By Andrew Karp

The symbiotic relationship between wholesale laboratories and independent eyecare professionals is perhaps the most fundamental relationship in the optical industry. Each depends upon the other for its sustenance and ultimately, its success.

Most independent ECPs are choosey about which labs they send their prescriptions to, and although price is always a factor in their decisions, the quality of the work is usually the key determinant, as the results of our annual Wholesale Lab Watch Survey confirm.


The survey results provide a valuable window into how ECPs select, use and evaluate a lab. The following data offers a snapshot of the survey’s key findings. To get the complete results of the Wholesale Lab Watch Survey 2016, contact Jobson Research at jobsonresearch.com.

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Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

Source: Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016

TOPLINE ANALYSIS

→ Forty-four percent of respondents expect to do more business with wholesale labs in the
coming year.

→ Online is the method used most to order products followed by telephone.

→ The factors that were rated “very important” in selecting a wholesale lab are based on the quality of services more so than the characteristics of the labs themselves (e.g., ownership). The factors in selecting a lab considered very important by most are lens surfacing quality (93 percent) and lens finishing quality (91 percent) and lens coating quality (89 percent), followed by product turnaround time (87 percent).

→ The majority of locations purchase surfaced lenses (90 percent) and safety glasses (67 percent) from their primary lab.

→ The services provided most often by the respondent’s primary lab were lens technical support (99 percent) and lens product information (98 percent) and online ordering (96 percent).

→ The most important concern when dealing with a wholesale optical laboratory:

• Quality (52 percent)
• Price/cost (19 percent)
• Customer service (16 percent)
• Turnaround time (10 percent)
• Speed/delivery time (8 percent)
• Accuracy (6 percent)
• Reliability (5 percent)

METHODOLOGY
The Wholesale Lab Usage Survey 2016 was conducted during June 2016 by Jobson Optical Research’s in-house research staff. The sample of 182 respondents was derived from the proprietary Jobson Optical Research Database.

The 2016 survey was conducted online, and only eyecare professionals at independent locations (one, two or three affiliated practices) who use a wholesale lab for processing lenses or providing other eyewear products and services were qualified to complete the survey. Respondents to the survey were entered in a sweepstakes to win a $200 amazon.com gift card.

Three years of data is shown for trending purposes.

The 2014 survey was conducted online in July 2014. 142 respondents at optical retail locations completed the survey and were offered a chance to win a $200 American Express gift card as an incentive.

The 2015 survey was conducted online in June 2015. 278 respondents at optical retail locations completed the survey and were offered a chance to win a $200 American Express gift card as an incentive.

—Jennifer Waller, Senior Research Analyst


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