|LENS EDGER AND BLOCKER Santinelli Me 1200 and Ice 1000|
|IN-HOUSE OPERATOR Dustin Ellsworth|
|DIVERSE FRAMES For patients’ edging needs|
Here’s how an optical shop carried out a makeover of its finishing equipment.
Improved control over your eyewear products enables your practice to have a better optical business. Better control means fewer disappointments and better flexibility to fix problems when they do occur. The solution to maintaining control over the services you provide is to add to your finishing department’s capabilities. This can mean a complete installation or an upgrade to enhance the capabilities you already have, which is what Kevin Ellsworth, OD, of Cache Valley Vision Center, Logan, UT, did.
FASTER AND BETTER
I spoke with Dustin Ellsworth, his son and chief operator, about the equipment upgrade and the impact it had on their business. Dustin did an internal audit to determine what the business needed in terms of finishing capabilities that it didn’t already have and what they could do faster and/or better with newer equipment. Since the number of drill mounts and other finishing jobs was increasing, the practice needed to provide high-quality edging for drill-mounts, custom jobs, and even standard jobs as well.
“Our office is in a very competitive environment and to maintain our advantage of providing high-quality lenses and edging capabilities we looked into edgers that could increase our capabilities to include custom jobs in a timely fashion,” Dustin states. “So overall, the reason we upgraded revolved around the ability for this edging setup to meet our patients’ needs for a diverse array of frame jobs.”
Ellsworth’s office traded its Nidek Lex 1000 edger for Santinelli International, Inc.’s Me 1200 multifunction lens edger and replaced its manual blocker with the automated Ice 1000 intelligent blocker. With the new equipment, the office saw some impressive benefits. “Single vision edging time was cut by about 35%,” Ellsworth elaborates. “The easier blocking and edging processes prevent processing errors and can increase the precision and accuracy of our edged lenses,” he says. “Patients are happier about the quicker turnarounds. Moreover, we can now run drill mounts and custom jobs in-house without sending them to a finishing lab, which increases our ability to meet our patients’ needs and wants.”
Since they were replacing old equipment, no renovations or infrastructure modifications were needed for the installation. A little staff training was required since the new equipment had a lot more features than the old one. Ellsworth said the new Ice blocker was easy to learn because it’s very user-friendly and they did not need to hire new staff.
As to whether the upgrade increased business, Ellsworth admits that, “It is still too soon to determine that since we’ve only had our new equipment for two months but we anticipate it will improve turnaround time, and it will create cost savings by expanding the number of jobs that can be completed in our office.” He adds, “We also expect the upgrade to be profitable since it allows us to improve our ability to provide a quality and cost-effective product to our customers.”
When asked about future expansion, he notes, “We try to stay at the forefront of edger technology in our office and in a few years, if a newer edger comes out that provides a cost/benefit advantage and a good financing package, then we will probably upgrade.”
Were their upgrade intentions realized? He replies: “Our main purpose in upgrading was to be able to do drill mounts and step bevel jobs in-house, while still being able to provide the great finished jobs that we’ve done for years for our patients. So far, it has been a successful decision.”
It seems Ellsworth’s office did this finishing equipment makeover the right way. It considered its needs, searched for the right equipment, analyzed its budget and profitability, and purchased equipment that was right for it. Is it time for your office to do the same?
Steven Warfield is a lab technician and freelance writer based in Harrisburg, PA.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
Santinelli International, Inc.
800-644-3343 • santinelli.com