Edmund Optics goes global

BARRINGTON, NJ—Despite its wellestablished customer base in the United States, Edmund Optics is taking advantage of phenomenal growth in its European and Asian markets by going global.

May 1st, 2008

BARRINGTON, NJ—Despite its wellestablished customer base in the United States, Edmund Optics is taking advantage of phenomenal growth in its European and Asian markets by going global. Recent announcements by Newport and DiLAS on the outsourcing of manufacturing operations to Asia (see www. l a s e r f o c u s w o r l d . c o m / a r t i c l e s /314996 & 323082) are not surprising; outsourcing has been the norm for many years as a means to improve high-volume manufacturing output and reduce prices of commodity products. H o w e v e r, Edmund Optics sees Asia and Europe not only as fertile grounds for improved manufacturing operations, but also as a means to providing a “global” base of sales and customer support offices to grow revenue. “If you want to sell products in Asia or Europe, you have to physically be there as a fullservice provider, adept at the local language, extending a ‘cultural courtesy’ to a regional customer base,” says Allan Kre u t z e r, VP of Global Sales at Edmund Optics.

Currently, Edmund Optics has manufacturing operations in the U.S. and Asia. Its Akita, Japan manufacturing facility focuses on spherical optics, its Shenzhen, China facility concentrates on lens assemblies, and its manufacturing plant in Singapore focuses on optical flats, prisms, coatings, and spherical optics. The Edmund manufacturing facility in Pennsburg, PA does all of the above plus state-of-the-art aspheres and large-volume optical assemblies such as for night-vision systems.

Up until now, these many manufacturing offices as well as sales offices throughout the U.S., Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland), Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Singapore), and in the rest of the world (Israel, India) operated as relatively independent entities. But now, says Kreutzer, “The new focus on globalization will change this model, with global sales, global marketing practices, and a global pricing structure. Our goal is to present a global image of Edmund Optics to the marketplace.” In all, Edmund has outlined three business objectives: (1) globalization, (2) increasing manufacturing capabilities, and (3) growing the custom optics business.

To accomplish globalization, Edmund Optics is establishing three global zones: Asia, Europe, and America. Each zone will have its own director of sales and director of marketing that will report in to the VP of global sales, Allan Kre u t z e r, and the VP of global marketing, Mari Edmund, respectively. One such addition is Maria Light who recently joined Edmund optics with over 20 years experience in the optics industry to be its director of sales - America. In turn, regional sales managers will report to the directors of sales within a particular zone, insuring that all regional offices provide expert customer care, service, and attention within their particular zone, with an eye towards the global goals and practices of Edmund Optics as a whole. “It’s no surprise that good sales are connected to good service and strong customer relationships,” says Kreutzer. “With our annual sales growth in the U.S. in the low double digits, and growth rates in Europe and Asia around 30%, establishing three global zones allows us to monitor the regional markets more closely and increase regional sales staffing when needed.

Edmund plans to open a sales office soon in Rome, Italy, and an additional sales office in France. The office in Rome will be headed by Beate Sauter who has 16 years of sales and marketing management experience in the optics and photonics industries.

To improve its manufacturing capabilities, Edmund will continue to make capital investments in its U.S. and Asian operations, as well as adding manufacturing equipment to increase production. However, it is also focusing on new capabilities within the U.S. such as advanced coating and asphere optical fabrication methods.

And finally, Edmund is intent on growing its custom optics business. “Most people know Edmund as a catalog company,” says Kreutzer. “But we do tens of millions of dollars in custom optics each year—in fact, custom optics are the fastest- growing part of our business.” Edmund builds custom optics assemblies for a number of customers, especially for biomedical and defense-related applications, and plans to grow the custom optics business globally as well.

“Building the global structure,” says Kreutzer, “will enable us to more eff e ctively service our global customers with both standard catalog products and custom products while working toward our objective to be the world’s preferred supplier of optical components.” —Gail Overton


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