Essilor: a global digital transformation

By Nell Walker

Essilor, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of ophthalmic lenses, has a history stretching back some 170 years.

The group was born in 1972 from a merger of two illustrious and inventive French companies – Essel and Silor, both of which were operating independently for many decades. Since the merger, Essilor has grown steadily through innovations and partnerships. It has developed many innovative ideas and is recognised for progressive lenses, photochromic lenses, antireflective coatings, and many other categories in the industry. Today, more than one billion people wear Essilor lenses globally.  

One of the fastest growing regions for Essilor is AMERA (Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Russia and Africa) where the population is very large and economies growing fast. In this region there are many unmet visual needs for the consumers, and Essilor is uniquely positioned to offer products and services to meet those needs. To deliver these products and services faster and in a cost effective way to the vast population of this region, Essilor is undergoing a digital transformation of its business processes under the guidance of its AMERA Chief Information Officer, Sekhar Ray, and supported by all the business and functional teams. 

IT challenges

The scope of the venture is vast, and as such, naturally challenging, with a mixture of developed and emerging markets. The challenge is in ensuring that the solutions have the right balance for scalability and cost. “One solution doesn’t fit for all, but if every entity has a different solution, then cost could be very high” Ray states. “In some countries, orders are hand-delivered by someone on a moped bringing it to one of the labs, while in Japan we get very high percentage of our orders electronically. Essilor is deploying solutions that are fit for a small entity in Africa, but can also be scaled up for a large entity in Australia. The company is focused on reusability.”

Ray previously led a similar initiative as the CIO of Essilor America. During his five years there, Essilor underwent a transformation program to simplify and modernise its analytics, manufacturing, back-office, and customer ordering systems.

He is in the third year of a multi-year road map, and plans to apply some of the same synergies to his new territories, bringing them up-to-date and strengthening the company’s position as the global leader.  


The rest of this article can be read in the September issue of Business Review Australia & Asia

Follow @BizRevAsia and @MrNLon on Twitter.

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