Through My Lens

Redefining ‘Full Service’
Every day, owners and managers of wholesale optical laboratories are challenged to find ways to better serve their retail accounts. They must adjust their inventories to accommodate a constantly shifting lens product mix as well as integrate new lens processing and computer technology into the lab. They must also cope with the difficult economic conditions currently facing all manufacturers and small business owners. Out of necessity, lab managers and their staffs must think creatively in order to continue growing and remaining competitive.

Yet in the day-to-day grind of work, this is sometimes overlooked, even by lab personnel themselves. In fact, creativity can occur on a small scale, such as when a customer service rep fields a call from an unhappy customer and solves their problem, turning a possible negative into a positive. Or it can occur on a bigger scale, such as when lab management decides to upgrade the lab’s entire computer system, a move that can impact everything from production to billing to payroll.

In reviewing the results of L&T’s annual Lab Usage Survey, in which eyecare professionals and optical retailers offered their perceptions of the products and services they receive from their labs, I’m reminded of how much energy and creativity it takes to run a successful lab, even a small one. It may not always be obvious, but if you consider the many ways labs support their customers, it becomes apparent. Whether it’s grinding that special prescription, doing a rush job for a patient who’s going on vacation, making that perfect drill mount or providing advice about fitting a new progressive lens, the better labs almost always meet and often surpass their customers’ expectations. When you consider how integral a lab is to the success of the eyecare practice or optical shop, it gives new meaning to the term “full-service.”

Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology