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A MONTHLY BRIEFING FOR OPTICAL LABORATORY OWNERS AND MANAGERS July 2013


Dollars & Sense


Buying and Selling

The world of selling hasn’t changed that much. The world of buying has been transformed.

Along with “The Sales Funnel” that we taught sales organizations years ago, we also taught the concept of sales cycles. The funnel may be dead, but cycles still live on. Today, we have two cycles happening at the same time—one you can see, the other you are hopelessly clueless about (for now.)

The cycle you can see is the sales cycle. You know how many calls a representative is making per day, month or quarter, and you also know their cycle time back into an account. Most folks live in a four, six or eight week sales cycle, depending on their territories. Did you know that research has proven that it takes about six sales calls before someone will make a buying decision? Ironically, most sales people give up after just four calls. Why? Based on a six-week call cycle, and if I need to make six calls before they buy, that puts my return on effort about nine months from now. Not only do sales representatives tire from this effort, but sales management grows tired too.

The simplified reason why sales cycles are getting longer and not shorter is that the cost of being “wrong” is very high. Money over the last few years has been very tight and the decision making process has been scrutinized heavily as well. Those that are in charge of purchasing are taking much longer to make decisions because the cost to the company can be huge if they buy wrong. And they may suffer personally as well. No one wants to make a costly decision, look like they didn’t do their jobs well, or cause undue strain on their already stressed peers.

The new job of the sales representative is not selling products, but assurance.

Michael Karlsrud is the owner and CEO of 6 Calls, a tele-services company that serves the optical industry with its two divisions; Telecare and Business-to-Business. www.karlsrudcompany.com or www.6Calls.biz

 




Lab Notes

Optical Lab Division Update

Last summer the Optical Lab Division Steering Committee created a five-year strategic plan for the first time as a division of The Vision Council.  Among the goals, the division seeks to strengthen member visibility as well as the optical lab position in the industry and global market.  Several exciting projects have been launched as a result.

 

Earlier this summer the Optical Lab Division launched its first Business Benchmarking Study, which looks at five areas of the lab business:  Production Data, Sales Data, Spoilage, Personnel-related and Cost of Goods.  This is a completely confidential survey, performed by a third party.  Only labs that provide survey answers will receive a free report that benchmarks their lab with others that responded.  Additionally, labs that participate will have an opportunity to meet with a CPA, one-on-one who will provide analysis so that a thorough understanding of what the reports mean is provided. 

 

In June, an Optical Lab Division marketing initiative was launched called “Do More With Labs.” The campaign provides us with a great way to tell ECPs about the multiple benefits they receive when they partner with an optical lab.  More information can be found at DoMoreWithLabs.com 

 

We are also thrilled about a new program available to labs through the successful Think About Your Eyes campaign, which will kick off a national launch later this month. Lab sales reps are providing information to their ECP customers about how to sign up to be included in the campaign’s online Doctor Locator directory.  There are incentives for lab sales reps to sign up their accounts. 

 

If you are not already involved in this great division, I encourage you to join. We have lots more in store for 2014!

 

Mike Daley

Optical Lab Division Liaison&am

The Vision Council Article

Satisloh’s 4th SLUGfest a Huge Success

Satisloh brought together optical labs, lens manufacturers, and Satisloh engineers, management and trainers for education, a close-up look at new products, special announcements and a healthy dose of fun including an evening at the Harley Davidson Museum at their fourth SLUGfest event. The three-day program began with a welcome reception on Wednesday night and a Thursday morning address by Satisloh president and CEO Larry Clarke.

Clarke announced that the move to the larger 45,000 sq. foot facility—located five miles away—had already started with the relocation of the warehouse in June. The corporate offices will move to the new building on August 23rd, with the opening of the new training center scheduled for February of 2014.
Ten new technologies were introduced including: UVAR Ioncote k X UV, a new AR coating for Satisloh coating machines that reduces up to 80 percent of UVA and UVB; the re-launch of the ES-Curve with improved default feeds and speeds, shelf accuracy, consistency and safety bevel; the VFT-Micro Line generator and Micro-Flex 2 spindle polisher; and the Magnaspin Micro tabletop spin coater for solvent based UV-cured hard coatings.

Optical Lab Division Meeting is FREE to The Vision Council Members

Members of The Vision Council receive complimentary access to the Optical Lab Division Meeting to be held in conjunction with Vision Expo West in Las Vegas. Registration is now open online at thevisioncouncil.org/labmeeting. Educational programming at this year’s Optical Lab Division meeting will begin on Wednesday, October 2 in the afternoon. The Optical Lab Division’s programming committee, headed by Drake McLean of Dietz-McLean Optical, has brought together thought-leaders, specialized experts and panelists to tackle five trending industry topics of importance to labs:

• Making Eyewear to the Standard
• The Impact of Healthcare Reform on Lab Businesses
• The Influences of ECP Buying Groups on Optometrists' Lab Selection
• Legal and Regulatory Updates
• Redos in the Lab

“Over the course of four days, you have access to networking opportunities, timely education topics, special industry events, and hands-on exhibits – all of which has been carefully designed with lab professionals in mind. It’s a must attend event for lab owners and members of their team,” said Drake McLean, program chair for the Optical Lab Division.

LabTalk’s Website of the Year Nominations Begin

Eye Care Professionals will begin nominating optical laboratories for the annual Website of the Year contest sponsored by LabTalk magazine. The nomination survey went out the week of July 8th to ECPs via the VMail e-mail system. A pop-up link to the survey will also be found on the VisionMonday Website.

Deadline to enter is August 30th, 2013, with judging happening in September and the winning site and Top Ten sites announced at the annual Labapalooza party at Vision Expo West. Labs can also nominate their Websites by sending an e-mail to LabTalk editor, Christie Walker at cwalker@jobson.com. Include the name of the lab, the Website address, and a contact person at the lab including phone and e-mail.
Sites are judged on value to the ECP, content, look & feel, ease-of-use. Check out last year’s Top Ten.

2012 Top Ten Optical Laboratory Web Sites
1. Precision Optical Group www.poglabs.com
2. Pech Optical www.pechoptical.com
3. Luzerne Optical www.luzerneoptical.com
4. Sutherlin Optical www.sutherlinoptical.com
5. Optical Prescription Lab www.opticalprescriptionlab.com
6. Katz & Klein www.katzandklein.com
7. iCoat Company www.icoatcompany.com
8. Superior Optical www.superioroptical.com
9. Empire Optical www.empireoptical.org
10.Classic Optical www.classicoptical.com

Labapalooza Moves New Venue

As part of the gathering of optical labs for The Vision Council’s Lab Division meeting held in Las Vegas during Vision Expo West, optical labs have had their own party called Labapalooza. This year, the lab party of the year just got bigger. The annual Labapalooza event has moved to a new venue, the Rockhouse Las Vegas. Optical labs will gather for a night of cocktails, dancing, and even have a chance to ride a mechanical bull as they gather to honor Vision Monday’s Top Labs and LabTalk’s Optical Laboratory Website of the Year and Top Ten. The event is scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd from 6 pm to 8 pm. E-mail invitations are being sent to optical laboratories with a registration link.

14th Annual Optical Pioneers Hall of Fame Banquet

The 14th Annual Optical Pioneers Hall of Fame Banquet will be held Oct. 2 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. The names of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees and Directors’ Choice Award recipient will be announced in July. Each year the banquet brings together optical industry professionals – new and veteran – to celebrate the rich heritage of this strong and diverse industry. Tickets are free to members of The Vision Council and can be purchased by non-members. Ticket reservations can be made online at thevisioncouncil.org/labmeeting.

 




Focus On...

VSPOne Dallas, Lewisville, Texas

By Andrew Karp

VSPOne Dallas in Lewisville, Texas is one of biggest of the seven VSPOne Optical Technology Centers operated by VSP Optics Group, a leading managed vision care company. Like the other labs in the network, it provides independent eye care professionals with a full range of products and services, including digital lens processing and anti-reflective coating.

The lab’s 150 employees produce about 1,800 to 2,000 Rx jobs daily, according to Swen Carlson, vice president of VSPOne’s central regional lab operations. Unique to VSPOne Dallas is DTec, a lab within a lab that serves as the processing center for all Unity Distributor Labs (those not owned by VSP), and dedicated to only serving the needs of those customers. (Unity is VSP’s proprietary brand of digital lenses.) “Dtec leadership and staff are focused on providing all the services necessary for Unity Distributor Labs to provide excellent quality and service to their Unity customers,” Carlson told LabTalk.

Carlson noted that all VSP lab managers, except for the newest members that have come on-board recently, have become certified or are in the process of becoming certified Six Sigma Green Belt. “We strongly believe in Lean and Six Sigma methodologies and have been training staff and undergoing projects under these methods for several years now,” he said.

 




LabTalk Spotlight

Keeping Pace With Polarized Lenses

New Lenses, New Resources and Top Processing Tips
By Julie Bos

Most lens laboratories would agree: Finding long-term success in today’s market is more like a marathon than a sprint. Keeping quality high, your pricing on point and your competitive edge sharp is literally a full-time job—and it’s often the small changes in focus and behavior that can make a big difference over time.

Case in point: Selling polarized lenses. We all know that this category represents a huge opportunity for labs to increase sales and boost profitability. Plus, polarized lenses can double the size of an eye care business because once customers get hooked on polarized lenses, they rarely go back to traditional tinted sun wear. But not every lab focuses on this opportunity for second-pair sales.

By renewing your focus on this growing niche, your lab could very well pick up new sales momentum, while locking in new customers and a lucrative revenue stream.

To help your lab stay up-to-date on the polarized niche (and make new strides in your business), we’ve assembled the latest product offerings from several industry leaders along with processing tips to help you solve problems in the lab related to polarized lenses.

To learn more go to www.LabTalkOnline.com and click on the feature.

 



Make What You Say, Pay!

18 Minutes of Presentation Pleasure


One of the ways to improve your presentation skills AND relieve the pressure of today’s fast-moving, bottom-line obsessive world is to periodically listen to the really innovative TED talk presenters who are passionate about topics you may not have known or thought about. Eighteen minutes is generally the maximum amount of time allowed to TED presenters, so they need to be really good. Whether they amuse, inspire, educate, or provoke, they are always fascinating. Chris Anderson, curator of TED talks reveals what makes these presentations so appealing.

“Ultimately I learned firsthand what our speakers have been discovering for three decades: Presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance, not speaking style or multimedia pyrotechnics. It’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. If you have something to say, you can build a great talk. But if the central theme isn’t there, you’re better off not speaking. Decline the invitation. Go back to work, and wait until you have a compelling idea that’s really worth sharing.”

Your Turn
I could not agree more. The same principles apply to business. Ask yourself:
• What is my compelling idea for clients?
• How well am I telling the story about that idea?
• How passionate am I when I tell it?
For more on Chris Anderson visit Click Here
For more on TED visit www.TED.com

Words Matter: Make What You Say Pay! ©2012 Anne Miller, author, “metaphorically Selling” www.annemiller.com

New Products

Bristol Rolls Out Cadillac Free-Form Life Series


Bristol and Cadillac Lenses Worldwide have teamed up to launch the Life Series, a brand new customized free-form progressive line of products made to fit any lifestyle. The free-form Life Series mimics natural vision with three options that are 100 percent back-surface optimized aspheric designs: Daily Life, Office Life and Active Life.

Cadillac’s Intuitive Calculation Software (ICS) allows for a unique lens design based upon the wearers’ precise prescription. Adaptive Corridor Technology (ACT) from Cadillac offers free-form progressive fitting height ranges from 17mm to 23mm. Cadillac Life Series digital lenses are available in progressive or single vision: clear, polarized and Transitions VI. Select Lite 1.50, Superlite 1.67, Performance Polycarbonate, (zero distortion) or Trivex with powers from -16.00 to +12.00. Choose from three coating options: Cadillac HC, Top Coat AR and Blue Shield AR. For more information, contact Bristol C&D, Inc. at 877.255.1181 or at their Website bclens@aol.com.

Schneider’s Compact Coating System


Schneider’s new compact coating system, the EBC 400, accommodates all requirements of a small prescription lab. Its reliable and proven components combined with modern process technology makes up this “compact system, with no compromise in quality and components, to produce highest quality products.” The system boasts a powerful EBG system with a high number of pockets, maximum process flexibility, an expanded ionsource and power for argon and oxygen use plus a water-cooled process chamber that guarantees high process stability. With the new visAR process, the system transfers high-end coating into small Rx-labs on either organic- or glass lenses. Modular design is upgradeable for higher productivity requirements in the future. Contact Schneider Optical machines at 972-247-4000 or visit their Website at www.schneider-om.com

New Addition to Edging System Line


The eMOTION m has been added to the Briot line of edging systems. The eMOTION m is a special version of the popular eMOTION. The only difference between the eMOTION and the eMOTION m that the eMOTION m does not include the safety bevel, the groove, and the drill functionality. The eMOTION m is a great value, has a small footprint, and showcases many features that smaller labs require in an edging system. For more information about the Briot eMOTION m please call 1-800-292-7468.

Introducing a New Optical Hard Coat


HCoating is a new hard coat that was developed with novel chemical substances. The new hard coat has very little viscosity increase over time while maintaining all other features. HCoating adjusts and stabilizes coating viscosity by altering intra-molecular structures, a great technological advancement since the birth of solvent-free, inter-molecularly blended hard coating. For more information visit HCoating’s Website at www.hcoating.com

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


Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor
cwalker@jobson.com

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

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