More Than Just Saving Paper
Going paperless has been fairly commonplace for a while now. There’s been a big push to put everything online, from bills to statements to invoices. In the optical industry, however, we sometimes lag behind the times. Many labs don’t have the ability to offer everything online, so there’s no real option but to continue with paper. Some labs, however, offer everything online.
The ability to access invoices online, for example, not only helps save paper, but also makes it much easier to use. In our age of compensated lens powers, this becomes even more important. Since you can’t simply check the old pair in a lensometer reliably, having the exact record of what lenses were made is very useful. When patient Smith comes in for a new pair of lenses, you can easily check what he received two years ago in his last pair. Since your lab offers its invoices online, you can simply look up his prior invoice online and view all of the details about the order, including the prescription, lens treatments, and lens type.
“The ability to access invoices online, for example, not only helps save paper, but also makes it much easier to use.”
Another benefit of all of this information being easily available online is reporting. Many labs will now offer lens usage reports that can help you analyze your ordering habits. For example, if you had a monthly breakdown of the lenses you were ordering, you could easily see what you (or your staff) are actually selling in terms of lens products. This makes it possible to see how much plastic vs. high index, or clear vs photochromic lenses you are actually selling. You can then use these reports to try and increase your profitability. For example, say you see that in a given month you are selling 90% clear lenses, 6% photochromic, and 4% polarized. If you institute programs in your office – either sales, staff incentives, or something else – you can use this type of report to easily track your effectiveness in selling more premium products.
As you can see, going green has benefits other than just saving paper – it can save tremendous amounts of time as well. It may be very beneficial for you to ask your lab what kind of information services they can offer you. At the end of the day, that’s one of the major selling points of a lab – making things easier for you to sell lenses. As a lab, it’s ultimately up to us to make this happen, and there’s no easier way to do that than through information.
Bill “Other Bill” Heffner, IV
Director of IT, Marketing and Sales, FEA Industries, Inc.