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June 17, 2014

LensCrafter Case Study

Introduction
Founded in the year 1983, Cincinnati based optics maker and distributor LensCrafter is one of the most prominent optical solution provider in the US as well as other neighboring countries. With over $1.4billion of net sales per annum LensCrafter has redefined the optical business in recent times (Docstoc, 2010). The vision of the organization is to be the best at ‘helping the world to see one customer at a time’. Adhering to their vision LensCrafter has always tried to be the best in terms of the service that they provide to their customers.
In order to be in line with the contemporary standards of operational management the organization has, with the passage of time, incorporated systems and methods that help it in catering to the needs and requirements of many customers at a time, satisfying them by providing them with the nature of product they want and at the same time managing other in-house organizational operations.
During the course of this discussion and its subsequent stages we will try to comprehend and analyze the different processes that the organization has integrated in order to effectively streamline its functions related to inventory management, and at the same maintain an appreciable customer satisfaction rate. In addition to this the challenges that the organization is currently confronted with, along with their proposed solutions will also be discussed.
Operational Management at LensCrafter
Over the passage of time LensCrafter has been able to stabilize its position by gaining a competitive edge over its competitors. This has mainly been possible through the integration of contemporary and state of the art systems for streamlining its various functions and modules. The installation of these systems has further enhanced the position of the organization in providing proper customer satisfaction to its customers in every possible way.
For example in order to ensure that the staff working at LensCrafter is cooperative of the people visiting outlets in different states of the US as well as other countries, and are competent enough to handle different operations and day to day tasks that take place within a retail store. With the help of scientific metrics established by the organization candidates were shortlisted for vacancies based on their academic qualification and competency in a transparent and hassle free manner.
An assessment was conducted for candidates shortlisted for whom a pre-determined criterion was already established. Hence, with the use and application of a scientifically validated process LensCrafter was able to nominate the best candidates for managerial positions thus ensuring that any area of customer satisfaction does not go unaddressed. The proper management and streamlining of this operational management was reflected in a 7.5% increase in revenues of the company (Docstoc, 2010).
Challenges for LensCrafter
Some of the key challenges that the LensCrafter currently faces is the structuring of the different processes that it intends to incorporate in its supply chain because of the increasing size and network of the organization. The increase in size has mainly taken through in the form of consolidation with other vision care organizations so that LensCrafter can enhance its reach and can help people utilize its service on a larger scale.
However, some of the challenges that the organization faced in the consolidation process was related to issues like integration of data from the new company to the existing system of LensCrafter, prevalence of all previously used business models since there was no consolidation of offerings, staff and knowledge loss from the acquired company and a massive overload of technical data in the form of new software and hardware programs that were merged in the newly formed enterprise (Docstoc, 2010).
These were some of the challenges that LensCrafter encountered when undergoing a merger. However, there were even other forms of challenges that the organization encountered in different stages of its progress and that have remained prominent at this time. Being a large optical service provider it is essential for LensCrafter to provide instantaneous service to its customers without making the entire process of operation difficult for them as well as for the employer.
For example if a customer wanted an immediate delivery of its glasses, in an hour or so, LensCrafter had to rely on sometimes inaccurate methods to correctly estimate the time when the delivery would be made possible. In addition to this there were other concomitant problems that were simply encountered in the form of each store managing its store data and that also through manual entries and paperwork due to which the time required to serve each customer became too much.
Plus, manual entries of prices made the entire process very complex and difficult for consumers to understand since they had no interaction or involvement in it.
Solution devised for proposed challenges and customer satisfaction and performance
In its first challenge which involved the consolidation of relevant data and human resource on the same platform, LensCrafter with the help of another company called Starbase was able to incorporate changes and modules in the existing system of the organization and it was modified to the extent that it could easily accommodate and manage the massive database overload that it was loaded with. The system that was developed by LensCrafter following such efforts provided the organization with the capability to handle all their important affairs following the merger ranging from business models, rules, fee schedules, accounting, claims submission, payments and reporting in a convenient filled manner.
All this was done through single software in which these modules were filled and different utilities based on the number of features that were important to be integrated in it and the process was subsequently streamlined. The consolidated solution where on one hand played a pivotal role in reducing the costs for the company, on the other hand, also enhanced productivity gains across the organization because of simplified working mechanisms (Starbase, 2012).
In the other example where the challenge faced by the company involves greater insight of operational mechanisms LensCrafter made use and implemented a new system of managing its inventory, customer interaction and pricing through Vision Beanstore. The previous system that was being used by LensCrafter failed to provide customer with proper details and information about the sale. Hence, this new system was implemented that allowed different interfaces to communicate and exchange information related to a particular sale without the time consuming task of making manual entries and getting things done through paperwork. Instead with the help of this state of the art POS system the entire process of adding greater customer satisfaction was achieved by LensCrafter.
From the two examples that have been stated it can become extremely clear that for LensCrafter providing its customers with the required level of customer satisfaction is the most important aspect of its business. In order to achieve it, the company has evolved and innovated its systems through which it has not only made things transparent at the consumer level, but also added conveniences for its own employees at the same time.
Value Chain at LensCrafter
With the new systems of service design that have been established at LensCrafter the organization intends to revolutionize its system of providing quality customer satisfaction to its customers. This has been ensured by incorporating measures through which employees at LensCrafter are provided with proper acquaintance of the work flow process so that each step can take place as planned and chalked out.
The workflow starts with entering prescription, followed by the selection of the appropriate frame, then the lens is configured after which optical measurements are entered. With the help of a few easily performed steps people are provided with the lens and optical solutions that they seek to acquire from LensCrafter (PCMS, 2012). Each of these steps as listed above occurs independently and shows their status of completion. Hence, it is evident from this that LensCrafter places customer satisfaction way above anything else.    
 Performance Measurements of LensCrafter
One of the core aspects of LensCrafter which is important to mention when evaluating the performance metrics of the company is the fact that the organization has always provided its customers foremost priority to ensure that they are delivered with the best quality. In each of the system that the company has deployed, it is reflective of the approach that LensCrafter accentuates on making things easy and transparent for its users at all levels.
Furthermore, the level of automation and technical expertise that we see being used and applied at LensCrafter is hardly witnessed at any other place. From the recruitment of suitable candidates to the streamlining of sales and distribution process everything has been automated by the organization. The usage and application of such features further make things hassle free and insulated from any possible anomalies that can take place in the entire process of selling a product or service. Hence, by placing customer satisfaction and automation of processes LensCrafter ensures that the system of service design that it offers is simply unparellel to others in every way.
Technologies used at LensCrafter
As mentioned earlier LensCrafter has deployed different types of automated processes that manage day to day tasks. Out of all others one of the most prominent is the Vision Beanstore through which LensCrafter has been able to centralize its sales mechanism.
Instead of setting a server based machine in each store, this technology helped LensCrafter to technically transform each work station into a low cost PC that is attached and connected to the central network.

References
PCMS (2012) ‘LensCrafters Eyes a Central VISION
with PCMS’ Retail Solution’ retrieved from:
StarbaseInc (2012) Starbase, Inc. helps Lenscrafters Manage Business Information During Major Consolidation’ retrieved from:
Docstoc (2010) ‘Lens Crafter Case Study’ retrieved from:



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