DALLAS – March 15, 2021 – Twenty-five years ago, Essilor laid the foundations of partnership and a promise with its customers at the core. On March 15, 1996, Essilor acquired three lab groups: Omega, Southern Optical and Duffens to accelerate growth for independent eyecare professionals, labs and the industry as a whole.
Today, Peter Lothes, recently appointed as SVP of Lab Operations and Supply Chain for Essilor, is focused on improving consistency in quality and a turn time goal of more than 90 percent of jobs in four days to positively impact the lives and businesses of the company’s customers and industry partners. Customer-first thinking has a long history at Essilor, and it is this daily commitment to customers to which the company attributes the success of its lab business, and Lothes has first-hand experience.
“In 1996, long before I joined the Essilor team, my father and I owned an independent lab, and I recall vividly our reaction to the news that Essilor was entering the lab business,” said Lothes. “Like much of the industry, we were cautious, curious to see what this move from Essilor would mean. It soon became clear that the move opened new pathways to success across the industry, and before long, we decided to join the Essilor family as a Partner Lab.”
In the 1990s, some labs struggled with new lens technologies. This was a problem for labs, customers and patients alike, as such lens technologies - including the AR coating which would go on to become CrizalⓇ No-Glare lenses - were cutting-edge and desirable. Further, only a limited number of labs were producing VariluxⓇ lenses. Some labs began searching for a solution, a partner to help them access new lens technologies.
Former President of Essilor of America, Jacques Stoerr, the thought leader behind Essilor’s network of labs, remembers the challenges well. “As a collective, we needed a solution which enabled the industry to reap the benefits of advanced lens technologies and wide distribution. And so the idea was born to form an even deeper partnership with the labs through acquisition and investment in their infrastructure which would benefit the industry as a whole.”
Lothes agrees. “The partnership we entered into with Essilor meant we were taught to produce advanced lens technologies such as Varilux and Crizal lenses. Our business blossomed as a result.”
Looking back, the original acquisition was a watershed moment, leading Essilor to create a network of labs across the country that offers a strong value proposition for customers. Today, Essilor creates access to leading innovation and elevates patient care for its customers through a full spectrum of optical labs: Essilor Labs that are committed to deliver consistent quality on time; Partner Labs that benefit from the investment and partnership of Essilor while maintaining their unique qualities and strengths; and Independent Labs that have the ability to distribute and produce Essilor’s lens innovations.
About Essilor of America, Inc.
Essilor, the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States, is driven by the company's mission of improving lives by improving sight. A pioneer in the development and production of ophthalmic lenses, Essilor employs more than 10,000 people throughout North America. Essilor manufactures optical lenses under the VARILUX®, CRIZAL®, TRANSITIONS®, XPERIO UV™, EYEZEN® and other Essilor brand names. Essilor Laboratories of America, Inc. is the largest and most trusted optical lab network in the U.S. and offers a wide choice of products and services to eyecare professionals across the nation. Essilor of America, Inc. (Essilor) is a subsidiary of Paris-based Essilor International.