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Sunday / June 23.
HomemibusinessStrengthening the Frontline: Optical Alliance Gains Ground

Strengthening the Frontline: Optical Alliance Gains Ground

A new alliance, exclusive to independent optometry practices in Australia, aims to build practices and promote unity.

Optical Alliance, a new business network, established by CR Surfacing and launched in April this year, has attracted almost 100 members. The network aims to develop, educate and unite independent practices with a range of business programs and incentives.

To build the network, the Optical Alliance has partnered with companies both within and outside the optometric industry. Those referred to ‘business partners’ are from within the eye care industry: contact lens, frame manufacturers, machinery distributors and ophthalmic equipment. ‘Professional partners’ are companies that supply to the eye care industry – finance, human resources, legal, marketing, I.T., printing, business consulting, shop fitting and professional trainers.

“We’ve attracted some solid network partners, among them are Optiqueline, Device Technologies, Snap Printing, European Eyewear and Alcon.” said Adam Fletcher, Managing Director of CR Surfacing Laboratories.

Tiered Rewards

The Optical Alliance is exclusive to independent practice and membership and based on a minimum monthly spend on CR Surfacing Laboratories’ lenses of AU$5,000 per month. Members who spend $5,000 plus receive 2 per cent of their spend in Optical Alliance Points; those who spend $7,500 plus receive 3 per cent Optical Alliance Points and for a $10,000 plus spend members receive 4 per cent in Optical Alliance Points. There are no upfront costs, no joining fees and no ongoing fees

Mr. Fletcher said members can also obtain points through contact lens partner Alcon, which is offering Optical Alliance members a similar based tiered program.

He said points can be used to purchase goods and services with the Optical Alliance’s business and professional partners, to cover registration fees for Optometry Association Australia conferences and to donate to Optometry Giving Sight.

Independent Future

Mr. Fletcher said the Optical Alliance is exclusively for independent practices. “It’s a well-known fact that the independent optical market continues to be eroded by overseas influences as well as the economic down turn.

“As independents we work hard for every one of our customers, and we know and understand their individual needs as they have come to trust and value our judgement. Never underestimate the power of our relationships as it represents the greatest proportion of our good will.”

The Optical Alliance is structured directly to benefit its members and not third parties. “Our charter to our professional and business partners is to provide members with the very best products and service at fair and competitive prices,” said Mr. Fletcher.

Moving forward he said he hopes the eye care profession and the public alike will recognise the Optical Alliance as a trusted recognised body of professionals.

“Over the coming months the Optical Alliance will implement a series of exciting initiatives and strategic plans, which will promote growth and provide increased margins. We will also appoint a professional steering committee made up of leading independent practice owners and industry leaders.”

Growing Against the Odds

CR Surfacing Laboratories is Australia’s longest standing independent lens laboratory with all manufacturing done from their laboratory in Melbourne including Signature Series Free Form lenses and Satin AR coating.

In recent years the company has made substantial investments to ensure it can compete on a level footing with international lens manufacturers. Mr. Fletcher said that as a result, “our technologies and processing procedures are truly world class”. He said CR Surfacing remains committed to only servicing the independent optical market.