Lab Advisor
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A MONTHLY BRIEFING FOR OPTICAL LABORATORY OWNERS AND MANAGERS

December 2010

Made possible by an unrestricted grant from Transitions

Dollars and Sense

Grow Baby, Grow!

Dollars and SenseThanks to the compromise struck between Republicans and the White House, labs may have dodged a bullet (assuming the bill will be passed in the House), and perhaps face the best tax climate in a decade. In addition to maintaining tax rates set to expire on January 1, accelerated write off of equipment, and exempting $5 million from estate taxes, the compromise also extends individual tax credits, unemployment benefits, and the reduces employee paid component of payroll taxes by 2 percent of gross income. The reduction in payroll taxes means that families with $50,000 of household income will have an additional $1,000 in 2011 to spend, save and invest.

Recovery from this Great Recession has been slow due in some part to uncertainty surrounding the expiration of the tax rates. Assuming the compromise is put in place, the uncertainty will be eliminated. Families will have more money to spend (hopefully on eyewear), and business owners can begin the process of hiring new employees and investing in plant to grow their companies. Hiring and investing (in theory) will put more money into peoples’ hands, increase tax revenue, and rev up our economic engine so that we can finally climb out of this recession.

As of press time, there is no certainty that the compromise will be enacted and even less certainty that the bullet will be dodged again two years from now. Whatever the result, lab owners should be making their companies’ plans for 2011. Entrepreneurs are a select group; regardless of whether the compromise is put in place, or not, you have a responsibility to yourself, your employees and this country to create something. Your talent is your ingenuity, and your virtue is your work ethic. Make a plan to grow in 2011 if the tax compromise doesn’t come. If it does, then no excuses; grow even more!—Jason A. Meyer, Managing Director, 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.

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Lab Notes

Transitions

Transitions Names Lab of the Year Finalists

Transitions Optical has announced the three finalists for its 2010 U.S. Lab of the Year Award: Central Optical, Toledo Optical and Walman Optical. The winner will be announced during an awards ceremony, held on January 25 during the 15th annual Transitions Academy at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla.

Plastic Plus Launches New Web Site

Plastic PlusToronto-based wholesale lab Plastic Plus has launched a new web site that provides a quick overview of the company, a direct connection to Seiko Optical for specific product information, and an inside peek at what’s been done over the last two years to continue this Canadian-owned company’s carefully planned growth. Among other physical and technical changes, featured in the photo gallery, there is the continuation of the highly valued, Free CE Online for Canadian opticians, optometrists and certified optometric assistants. The site also features a new job tracking connection and an area designed to provide information about new products, services, promotions or related news items of interest to optical professionals.

US Optical Offers Educational Video Lab Tour

US Optical has posted a video tour on YouTube of its East Syracuse, N.Y. lab. Created by office manager Ben Collier, the video is intended to educate new ECPs and others in the industry about how US Optical uses the latest digital technology to make lenses. Click here to take the tour.

VSP Hosts Open House Events

VSP LabsVSP Labs recently hosted a series of open house events at VSP Labs — Sacramento, Legends 4.0 Optical Laboratory and VSP Labs in Columbus, Ohio. In total, more than 350 people attended the three open houses. Guests were given guided tours of the labs, provided with educational opportunities including American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) course credits, and of course, great food, entertainment and raffle prizes.

VSP Labs — Sacramento welcomed guests to tour the new and improved lab, highlighting new production and finishing capabilities. A mini-vendor fair included Marchon, Eyefinity/Officemate, Varilux, Carl Zeiss Vision, Shamir and Santinelli edging equipment.

Legends 4.0 Optical Laboratory’s open house highlighted VSP’s proprietary anti-reflective product, Unity Performance Coatings, Carl Zeiss Vision and Shamir products, as well as the lab’s free-form processing capabilities.

VSP Labs — Columbus’ open house also highlighted Unity Performance Coatings, as well as Shamir and Essilor products now available through the lab. Attendees also had the chance to win some incredible prizes, including Diane von Furstenberg and Nautica eyewear, complete with VSP Reveal lenses, and even an Apple iPad.

Above, Denise Guy, Western region sales manager, VSP Labs and Ed Morris, director of national sales and marketing for VSP Labs welcome guests to VSP Labs — Sacramento’s open house.

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Focus On

Robertson Optical of AtlantaGoing Digital: Robertson Optical of Atlanta

Mike Fussell, Robertson Optical’s sales and customer service manager, gets excited talking about the new capabilities that digital surfacing has brought to the company’s lab, located in Loganville, Georgia, near Atlanta.

“I’ve been in this business for about 34 years, and this is really fun,” said Fussell, who is pictured here at right with Robertson Optical’s surface room manager John Westbrooks. “I’ve already seen a blended myodisc done on minus eight on six-base curve that looked like a minus three. Down the road, we’re going to see things that will be mind boggling.”

Robertson is a relatively recent convert to digital surfacing, having purchased begun production in the fourth quarter of 2009. The lab is running Schneider equipment and C.C. Systems LMS, which is integrated with Shamir’s Prescriptor system, the calculation engine for Shamir Autograph free form lenses.

Like other lab managers who have embraced digital surfacing, Fussell attests to the fact that the learning curve is steep at first. “The machinery is a good bit more complicated,” he said. “Our surface manager spent a good part of the first 120 days literally doing it all himself and looking at every job.”

Fussell credits the digital technology with significantly improving Robertson’s ability to service its accounts. The ability to make a lens on demand rather than having to pull it from stock or else order it is a big plus, he said.

Click here to read more about Robertson Optical of Atlanta and other labs that are “going digital” in Vision Monday’s Special Report: Digital Immersion.


LabTalk Spotlight   December 2010

LabTalk SpotlightA Health Care Reform, Part II
By Phillip M. Perry


Everyone admires the ideal of health care parity. But many people are concerned about the cost. If carriers are required to start covering all those previously excluded individuals who have pre-existing conditions, won’t the higher costs be passed along in the form of higher premiums?

One counterbalance to this scenario is the legislation’s mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fine. If enough healthy people join the insurance pool, goes the reasoning, their small medical bills should counterbalance the big bills from seriously ill people. “Insurance is about balancing risk,” says U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “So we need people who are well to be in the system.”

To find out more including a listing of resources, log onto www.labtalkonline.com and go to the Features section where you will find this complete article.

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Make What You Say, Pay!

New Way to Listen

Make What you Say, Pay!

When relationships disintegrate, you frequently hear that the ultimate cause was “He/she didn’t understand me.” And when relationships flourish, you hear, with almost equal frequency, a version of “he/she really ‘gets’ me.”

What applies in marriage applies in business. When clients feel that you “get” them, they want to “marry” you. Here’s a creative way to do that. I was talking to a prospect in the digital space about his company’s goals, market, challenges, and sales team. Not surprisingly, he was bemoaning the fact that many of his salespeople cannot think creatively enough to connect the dots between what their advertisers need and the many, many offerings his site provides. Without thinking, I said, “So, what you want are clones of Steve Jobs and what you have instead are bean-counters.“ He practically threw his arms around me. ‘YES! That is EXACTLY the problem!”

As you know from my last two books and “The Metaphor Minute” newsletter, I am a tireless cheerleader for the use of metaphor as a game-changing sales and leadership communication tool. A metaphor succinctly captures the heart of an issue and results in instant understanding.

Until this spontaneous exchange with my prospect, I hadn’t realized that metaphor also has the potential to be the ultimate listening tool with clients as well. When your stated understanding of what buyers just said is expressed as an image that exactly fits the image in their minds, they feel great! They feel listened to, understood, connected, validated, acknowledged, supported, simpatico, in sync, etc. They will want to “marry” you on the spot. Metaphors make it easy to get to “I do.”—Anne Miller

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

New Products

The Canvas Tool Pouch #2172

The Canvas Tool Pouch #2172

Manufacturer: Western Optical Supply
Description:
Made of sturdy canvas with a hand carrying strap. Measures approximately 13-3/4 inches wide by 12 inches high when open and only 3-1/2 inches wide by 12 inches high when rolled closed.
(800) 423-3294
www.westernoptical.com

Clearly Digital

Clearly Digital

Manufacturer: Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI)
Description:
Digital lens polish
Features: Specifically formulated for digital/free-form polishers. Offers exceptional surface quality with reduced haze for brilliant, crystal-clear lenses. Production proven to last three to five times longer than other polishes currently being used in digital systems, according to PSI. This is due to its stabilized chemistry and alumina particle structure, resulting in substantial cost savings to the lab. Unique chemistry provides continuous machine cleaning during polishing. Non-corrosive formula will not degrade adhesive on the foam polish button or irritate operator’s skin. Non-foaming, sheeting formula means there is no messy foam in the tank and the lenses and blocks are easy to clean. Unique suspension technology via steric repulsion keeps alumina particles from attaching to each other and forming a hard settle. Works on all plastic lens materials, including polycarbonate and Trivex.
Availability:
One-gallon jugs (PSI part #3330G) and five-gallon pails (PSI part #3330P)
(800) 237-8154
www.LookToPSI.com

Thindex 1.70 Spherical SFSV

Thindex 1.70 Spherical SFSV

Manufacturer: Vision-Ease Lens
Description:
Premium, semi-finished, single vision high-index option for those with direct surfacing capability
Features:
The lenses combine thin, lightweight comfort with superior optics. Thindex 1.70 lenses are thinner and lighter than 1.67 lenses and rival 1.74 high index lenses for greater comfort in mid to stronger Rxs. Higher Abbe value than 1.67 and 1.74 results in less chromatic aberration. SuperHydro anti-reflective coating on the FSV offering allows lenses to transmit maximum light for sharper night vision and reduced glare, while offering effective liquid repellence, high abrasion resistance and anti-static properties. Oleophobic coating resists smudges and oil, making lenses easy to clean.
Availability: Base curves range from 0.50 to 8.50D; prescription range is -16.00 to +8.00D. Other Thindex options include A SFSV, A FSV SuperHydro AR and a Novella short corridor progressive.
(800) 328-3449
www.vision-ease.com

Varilux Physio Enhanced Fit, Essilor Fit Single Vision Lenses

Varilux Physio Enhanced Fit, Essilor Fit Single Vision Lenses

Manufacturer: Essilor of America
Description:
Personalized lenses incorporating measurements for pupillary distance, vertex distance, pantoscopic tilt, wrap angle and fitting height for superior visual performance
Features:
Varilux Physio Enhanced Fit lenses offer all the benefits of Varilux Physio Enhanced lenses in addition to personalization. Lenses are optimized to assure optimal vision for each prescription and position of wear. Patient’s Rx is adapted to provide wider fields of vision for myopes, softer power changes for hyperopes. Designed with W.A.V.E. Technology 2 to provide the sharp vision at all distances and in all light conditions – especially low light – as well as superior aberration control and a personalized near vision zone. This results in improved ease of transitions between vision zones and more natural vision, Essilor said.

Essilor Fit Single Vision lenses optimize each Rx for each position of wear to assure optimal vision. Designed with W.A.V.E Technology: Wavefront Advanced Vision Enhancement providing clearer, sharper and brighter vision as well as enhanced colors and details.

ECPs can measure for these products by using the Visioffice System or a manual measuring device available through Varilux sales reps.
(800) 843-3937
www.variluxusa.com

New Catalog

New Catalog

Manufacturer: Vigor Optical
Description:
Comprehensive resource to tools and supplies for dispensers and lab technicians
Features:
Of special interest is a new digital air frame warmer, expanded line of hinges for metal frames, and a new safety lens marking pliers.
(800) 847-4188
www.vigoroptical.com

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Andy Karp

Andrew Karp
Editor, Lab Advisor
akarp@jobson.com

 

Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk
cwalker@jobson.com

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