Essilor is the leading manufacturer and wholesale distributor of optical lenses in the United States. They have more than 8,500 employees located in 128 prescription laboratories, 4 manufacturing facilities, 2 distribution centers, and 1 center for research and development. Essilor of America is a fully owned subsidiary of Paris-based Essilor International and is the largest business unit in the worldwide Essilor Group. AFFLINK Members are currently servicing 52% of Essilor locations with the goal of 75% market penetration. With the current game plan we anticipate 20% growth in revenue over the next few years. Industrial BDM Carter Crutchfield and VP of Sales Paul Tuckley recently conducted a comprehensive review with Essilor at their headquarters in Dallas, where they uncovered several opportunities to expand Essilor’s performance.
After the onsite visit, AFFLINK and Essilor created a plan of action for the coming year. It would all start in the first quarter of 2014, in which Essilor would mandate all labs use AFFLINK Distributors. By doing so, Essilor projected an annual cost savings of 28-30%. In the second quarter, AFFLINK would gather product sales and inventory records in order to evaluate supply chain optimization. With this information Distributor Members would have real data and history performance to reference when making future inventory decisions. This too would promote overall cost savings. In the third quarter, AFFLINK would host WebEx trainings to teach Essilor Lab Facilities employees how to affectively use the AFFLINK Membership ordering system. In the fourth quarter, AFFLINK’s final mission will be to examine participating locations and compare their performance results to those locations not currently active with AFFLINK. Based on the result, AFFLINK will target non-participants with a specialized approach using data from current Essilor participating locations. “Essilor has given us a list of potential locations to target and pursue for expansion,” Crutchfield said. “Ensuring our Members are actively working with Essilor locations on a continual basis will certainly facilitate larger, more rapid growth.” Crutchfield noted the active partnership allows Members to know exactly what they would need to stock rather than operating on a per-order basis. Adding to the ability to streamline performance, AFFLINK is also developing a hygiene program of best practices that will be recommended by Essilor Corporate offices to all its facilities. This will ensure better service functionality, as well as leverage their buying power as an organization. From a marketing standpoint, the hygiene program promotes singular brand awareness for Essilor with all labs having a similar appearance.
Strategic Account Coordinator Jeremy Hudson has been working closely with Essilor and AFFLINK Members to nurture the existing relationships and pave the way for future growth. He is working with Essilor Corporate to acquire usage reports from lab locations so we can keep the Membership informed of the needs of individual locations they serve. “Continuing to improve performance in the business we currently have can only help as we seek to grow our partnership with Essilor,” said Hudson. “I look at it as a matter of continuing to build and earn their trust. If they see we’re continually getting better, they’ll give us more opportunities.” When asked to identify keys for success with the Essilor partnership, Crutchfield noted the previously mentioned items, but added, “Demonstrating market awareness for the Essilor culture and their desires for the relationship, then having a flawless execution of service. AFFLINK can help mature and develop Essilor’s brand and company culture.”