|Lab Usage Report|
The constant introduction of new products and technologies, particularly ophthalmic lenses and lens treatments, is creating challenges as well as opportunities for vision care professionals. As doctors and dispensers work to stay abreast of these changes, they are placing greater demands on their labs. Specifically, practitioners want the best selection of products, the best quality workmanship and top notch service, and they want it all at competitive prices.
Faced with heightened expectations from customers, both wholesale and retail labs are upgrading their operations and improving their performance in order to remain competitive. u In this L&T annual Wholesale Lab Usage Survey, we polled 221 independent vision care professionals and optical retailers to find out their perceptions and attitudes about their labs as well as the essential products and services the labs supply to them.
Use of lab services are not decreasing. The services provided (technical support, lens product information, merchandising assistance, continuing education programs, online ordering and remote tracing) by the location’s primary lab have either increased or stayed the same over the past three years.
51 percent expect to do more business with wholesale labs in the coming year. Only 9 percent expect to do less.
Most locations (82 percent) use a wholesale lab for processing lenses or providing other eyewear products and services.
76 percent of locations work with more than one wholesale lab. 69 percent order specific types of product from one lab but not from another.
Lens brands (75 percent) and AR coating brands (76 percent ) distributed by a lab are an extremely/very important factor in selecting a lab.
The factors that were rated as most important in selecting a wholesale lab are lens servicing quality (96 percent), lens finishing quality (95 percent), quality of drill mounting (94 percent), product turn around time (90 percent) and lens coating quality (88 percent).
Telephone (65 percent) and fax (58 percent) are the methods most used to order products.
73 percent of labs that sell spectacle lenses offer online ordering; however, 81 percent have never sent in frame tracing data with an online order.
The majority of locations purchase spectacle lenses (92 percent), stock lenses (53 percent), surfaced lenses (69 percent) and safety glasses (56 percent) from their primary lab.
The L&T Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2004 was conducted from August 23, 2004 to September 3, 2004 by Jobson Optical Research. The sample of 221 independent optical retailers was derived from the proprietary Jobson Optical Research Database. All participants were contacted by phone. No incentive was offered.