jay, daughter-in-laws Paula and Nancy and grandchildren Jennifer, John, Steve, Deanne and Kevin. Donations in Cohen's name can be made to the American Heart Association.
Maui Jim's Paul Ponder
By Judith Lee
Think the star power of Maui Jim brand recognition insulates its Rx lab from the challenges you face every day? Think again.
Paul Ponder, Rx Lab Manager, says he deals with it all: continual upgrading and updating of technology, training and retraining the workforce, coping with the learning curve.
"We are a completely digital surfacing lab that provides proprietary lens designs to accommodate our wrap sunglass collection," noted Paul Ponder, Rx lab manager. "Our edging system is state of the art MEI edging equipment designed and configured to precisely edge all of the 4, 6 and 8 base lenses."
Ponder explained that the Maui Jim lab has automated and installed completely digital surfacing equipment. Vendors presented issue number one.
"It took some time working with our vendors to dial in the equipment to meet the requirements of our quality standards. Once this was accomplished we were able to offer our range of prescription parameters to 1/100 of a diopter accuracy," Ponder said.
Issue number two was cross-training the entire lab staff on multiple operations. Although the transition was an operation-wide challenge, it has paid off.
"Productivity has increased dramatically without hiring additional staffing. Turn-time on orders has been reduced, redo's have also reduced, and first-pass yields have increased," Ponder said.
The lab's secret weapon is Maui Jim's training staff that travels the globe to train retailers how to fit and sell the latest styles, as well as promote its latest lens technologies in its patented PolarizedPlus2 lens products.
Maui Jim has made a major commitment to grow its prescription lens business. In 2012, the company formed an optical alliance of key eyecare professionals from North America.
"The strategy behind this is to form a core group of optical professionals to serve as a consulting team to provide industry updates, ideas and new thinking in the optical business," Ponder said.
Digital marketing through the worldwide web is an important priority. The lab promotes the use of electronic ordering through Eyefinity, VisionWeb, as well as Maui Jim's own website. The new "Maui Jim Direct Rx" ordering system is being implemented.
And what about the use of social media to promote Maui Jim Rx lenses?
"We are creating awareness of our prescription program through our social media channels," said Ponder, "and driving the consumers to authorized Maui Jim optical retailers."
Workload Rising? Stay Afloat With Automation
By Julie Bos
Is your lab flooded by increasing work? Are you drowning in breakage and spoilage costs? Or simply tired of the torturous trickle of inconsistent quality or undependable employees? These are the dilemmas that can make a lab sink or swim. In recent years, however, the optical industry has discovered a life raft. Labs are increasingly turning to automation to drive efficiency, reduce errors and absorb higher workloads without adding employees.
The right automation solutions – at the right time – can transform large workloads into standardized jobs that are organized, efficient and more cost-effective than their manually-processed counterparts. Time-consuming manual steps are virtually eliminated, leading to far better turnaround time, more capacity, higher productivity and fewer errors. It's no wonder more and more labs are jumping in the game.
Check out case studies of labs that have moved to automation by reading the entire article on the newly redesigned LabTalk website.