Summertime Ideas: Exploring and ‘Reshoring’

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No matter how long you’ve been doing something, there’s always a little light that can go off in your brain when you learn you can do things differently. That’s the power of a good idea, especially when it comes from someone that’s accomplished and successful.

That was the thinking behind our Cover Story this month, “Unlocking the Secrets of the $Million Practice.” Taking care of patients and delivering superior eyecare is the priority of these practitioners. But the realities about running a successful business operation, their experiences, watchwords and learnings, can be useful to all.

We hope you explore what each has to say. We would also like to know: do you have your own secrets about how to best run an optical business or practice today? Please let us know. We’d be happy to keep this going and run more of your advice to others online.

Time changes perspective. And that’s very true in the realm of “supply chain”—the route optical frames and sunglasses take from manufacturer to your door. European manufacturing and import, the shift to Asian sourcing and the decline of U.S.-based manufacturing companies have been a fact of life for decades. Optical, of course, is not the only field where this has happened. From automotive production to construction materials to apparel and textile manufacturing, the globalization of supply has transformed many businesses.

But as the cost structure of manufacturing in places like China have increased dramatically and the need for shorter lead times and quicker turnaround starts to be a priority for many buyers/retailers/customers, there are now new opportunities. Technology, too, from 3D printing of prototypes and parts manufacturing, to sped-up communication systems and finishing techniques, have also enabled new options.

The re-emergence of ‘Made in U.S.A.’ production has started. It is still a small percentage of the big picture, but it is happening. In the apparel business, USA Today recently termed this a trend of “reshoring,” the return of manufacturing and sourcing to America.

VM’s Senior Editor Deirdre Carroll spoke with several U.S. based eyewear firms about their perspectives on this trend. Take a read and learn more about today’s interpretation of “American Made.”

maxelrad@jobson.com