Lab Advisor
VMail
A MONTHLY BRIEFING FOR OPTICAL LABORATORY OWNERS AND MANAGERS

August 2010

Dollars and Sense

Leasing vs. Borrowing (Part 2)

Dollars and SenseIn last month’s column, I discussed using bank debt to finance purchases. This month, let’s examine another financing option, leasing.

Leases come in two basic forms, capital and operating. A capital lease functions very similar to that of a bank loan. Money lent to you to purchase equipment, the equipment is purchased and capitalized by you. This means that the equipment that is on the lease is added to your fixed assets on the balance sheet. You are then able to depreciate the equipment using the same methods as if you bought the equipment outright. Interest is imputed on the lease (typically a higher rate than bank loans) and you are able to write off the interest as an expense.

An operating lease is a form of financing that does not allow capitalization and therefore the lease payments are written off as rental expense on the income statement. With both capital and operating leases, the equipment remains the property of the finance company. Under both kinds of leases, the finance company generally will give you the opportunity to own the equipment at the end of the lease for a specified buyout amount. Unlike bank loans, most leases are non-cancellable, which means that the lease cannot be paid off early for less than the contract or the sum of the remaining lease payments, and there are often prepayment penalties. Additionally, finance companies and manufacturers who lease their own equipment are typically more tolerant of risk and likely to extend more credit to a lab than might a bank.

Choosing the right form of financing is dependent upon the needs and capabilities of the lab and should be carefully compared with alternatives before action. More on this next month.—Jason A. Meyer, 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 A. Meyer at jam@hpcpuckett.com.

Essilor

Lab Notes

PixelOptics

It’s ‘Trash to Treasure’ Time Again

Trash to TreasureTurn trash into a treasure by using finishing pads to make works of art in the annual Trash to Treasure art contest sponsored by LabTalk, DAC Vision and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. In the past, optical laboratories have turned finishing blocking pads into mosaics, paintings and sculptures. (Last year’s winning entry is pictured here). A $500 American Express Gift Card will be awarded to the first place winner during Labapalooza, the lab party at Vision Expo West, on Thursday, October 7 at 6:30. Second prize is a $200 gift card, third prize is $100, and honorable mention will receive one roll of SecurEdge Finishing Pads.

To enter, package and mail artwork to: Jobson Publishing, Attention: Finishing Pad Art, 100 Avenue of the Americas, 9th floor, New York, New York, 10013. All artwork will be photographed in the Jobson studio for judging. Photos of the winning entries will be published in LabTalk and on display at Labapalooza. Deadline to enter is September 3, 2010. Artwork will not be returned, but can be picked up after the event on October 7. For more information contact LabTalk editor, Christie Walker at 909-866-5590.

Walman Optical Appoints General Manager for Ophthalmic Division

Walman Optical Walman Optical Company has named Bryan G. Schueler vice president and general manager for the Walman Ophthalmic Division. In his new capacity, Schueler will be responsible for all aspects of ophthalmic operations, including sales, marketing and manufacturing functions.

Prior to joining Walman, Schueler held senior level management positions in the technology and information systems industries.

Insight Digital Optical Earns ‘Green’ Certification

Insight Digital Optical, a Missoula, Mont.-based wholesale lab, has received a “Green Business Certification” from The Institute for Green Business Certification, Inc. (IGBC), an independent organization headquartered in Michigan City, Ind. The certification demonstrates Insight Digital Optical’s “total commitment to their community’s environmental health and well-being,” according to the IGBC, which noted that the lab is the first U.S. wholesale optical manufacturer it has certified.

Insight Digital Optical was founded in 2009 with the objective of producing quality products using green business practices with renewable energy sources. Lab president Kurt Rehder, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, takes the green certification, and sustainable operation of this laboratory very seriously. “Green is a top down, core value of this organization,” he stated.

Icare Laboratories to Distribute Marco Sunwear

Marco, polarized eyewear is pleased to announce that Icare Labs, of St. Petersburg, Fla. is joining the group of wholesalers that distribute its line of high fashion, fully Rx-able, polarized sunglasses. “We soft launched the Marco collection last year and received a very positive reaction,” said Scott Payne, CEO of Icare Labs. ”We have created an exciting lens-and-frame package for the Marco polarized collection. I believe our customers will do well with this exciting polarized Rx sunwear line.”

Marco polarized is distributed under a master license agreement for North America by Precision Optics of Omaha, Neb.

P.O.G. Labs Honored by Iowa Farm Bureau

POG Precision Optical Group, based in Creston, Iowa recently received the Union County Iowa Farm Bureau’s Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award. Founded 18 years ago by longtime Creston, Iowa friends, Matt Somers and Mike Tamerius, the lab ranked 14th in Vision Monday’s 2009 Top Labs Survey. P.O.G. Labs now has customers in 48 states and several other countries, producing more than 1200 pair of prescription lenses a day.

Somers (left) and Tamerius (right) received the award from Matt Steinfeldt, Farm Bureau regional manager.

LensTech Hosts ‘Night at the Races’ Seminar

LensTech LensTech Optical, an independent wholesale lab in Indianapolis, Ind., recently hosted its fifth annual "Night at the Races" seminar. The event, held at the Indiana Live horse race track and casino located in Shelbyville, Ind., attracted 250 customers who enjoyed the evening festivities, including a presentation by keynote speaker Tim Fortner of Transitions Optical. Co-sponsor Shamir Optical representative Brian Fox was also in attendance to register digital certification training for ECPs and staff. The event also celebrated LensTech's new digital surfacing capabilities along with an “in progress” installation of a Crizal AR facility.

At the event, left to right, are LensTech principals Bill Harding, Greg Dallas, Greg Kyle and lab manager Mark Korreck.

DAC Vision
Focus On

Tammy CarlbergTammy Carlberg of Soderberg, Sioux Falls

Tammy Carlberg started working for Soderberg, in Sioux Falls, S.D. in August 1998. As a customer service representative, she performs a variety of tasks to keep the lab rolling, customers happy and glasses shipping out to their accounts. On a typical day, Carlberg can be found entering data, answering customer questions, ordering, billing, stocking and shipping.

“We are an employee-owned company,” she noted. “Because of that, I have a real sense of ownership in the company. She added, “We have a pleasant and enjoyable work atmosphere here.”

Before coming to Soderberg, Carlberg worked as a dispenser and assistant office manager at an optical retail store. Making the switch to lab work, she discovered that working with accounts was what she liked to do best.

“It gives me great satisfaction to be able to help my accounts with whatever they need,” she said. “Soderberg gives me the tools I need to provide the best customer service and make my accounts happy.”

Carlberg looks forward to growing her career at Soderberg, which is one of 22 locations owned by Soderberg and Walman Optical, the largest independent optical laboratory group in the U.S. “I would love to continue to improve my customer service skills and continue to meet and exceed the needs of our accounts,” she said. “Soderberg has designed a system in which we not only receive recognition from our customers and corporate headquarters, but most importantly from within our team. And we all take great pride in our work.“


LabTalk Spotlight   August 2010

June 2010Getting Smart with Polarized and Photochromics
By Julie Bos


Let’s face it. Selling sunwear effectively (and profitably) isn’t for dummies. In fact, getting high marks in this niche takes focus, patience and a firm resolve to succeed.

Here’s the challenge: When looking for ways to improve sales of polarized and photochromic sunwear, it can be easy to spread your efforts too thin. It’s also easy to focus on only one strategy, only to find that you’re not making a meaningful impact on the business. A better approach: Apply a serious focus to several strategies at once and get ready to reap the rewards.

To help you sharpen your skills in this area, we’ve talked to some labs that have already dialed it in—and are enjoying healthy profits from their sunwear sales. These A+ performing labs have shared some of their best tips, which can help you move to the head of the class.

Make a point of talking about polarized on every call. Harbor Optical in Traverse City, Mich., is one lab that has mastered the art of communication. According to Bob Westlake, director of operations, lens specialists talk about polarized lenses in one form or another, on every call. This goes a long way to keeping the topic in the forefront, and reinforces the product value.

To learn other strategies that smart labs are employing to boost polarized and photochromic sales, log onto www.labtalkonline.com and go to the Features section where you will find this complete article.

Local Eye Site
Make What You Say, Pay!

From Dull to Dazzling

Make What you Say, Pay!

I was momentarily thrown by the surprise response I got when I called the operator at the W Hotel in LA this week to order a wake-up call for the next morning. She said, “Hello, Mrs. Miller. This is Terry. What is your wish?”

What is my wish? My immediate reaction was, “How about a 40 percent bounce in my portfolio, world peace, and thinner thighs?” However, I restrained myself, and, in a tone of voice that suggested I was accustomed to talking to tooth fairies every day, I simply asked for a 7a.m. wake-up ring the next morning.

So, this little exchange made me think about you, the readers of this column. What would my “wish” be for business people at both large and small companies whose job it is to sell, present, or otherwise influence various groups of people? I think it would be that you get beyond the facts of your information and more creatively use language to bring your products, services, and ideas to life for your listeners. Consider these comments made by William Safire, who, until his death in 2009, was a political columnist for The New York Times, and also known for his popular “On Language” column in that paper’s Sunday magazine section.

“Suppose I’m describing the reaction of baseball fans on that unforgettable evening when Henry Aaron hit the home run that broke Babe Ruth’s lifetime record. I might say, ‘Aaron was given a standing ovation by fifty thousand fans. The tribute continued for at least five minutes.’ That’s accurate. It’s what happened. No doubt about it.

“But compare that description with this. ‘Fifty thousand fans sprang to their feet, clapping, screaming, cheering wildly in a pandemonium that went on for a full five minutes.’ That’s also what happened. Is there a difference? “You bet there is. The first version tells what happened all right, but it doesn’t involve the listener. There’s no fire, no passion. ...The second version paints a word picture that puts the listeners right in the stadium, making them part of the clapping, cheering crowd.”

Grant Them Their Wish
No matter what you sell, use the richness of language to put your listeners smack in the middle of the experience your products, services, or ideas will give them. Let them “see” what it will mean to use what you are selling. Use vivid language to describe the results of what your dry facts, features, metrics, analytics, or processes, mean to them. Let them get excited by the possibilities of that experience. In short, let them see their ”business wishes” coming true when they work with you..When you do that for your listeners, then, your wishes for greater success and increased bottom-lines will come true as well.

Execution is everything: Make What You Say Pay!—Anne Miller

©2010, Anne Miller, author, “Metaphorically Selling”
www.annemiller.com.

New Products

Dia Edging System

Dia Edging System

Manufacturer: Arno Optical
Description:
Compact edging system consisting of the E-950 GP Multifunctional Lens Edger, FD-80 3-Axis Dual Eyewire Scanner and LS-82 Computerized Lens Blocker.
Features:
The heart of the Dia system is the E-950 GP, which features vertical wheel technology that enables the edger wheels to be easily adjusted to graduate the pressure on the lens. This allows for a more secure and accurate finish while eliminating stress marks. Because the wheels are vertical, debris goes straight to the drain, avoiding cluster on the wheels.

Touch screen interface makes all functions easily available. Operators can select the lens material, frame type, bevel, grooving, polish and other options, and can customize the speed and force that the wheel applies to the lens, a useful feature when edging slippery hydrophobic lenses. The E-950 GP can cut all materials, including Trivex, very smoothly and sharply, the company notes. Built for durability and easy maintenance, the Dia system has an auto-clean function and electronic parts that are sealed and protected from water.
(800) 822-2766
www.arnooptical.com

Crizal Sapphire Lenses With Scotchguard Protector

Crizal Sapphire Lenses With Scotchguard Protector

Manufacturer: Essilor
Description:
Latest generation of Crizal offers no-glare performance, scratch resistance and cleanability that surpasses Crizal Avancé lenses with Scotchgard Protector, which already led the industry with its superior performance and quality.
Features:
Essilor’s exclusive Enhanced Light Transmission (ELT) System maximizes light transmission through the lens by further reducing glare and visible reflections. As a result, Crizal Sapphire lenses with Scotchgard Protector have 50 percent less reflection than the previous industry leader, Crizal AvancĂ© lenses with Scotchgard Protector. Essilor’s SR Booster layer provides superior scratch resistance. Essilor’s proprietary High Surface Density (HSD) process increases cleanability with a contact angle of 116 degrees.
800-552-0305 (fax)
www.crizalusa.com

Fusion Ice

Fusion Ice

Manufacturer: iCoat Company
Description:
New line of mirror coatings
Features: Produced with a delectric process that can be applied to virtually all types of lenses in either uncut or edged form. Make excellent sunglasses when combined with polarized or photochromic lenses. Incorporates latest technological advancements resulting in a durable, anti-static and easy to clean mirror lens. Protects against harmful UV rays, glare and back surface reflections.
Availability:
Assortment of fashionable colors in both solid and flash densities. Backside AR coating is standard.
800-832-2628
www.icoatcompany.com

Adage

Adage

Manufacturer: Younger Optics
Description:
Short-corridor progressive lens for smaller frames
Features:
Minimum fitting height of 13mm. Very wide near zone (generous reading area) for a short design. Large, functional zones. Ninety percent of add is reached at only 11mm below pupil. Effective blank size 76mm. No secondary calculations necessary for use.
Availability:
Clear polycarbonate. NuPolar polarized lens to follow soon.
800-877-5367
www.youngeroptics.com

Send us news about your lab's new products, services, special events, tech advances or personnel changes.

Andy Karp

Andrew Karp
Editor, Lab Advisor
akarp@jobson.com

 

Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk
cwalker@jobson.com

Visit LabTalkonline.com for additional articles of interest about labs.