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A MONTHLY BRIEFING FOR OPTICAL LABORATORY OWNERS AND MANAGERS January 2014


Dollars & Sense
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Evaluate Your Business in 2014


Happy New Year! As 2014 gets underway, the challenges facing independent laboratories are more numerous than ever.  This year will be a sea change for everyone in our industry as health insurance plans and the Affordable Health Care Act leverage their full weight of change.

What’s your plan?  Are you doing anything different today to respond the changes that are upon us?  Or, are you doing nothing and hoping that it all blows over and doesn’t make an impact on your business?

I can assure you the words of General Shinseki are ringing true today louder than ever; “If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.”  This is a pivotal year for us to become part of the change and not just watch it happen around us.  As I study what has happened to other industries that have undergone such great change and disruption there are a few lessons that we need to heed.

If you are accustomed to competing on price, quality and service, it is time to amp up your game.  Everyone that has survived to this point has those three as their foundation of doing business. It’s assumed you have all three.  Check in next month, for three things you can do today to help you compete tomorrow.

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

 

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Lab Notes

Local Labs Attend The Vision Council’s Second Town Hall Meeting

Southern California optical labs attended The Vision Council’s second Town Hall meeting along with a cross-section of the optical industry, including lens, frame, and equipment companies,   to hear information on technical standards, government regulations, industry statistics and a special presentation by guest speaker, Dean Browell, PhD, of Feedback, a company that specializes in social media strategy.

Of particular interest to optical labs in California was information on Prop 65, which requires a “duty to warn” label on products when certain chemicals are used in the creation of products such as lenses or frames.   One of the highlights of the three-hour event was the presentation by Browell on “How Consumers are Searching For, Talking About, Engaging With and Making Purchase Decisions Online for Eyewear and Eyecare.

“It’s no longer a matter of wondering ‘if’ your customers are using social media, it’s a matter of ‘how,’” said Browell. “Knowing how your customers are using things like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, can then tell you how to use the same tools to enter into the conversation.”

The Town Hall meeting ended with an open Q & A followed by a networking reception.

Think About Your Eyes Continues Consumer Education

Think About Your Eyes, a public eye health initiative sponsored by a non-profit organization under The Vision Council, will continue its national consumer campaign designed to educate the public about the benefits of vision health and the importance of getting an annual comprehensive eye exam. Beginning in February, Think About Your Eyes will return with national cable television, radio, print and digital advertising in all 50 states, as well as consumer engagement through social media. Advertising is scheduled through Q3 2014. Current partners include National Vision, Inc. (NVI), Refac Optical Group, SpecialEyes, Walman Optical, GUNNAR Optiks, Transitions, The Vision Council, Essilor and Luxottica.

For more information, visit www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Cherry Optical’s Partnership with IOT

Cherry Optical’s partnership with Indizen optical Technologies (IOT) began in December 2012 with the co-development of a number of free form lenses including Independence, Independence HD, eyeRelax HD, and HD SV lens designs. These designs have gained acceptance with Cherry Optical customers.

“We believe our partnership with IOT will allow us to provide our customers with high-quality lens products within a wide range of price offerings,” said Cherry Optical in their recent newsletter to their customers.  

Cherry Optical will be launching new lens products for 2014 at their “What’s New University” event for their customers in the spring.

IOT specializes in lens design only. An independent company, IOT partners with optical labs that believe in running their own business independently, making their own decisions locally. IOT started as a Joint-Venture between members of the Optics Department at the University of Madrid and the software company Indizen Technologies. Since the beginning, IOT focused its efforts to combine in-depth knowledge of ophthalmic optics with enterprise-level software development. This combination of skills was oriented to create the first company specialized exclusively in free-form lens design. In early 2010 IOT joined in partnership with Younger Optics, based in Torrance California, to help expand its business in North America, and around the world, by forming IOT of America, a sales and support division focused on customer care in the Americas.

For more information on IOT check out www.iot.es or contact Cherry Optical.

 

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Focus On...

Express Lens Lab, Inc. Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

On October 15, 1993, Express Lens Lab opened its doors for business, in Fountain Valley, Calif. President, Brian Goldstone, and vice president, John Rodriguez started the lab from scratch with absolutely no experience in the wholesale lab industry.

"We started with a small surfacing and finishing lab with a footprint of under 800 square feet, and within three months we had over 20 employees, and were processing over 100 jobs per day,” explained Rodriguez. “That was no easy task considering that Brian and I had to learn the entire business from the ground up, and given the type of processing equipment that was available to us at that time."

"It was clear to see that we had outgrown our original location after just 18 months in business, so we moved to our current location, where we have had the good fortune to expand our building four times without having to move again," said Goldstone.

During the past twenty years, Express Lens Lab has grown from a local lab, to a regional lab, and now maintains a national presence of customers. The lab continues to be 100 percent independently owned and operated, and proudly distributes virtually all brands of lenses, coatings, and frames as well.

Millions of patients have benefited from the gift of sight because of glasses made by Goldstone & Rodriguez, and it is their plan to provide eye wear for millions more in the years to come.

 

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LabTalk Spotlight

Steady as She Goes

By Phillip M. Perry

Steady as she goes. That old nautical phrase, urging a firm hand on the wheel and an unwavering eye on the compass, seems especially apt for today’s retailers. The economic waters remain troubled as the nation emerges from a year in which business activity and consumer confidence fell short of the levels requisite for the best sales environment. At the same time an improved economic forecast should guide retailers to greater profitability in 2014.

“The economy is on the verge of stronger growth, more jobs and lower unemployment,” says Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of industry economics at Moody’s Analytics, a research firm based in West Chester, Pa. (www.economy.com). After four years of recovery, she adds, the economy has made big strides. “Business balance sheets are as strong as they have ever been, the banking system is well-capitalized, and households have significantly reduced their debt loads.”

To learn more about the health of the economy go to LabTalkOnline.com

 

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Make What You Say, Pay!

Best Sales Ideas

In 2003, I surveyed my clients and colleagues for their best killer sales ideas and received nearly one hundred responses ranging from ways to prospect better to tips for a stronger life/work balance. Eleven years later, many of these tips are still great ideas. Here are four of them to help you start the new year off with a bang.

Prospecting
Leverage your firm's own vendors/consultants for introductions to target prospects. Get creative. After months of no success getting in to see someone, this person sent a pizza for lunch with a note that said,  “I want a slice of your business."  (She got her meeting.)

Connecting
Ask questions more than talk about your product or service. People tune out to the latter but become involved and more interested with the former. (Remember, people are more interested in themselves than they are in you.)

Presenting
With complex proposals, cost justify your solution. Each benefit should either increase revenue, replace existing costs, or avoid future cost.  Show how total benefits provide value many times over the cost of the solution.  Use numbers supplied by the client to make your case. Working this through with clients will get you better business faster.  (This is particularly important in these cost-conscious times.)

Maintaining Life/Work Balance
Stay buoyant, happy, and healthy. Hard,  but necessary to do. When we work too hard without breaks, we wind up working against ourselves. ( This last strikes me as a good last Best Idea to help everyone thrive in 2014.)

P.S. Send me your best sales idea and I will send a list of all of them to everyone who contributes.  amiller@annemiller.com  

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


New Products

Pre-Tinted Poly

Vision Dynamics has launched an expanded line of pre-tinted polycarbonate semi-finished single vision lens blanks in 2, 4, 6 and 8 base.  These pre-tinted polycarbonate SFSV lens blanks work well for sport, computer, and driving prescriptions and integrate easily into both conventional and digital surfacing lines. The proprietary colorization process applies a uniform density layer on the front surface of the blank and includes a hard coat. Surfacing does not affect the color layer so the finished lens has consistent edge-to-edge color performance.  For more information or to place an order, please visit www.visdynlab.com or call 888-900-5503.


Breakthrough Edging Station from Santinelli

The new LE-700 Edging Station from Santinelli International is the most compact and economical lens finishing system in the company’s history.  The unit’s ultra-simple design and attractive pricing will appeal especially to anyone with space and budget limitations. “Next-step” wizard technology takes the operator step-by-step through the entire tracing, blocking, edging and grooving process, utilizing a color touch display. The unit introduces “tracer-free” technology, measuring demo lenses and patterns within the processing chamber. In addition to tracing the demo lens circumference, its front curve is measured to obtain 3-D tracing data and perform accurate 3-D edging. Its low measurement pressure minimizes frame distortion, assuring superb accuracy. An intelligent blocker is integrated into the sleek design of the LE-700, delivering accurate and consistent blocking results. For more information, contact Santinelli International at 800.644.3343.


New 1.67 PolarThin Semi-Finished Spherical Lenses

PolarThin, a new semi-finished lens from Seiko, is a thin, lightweight polarized lens with Precise Film Positioning, a proprietary process where the film is located 0.4mm from surface center to edge (Patent Pending). The polarizing film is placed closer to the surface of the blank, resulting in lightweight and fashionable lenses that can be surfaced as thin as 1.3 mm center thickness, compared to all other manufacturers 1.8 ~ 2.0 mm center thickness. Seiko’s 1.67 PolarThin is available in 11 accurate base curves including a 0.50B.   The accurate and consistent curvature is ideal for all free-form designs as well as conventional single-vision. PolarThin blanks are made with high index MR-10 resin. MR-10 is less sensitive to heat and does not readily contract or expand- factors that can lead to warping and coating deterioration.   For more information call 800-235-5367 or visit the Website at www.seikoeyewear.com


Simplicity UV Coater

Simplicity Coater, Coburn Technology’s latest compact UV hard coating system, provides a consistent 98 percent yield rate average with select tintable and non-tintable coatings. The Simplicity coater combines a wash station, coating station and UV cure station in one fully enclosed counter-top design. For more information call 800-COBURN-1 or visit their Website at www.coburntechnologies.com


New Lensmeter

The VX 35 from Visionix, is a wavefront based lensmeter featuring a 130 point simultaneous measurement. Built with patented Visionix Power Map technology, the VX 35 offers exceptionally rapid and accurate measurements. This instrument also features a unique green light measurement which optimizes accuracy regardless of the lens type. Additionally, the VX 35 saves time by using the same method for measuring both prescription and UV transmission. With a wide range of measurement for all lens types, automatic detection of progressive lenses, an integrated thermal printer, PD measurement, and a contact lens mode, the VX 35 offers the full range of features. For more information about VX 35, call 1-800-292-7468 or visit www.briot.com/usa and click on E-Catalogue.


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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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