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A MONTHLY BRIEFING FOR OPTICAL LABORATORY OWNERS AND MANAGERS April 2012

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Walman Optical Appoints Lynn E. Askew As VP, Information Services

Marty Bassett, Walman Optical Co. president and CEO, announced that Lynn E. Askew has been named vice president, information services (IS) for Walman, based in Minneapolis, Minn. Askew assumes this senior IS position from Daniel Torgersen, who is retiring from the company.

In his new capacity, Askew will be responsible for all aspects of information technology, providing enterprise level development, infrastructure, communications, operations and applications support to Walman's nine operating divisions and corporate offices.

Commenting on Askew's appointment, Bassett said, "given Lynn's broad range of accomplishments in senior information systems strategic and applications development, he brings a keen outside perspective to our organizational structure which will allow us to capitalize on his diverse experiences."

Prior to joining Walman, Askew held senior level technology management positions in the dental, veterinary, software and digital solutions industries.

 

Diversified Ophthalmics Implements Essilor's Digital Surfacing Technology in Cincinnati Facility

Essilor of America has implemented its patented digital surfacing technology at Diversified Ophthalmics in Cincinnati, OH. With access to Essilor's Digital Surfacing technology, Diversified can now fully manufacture the complete offering of Essilor Digitally Surfaced lenses at its Cincinnati-area laboratory including the entire portfolio of Varilux lenses: Varilux DualOptix and Varilux DRx, Definity and Accolade Freedom lenses. Diversified Ophthalmics will also now be able to manufacture Eyecode lenses for its eyecare professional customers with the Visioffice System.

Diversified Ophthalmics' new Digital Surfacing facility operates Essilor's proprietary and patented Digital Surfacing Process Control. A daily quality certification of the process has been established with Essilor to ensure quality compliance and guarantee consistency at the highest possible level.

 

Plunkett Optical Joins OSC

PELHAM, Ala.—Optical Supply Co-op (OSC), based here, announced that Plunkett Optical, has joined the OSC group of laboratories. Plunkett Optical, located in Ft. Smith, Ark., is owned by Bill Plunkett.

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BOOKMARK

The 'Buffett Rule': What it Means for Your Lab

The "Buffett Rule" has been proposed by the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett as a means to provide tax fairness between the very wealthy and the rest of us. The Obama administration is touting this proposal an action that's time has come. The Buffett Rule would require anyone who earns more than $1,000,000 to pay at least 30 percent federal income tax on the earnings regardless of the source. There is a lot of populist support for such a rule because it means that billionaires like Buffett and super millionaires like Mitt Romney would have to pay a higher percentage for the privilege of earning their wealth in the U.S.

This rule would matter very little for most lab owners on a day-to-day basis. Few independent lab owners are earning more than $1,000,000 per year from their businesses, and if they are, they are likely individually paying more than the 30 percent tax rate. What the Buffett Rule really goes after is passive earnings or gains on the sale of investments. For Romney and Buffett, most of their earnings are of a passive nature so the Rule would double their taxes.

Where it does hit home for a lab owner is when they decide to sell all or a part of their business. You get to be treated like Buffett and Romney. You've owned your lab for a long time and each year you and your business have paid taxes on its profits. Often, you've taken those after tax profits and plowed them back into the business, hiring people and buying equipment for it to grow. Now when you've decided to sell the asset that you've worked hard to create, the rule would require you to cough up 30 percent of your gain in taxes.

For example, if you sell your business and have a gain of $3,000,000, under the current tax rules you would pay 15 percent or $450,000 in capital gains tax. When the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, you'll pay 20 percent or $600,000. Finally, under the Buffett Rule you would pay 30 percent or $900,000 not to mention your state tax. How's that for tax fairness?

Jason A. Meyer, managing director, HPC Puckett & Company. Based in San Diego, Calif., HPC Puckett & Company specializes in mergers and acquisitions of companies in the optical sector. 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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Focus On

Cherry Optical

By Judith Lee


Richard Cherry, president of the Melvindale, Mich. optical lab

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
28 courses with ABO or COPE accreditation.
Chance to win an iPad2.
Ford Convention Center, Dearborn, Mich.

And that's just a few of the things Cherry Optical is doing for its customers this month.

"We sponsor Your Eyes University which is a one day event that is free to all independent eye care professionals," noted Richard Cherry, president of the Melvindale, Mich. optical lab. "We have been doing the event every April since 2006."

An impressive undertaking for any size business, Your Eyes University provides a full day of high quality continuing education at no charge to hundreds of ODs and optical staff. Big name sponsors include Essilor, Transitions Optical, Hoya and Vision-Ease Lens.

"The educated customer is our best customer. We also accomplish a lot of training in one day, so it works to our advantage," Cherry said.

Founded by Cherry in 1977, the lab is still a family business, with son Dan managing the AR department and daughter Debbie Mullins managing daily operations. Now in its third facility, Cherry Optical has always grown through the addition of new technology.

Cherry offers a rundown of recent tech investments: "In 2008, we installed our Crizal AR Department. In early 2010, we started installing freeform equipment and by the end of 2010 we started producing freeform lenses. Late last year, we worked with PixelOptics to provide the eye care professional with the Empower lens. We are also working with Chromagen, which provides aid to people who have been diagnosed with dyslexia and color blindness."

He said each process involved training sessions for employees to learn lens data, processing procedures, and surfacing methods. Surfacing room employees were retrained, and the lab retained the size of the current workforce.

A relatively recent investment in a modern website features helpful availability information, lists current promotions, and provides links to manufacture websites. The next high-tech push is likely toward social media, specifically, Facebook and Twitter.

"Building a presence on those sites is imperative," Cherry observed. "Not only can you use social media as another form of advertising, but you can talk directly with customers. This makes your business seem more open and accessible, and it allows you to receive direct feedback regarding your business."




LabTalk Spotlight: Eight Things You Should Know About Moving Your Lab

By Bill Heffner, Bill Heffner, IV, and Chrystal Colflesh

There are few things more intimidating in the optical lab business than having to move your surfacing lab from one place to another, while at the same time keeping your customers happy. That was our challenge about two and a half years ago at FEA industries. It was at that time that we acquired a second location to house our expanding surfacing, finishing, and AR facilities. Now that we look back on what we went through, we wanted to share some of our experiences with anyone that might be considering moving or expanding their operation.

The expansion should be part of your long-term goals. Our plans for this started two years prior to moving. This was all part of our 10-year plan, which included that expansion, along with a second expansion project that we are now approaching within the next two to three years.

Once you get the building, the first thing that you need to know is how the work will flow through the lab. This will then define the placement of your machinery. We also made sure that we planned for equipment that we knew we would need in the future three years. This way it was much easier to add new machinery without having to re-arrange the entire lab. That was one of the last things we wanted to do. Once you know where your machines are being placed, then the blueprints for the electrical, plumbing, air, and computer connections are simple.

Learn more tips about moving your lab by checking out the entire article at http://www.labtalkonline.com/ under the FEATURES section.


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Make What You Say Pay

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

You probably read or heard about the op-ed article in The New York Times this week, written on the day of his resignation by Greg Smith, a Goldman Sachs executive, explaining that the culture change at the well-known investment banking firm is the reason he can no longer work there. His basic criticism is that the firm has lost its way from being focused on making money with their clients to being focused on making money at the expense of their clients. His warning: "People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm–or the trust of its clients–for very much longer." Pretty damning...
Smith's last observation is worth thinking about for all salespeople. It is so tempting to sit across a table from a client and think only of how much of his budget we can take. But when we do that, we shouldn't be surprised when we lose the business. Clients sniff out self-interested, insincere intentions like a dog sniffs out fear. The tip-offs come in the way we question (a little too quickly), the way we respond to an objection (a bit too aggressively), the way we listen (a lot too superficially) and the way we present (a tad too pressuring).

Positive Vision Drives Positive Results
When we meet with a client and what we see on the table are the client's problems and we think and act in a way that shows we want to solve those problems–even if we are not the right solution at that moment–clients sense that concern for their best interests and become inclined to work with us, if not immediately, then certainly in the future. Every reader of this blog can think of a piece of business they got from someone who said, "You know, I couldn't use your services last year, but I just recommended you to...," or, "I would like to work with you now."
Relationships are priceless. Doing right by clients is just good business. A lesson Goldman Sachs apparently needs to re-learn.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a consultant to Goldman Sachs for about five years in the 90's when its reputation was still golden and it was, indeed, an extraordinary place to work.)

Recent assignments:
Respond Like a Pro for a financial services firm (workhop dealing with expected resistance to a new system)
We're Not in Kansas Anymore for an overworked group of executives at a pharma company (workshop looking at time management from two unusual perspectives)

Consulting: Sharpened the final marketing presentation for a leading dot.com company; Developed the story to bring the information alive for a micro-finance fund-raising executive; Fine-tuned a world-wide marketing presentation for an IBM executive

How can I help you and/or your team?

  • Let's brainstorm ideas for your next sales meeting or training session, or
  • Let's make your next high stakes presentation a solid "10" for you and your listeners.

(212) 876-1875; amiller@annemiller.com
©2012, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling"

NEW PRODUCTS

Digital Lens Inker

Manufacturer: A&R Optical Machinery
Product: A&R Digital Lens Inker
Description: The A&R Digital Lens Inker from A&R Optical Machinery is designed for small to medium sized laboratories that need to apply ink markings on lenses.
Features: The compact, accurate and flexible inking system uses the PPOS vision system to align the high resolution 720 dpi markings automatically in accordance with the micro-engravings on the lens. With a direct interface to the Lab management software and imbedded bmp files any type or style of inking is ensured, with a specially designed ink compatible with all types of lens coatings, including hydrophobic. The easy to use touch screen user interface, compact design and 20 seconds per lens cycle make the A&R Digital Lens Inker ideal for today's digital lens lab.
www.ar.be; (262) 641-8780


OWC CRS-XL (Conventional Reclaim System–Extra Large)

Manufacturer: Optical Works Corp
Description: Optical Works Corp. is expanding its high production surfacing equipment line with the addition of the OWC CRS-XL (Conventional Reclaim System–Extra Large).
Features: A lower cost alternative to OWC's ARS (Automated Reclaim Systems), the new OWC CRS-XL allows the mid-to high-production lab to utilize the modern digital temperature control of the ARS Reclaim Systems, with the non-automated loading and unloading of conventional reclaim systems. This heavy duty, high production unit is manufactured with a full stainless steel tank, work tray, lid and full length piano hinge.
The unit features a high capacity, full length work tray that can accommodate 40 large blocks with alloy. It compatible with all common alloy melt point types as well as with all spectacle lens block types. The large alloy recovery tank has acapacity of over 150 pounds, allowing for a significantly longer time between alloy draining.
The system utilizes a digital temperature control system which assures precise alloy temperature control, enhancing blocking consistency and alloy life. A highly efficient drain valve system allows the operator full, momentary control of an isolated drain valve heating system.This provides a method to assure a steady flow of alloy from the tank as required.
Availability: The OWC CRS-XL is available in 115 and 220 VAC versions.
www.opticalworks.com; (800) 688-1806


AES-2200 Industrial Robotic Finishing System

Distributor: Santinelli International
Description: A high volume and high production platform that will more than double the standard throughput of previous robotic finishing offerings from Santinelli in a small, compact footprint.
Features: The AES-2200 incorporates two of the company's new "24/7" industrial edger units, the SE-9090 Supra, introducing in-chamber grooving and customizable shelf beveling capabilities. Additionally, the high-base curve edging and custom beveling capabilities of the company's previous industrial model (the SE-9090 Express+) are incorporated into the AES-2200. The unit's robust, dual-spindle wheel configuration is another highly-valued, continued feature.
The robotic system utilizes a unique hybrid design combination of conveyer belt and a dynamic tray-lifting mechanism that eliminates job "bottle necking" and allows four jobs to be in a processing stage continually. Moreover, the intelligent synchronization of the system is capable of bypassing any problematic job tray, while keeping the other edger units operating at full efficiency. New, lightweight "dual robotic arms" reduce lens transport time from tray to chuck by over fifty percent. According to Gerard Santinelli, company president and CEO, the AES-2200 system provides "the best jobs-per-square-foot ratio ever introduced."
www.santinelli.com; (800) 644-3343

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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.

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