Interview with Michael Porsche

Michael Porsche, co-owner of Optik Wenzel GmbH based in Limburg and Kirberg, is already making use of a range of digital solutions in his specialised stores. The customers feel they are provided with good advice, characterised by a high level of competence and service, and the employees enjoy using the new tools and software solutions. "I find it fascinating to conduct proven visual acuity tests on a screen with realistic scenery, in some cases even in 3D", Michael Porsche reveals.

That's the reason why the entrepreneur invested in the Oculus Vissard 3D for his Limburg office. As an addition to the familiar eye test optotypes, the realistic images of Vissard 3D with their impressive sharpness complement the prosaic process of assessing the customer's acuity. In this way, the visual test becomes a ''visual journey'' that leaves a lasting impression.

"Digital is fun - and fascinating not only for clients"

opti: Mr Porsche, the latest developments in the digital sector are already in use in your specialist optical stores. What are their advantages from your perspective?"

Michael Porsche: My top priority is an absolutely convincing result for the customers. What they get is a bespoke product, tailored to suit their individual requirements down to the minutest detail. For instance, for the purpose of eye examinations, we use a state-of-the-art wave front measuring instrument to determine the objective values. This is ideal to achieve a clearer view of the eye's aberrations and to make them easy to see and understand for the client.

Further software provided by the lens manufacturer allows us to show the customer the range of functions offered by each type of lens on an iPad. This appears incredibly convincing and professional. In an instant, the thickness and weight of lenses can be calculated and visualised by means of an iPad. These arguments, provided by digitalisation, are very convincing.

The measurement results of the video centration, accurate to one tenth of a millimetre, can be transferred via WLAN into the ordering software of the lens manufacturer, which makes things so much easier for us. In our workshops, the frames are scanned in three dimensions. Likewise, measurement data are directly imported. Subsequently, this collection of data is supplemented with information concerning finish, lens type, individual parameters and other special customer requests - and the lens order is ready. A few days later, we receive the custom-shaped, finished lenses.

We use around 22,000 measuring points to determine the geometry of the cornea with the Keratograph. The result is a graphic illustration, which facilitates customisation and gives the client an insight into how unique their cornea is. This enables us to have the individually designed contact lenses, providing the user with maximum comfort, produced by the manufacturer.

opti: How do you judge the future impact of e-commerce?

Michael Porsche: Lenses are a corrective measure that requires a lot of consultation and I regard myself as someone the customer trusts. If, for whatever reason, somebody is looking for a simple solution, they will certainly find it with us, at a price just slightly higher in comparison to what is offered online. What I find important here is to make a clear distinction between analogue lenses and ones that have been designed with the use of digital techniques, and to inform the customers accordingly. Indeed, the process of informing can be an exciting one, for instance when it comes to the benefits that the customers can reap from intensive consultation, or the presentation of the latest technologies. You can say plainly that those costs will naturally be reflected in the price of the product. The truth is that customers understand this. What they usually need is a substantiated and expert explanation of the differences. According to my experience, they are ready to pay a higher price in that case. If the industry continues to reflect this attitude, then we will not be squeezed out by e-commerce, not even in the longer term.

opti: What is it that your customers expect from you nowadays?

Michael Porsche: Thanks to the internet, our customers are very well informed, which is a constant stimulus for us. Our personal strategy is to be open to the newest technologies and to the tools which lens manufacturers provide us with, but also to constantly educate our staff. This way, we are optimally prepared to meet the requirements of our clients. Nowadays, lens type requirements are determined by the optician in 80% of cases - for that reason, I consider increased responsibility in the sphere of eye disease detection a challenge for the future."

opti: As an optician and entrepreneur, what are you expecting from opti 2017 and the "Digital Solutions"?

Michael Porsche: At any rate, we want to find out about the 3D printer. We are interested in appliances with the capability to deliver an exact scan of the nasal bridge. As you can see, comfort for our customers is something we always keep an eye on, and we are constantly on the lookout for individual ways to improve wearing comfort as well as visual comfort. That's also the way we live our profession: with heart and soul. Personally, I always find specialist presentations on the latest innovations very important and I am very excited about all the interesting topics offered as part of the forum programme in January.

Michael Porsche

Michael Porsche, co-owner of Optik Wenzel GmbH based in Limburg and Kirberg, is already making use of a range of digital solutions in his specialised stores.

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