Looking at labs: Specialisation key to success at Waterside

Offering a broad range of services for the independent market is the basis for Waterside Labs’ success. Sean Rai-Roche finds out more

Located in the town of Totton, lying just west of Southampton over the River Test, Waterside Labs is a fairly unassuming building, but one that contains advanced technology capable of creating highly specialised lenses.

In 2014, joint managing directors Chris Smith and Bob Forgan took over from founder and father Ray Smith. Since then, the duo have instigated a ‘culture change’ at the lab and have taken the business in a new and exciting direction.

‘We would have liked to do it before,’ says Forgan. ‘We knew what we had to do.’

The pair’s philosophy is that trying to compete with large, multinational labs on price is futile. Instead, a focus on specialisation allows them to stand out by offering technically sophisticated premium and consistently manufactured products.

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