Looking at labs: Crucial role of independents

Talking to opticians it seems there are almost as many reasons for using independent glazing and surfacing labs as there are prescription houses. Peter Black reports

While almost all practices utilise the services of independent labs from time to time, an increasing number are electing to use independent labs almost exclusively as the major lens manufacturers have started to rationalise their ranges.

Using an independent lab is reported to have many benefits compared to practices tying themselves to a single major manufacturer through sales volume contracts and retro discounts for hitting agreed sales targets. Additional benefits include rapid service and the ability to speak to the knowledgeable technicians who will be doing the work.

Dispensing optician and partner in three practices in Devon, Daryl Newsome says: ‘I use Waterside Laboratories in Southampton which is genuinely independent. They provide impartial advice, competitive pricing and superb service. They are helpful to the point of hand delivering urgent jobs and give me true and honest information.

‘A massive advantage is getting a straight answer when there is a problem and not being passed from one department to another until you lose the will to live. Being able to ring the owner/manager/ boss and have a one to one conversation is a true advantage and I have never found a large corporation that can compete with that. I happily support them and hope my support helps keep them in business for many years to come.’

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