Cecop, the international voluntary group of independent opticians, has launched a new management training program, called Evolution, to support affiliated opticians in Spain, Italy and Portugal in maximizing sales and profits.

One of its modules is a unique consulting service whereby experts in the field, called “Optical Business Developers,” work with the store's management and its sales staff to identify the weak sports in its operations and its growth objectives, based on 200 key performance indicators (KPIs).

In a second stage, Cecop's Optical Business Developers may be asked to help develop a full-fledged “business plan” and to accompany its implementation. Apparently, no other voluntary group in the optical retail sector is offering this kind of service.

“Business plan” is one of three modules that the Evolution business management program is offering to Cecop's members. Another consists of in-store training on topics such as sales techniques and personnel management. The third, launched last year, is an executive program developed for opticians in Madrid with the Europe Business School (ESCP), which has been ranked by the Financial Times among the five best business schools in Europe.

Cecop has opened enrolment in the second edition of this management excellence program for opticians in Madrid, which will begin in October, offering blended classes to teach optometrists how to run their businesses. To encourage participation in the program, Cecop provides a scholarship for the affiliated opticians in addition to a variety of payment facilities through its remuneration and contribution programs.

Meanwhile, Cecop has made a series of changes in its management structure. To supervise programs for its retail members in Latin America, it has appointed María Velázquez and Rafael Rodríguez as directors for Mexico and Brazil respectively. Both managers will be based in Madrid. They join Mauricio Lara, director of operations in Colombia.

Cecop has also partially changed its management team in Italy, appointing Bérénice Narvaez as its new national business manager last October. She has taken the place of Enrico Ferrario, who is still involved in the operation. She has 20 years of experience in the optical sector, working for Luxottica and other leading European companies at the wholesale and retail stages of the optical sector.

Just before the change of management, the Italian branch of Cecop signed a partnership agreement with Ottici Professionisti, a group of about 400 Italian opticians run by Alberto Bortolozzo, to help improve business opportunities and other services offered to its retail members. The opticians will receive support from Cecop for their professional and entrepreneurial careers, but the two organizations will keep their own identities and operations separate, while consolidating their relations with the suppliers.

With a total of 3,400 opticians in its network, Cecop operates not only in Spain, Italy and Latin America but also in Portugal and the U K. Its activities in Latin America began in 2010 with a subsidiary in Brazil. A year later, the group started in Colombia and in 2015 in Mexico. It currently has about 1,200 affiliates in Brazil, its largest market in the region. The number of associates has reached 266 in Colombia and 97 in Mexico.

The digitalization of Cecop's operations is expected to help the group to reach internal revenues of €6 million in 2019, a 15 percent increase as compared to 2018. The Spanish-based group has 125 employees, 25 of whom are based in Spain.

Spain is still the biggest market for Cecop, with a network of 750 retail members in the country. It operates in collaboration with 40 suppliers on a global basis, both for services and products.