In response to COVID-19, VSP Optics has made a decision to withdraw from its role as a contracting entity between Australian Health Funds and independent optometrists.
Brad Saffin, Managing Director of VSP Australia and Marchon Eyewear in Australia says in doing so the company will be less distracted and better able to focus on its mission “to help people around the world see better, look better and feel better”.
“Like every business, COVID-19 required VSP to look closely at our business and the potential economic impacts to our business. VSP Australia made the difficult decision to withdraw from its role as a contracting entity between Australian Health Funds and independent optometrists once the existing contracts have been fulfilled… As one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and distributors of quality eyewear and sun wear, we want to be the best partner we can be to support our partners’ needs with really great frames that we know patients want.”
Inarguably, it’s been a challenging year for optical retail, but Mr Saffin says the local optical industry is resilient and is already showing renewed strength.
“We have seen an incredible rebound, way above our expectations after what was a very difficult April for our entire industry. The initial shock of the pandemic caused a lot of strain, but we are now moving on with the new normal. We are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the short and medium term. People will continue to need prescription eyewear and will look to their eye care providers. Long-term the industry remains, I believe, in good shape.”
Investing in Supply Continuity
“One thing we have learnt so far is that it will be a bumpy ride. COVID-19 has successfully proven it can hit the local industry in two ways – with flow on effect of global issues, and local issues such as the Victorian stage four lockdowns constantly challenging us. We are thankful for the professionalism and resilience of optometrists and that as a group, everyone has risen to meet the challenge.”
To assure continuity of supply during the crisis Mr Saffin said Marchon had been operating from a remote workplace, with dedicated sales teams and established split shifts to protect the health and safety of its frontline team.
Additionally, the company has invested more in developing its IT integration.
“We have updated our B2B integrations to ensure practices have flexibility in regards to managing their stock needs and managing their inventory. Our portals mean live inventory can be seen 24 hours a day and any inventory needs can be attended to at a time that suits the practice, not when it suits the sales representative or supplier. We have been very consistent. We have continued to invest in inventory and in supporting our customers in managing their inventory levels. We have been very diligent with our supply chain partners to ensure we could meet practice needs. This has put us in a very strong position, especially given the rebound in business that we have seen coming from our partners.
“Adding to our world class frames supply, we also operate VSP Optics, which allows us undertake supply and fit jobs for our partners arguably in the most simple, and efficient way. With both frame and lenses being assembled in Sydney, we aren’t looking offshore to warehouse our product.”