Spotlight on... Global Optics Open House


By Mark Tosh 



GREEN BAY, Wis.—Global Optics Inc., which provides consolidated purchasing and proficient logistical solutions and distribution to independent optical labs, is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance as it repositions itself for the future.

The warehousing company has begun accepting associate members, expanded its focus on Third-Party Logistics (3PL) services and, among other alterations, reached its first agreement with an international lens manufacturer to distribute the manufacturers’ products in the U.S. market.

Consolidation and other changes in the business environment necessitated some of the updates that are under way, Barbara Vitchus, president and general manager of Global Optics, said during an “open house” at the company’s 34,000-square-foot warehouse in November.

“We started down [the road] of saying, ‘What would a new Global look like and what direction are we going to head in,’” she explained. “We’re really a supply chain for the optical business… This is a great place to be and I am excited for the future.”

Founded in 1971 with eight “shareholder” labs composing the ownership group, Global Optics now serves more than 200 optical laboratories with product sourced from more than 20 vendors. Global Optics continues to offer its “equity owner” membership, which allows independent labs to become a shareholder in the company and to gain access to additional benefits.

Several members of the buying group Optical Synergies Group, beginning in June 2015, became the first associate members of Global Optics, and the number of associate members in Global has now reached the 40-plus range,” Vitchus said.

“We are pleased at the prospect of expanding our network and building new relationships with more independent laboratories,” she added. “In addition to offering our members a wide selection of products and cost-savings, we also welcome our members to share ideas and goals with us and each other to enable business success.”

Global is currently shipping in the mid-30,000s of lenses per day to more than 200 different locations, and the “fill” rate is in the 99.5 percent to 99.6 percent range on a regular basis, Vitchus said.

The meeting at the company’s offices also served as an introduction to the market of Global Optics’ Third Party Logistics (3PL) services, which helps manufacturers streamline product distribution and supply chain functions. The company’s first foray into 3PL came earlier this year when Global established a relationship with Thai Optical Group that calls for Global Optics to maintain an inventory of the manufacturer’s full lens product line.

Thai Optical manufactures the new Tribrid lenses, a high-performance high-index lens made from material developed by PPG using an advanced approach. Global Optics is the first U.S. distributor of Tribrid lenses in the U.S. market.

“The 3PL capability is a very large deal for us,” Vitchus said in an interview. “Bringing in Thai Optical Group and being their distribution center here in the United States is just the beginning. There are certainly other groups that we would like to do that for.” She acknowledged that negotiations are under way for similar arrangements, but she declined to provide additional details.

Global Optics now serves more than 200 optical laboratories with an unmatched inventory of products from more than 20 vendors. The company inventories most major lens manufacturers’ products in depth and has the ability to ship overnight across the country. Any independent optical laboratory in the U.S can apply to become a Global Optics Associate Member. There is no fee to become an associate member; only a standard credit application and business references are required. In addition, Global Optics continues to offer the original Equity Owner membership level through which an independent laboratory can become a partial owner of Global Optics and gain access to additional benefits.

In addition to Tribrid, the company also offers several blue-light protective lens products, including BluTech lenses, Essilor Smart Blue Filter lenses, VISION EASE Clear Blue Filter lenses and SOMO Blue Block lenses.

Global Optics is governed by the following board members:  

Bryan Schueler, Vice President and General Manager, Walman Optical (Chairman of the Board)

Keith Heckenkemper, President, RXO Tulsa

Joe Cherry, VicePresident, Cherry Optical

Barbara Vitchus, President and General Manager, Global Optics



Labtalk June 2020