Thursday, June 3, 2010

A call to rally ourselves...everywhere?

Malcolm Polley, Chief Executive of the FMO, has been reported in the Optician magazine as calling all Optical associations and Optical bodies to come together and use Optrafair 2011 as a cost-cutting landing-pad.

His sentiment has been echoed by leaders within some of these optical bodies.

And surely we should also sound the trumpet to gather the whole optical industry - far and wide - behind the flag?

I have long believed that UK optics could benefit from more cohesiveness - and am glad that the optical bodies now form a confederation. David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO, suggested that "a house divided against itself will not stand" and it is true that by standing together we shall all benefit.

So where do we go from here?

I dream of an Optrafair where opticians from all parts of these islands come, enthusiastically searching for products that can shape the future of their businesses (and where they find them!), and where learning and celebration can also take place (there is much of that happening already).

However, as I journey around the country I find that many do not recognise Optrafair's importance to the industry.

Of course, I see it from the side of an exhibitor hoping to make connections with new customers for our ranges but I wonder - what percentage of the dispensing / examining / retailing population don't visit the show?

As all in the Optical bodies agree - togetherness brings many benefits. Connections, relationships and the understanding of our  industry is paramount  - to us all, whether in front-line delivery of care or delivering the goods - if we're to weather the economic storms and blaze trails into the future of eyecare and eyewear.

Let's hope Optrafair 2011 will prove to be a refreshingly bouyant affair and that opticians from all over will come (including those from London to whom a trip to the NEC is far from sexy).

Hope to see you there!
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