FMO looks to the future beyond its centenary next year

Optical trade body planning to grow its membership and develop its trade show Optrafair

Mark Truss

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) put the spotlight on its future at its spring general meeting (2 March, NEC Birmingham), as the trade organisation prepares to celebrate its centenary in 2017.

At the meeting the FMO chairman, Mark Truss (pictured), emphasised: “We need to grow the FMO so that it exists for the next 100 years.” 

Members of the FMO’s three focus groups – Equipment and Technology, Lenses, and Frames – discussed within each the role of the organisation’s trade show Optrafair (8–9 April, NEC Birmingham).

Managing director of Mark Allen Healthcare, Jon Benson, updated delegates on the Mark Allen Group’s management of the event, having taken it over from Reed Business Information with the acquisition of Optician magazine late last year.

FMO members heard that registrations for the show are up on the same time last year, and growing more rapidly, with many ‘firsts’ at Optrafair 2016, including an education hub and a Kids Zone, according to Mr Benson.

All participants in the focus groups agreed that attracting and retaining members, and developing Optrafair, were central to the FMO’s success in the future. The focus groups’ ideas will now be fed into a strategic planning day for the FMO’s board of directors to be held in May.

A key part of the FMO’s work is ensuring that the education and training of its members’ employees on new technological advances in the industry is up to date, especially in relation to lens production. It was agreed that this should remain a priority in the years ahead.

To achieve this, the FMO will be working closely with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, as well as with the Optical Confederation.

The spring meeting ended with an inspirational keynote speech from linguist, Dr Jay Kettle-Williams, on What is marketing in an international context?

Dr Kettle-Williams summarised the answer as ‘what isn’t?’ and focused on the differences in culture, as well as language, across different world markets.

FMO chief executive, Bryony Pawinska, said: “This was my first general meeting following on from my first FMO board meeting last month, and I have been incredibly impressed with our members’ passion for the industry and their determination that they will work together, wherever they can, for the success of the industry and for the benefit of those who work within it.

“That is exactly what a trade body is for and I am very much looking forward to my first Optrafair as FMO chief executive,” Ms Pawinska concluded.