Could you briefly describe your activity & philosophy ?
Our high volume based business has three main objectives : highest quality and best service (lead time) at the lowest price. Right now, Specsavers Group has by far the largest market share in the UK.
How do you see the impact of the chains on the English ophthalmic market now and in the future ?
The chains are driving the quality and the price.
This dominance will continue well into the future.
Already now, there is a high percentage of glazed jobs on the English market. Will it also be an issue for you ?
Specsavers Group has just created a new Division, called IGS (International Glazing Service). This company is investing a lot in robotics and will offer a remote edging service as well as a support service to the stores. IGS is specialized in rimless mounting, but serves also the shops in the UK and on the continent during holidays or peak seasons.
Conversely, this enables Vision Labs to focus on our core business, i.e. high quality lenses, hard- and AR coating.
Why did you decide to automatize the control and packaging areas ?
We found in A&R equipment the solution to face a difficult challenge : continued growth, expanding shifts (weekend & night), training of good quality control operators, combined with seasonal fluctuations (holidays, promotions…) made our QC operations difficult to manage.
As a result of commissioning A&R equipment, Vision Labs is now able to concentrate our efforts on productivity and service. Due to the high measurement accuracy of A&R equipment, we are confident, we will achieve our ultimate objective : zero returns from the stores. With two control & pad printing units, one packaging and one dispatch packaging unit, 28 people have been redeployed into manufacturing, adding value into production.
So far, I am very happy with A&R equipment. Anyway, we are thinking about the next step : automation of the coating area and further optimization of production flow.
A&R has been a major contributor to us achieving this objective.
Interview by Helmut Ahn, Sales Director and Sandra Fonticoli, Sales Europe.
Thanks to Kevin Driskel and Andrew Hutchison