Developing ISO Work on Spectacle Lenses

But before I could wholly concentrate on reorganization of the Quality department, I had to bring  Essilor’s activity in ISO standardization to the attention of Essilor’s top management . ISO is the International Organization of Standardization creating international standards with common requirements, specifications, guidelines for products and services for global trade, eliminating trade barriers. As ISO Standards are voluntary, big markets as the USA and China had and still have sometimes their own national standards with certain specific requirements.

At that time there was a team of Essilor R&D and Quality experts coming from head office and the different zones, who participated as members of their respective national delegations at ISO. The convenor of the ISO working group “Spectacle Lenses “ was the  coordinator for the Essilor ISO team. When I analyzed the work of the Essilor ISO team, I came to the conclusion, that they did a good job, except that the projects and their results were not communicated and explained in a systematic way at  top management level. Therefore the main change to be done in future was to keep the Comex members regularly informed about the different ISO projects and to include their feedback into our strategy. At the beginning I tried to do this by participating several times at ISO meetings as an Essilor team member. This was not entirely new to me, as I had already participated in standardization work during my activity with Rodenstock. As in the past I found that discussions were often characterized by a too cautious political atmosphere and tactical moves. There was plenty of room to improve the efficiency in creating a more constructive team work, but the only way to achieve this in a short time was to assume directly the leadership of the ISO group “Spectacle Lenses” and so I had to explain to the team leader of the Essilor standard group, that I would take over the responsibility as convenor myself. I was aware of the insensitive character of this step. It was the consequence of an arbitrary organizational decision without caring about the persons concerned.

In those days I was lucky, that the different national delegations of the working group, represented by their manufacturers and their  local eye care professionals, had the same feeling and ambitions and so it started a long period of fruitful work. During the years to follow the  group “Spectacle Lenses” succeeded to update all fundamental standards for Single Vision, Multifocal and Progressive Lenses and established the first, still valid, standards for antireflective and scratch resistant coatings. Finally we launched the first ISO standard on mounted spectacle lenses.

The names of the people characterizing this particularly fruitful era were Michael Liese, Wolfgang Grimm and Bernd Kratzer of the German team DIN, Alick Taylor , Ronald Rabbetts and John „ the kilt“ Redwood of the British Standards Institute,  Dan Torgersen, Ken Wood and Michael Vitale of the US ANSI organization, Wang Liru from China, completed by the Essilor team Kevin O’Connor, Jean-Louis Mercier, Luc Nouvelot, Michael Vitale and Neil Roche.