Wisconsin Vision Associates
Burlington, Wisconsin

Synopsis: Wisconsin Vision Associates (WVA) is in the midst of a reengineering process that will more than double the lab’s capacity. WVA’s vice president for operations, Jeffery Erickson, discussed the goals of the project and the many steps involved in bringing it to fruition.

Lab Owner’s Report: Jeffrey Erickson

“In my opinion, a lab needs to continually improve processes. It is our goal never to be complacent, to always think about ways we can look at the manufacturing process differently and improve ourselves. We want to be here to serve our customers well today and serve new customers well in the future, and we want to make sure we have ample capacity to do so. Our current reengineering process is very exciting, and we want to make sure we have the capacity ready to answer to the demand that comes from that excitement.

The project is primarily an expansion effort, and with the expansion there is a component of reengineering. We looked at certain elements of automation and conveyance, as well as overall process improvement. We are more than doubling capacity, because we are bringing in newer equipment that will add greater efficiency to the process.

In addition, redundancy in manufacturing equipment is a key element of serving the customer. When a cog in the process goes down or creates an issue, we want to have another machine with a properly working cog in the process. We want to make sure we’re available when our customers need us.

Since the inception of the project, Satisloh has been absolutely integral to us in our planning, engineering and equipment selection—all things lab design. They have been with us as a wonderful teammate throughout the process, along with Santinelli, which was responsible for a portion of the equipment.

Ocuco is our lab management software (LMS) provider and they have also been a great partner in helping us, as we’ve had to discuss new technology and how it would affect our LMS. Essilor has helped us discover what equipment and process improvements we might need to produce their great products, and they have also given us critical feedback about what the best of the best labs do.

A final component is our customers—they have provided us with good critical feedback that has helped us grow in the right ways, select the best technologies, and improve with the right processes.

Our new equipment has all been acquired, and is ready and waiting to be plugged in. Right now, we’re working on the mechanical engineering to support the infrastructure for the lab. For instance, we are working on plumbing plans for water supply, humidity and temperature control for the clean room, and things like that.

The plans and the equipment schedule are in the hands of the awesome mechanical engineers we work with for HVAC, plumbing, fire suppression and other needs. It takes a myriad of architects and engineers to bring a project like this to fruition as we work through the approval process and move to construction.

We are also very cognizant of the delicacy and the sensitivity of manufacturing changeover, so we’re intent on doing what we can during off-production hours. We have plenty of space to duplicate our current line, so we can just get it up and running while the current line is running—there will be no disruption at all.

Whether through lab manufacturing or any other services we’re involved in, we are excited to continue investing in the industry in ways that help us to serve our customers well, and in the way they deserve.”