Satisloh, a leading supplier of lens processing systems and equipment, has developed this checklist of important items for labs to consider when undertaking a reengineering project, and the key success factors for such a project.

• Assess current lab performance, strengths and weaknesses (cost, lead time, maintenance, staffs). This creates a baseline and also allows labs to identify improvement areas to focus on.

• Define short-, mid- and long-term business models: Lens only? Frame to come model? Integrated offer frame + lens? online or retail? differentiation through express service? All of this influences how the product will flow through the lab and with that how the lab design should look.

• Define needed technology to fulfill the desired business model: volumes, product mix, lead time, performances.

• Renovating or greenfield decision? Expand and renovate or completely move out to another location: bigger, smaller, closer to airport/freight services? Closer to local retailers? Age and size of existing facility and cost to upgrade infrastructure play a role. So does availability of new building space.

• In both cases, plan a 5- to 10-year business model and define the needed space to accompany the growth of the business over this time period. Don’t move into a new facility that you will outgrow in three years.

• Build a layout that represents your long-term lab vision, even if, at first, you purchase and install only a small part of the equipment.

• Think automation from the get-go. It’s much easier to invest in automation at the beginning than to retrofit.

• Think “people” from the get-go: space, health and safety, skills needed. The current staff will likely be part of the project and can be trained by experts such as Satisloh to master new technologies that the lab decides to invest in.

• Once the plan is developed, it all comes down to execution. It’s important to select the right partner for the project and to limit the number of partners to work with.