Optometric Management Tip # 414   -   Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Form Your Own Frame Advisory Committee

In an effort to maximize sales and revenue in your optical in the coming year, let's do a comprehensive review of your frame inventory. The brands you carry, the size of the inventory and the price ranges offered are all key factors for optical success. The goal is to retain a high percentage of the prescriptions written in your office and to dispense multiple pairs to the same patient. Taken further, a great frame selection can become a competitive advantage for your practice and may serve to increase word of mouth referrals of new patients. Optical is far too important and generates for too much revenue to take a passive approach to the frame inventory.

Committee members

My idea is for every practice to form an advisory panel which will meet from time to time to analyze the frame lines and ordering policies and to make recommendations to the frame buyer. Every practice is different, but see if you can adapt the idea to fit your needs.

I think the following individuals would make great members on your frame advisory committee. I would look for about four people to serve, but the size of the practice will influence this.

The meetings

Start by holding an initial meeting for about an hour and then hold additional meetings as needed, but at least quarterly. The goal of the meeting is to develop a plan for your frame inventory that will increase eyeglass sales and profits. That comes from having the right frame for more people and from generating excitement among staff and patients.

If you use an inventory management system, have a current report printed for the meeting. Have a list of all the frame companies your work with including sub listings showing the frame rep's name and the brands that person carries. Indicate the retail price range of each brand and the approximate number on display. Include plano sunglasses, budget lines, safety frames and any other lines that do not have a rep. Also have a count of any understock on hand and bring any other data and forms that are used in optical, including pricing formulas.

If you have any data from patient surveys that pertains to frame selection, have that available. If you don't have any idea about patient satisfaction with your frames, you should develop a program to record some data for that. You must know the customer's wants and needs for your products and it is best to not simply guess. Of course, the people on your frame advisory committee work with patients every day, so they know the wants and needs including what is selling well and what you are missing.

Be sure to assign someone the job of taking minutes of the meetings and file the notes for later review.

Ideas to consider

Here are a few topics to consider for your first meeting. This will lead to more brainstorming which should result in more innovations for your optical.

A great frame inventory is more than just having a large number on display; it's about having the right frame for each person.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management