To keep a closer eye on its service levels, high-end eyeglass frames maker Neostyle has opened a new direct-to-market distribution center in Bradenton, FL, and is now handling U.S. distribution of Neostyle products on its own.
For more than 30 years the company’s products were distributed in the U.S. by California-based Neostyle Eyewear, which had no other affiliation with Neostyle. After getting complaints from customers that it was taking too long to receive orders, Neostyle opted to take control of its U.S. distribution, and terminated its contract with Neostyle Eyewear. It then established a new division called Neostyle USA, which opened a new 1,000 sq. ft. DC in Bradenton. (Neostyle Eyewear will be allowed to continue to sell down its inventory over the next 12 months, as per the terms of its contract.)
Neostyle USA president Bob Lawson explains that the small DC only stocks the most popular frames while other frames are shipped direct from the manufacturer. He says moving to this direct-to-market, or “just in time” distribution model has enabled the company to resolve many of the back-order issues that were affecting customer satisfaction. He says frames stocked at its Bradenton DC can be shipped the same day, while frames shipped direct from the manufacturer take a few days to arrive.
Lawson says operating its own DC has enabled Neostyle to be more responsive to its customer base.
“It puts us closer to our customers,” he says. “This way we can get their feedback directly into the DC, which will help us be more responsive to their needs.”
Lawson reports that Neostyle USA has boosted its sales and marketing efforts and now has nine sales reps doing direct sales across the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii). He says the company will be launching a Website to better serve its retail customers.
Neostyle is a 48-year-old German company that makes designer frames worn by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, the Queen of England and Elizabeth Taylor. The frames, which are made in Italy and Germany, cost in the range of $200 to $600. Neostyle does not sell direct to the public.