With roughly 200 million Americans in need of some form of correct vision device, lenses are “big business” across the country. Granted, lenses aren’t just used to power people’s eyeglasses.
Lenses are leveraged to make microscopes work, magnifying glasses magnify, to create displays, and more.
No matter what your lens needs are, optometry or otherwise, if you need custom lenses made regularly, you’re going to want to connect with an optics manufacturer. Here’s the issue, though: the internet grants you the ability to connect with thousands of manufacturers all over the world.
Which one should you choose?
Below, our team breaks down a handful of things you should seek in your optics manufacturer to get the most out of your partnership.
Fight the urge to do business with an optics manufacturer that operates abroad. We appreciate that outsourcing optics creation to China or other reduced-cost labor markets can be tempting. However, many times the optics that come in from external sources don’t measure up to the quality of domestic products.
If the lens you need doesn’t require precision, fine. If the lenses you need are going to be used to help someone see during their daily activities, mitigate your liability by ensuring the crafter you’re working with is bound by the standards imposed on them via domestic regulations.
One of the first things our team looks at when assessing an optics manufacturer is its reputation. Usually, doing this is as easy as checking out reviews on a Google or Yelp page.
The issue with doing that, in this case, is that optics manufacturers operate in the business-to-business space which means they tend not to have consumer-facing, well-appointed review pages. Still, it’s worth checking to see if the manufacturer you’re considering does before investing in your relationship.
Any optics manufacturer worth their salt is going to stand by the products they send you. That backing of products usually comes in the way of a money-back guarantee.
While money-back guarantees are not a given by every manufacturer you’ll find, we highly recommend prioritizing companies that offer that perk. Doing so will absolve you of the risk involved in doing business with a new contractor.
When you first touch base with your optics manufacturer, gauge how responsive they are. For example, when you email a prospect a question about, say, flat optics, they should get back to you in 24 hours and let you know that you can “…find more information on tolerances here.”
Or did they leave you hanging for a week?
How your initial contact goes with a manufacturer is generally indicative of how your long-term working relationship will go. Keep that in mind and steer clear of groups that seem indifferent towards your business.
No matter how obsessed with quality you are, cost matters. After all, the best optics in the world that you can’t afford are worthless to your business.
With that in mind, ensure your optics prospect is transparent with you about what they charge for the products you’re looking for. In a perfect world, pricing will be displayed on a manufacturer’s website. In a less perfect world, when you call and consult with your manufacturer, they’ll be able to share rates over the phone.
Any manufacturer that will not give you a clear sense of price when asked directly is almost certainly going to negatively surprise you with an invoice.
How long a lens manufacturing firm has been in business isn’t fully indicative of its quality. With that said, it can be a pretty good indicator.
It takes consistency to stay open for a long time. That consistency usually stems from a constant stream of customers and that constant stream usually follows quality.
If there’s an optics manufacturer that has been minting products for 10+ years, give them priority consideration over the manufacturer that has been in business for 2. It’s the safer bet, all other things equal.
Ease of Order Placement
Optometrists in particular know how much an easy optics ordering process can help their business. With new orders needing to be pushed through as frequently as daily, a cumbersome order form or the need to get on the phone to place an order can be downright unworkable.
Talk to your optics manufacturer about how you would go about making product requests from them. Ask specifically about when they process orders and turnaround times.
If aspects of a manufacturer’s workflow seem deeply inconvenient, seek out another manufacturer.
Can you place a single optics order when working with your manufacturer or do you need to place an order that meets certain volume requirements? Do single orders incur additional charges?
Those are questions you’ll want to ask and weigh against common use cases you find in your business.
Optimally, your optics manufacturer will offer flexibility in their order possibilities.
There’s a Quality Optics Manufacturer Out There Waiting for Your Business
Finding an optics manufacturer can feel frustrating given the niche nature of that practice. We can tell you first-hand though that there are a plethora of quality optics providers out there you need only put in a little bit of effort to find.
We’re hopeful our tips will aid you to that end. And if you find yourself in need of more guidance, our team is here to provide another assist!
Continue exploring more of our business to business-related content on the optic lens manufacturing industry, optical lenses, and more on our blog.