Are you making the best decisions when it comes to your optical frame inventory? Who makes the buying decisions?
I hear opticians all the time, “I do all the frame buying here. I plan ahead, I always look to see how many we have sold before the rep comes in.” Or I hear doctors all the time, “We have Mary and Sam do all the frame buying. They are both really aware of what our patients want.”
*Watch this article here! ^
I’m not doubting that you know your stuff. It is clear that opticianry is a very proud profession, and rightfully so, we are a unique breed. We are healthcare specialists, artists, refined salesmen, fashion designers, precision-light-bending engineers, technology focused super geeks all rolled into one thing: an optician. We have a long history and should be proud!
So when I come in, a gal from Boise, Idaho who starts questioning your optical decision-making habits, it makes you uncomfortable. You might think “She doesn’t know me,” or “My optical isn’t like other opticals, we have a particular type of patient here.” Hopefully, by the end of this article, I have caused you to think differently.
Okay, hear me out…
95% of all independent opticals have buying habits that closely resemble this concept. Sell one frame, replace one frame. Here are a few examples.
Optical A has 500 frames in their optical. They like to wait until the reps comes in to order their frames. They have a nice little visit with their rep. They might take a look at what is new. Between what is new and what has sold, they fill their board back up.
Optical B has 3000 frames in their optical between what is out in the optical and what is in backstock. They don’t wait for reps to come around because they are too busy. When their inventory gets low, they have got their optician who is their designated frame buyer who re-orders to keep them stocked. When reps come in, the opticians look at what is new and swap out for what they don’t like.
When simplified it’s still sell one frame, replace one frame. I guarantee that this (or a version of it) is similar to what is happening in your office. Here is the problem with this concept. This displaces the focus from being able to optimize the optical sales. This hurts your optical in the top three most damaging ways. Time, energy, and money.
Now what if you started to think of your optical frame inventory as real estate, and began view the frame spots in your optical as investment properties. This analogy would make each frame brand a renter and make you the landlord. So let’s run the same sell one fame replace one frame scenario. If you have got these renters that are paying their rent, we get excited because they are paying their rent. But if you have all of these bums that aren’t paying their rent, you have got a big problem! You are going to go into foreclosure if they don’t start paying. So if you can’t get them to start paying their rent you need to evict them right?
The way you are running the optical is distracting your focus from optimizing your optical sales. We are so focused on the frames that are selling, (see visuals in vlog) that we don’t pay enough attention to the frames that aren’t.
What data are you using to help guide you on what to order? What info are you collecting to help you identify your good renters and your bad renters? Now before some of you start saying, “Well, we run inventory.” Good job, about 50% of opticals do. But what is that inventory really telling you? It is giving you a snapshot of what your optical looks like right now. Others might pull an aging report to see how long a frame has been sitting there, but how far is that info going to get you?
While some opticals will pull a sales report and tell me, “We sold 15!” That is fantastic if you have 20 spots available on the board, and quite terrible if you have 75. None of these common data pulling methods are offering you the insight you need to make calculated decisions to create a plan for your optical investment. You must build your optical plan on logic and analytics.
The most beneficial analysis you can run on your optical frame inventory is to calculate your frame turnover or frame turn. You frame turn is the quantity of frames sold, divided by the quantity of frames you hold in your inventory. In our industry because sales can be so cyclical this number is conventionally run on a 12-month basis. The annual frame turnover would equal the quantity of frames sold in the last 12 months/the number of frames held in your inventory. However, this gets your frame turn number for ALL of your inventory. This assessment becomes much more powerful if you can break it down by brand. But this takes lots of time and definitely some mathematical talent. But if you take the time to do it. You can get an assessment of your optical real estate.
You can identify the good renters and the bad renters. If you need to evict bad renters, you can make room for the great renters that will really be making you money!
You can look at the renters who might be paying their rent, but maybe they are ruining your home and messing with your image. You can make wise decisions on who a best renter is to replace them with, that better renter that would fill that same function or niche but can provide a better image for you, like an independent brand.
Here is the best part, when you run these assessments in your optical it will show you what your optical does and what your optical needs. It doesn’t matter how big or small your optical is, if you’re in big city or small country town, they are YOUR numbers, and only your numbers. Your optical is telling you a story of how you can be most profitable…but are you listening? You need to start thinking of your optical as real estate. Once you are able to assess your optical, you can combine logic with your assessment and make a plan to optimize it.
There is one small problem. As an optician, the last thing you have is time to be running these numbers every month and breaking down the info to create these optical plans. This is where the gal from Boise, Idaho comes back in. I’ve spent thousands of hours working with hundreds of opticals to refine this concept. I have created a tool I know frame board management. I have work with hundreds of opticals. I created a platform that allows opticians the convenience to look at exactly what is happening in their optical on an annual and monthly basis, breakdown the value of every brand and even offer assessments and guidance on building a plan for your optical. Know your FrameTurn, and the impact it can make on your optical success is unmatched.
Do your optical a favor, stop making decisions on feelings, opinions or emotion, instead use logics and analytics and you will see amazing results!