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Wednesday / June 19.
HomeminewsODMA to Standardise Frame Terminology

ODMA to Standardise Frame Terminology

ODMA members, who comprise the majority of frame and lens wholesalers in Australia, are collaborating to standardise terminology used to describe optical frames on software packages used by the optical industry.

ODMA CEO, Finola Carey, said the aim is to create a system for suppliers, software providers and optometrists that is more efficient and easier to manage.

“Currently, every supplier, every optometrist and buying group uses a different reference to describe every aspect of a frame – its SKU, shape, the material it is made from, colour, whether it is an adult’s frame or a child’s, a man’s frame or a woman’s, whether it is scriptable or not, the price and so on.

“As a simple example, while some may code a woman’s frame ‘w’, others may code it ‘f’ for female or ‘L’ for ladies– and that’s just the tip of the ice berg.

We’ve asked for feedback about the degree of difficulty in supplying the mandatory fields so we can have the optimal outcome for the entire industry

“There are a number of problems with this arrangement – when it comes to customers searching for products, they’re not able to drill down effectively enough to get the results they’re after. Also, suppliers are constantly being asked to provide frame descriptors to buying groups and software providers in different formats – which costs them unnecessary time and energy,” she said.

Cameron Hawke from ZEISS, who is an ODMA board member, said standardising frame information will ensure “everyone is speaking the same language – because if you don’t speak the same language, you get misunderstandings”.

He has been primarily responsible for developing the new “language” – he accumulated all terminology currently used to define frames and then worked with ODMA members to develop and recommend the new descriptors.

As well as creating a series of mandatory descriptors there is a host of optional descriptors that frame suppliers can include for each product entry to give customers a more complete picture of the product and help them refine their searches.

Mr. Hawke said the new system will “bring the industry forward into the digital era” although it will not require suppliers to invest heavily in information technology. “We’ve built the system on an excel file, which pretty much anyone can manage, so it’s not a case of suppliers having to hire IT developers or learn complicated new software systems,” said Mr. Hawke.

Steven Johnston, CEO at Provision, said he is thrilled with the direction that ODMA is taking, which “will benefit Provision and the entire industry”. For his organisation the change is timely – Provision is just about to launch a centralised distribution service for many of its supplier’s frames, which will be run out of Sunshades Australia’s Warehouse.

“We’ve been working with ODMA on standardising frame terminology, and we believe this is very important going forward… the more people in the industry that start to automate processes, the more they’ll be asking for information – so it makes perfect sense to have a complete, consistent data set. We’re prepared to adapt the ODMA working party recommendations – it’s for the greater good,” said Mr. Johnston.

ODMA has sent the standardised data file of descriptors out to frame suppliers for feedback and hopes to have the new system in place by the end of the year. “We’ve asked for feedback about the degree of difficulty in supplying the mandatory fields so we can have the optimal outcome for the entire industry. So far the feedback has been positive, and we are looking forward to taking it to the next stage,” said Ms. Carey.

Acknowledging the efforts of Mr. Hawke and other members of the ODMA board and working party, Ms. Carey said the project has been remarkably smooth and speedy to date. “The idea was first discussed at our ODMA board meeting in early February and a committee was formed in early March. Thanks to Cameron’s work, we’re already on track to have the system up and running by the end of this year,” she said.