® Unique Program Will Change Eyeglass, Contact Lens Industry
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AIRBORNE EXPRESS ANNOUNCES OPTICAL VILLAGE® Unique Program Will Change Eyeglass, Contact Lens Industry
SEATTLE -- April 20, 1999
Airborne Express today announced the official launch of Optical Village, a unique inventory strategy that will save millions of dollars for the biggest companies in the optical industry and improve service to millions of people who wear glasses or contact lenses.

"This is more than an evolution in the optical industry," said Airborne Logistics Services’ Kevin Clark. "In fact, I’d call it a revolution, because Optical Village will not only save huge amounts of money. It will literally change the way business is done."

Optical village brings together some of the biggest competitors in the business--manufacturers, designers, retailers, etc.-- to share many costs and a single location for their complex assembly, storage, inventory, logistics, and delivery options.

Airborne’s low cost structure and flexible, customer-intimate philosophy is perfectly suited to the Optical Village concept. At Optical Village, the various raw materials and parts needed to make eyewear can be stored and assembled -- and the finished product delivered --anywhere in the country within days or even hours after they’re ordered. "Retailers no longer have to carry large inventories on their books or risk unsold or under-stocked product," explains Clark. "Lens manufacturers no longer have to count, store, pack, ship, and inventory their stock. Frame makers won’t be burned by quick-changing fashion trends."

Clark and other experts believe the ability to share the high cost of "non-value-added" elements of business is crucial to the optical industry’s success. Among the trends driving the change are increasing pressure from managed care health plans to reduce costs and an aging Baby Boom generation raising demand for corrective lenses and eyewear.

The Village itself is springing up in Columbus, Ohio, about an hour from the runways of Airborne’s hub in Wilmington, Ohio. The first facility, a 330,000 square foot building, is the first of many scheduled for construction over the next ten years. All facilities will be funded through commitments by the optical companies to a Columbus-based developer. When fully integrated, they will represent a combined financial commitment by the optical industry of over $80 million.

Among the growing list of corporate "residents" at Optical Village will be Essilor of America and Cole Vision Corporation. Currently, Airborne Logistics Services is working with more than 20 companies interested in taking advantage of the new service.

For more than 50 years, Airborne Express has served the shipping needs of business customers around the world. Today, Airborne offers total distribution solutions by providing time-sensitive delivery of documents, letters, small packages, and freight to virtually every U.S. ZIP code and more than 200 countries. Customers can select from a variety of services including same-day, next-morning, next-afternoon or second-day delivery, air freight, ocean service, and logistics management.

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