Lab Execs Address Implications of New Technology in the Modern Lab

By Staff
Monday, October 22, 2018 12:00 AM LAS VEGAS—Owners and executives from both large and small labs, addressed concerns, opportunities and the effects of emerging technology at The Modern Lab – Propelling Optical’s Smart Lab Era, hosted by Vision Monday and Lab Talk.

Rx for Success

By Andrew Karp and Jeff Hopkins
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:30 AM NEW YORK—In today’s ultra-competitive service economy, the pressure to deliver products and services when, where and how consumers want them—the so-called “Amazon effect”—impacts all suppliers. Eyecare professionals and optical retailers are feeling the heat, and so are the labs they depend on.

Automation Provides a Platform for Innovation

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:29 AM Optical labs became increasingly automated in the latter part of the 20th century, thanks to the spread of computer controlled machines, advances in lab software and a streamlined approach to production that eliminated steps in the manufacturing process.

Suppliers Help Labs Meet the New Service Mandate

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:28 AM “The Amazon effect has been growing rapidly in the optical lab industry. As we’ve modernized equipment and processes, the demands grow, not only for quality but also speed and transparency. We’ve enabled a more demanding consumer by providing them faster turnaround of very sophisticated lens products. This overall improvement and modernization has helped us grow the industry.

LMS Puts Lab Managers in Control

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:27 AM All labs, no matter how big or small, depend on a Lab Management System (LMS). LMS software enables managers to control Rx processing, accounts receivable, inventory management, order tracking and sorting, production and interface with laboratory equipment.

How Digital Lens Processing ‘Democratized’ the PAL Business

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:26 AM Bob Niemiec is a keen observer of the optical lab industry, having managed labs for major retail and managed care companies during the course of his career. Now working as a consultant, Niemiec offered his perspective on how digital spectacle lens surfacing and automated finishing processes have reshaped the lab business.

Coburn Technologies: Hearing the Voice of the Customer, Large and Small

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:25 AM NEW YORK—For Alex Incera, president of Coburn Technologies, the process of innovation begins with the voice of the customer. “They’ll talk about things like serviceability—the ability to extract data and the ability to incorporate that data into their own systems and reporting.” From there, Coburn extrapolates from the need to “deliver the tools that the customer may never have even envisioned when they made the initial request.”

Independents Differentiate Themselves With Specialties

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:24 AM A common strategy for labs seeking to differentiate themselves from competitors is offering specialized products and services. The advent of new technologies and the creation of new product categories has created opportunities for labs to distinguish themselves while developing profitable niches. Two labs that have successfully pursued this approach are Rochester Optical in Rochester, N.Y., which produces prescription inserts for smart glasses, and Vision Dynamics in Louisville, Ky., which specializes in glass lenses.

Strengthening Supply Chains and Creating New Business Models

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:24 AM The consolidation of the wholesale lab sector in the 1990s and 2000s by vertically integrated suppliers created powerful lab networks while thinning the ranks of independent labs. In the past decade, optical labs have faced rising capital equipment and labor costs. Those factors, plus the pressure to process high volumes of work for managed vision care customers, have pushed labs to improve supply chain efficiencies and, in some cases, develop more streamlined business models.

New Study Provides SWOT Analysis for Labs

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:23 AM NEW YORK—Jobson Optical Research and the Vision Council’s Lab Division conducted an online survey in August, 2018 to gain an understanding of how optical laboratory executives view the current business climate for labs, and how well they think their company is prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities they encounter in today’s optical market.

Independents Differentiate Themselves With Specialties

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:21 AM A common strategy for labs seeking to differentiate themselves from competitors is offering specialized products and services. The advent of new technologies and the creation of new product categories has created opportunities for labs to distinguish themselves while developing profitable niches. Two labs that have successfully pursued this approach are Rochester Optical in Rochester, N.Y., which produces prescription inserts for smart glasses, and Vision Dynamics in Louisville, Ky., which specializes in glass lenses.

The New Generation of Lab Start-Ups: Technology Meets Tradition

By Andrew Karp
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:20 AM Just a few years ago, when all lab news seemed to be about expanding corporate networks and consolidation, the idea of new independent startup labs might have seemed like a pipe dream. But it was a dream shared by a number of industry veterans, and for some, it has become a reality. And while innovation and technology are a key to their business model, they are creating a future for the independent optical lab through an appreciation of—and even a nostalgia for—its past.

THE MODERN LAB: Assessing the Impact of Integrated Systems

By Andrew Karp
Monday, July 9, 2018 12:00 AM Equipping a prescription lab used to be like ordering from an ala carte menu. Labs might buy a generator from one manufacturer, a polisher and blocker from another, an edger from a third vendor, and then try to tie them together with a software system from yet another supplier. Mix and match was the rule. As a result, labs often produced uneven results. Throughput rates and yields could vary widely within the same lab on a daily or even hourly basis.

Maui Jim Enhances Service to Europe With New Lab in Germany

By Staff
Thursday, July 5, 2018 12:15 AM BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany—Sunglass maker Maui Jim is enhancing its service to European customers with the opening of a prescription lab here on June 25. Until now, all Maui Jim Rx lenses have been produced in Maui Jim’s global corporate office in Peoria, Ill. By opening a lab in central Europe and eliminating customs requirements for overseas shipments, the company can now process prescription orders in as little as 24 hours and ship them to any of its 10,500 retailers in Europe in less than a day, according to Jay Black, Maui Jim’s global vice president of marketing.

VSP Optics Names Digital Eye Lab Network as ‘Unity Lab of the Year’

By Staff
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 12:21 AM RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Optics has named Digital Eye Lab (DEL) Network, a division of ABB Optical Group, as the “Unity Independent Lab of the Year” for its performance in 2017. This is the second consecutive year DEL Network has been recognized for the honor, which is presented annually to an independent optical laboratory that “demonstrates a commitment to growing the Unity Brand, exceptional quality, exceeding Unity sales targets and providing superior customer service,” VSP Optics said in a statement.