ABB Optical Group

The largest distributor of soft contact lenses in the country, ABB Optical Group says its aim is to ensure the continued growth and success of eyecare professionals. The company says it supplies more than two-thirds of the nation’s eyecare professionals with brand name contact lenses, high-grade ophthalmics and fully customizable gas permeable lenses. Eyecare professionals that join ABB Optical Group’s distribution network can order contacts online and purchase ophthalmic lenses or customize gas permeable lenses for their patients.

There are a number of benefits to ordering optical lenses from ABB Optical Group. These include access to more than $40 million of soft contact lenses and ophthalmic lenses in stock as well as the ability to fit gas permeable patients successfully, access to exclusive eyecare practitioner tools, the ability to compete with online retailers and the skillset of the company’s sales representatives and consultative staff.

Extensive Service

ABB Optical Group has four major distribution centers to serve the entire country, and it is the only contact lens company in the nation that is an authorized distributor for all major soft contact lens manufacturers. Currently, ABB Optical Group also manufactures custom gas permeable lenses and custom specialty soft contact lenses, including definitive – silicone hydrogel lenses. It offers an extensive line of finished ophthalmic lenses and a diverse array of cutting-edge free-form lenses from its New York-based digital eye lab while also providing its clients with access to its primary eyecare network for complete practice management.

Partner Up

ABB Optical Group’s structure came about as a result of a merger in the last few years. In January 2013, ABB Concise and Optical Distributor Group (ODG) announced they had merged effective as of Dec. 28, 2012. Soon after the merger announcement, the company shared its new ABB Optical Group name, logo and brand identity enhancements.

Together, the organizations supplied more than 30,000 eyecare professionals, and ODG’s Digital Eye Lab provided top-of-the-line free form ophthalmic lens designs and AR coatings. Additionally, the organizations offered practice building tools to eyecare professionals including pricing strategy tools, business reviews, annual supply staff training and e-commerce solutions. By coming together as ABB Optical Group, the organizations felt they could deliver more services and programs to help clients compete.

Among the benefits of the merger to eyecare professionals are consultative sales support, distribution infrastructure, digital marketing assistance and marketing intelligence. ABB Optical Group’s national team of sales representatives is given the resources to help clients capitalize on their ability to profit from eyewear and contact lens sales. Through the combined distribution infrastructure of the two merged companies – along with investment in distribution technology – helps the company provide customers with reliable and rapid product delivery possible.

Ultimately, the company can better manage a diverse range of product inventory and ship from regional distribution centers. Additionally, its digital marketing capabilities help customers utilize digital media to market themselves, and its marketing intelligence tools help clients to make informed business decisions.

ABB Optical Group isn’t the only entity that has seen the merger as a success. In 2014, the South Florida Chapter of the Association of Corporate Growth gave the merger its 2014 Deal of the Year Award.

Looking Ahead

Since the merger took place, the company has continued to look for ways to improve and enhance its operations. This includes launching the ABB Cares annual grants program to support non-profit organizations nominated by eyecare professionals nationwide.

Started in 2014, ABB Cares highlights outstanding organizations have improved the quality of life in their communities and providing them with a grant. The 2014 ABB Cares grant program honored Prevent Blindness Northern California, Best Buddies, Hope Children’s Home, Semper Fido, MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), Vision To Learn, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Lighthouse of Pinellas, Corpus Christi Metro Ministries and Buddy Cruise. Each received a $1,000 grant.

In 2015, ABB Cares provided grants between $1,000 and $5,000. The 2015 ABB Cares grant recipients included organizations such as Marengo Community Center, Family Promises, South Jersey Eye Center, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Backpack Buddies, the Lestonnac Free Clinic and Butterfly Dreams.

It has also sought to revolutionize eyewear ordering. In 2015, its digital eye lab division announced the launch of EZCONNECT for ordering a complete pair of eyewear. It partnered with Silhouette International in support of the launch of the new Adidas Performance RX program, which will be filled exclusively by the Digital Eye Lab through the EZCONNECT online portal service.

2015 saw ABB Optical Group celebrate 25 years of history. It has grown from a small back room in a warehouse with three employees to the nation’s leading distributor of optical products with four distribution centers around the country and almost 1,000 employees. The roots of its distribution business extend back to CEO and founder Angel Alvarez’s purchase of Co-Optics Distribution in 1989, the acquisition of RLI Vision in 1998, the acquisition of C&E Vision Group’s contact lens distribution division in 2002, a merger with Concise Contact Lens Company in 2007 and the merger of ABB Concise and ODG in 2013.

Now seen as a trusted partner in the eyecare industry, the company can be proud of its footprint, supplying about two-thirds of practicing optometrists nationwide with optical products such as soft contact lenses, stock ophthalmic lenses and eyewear while manufacturing gas permeable and custom soft contact lenses and offering eyecare professionals the services of its fully automated lab.

In the years to come, ABB Optical Group looks forward to developing new e-commerce solutions and expanding its eyewear division. The company’s aim is to create a full-service solution for eyecare practitioners to streamline the ordering of optical products through turnkey distribution services for frames and ophthalmic lenses.