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MIS Asia: Transitions Optical sharpens its business vision

Transitions Optical is such a strong brand that people often mistakenly term all photochromic lenses as "transitions lenses".

Transitions is in fact the first to successfully commercialise plastic photochromic lenses, way back in the 1990s. In the last few years, Transitions has continued to make significant advances in colour science and lens materials, creating a better photochromic experience for its consumers.

"Ongoing innovation to expand our portfolio of brands and products to continually provide varied solutions for lens wearers has successfully helped to position Transitions as the leader in the industry," said Stuart Cannon, General Manager of Transitions Optical.

"This has resulted in Transitions being the 'category name' for photochromic lenses, which we view positively as it ensures that Transitions lenses are the number one choice for photochromic lenses among consumers," he added, whilst emphasising that brand is a key strategic pillar to the company.

Innovate to elevate

Another strategic pillar to the company is technology, and Cannon feels that this element is critical to Transitions' past and future successes.

He added that the company has a dedicated commitment to innovation, and that research and innovation is critical in contributing to the growth of the company.

"Our team of over 70 research and development professionals are continuously innovating our products and we continued to make significant advances in photochromic technology, creating a better vision experience that's available to more people," said Cannon. "In fact, we're the only photochromic lens brand that has a range of products to cater to anyone who wants an adaptive lens."

For instance, its signature lenses have had a history of continuous innovation. Newer models with more advanced technology - focused on improving responsiveness to a broad spectrum of light and smooth adaptation - were regularly launched, raising the bar for photochromic performance of impact-resistant and ultrathin plastic eyeglass lenses.

Currently, the Transitions Signature lenses are utilising the latest photochromic technology. Called Chromea7, this new dye formulation allows the lenses to be more reactive to indirect and reflected sunlight.

"In addition to our photochromic technology, we continuously look to refine our testing processes to ensure the versatility and adaptability of our lenses to provide the most optimal visual experiences for our lens users. One of our newest testing processes is the Life360 testing methodology, which combines three types of testing, including traditional laboratory measurement, wearers' trials and real life tests in over 200 conditions in various locations around the world including Asia," said Cannon.

Building partnerships to solidify business

Consumer trends are always changing within the optical industry. To keep up with these demands, Transitions engages research companies to gain a broader understanding of consumer trends and demands in the optical markets.

"The data and analytics collected combined with the existing relationships we have built with key players in the industry provides cross-sharing of knowledge and allows Transitions to adapt our strategies in a timely manner to continue leading the industry with improved products, services and manufacturing processes," said Cannon.

Besides partnering with major optical lens manufacturers in traditional prescription eyewear category, Transitions Optical has pro-actively worked with partners to determine the best joint solutions to address specific challenges encountered by different industry players.

For instance, Transitions has collaborated with brands such as Nike, Oakley, Callaway and Shoei, to expand its product offerings with an adaptive sunwear range, which is designed to enhance vision during outdoor sports or activities.

"Transitions also continues to explore options with supply chain, manufacturing and commercial operations," said Cannon. "We work closely with partners to improve service, quality and efficiency to streamline the supply chain to allow more consumers to have greater access to Transitions lenses every day."

Such partnerships has helped to boost the company's product distribution as well as enhanced its operational efficiency, said Cannon, adding that these two elements make up Transitions' final two pillars. Summing up the four strategic pillars, Cannon underlined that they are critical in helping the company to constantly improve its products, services and quality.

The optical industry landscape in APAC

"The global optical industry is expected to continue its growth and expansion in the next few years. Asia Pacific has been identified as a fast-emerging regional market and is projected to have much higher growth levels than Europe and North America," said Cannon.

There are a number of factors that help to support this trend, he added. Firstly, more people in the region require vision correction, especially with an increased access to better eye testing facilities.

Secondly, Asians will continue to become more educated about the need for vision correction and the importance of eye protection which would motivate them to seek out the various options for corrective vision.

Lastly, there is a growing middle class in the region with higher disposable income levels. Together with greater awareness, this makes them more willing in invest in quality options for their optical needs.

"Given the above factors and the healthy outlook for the optical industry, Asia Pacific is thus vital to the ongoing success and growth of Transitions Optical, and it will remain to be one of our key regions," said Cannon.

And as the new General Manager of the company - now his fourth month into the job - Cannon shared that he aims to ensure that Transitions has the right combination of technologies and product offerings that meet the needs of eyeglass wearers in the region, while continuing to work and grow with Transitions' partners to make its products available to everyone across the region.