Rodenstock – Sharp Vision
With more than 140 years of experience, Rodenstock, the expert in high-quality lenses, develops masterpieces of precision – in function, material and design.
The German lens specialist boasts a proud heritage. Decades of research knowledge, superb craftsmanship, precise cutting and intelligent technology have been transmitted into Rodenstock products, which represent German engineering at its best.
The company was established in 1877 and today has a worldwide workforce of some 5,000 people. Headquartered in Munich, Rodenstock is represented in more than 85 countries by sales subsidiaries and distribution partners and has production sites in Germany, the Czech Republic and Thailand.
The German locations house the company’s research centre and prototype building in Munich, and the engineering centre in Regen. All Rodenstock products are designed and developed in Germany.
A focus on innovation has been one of the key ingredients of the company’s successful development for over a century – Rodenstock currently maintains approximately 500 patents and patent applications worldwide for innovations in lenses, frames and instruments.
“Innovation and quality have been the drivers of the company’s business growth over the century, and a common denominator of Rodenstock development,” affirms the Group CEO Anders Hedegaard.
In line with this legacy, the company was the first to overhaul the traditional system for measuring the human eye in 2018, introducing its DNEye® PRO Technology, making it possible to measure the individual anatomy of the eye.
The system collects thousands of data points, and that dataset is used to produce an exact biometric model of the eyes which is transferred digitally to each lens during the production process. The result is individualised lenses, called Biometric Intelligent Glasses (B.I.G. VISION™) – the most precise Rodenstock lenses ever for the sharpest vision of all times, possible at any angle or with every gaze, both in the glasses’ peripheral zones and at distances from the middle, near and far.
In 2020, Rodenstock launched its new corporate philosophy, B.I.G. VISION™ FOR ALL, initiating a paradigm shift in individual progressive lenses. Mr Hedegaard says: “The B.I.G. VISION™ philosophy has been a key focus of our business development. Why? Because we accept that every person is different, every eye is different. The result is a much more bespoke lens that ultimately gives consumers sharper vision and greater comfort.”
“With our Biometric Intelligent Glasses, every consumer can see as clearly and sharply as currently possible from a technical perspective. In addition, opticians are increasingly becoming highly qualified consultants and our service meets their requirements head-on. This unique value proposition sets us and our partnering opticians apart in an extremely competitive environment and secures us a strong position in a highly attractive market.”
Increased quality awareness
Rodenstock is a clear market leader in Germany with a strong position in the German-speaking countries as well as Scandinavia. Since B.I.G VISION™ was launched, the company has seen a sharp, but steady growth in all its markets.
“We are a global company with production facilities in several countries and with our 5,000 employees in a number of locations from South America to Australia, we serve customers around the world. Still, 85% of our business is in Europe, our strongest market,” says Mr Hedegaard, pointing out that the Rodenstock brand is recognised for its high innovation focus and proven German technology, and as such enjoys an excellent reputation across its markets.
“The industry has focused on fashion and pricing but the quality of vision is key. Our lenses give a vision that is so sharp that it almost hurts, and this is the story we are pushing in the market. Consumers now really appreciate the quality, as the pandemic has taught them to invest in health and wellbeing. People are clearly willing to go the extra mile to get that, willing to pay for top quality.”
Consumers’ changing preferences have been reflected in the company’s financial performance – 2021 has been a record year for Rodenstock in terms of sales, demonstrating that the B.I.G. story resonates with people who after two difficult years are willing to treat themselves.
For enhanced wellbeing
“During 2020 we saw tremendous growth driven by our B.I.G. VISION™ technology, which helped us emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger than most of our competitors,” Mr Hedegaard points out.
Demand was strong for the patented biometric measurement technology, but also for supporting businesses including eye measurement devices, services and the two frame brands Rodenstock and Porsche Design.
“Of course, the right frame is also important, and reflecting our extensive experience we make sure that the consumer gets the best in terms of both lenses and frames,” says Günther Herrmann, Vice President Rodenstock Eyewear. With its core competence for lenses and frames, Rodenstock can offer spectacle wearers the complete spectacle system from a single source.
Just as the lenses, Rodenstock spectacle frames can be highly individualised. Each frame can be changed at up to seven different places in order to facilitate optimal wearing comfort. For example, the side tips, as well as the inclination of the sides can be easily set by the optician thanks to the material structure. Also, the bridge – the link between the eyes – and the nose pads for metal frames can be individually and easily adapted so that the spectacles sit perfectly and the spectacle wearer gets the best out of the lens performance.
Reflecting on the future, Mr Hedegaard acknowledges that Europe continues to offer substantial opportunities in terms of broadening the business, but markets further afield are also perspectives – specifically China and the US, both big markets with great potential. Geographical expansion is one of Rodenstock’s priorities, but so is an investment in product development, he affirms.
“As in the past, innovation will continue to be one of our key strengths. We believe that the market will grow by 2% to 3% per annum, and we aim at getting close to double-digit business growth in meeting demand, an ambition that exceeds the market growth. We are set to drive the company forward in the best interests of our customers.”