The Importance of Keeping Good Records
Lab owners strive to grow their businesses and thrive on the thrill of the sale, perfection of the product, or being the “go to”
person for answers to difficult questions from customers. These are the fun parts of running a lab.
In comparison, taking minutes of meetings, maintaining contracts with vendors, customers, software suppliers, and insurance companies, obtaining
licenses, permits, environmental inspections, managing inventories, trial balances and general ledgers is pretty dull.
Yet these mundane recordkeeping tasks can make or break a business. Whether you're applying for a loan, adding on to your building, selling your
business, or going through a tax audit, having a well organized and complete set of corporate records can mean the difference between getting the
loan, avoiding tax penalties, selling the business, getting the building permit, or not. While most customers and suppliers will rely on your word and
your past performance, anything that requires significant resources and due diligence requires real, up-to-date, and organized records.
Most record keeping systems are organic to the organization. It is not so important, unless dictated by a vendor or governmental organization in
what order or form they are kept. But, most importantly, they should be organized in a way that you have quick access to provide copies of relevant,
complete information. For financial information, records should be kept by account number in the GL by period, or in some cases by vendor
alphabetically. Contract information with vendors and customers should be kept in a separate file (not in a pile on a desk). Tax filing information
should be kept by year by jurisdiction, and off site with duplicates somewhere else for safety.
Ultimately, keeping records is an important part of doing and
maintaining a healthy business. Recordkeeping is an indicator of the
management quality of a business. At worst, poor record keeping can
lead to missed opportunities and in some cases mean the difference
between being in business or not.
—Jason A. Meyer is senior vice president,
HPC Puckett & Company. Based in San Diego, Calif., HPC Puckett & Company specializes in mergers and acquisitions of wholesale optical laboratories. You can send comments or questions about this article or any other Dollars
& Sense articles to Jason Meyer at
OLA to Co-Locate 2010 Annual Meeting With Expo West
Since announcing last month that the Optical Laboratories Association’s (OLA) annual meeting will be co-located at International Vision Expo
West (VEW) from October 7 to 9 in Las Vegas, OLA officials have provided a detailed look at how the event is shaping up. Most of the meeting’s key
elements are now in place, including show hours and a listing of educational courses being offered, according to the officials, who emphasized that
the new venue and meeting format offers OLA members an array of benefits.
Additionally, the OLA has opened the nominations for the 2010 OLA Awards of Excellence. Information on the Awards categories, and a history of the
winning products and nomination forms are available on
The final nominees will be announced in July. OLA members will vote for the winners during September, and the winning products will be announced in
Las Vegas during the OLA Annual Meeting, October 7 to 9, coinciding with International Vision Expo West.
Hawkins Optical Joins ELOA
Essilor acquired Hawkins Optical in Topeka, Kan. in April. The lab generates $4.5 million in revenue, according to Essilor. Hawkins has relocated
to Duffens Optical, a Topeka laboratory that is part of the Essilor Laboratories of America (ELOA) network.
Members Meet for Education and 2010 Good Fellow Award
The California Optical Laboratory Association (COLA) held its annual member meeting in Temecula, Calif., providing a day of networking,
educational sessions, and the presentation of the annual Good Fellow Award to Practical Systems Inc.’s (PSI) Gary Peterson. Twenty independent and
manufacturer-owned labs were represented among the 80 total attendees, making it one of the best-attended COLA meetings in recent years, according
to event organizer, Terry Yoneda of Younger Optics.
Following a half-day golf event, members attended a reception and dinner where Stephen Mori-Prange, Prestige Lens Lab,
assumed his new duties as COLA president. Gary Peterson, PSI, was pronounced “a good fellow” by his peers
during the Good Fellow Award Ceremony.
On day two, COLA members attended a series of educational classes,
which were presented on: lab strategies, creating a Web site, and insurance
industry updates. The afternoon concluded with a lively panel discussion on mergers and acquisitions with representatives from Carl Zeiss Optical,
Essilor, Hoya Vision Care, and VSP.
Helping to pass the gavel are: Phil Epperson, incoming COLA president, Stephen Mori-Prange, Prestige Lens Lab, outgoing COLA president, Tim
Steffey, Sunstar Optical, and Terry Yoneda, Younger Optics.
Ed Schmidt of Seoco Dies at 78
Optical laboratory veteran Ed Schmidt died on May 9 after suffering a heart attack. He was 78 years old and lived in Champaign,
Schmidt is survived by his wife Matti, his son Mike, a step-daughter, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Donations may be made in Schmidt’s name to the
American Lung Association.
Midwest Labs Opens Doors to Conference Attendees
Midwest Labs in Indianola, Ind. opened its doors March 27 to the Des Moines 2010 Opticians Association of Iowa and Iowa Optometric Assistants
Association conference attendees to tour the new 9,600-sq-ft lab facilities and see first hand what happens to patient’s lenses after the order is
placed. Optometric assistants and opticians became familiar with the processes involved to produce a pair of lenses. Stations included in the tour
were data entry, customer service, surfacing, finishing and Reliance AR coating.
The lab was “live” and all stations included detailed demonstrations of the processes with actual patient’s jobs. Attendees observed how
orders are entered into the lab software system; prepared for surfacing; generated, fined and polished; AR application; edged into the frame and
finally invoiced and shipped.
Approximately 50 eyecare professionals attended and each participant received a free pair of lenses that include Reliance XP AR.
Lisa De Marco and Marc Rubinrott of Advance Optical
Family owned and operated since 1922, Advance Optical of Rochester, New York became an Essilor partner lab in March of 2008. Shortly after the
retirement of Morley Gwirtzman, Essilor hired for Marc Rubinrott, a former Bausch & Lomb executive, as the new president of Advance Optical.
Rubinrott aims to increase the scope of Advance’s services and technologies while still maintaining the tenets of the Gwirtzman family philosophy. Together with marketing director Lisa De Marco, who is Gwirtzman’s daughter, he began an internal marketing
department. Rubinrott’s previous tenure in sales and marketing at Bausch & Lomb and De Marco’s marketing positions at metro New York
companies Colavita and Rose Brand have helped them formulate marketing initiatives for Advance.
“We’re growing the business in a fun, innovative way. We’re looking to build loyalty, promote premium products all the while injecting
a bit of fun into the mix,” said De Marco.
To reach their goal, Rubinrott and De Marco are developing simple, exciting sales promotions that entice not only the customers, but the company
employees as well. One recent promotion, “No Glare: Your Best Vision Decision,” featured “Morley Money” point coupons that
are redeemable for gifts. Another, “Home Run Derby,” promotes Transitions lenses. Rubinrott and De Marco believe they have seen a rise in
customer participation as a result.
“Having everyone on board be able to see the big picture from the start is a large part of our commitment,” said Rubinrott. May also
celebrates the one-year successful introduction of Advance’s progressive lens and Non-Glare coating brand “Mor Sight,” a reference to
both former owner/president Morley Gwirtzman as well as to quality vision.
Together, Advance Optical’s marketing team pushes to enhance the overall business experience. “Through quality products and services,
educational/social events, and promotions we plan to make it impossible not to work with Advance,” said De Marco.
“It’s not only about making glasses. It’s helping people to see better. It’s changing and enhancing lives,” added Rubinrott.
LabTalk Spotlight May 2010
Green and Saving Green: Create a More Eco-Friendly and Profitable Lab
By Julie Bos
Every day, we’re met head-on with the cold hard facts on how our actions impact the environment. From radio spots encouraging recycling to
throngs of hybrid vehicles on the market to water conservation efforts, we’re reminded of the harmful consequences of global warming and the benefits
of environmental sustainability.
Despite the media bombardment, does your lab still feel a bit helpless when it comes to making a real difference in the health of planet
Earth? If so, you’re not alone. The good news is that ongoing concern for the environment is prompting an increasing number of lens labs
to focus on becoming more eco-friendly. What’s more, many are discovering ways to save some serious cash while they’re taking steps to
heal the planet.
We’ve compiled several practical strategies that can help your lab make some forward progress with its eco-friendly efforts—and may also
help you put a dent in your ongoing expenses.
The first step to going green is simply to decide that you’re going to do it. Get buy-in from your executive leaders, create a plan and perhaps
even get a signed statement from your team. While it does take some work to do things differently, the payoff can be big.
For example, improved waste-segregation efforts can increase regulatory compliance and reduce costs, which will not only benefit your lab but will
play a part in the larger picture too—you’ll be helping conserve energy and the oil necessary to transport and dispose of the waste. Plus,
transitioning to less toxic chemicals can improve safety and air quality.
To find out other strategies for going green, log onto
www.labtalkonline.com where you will find
Going Green and Saving Green, listed under the Features section.
When High Touch Trumps Presentation High Tech
They say when everyone is buying, you should sell and when everyone is selling, you should buy. The same holds true in presentations. If everyone is
using PowerPoint, then do the opposite: use plain old paper and pencil. You will have greater impact and be more memorable.
Grab a pen (or two if you want a second color for emphasis) and a piece of paper and draw your value proposition, or your process, or your
competitive position as you explain your points. If you can draw circles, squares, letters of the alphabet, arrows, triangles, stick figures, and
plus signs (and you can), then, you can draw just about anything you have to present. For example, say you want to position your website to a
potential advertiser. You could show a series of competitive PPT slides, which look like everyone else’s.
OR you can simply write the letters A, B and C down the left side of a piece of paper, while saying, “Ms. Advertiser, Competitor X gives you
A, B, and C” (whatever those features are), “but when you advertise with us” (you draw a plus sign and you say) “You also get
D” (your competitive advantage), “which makes our site a more valuable way to target your audience and measure your results.” The
simple graphic is easy for your buyer to see; easy for your buyer to grasp; and more involving than set images because you are creating it as you
are speaking. Sign the piece of paper and leave it as a take-away. It will stand out from the flood of PPT presentations your buyer will see that
Processes flow up, down, horizontally, or in circles and can be explained as you draw them. Services are organized in groups (boxes, triangles,
circles) and can be discussed for their viability with a buyer as you draw them. Trends and performance histories can be drawn as simple graphs,
as you talk about them. If you have to use PPT for small groups, then break from the screen and use a flip-chart or whiteboard to create key
I am not suggesting you eliminate detailed hand-outs or slides where they are necessary (and they become more so with groups), but in one-on-one
or in one-to- two/three situations, at a high conceptual level, nothing beats a real-time pen and piece of paper to make your points and to make
Neox Transitions SolFx Golf Sun Lenses
Manufacturer: Transitions Optical and MicroVision
Description: Neox Transitions SolFx lenses are designed to help enhance visual performance for golfers, enabling them to clearly see terrain
changes, easily track the flight of the ball and deliver clearer contours on the green to assist with putting. They combine the performance technology
of Neox lenses with the photochromic technology of Transitions Optical to create advanced sun lenses that automatically adapt in changing light
situations. Neox lenses are currently the exclusive lenses featured in Callaway Eyewear and are available in fixed tint non-prescription sunglasses on
a global basis. Neox Transitions SolFx sun lenses are the first dynamic prescription and non-prescription sun lenses to use Neox lens technology.
Features: Engineered to counteract the problems encountered with typical non-prescription sunglasses, such as distortion in both
color and object sight and decreased depth of field, delivering increased depth perception, better distance vision and superior clarity. The sun
lenses have a contrast enhancing green base tint and activate to a darker color in the same hue in bright light. Transitions Optical’s advanced
photochromic technology provides the right color and tint for optimal performance in varying lighting conditions.
Availability: MicroVision Optical has partnered with Walman-Soderberg, the largest independent lab network in North America, for
exclusive distribution of Neox Transitions SolFx sun lenses to the optical trade. Offered in both prescription and non-prescription versions in
polycarbonate material; can be paired with Callaway frames or frames of the wearer’s choice.
Manufacturer: Carl Zeiss Vision
Description: New-generation AR coating developed with DuPont
Features: Teflon Elite lens coating builds on the OLA-award-winning performance of Teflon Clear Coat Lenses, extending it to
new levels of clarity and convenience: With 1 percent visible reflectance and 99 percent luminous transmittance, Teflon Elite is among the clearest,
most contrast-sensitive anti-reflective coating available. New anti-static technology enhances the topcoat’s unique chemical composition of
super-hydrophobic (water-resistant) and oleophobic (oil-resistant) properties, so lenses are not only easy to clean, but actively repel dust and
dirt as well. Superior scratch resistance, combined with an exceptionally slick topcoat to prevent particles from sticking, gives Teflon Elite AR
coating unparalleled durability and longevity.
Availability: Offered on all Zeiss, SOLA and AO brand lenses
Maize HD Polish Pad
Manufacturer: Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI)
Description: Environmentally friendly polish pad all lens materials
Features: Uses natural rubber, less dyes and new manufacturing technologies that keep slurries cleaner and reduce polish carry out.
High-density fibers keep the polish on the lens allowing for a reduced cycle time of five minutes that maximizes throughput while maintaining superior
surface quality. (PSI notes that results may vary from lab to lab and
recommended cycle times may need to be adjusted to achieve required surface
quality.) Light yellow color is a result of less dye that eliminates bleed off
into the slurry. Precision, rayon fibers resist sheering keeping slurries
cleaner and extending the life of the polish. Durable low-density, high strength
textiles reduce polish carry out. The pad’s balanced foundation of strength and
firmness makes for easy application and one-piece pad removal from the lap
Availability: Seven and 16 petal configurations in both low and high tack adhesives
Tak Anti-slip Film
Manufacturer: Salem Vision Group
Description: Specially formulated film eliminates slippage when edging super hydrophobic lenses
Features: Complex composition of adhesive and film create a stable platform for blocking pads to securely adhere. Tak anti-slip film is safe
for use on any hydrophobic lens material
Availability: 25 x 38mm oval pads; 500 pads per roll
Coppertone and SunRx SFSV 80mm Blanks
Manufacturer: Vision-Ease Lens
Description: Large diameter, multiple base sizes that expand style options for prescription polarized lenses
Features: Large 80mm 8.50 base accommodates popular wrap applications while the 4.00 and 6.25 bases benefit today’s large fashion frames
Availability: HEV gray and HEV brown in 4.00, 6.25 and 8.50 bases. The SunRx 80mm SFSV blanks are available in gray in 4.00, 6.25
and 8.50 bases
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