DAC Vision
A Monthly Update for Optical Laboratory Owners and Managers December 2008

Made possible by an unrestricted grant from DAC Vision

New Products
Operating Strategies
Bob Niemiec

Bob Niemiec

Tough Times Mean
Back to Basics

Last March, I wrote a column about how the softening economy might be affecting our business. Since the credit crisis has deepened and the economy has softened further, I thought it might be a good time to revisit this topic in light of “needs” and “wants” and “value” versus “premium.” In this struggling economy as many customers are watching every dime spent, “needs” are overcoming “wants,” and “value” may be becoming more meaningful to customers than “premium.”

Justice Scale

One of the great things about our industry is the variety of product that exists within it and the range between “needs” and “wants.” At the simplest level, we supply products that enable our customers to see better. A basic frame with lenses filled to prescription and no special lenses or lens treatments can do the job. On the other end of the spectrum is the “wants” side of the business that consists of high-end designer frames and premium lenses and treatments.

To satisfy your customers' needs, it's more important than ever to deliver on the fundamentals—in other words, the needs. Drive costs out by identifying and eliminating activities that aren't linked to or important to the customer. Ensure that manufacturing processes are capable and can deliver the highest quality the first time. Deliver flawlessly on service and shorten turnaround time. If you don't, your competitors will, now more than ever.

Bob Niemiec is president of Optinova Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in operations improvement, new technology assessment and mergers and acquisitions, primarily in the optical industry. An optical industry veteran, he has held senior level positions in manufacturing and distribution with large optical retailers and manufacturers. He can be reached at [email protected].

Tech Talk

Free-form Manufacturing Challenges, Part 2

Conventional generators produce a surface that requires additional fining and polishing using “toric surfacers” or “cylinder machines.” Fining and polishing pads are placed on hard lap tools and the cylinder machine then cycles the lens blank repeatedly over the lap tool and pad combination until smooth and then polished.

Schneider Soft Laps

Fining and polishing with hard lap tools allows for uniform, yet aggressive material removal. This ensures the shape of even rough surfaces is maintained (or even corrected, such as for elliptical error) during the fining and polishing processes.

In order to understand the principal challenge of free-form manufacturing, it is important to understand the difference between complex and circular lens surfaces. Spherical and toric (sphero-cylinder) surfaces have constant curvatures with circular cross sections that are symmetrical, which allows the use of hard lap tools. Complex surfaces, such as those used for progressive lens designs, have varying curvatures with no symmetry, which precludes the use of hard lap tools. Consequently, free-form progressive lenses require the use of some other form of fining and polishing.

Schneider Optical Machines

Courtesy of Schneider Optical Machines.

Progressive lenses have changing curves over their entire surface—that is, the surfaces have no symmetry—so hard lap tools are not an option. Once a complex surface is created, it needs to be polished to optical transparency without deforming the shape enough to create power errors or aberrations. Leading free-form manufacturing processes use soft lap polishing to produce the desired surface luster once the lens blank has been generated and finely turned with a single diamond cutter.

Soft lap polishing uses a flexible pad or air bladder to polish the surface. However, material removal isn't as uniform and excessive soft lap polishing can result in changes to the shape of the surface (or errors in form), creating power errors. To reduce the amount of polishing required, an extremely fine surface is created that requires only buffing to final transparency and luster.

Conventional generators produce rather rough surfaces that must be fined and polished to ensure correct shape and adequate surface luster for optical transparency. Since soft lap polishing is necessary for complex surfaces, free-form generators must produce incredibly smooth surfaces to reduce the likelihood of variations in lens shape during the polishing process.

The surface roughness off of conventional generators is quite significant and can be comparable in magnitude to the errors in surface shape necessary to create visible optical effects for the wearer. Errors in surface shape from excessive soft lap polishing of rough surfaces can result in visible power changes. As a result, depending on the prescription and radius of cut required, lenses will be cut multiple times using finer and finer cutting tools. Typically, the surface is milled and then either re-cut by a PCD tool or a single point diamond tool or both. The result is a transparent surface that only requires buffing.
Darryl Meister, ABOM, Carl Zeiss Vision

Read Free-Form Manufacturing Challenges, Part 1

HR Corner

Tips for Long Distance

Business Man on Phone

It is not uncommon for lab owners to have multiple branches, some that may be in different cities. If your lab fits into this category and is providing long distance leadership to employees, the following tips will help manage expectations, people and communications.

  • Set clear goals.

  • Be certain the tasks are understood.

  • Establish responsibility for completing tasks, including dates when things should be submitted, reviewed and completed.

  • Set up a process for regular communication with one another.

  • Do not abuse email. Most people get more than they want, so be sure you use it wisely. Be brief and to the point.

  • Consider creating a blog or Web-based groups of employees.

  • Make appointments to call employees from time to time and build a personal relationship. In-person conversations help two people not only learn facts about one another, but also shows how to relate to one another.

  • Send regular, consistent updates and keep employees informed of overall happening in the organization. Share information about new employees, new products or services, pricing or training information, and important events.

  • Help employees feel connected.

  • Follow up. Send a notice before something is due as a gentle reminder. Send an annual summary of work performed, patients served, outcomes reached.

  • Share achievements among employees.

  • Send each employee a handwritten card at least once a year. Email is convenient, but a personal note is still a nice touch.

  • Be personal and make an effort to combine high tech with high touch.

Hedley Lawson brings over 25 years of optical industry experience to JMI. For over 10 years, he has been a contributing editor to VM, most
recently as writer of the monthly column “Business Essentials.” He is the Contributing Editor of VM's E-Newsletter Business Essentials.




Maintaining Fiscal Discipline in a Recession

The present economy is very troubling, but there are some initiatives that could be very helpful for your lab. If a tax cut for the average person is enacted, your customers could have more disposable income with which to buy your products. Also, a tax decrease for most Americans could act as a pay increase for employees not directly increasing your costs.

This coupled with the current higher unemployment rate can reduce pressure to increase wages while at the same time keep good employees with you because of fewer employment options available. Additionally, a stimulus package that really does create more long term jobs could increase the number of patients your customers see and further increase demand for your products and services. The current thought is the stimulus would focus on infrastructure improvement, education, improving energy efficiency, and upgrading the nation’s communications system. All of these if successful could create millions of jobs while making the country more globally competitive in the future.

Current news commentary also indicates that the new administration and next Congress will not seek to repeal tax cuts enacted that reduced capital gains taxes, created lower tax brackets for individuals, and provided incentives to small business. Politicians recognize that a repeal of the current tax scheme could drive the country into a deeper and longer recession.

The existing tax scheme is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2010 and will be reviewed from time to time to determine if it will be allowed to expire rather than repealed early. This would mean lower capital gains taxes on dividends, lower taxes on business sales, bonus depreciation, and other items would continue to be enjoyed for the next two years. Maintaining the current tax scheme will help lab owners to continue to invest in new technology, maintain employment levels, keep more money as a result of a sale, and act on growth opportunities.

These initiatives hold promise, but lab owners should continue to maintain discipline in spending decisions and make expense cuts when necessary. All of the business tax incentives above do not make any difference if there is no profit. Continuous review of your company’s financial performance may indicate changes are needed. Vendor review and selection, increasing efficiencies, and managing costs should continually be made no matter what the state of the economy and what the tax rates are. Likewise, looking for and acting on growth opportunities is especially necessary in the current economic climate.

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Jason Meyer—Jason A. Meyer is 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 Meyer at [email protected].

DAC Vision

Martin Ponce of Tri-Supreme Optical

Martin PonceMartin Ponce was originally hired in July 2001 to fill a position in the edging department at Tri-Supreme Optical, an Essilor partner lab located in Farmingdale, N.Y. His job involved inserting lenses into frames.

“I was a faster than my boss thought,” Ponce said, “so I had a lot of free time to learn other things and began helping the inspectors.” While he enjoyed inspection, he still found himself with free time. He was quickly trained on the edging machines and, shortly after, on the drilling machines.

Working on drilled rimless lenses made Ponce realize there was a need for change.

“At the time we were doing a low volume of drilled rimless jobs and the rate of jobs being returned with quality issues was very high,” he said. Ponce took the initiative to develop a plan to create a “Drill Specialists Department” and recommend it to the mangers and owners of the company. Immediately approved, Ponce was appointed edging manager and responsible for training all technicians.

“I emphasized the importance of excellence and attention to detail,” Ponce said. In addition to increasing the amount of work, Ponce also decreased the reject rate and created a standard of excellence in the drilled rimless department at Tri-Supreme.

As edging manager, Ponce oversees a team of 12 employees. Together they edge over 2,000 jobs per week, of which more than 500 are drilled rimless. “Our daily challenge is to keep up with production,” Ponce explained. “My personal challenge is to get better in what we do.”

Ponce reviews each job before it's put into production and edits jobs to verify the best lens material is used to avoid any potential fabrication issues. In addition, he always speaks with his accounts personally to let them know he made a change and why.

Ponce's favorite aspect of his job is the daily challenge. “With such a wide range of products and services in the lab, the learning process has become a daily part of my work journey,” he said. “I'm surrounded by the right people to help enrich my journey and because of that, I always look forward to coming to work. I hope to continue learning and growing within the company.”

Mark Cohen, training and marketing manager for Tri-Supreme, commented that Ponce is very passionate about his job and strives for perfection.

“All of our employees, including me, rely on him for his knowledge of edging and drilled rimless,” he said. “He is one of the major reasons we are able to say Tri-Supreme Optical is visibly different.“
Samantha Toth

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DAC Vision

How ECPs Use Their Labs

In November, 20/20's L&T magazine published the results of its annual Lab Usage Survey. Two hundred and eight independent vision care professionals and optical retailers were polled to find out their perceptions and attitudes about their optical labs as well as the essential products and services the labs supply to them. Here are some of the survey highlights.

Lab Study 2008

Top Line Analysis

  • About 8 out of 10 (82.7 percent) of locations work with more than one wholesale lab.

  • 53.4 percent expect to do more business with wholesale labs in the coming year. Only 2.4 percent expect to do less.

  • The factors that were rated 'very important' in selecting a wholesale lab are based on the quality of services more so than the characteristics of the labs themselves (e.g. location). The most important factors in selecting a lab are lens surfacing quality (94.2 percent), lens finishing quality (91.8 percent), lens coating quality (87.5 percent), quality of drill mounting (87.5 percent) and product turnaround time (85.6 percent).

  • The majority of locations purchase spectacle lenses (92.8 percent), surfaced lenses (68.8 percent), and safety glasses (60.1 percent) from their primary lab.

  • The services provided most often by the respondent’s primary lab were lens product information (89.4 percent), technical support (88.9 percent), and online ordering (84.1 percent).

DAC Vision

Zeiss Signs License Agreements for Customized PALs With Three Labs— Carl Zeiss Vision has announced agreements with key distributors and the developer of a leading lab management system to facilitate the production of its free-form, customized lens portfolio in partner laboratories. The agreements are part of a major new Zeiss initiative aimed at expanding the market for its customized progressive lenses and asserting its position as a leading supplier of the lenses. The program, announced by Carl Zeiss Vision president, Americas Fred Howard, involves the development, production and promotion of customized lenses for 2009.

The company has licensed U.S. Patent 6,089,713, a key patent for manufacturing back-surface progressive lenses, to Expert Optics of Shorewood, Ill., Perfect Optics of Vista, Calif. and Three Rivers Optical of Pittsburgh, Pa. This will allow these labs to use the proprietary Zeiss Precise-Form manufacturing process to make customized Carl Zeiss Vision lenses.

The company also announced the completion of a collaboration with Digital Vision, Inc. that covers the manufacture of customized lenses in laboratories using free-form equipment and Precise-Form production. This will allow participating DVI labs to seamlessly integrate Carl Zeiss Vision digital design files into their workflow.

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Essilor Enhances Advantage Plan For Independent Lab Reps— Essilor of America has enhanced its Independent Distribution Division (IDD) Advantage Plan program, which is designed specifically for independent lab representatives. This innovative program now offers three levels of membership to reward and support laboratories that achieve outstanding results in the promotion of Essilor premium products and have demonstrated a desire to partner with Essilor.

The three new Advantage Plan levels include: Advantage Plan Laboratory, Advantage Plan Gold, and Advantage Plan Platinum. Essilor determines Advantage Plan classification based on the sales and promotion of Essilor products. According to their classification, laboratories will receive various levels of support in marketing, sales, education, technical services, as well as technology transfer and funding.

Cherry Optical

At Cherry Optical in Green Bay, Wisconsin are, left to right, Kurt Atchison of Schneider Optical Machinery, Joe Cherry, Lynn Cherry and Adam Cherry. At right is the lab's new Schneider HSC Smart A generator.

Adam Cherry

Adam Cherry demonstrates the Schneider CB Bond blocker.

Cherry Optical Adds Digital Surfacing Line—Like most independent optical laboratories, Cherry Optical has been grappling with a major decision—whether or not to invest in digital surfacing equipment that would allow them to manufacture the most advanced lens designs in-house. This summer, the lab made its move, installing Schneider equipment in its Green Bay, Wis. facility.

Joe Cherry, a veteran lab executive who manages the company with his son, Adam, said the leap into digital surfacing represents not only a technological advance for the lab, but it establishes Cherry Optical as a full-service lab. Since Cherry and his wife Lynn founded the lab in 1999, it has provided only lens finishing services. Surfacing jobs had to be outsourced. When Cherry Optical began digital surfacing on Aug. 15, the amount of outsourcing was immediately reduced.

Adam Cherry evaluated machinery from different vendors. He settled on three pieces of equipment from Schneider Optical Machines: the CB Bond blocker, HSC Smart A generator and CCP Swift polisher.

According to Joe Cherry, the equipment was profitable “from lens one,” and he expects a four to four-and-a-half-year payback on the equipment at current volume levels.

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Hawkins Optical

Bud Bargman, left, and Kevin Bargman display a finished pair of glasses at Hawkins Optical.

Satis 380 AR coater

Kevin Bargman with Hawkins Optical's new Satis 380 AR coater. He said the lab's new AR capabilities are already paying off in the form of new customers.

Hawkins Optical Turns 60, Adds AR In-House—Hawkins Optical Laboratory in Topeka, Kan. is celebrating its 60th year in business by embracing new technology. Kevin Bargman, president and co-owner of Hawkins Optical, said he and his father, chairman and co-owner, Bud Bargman have invested $600,000 in equipment and building materials so they could continue to offer their customers “the most recent technologically advanced lens products.”

Hawkins' biggest investment has been in AR technology. “We purchased a Satis 380,” detailed Kevin Bargman. “We knew that AR penetration was growing very fast and that outsourcing all of those products would be a disaster.”

Hawkins is currently using Essilor House AR EZ formula with the pad control layer for edging slippery lenses. We have branded it as Pure HV.”

Indications are that the AR investment is starting to pay off. “Since we began coating the lenses in-house, we're already gaining more customers,” Bargman said.

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21st Century Optics Hosts Business Seminar—Although many optical laboratories offer educational seminars for their accounts, the courses are often geared toward providing information about new products and learning more effective dispensing techniques.

Cherry Optical

Anthony Fulco of 21st Century Optics welcoming attendees to the lab's first “Insider“ event.

However, the management of 21st Century Optics believes that what eyecare professionals really need is to learn to run the business side of their practices more profitably. Toward that end, the New York-based lab recently invited about 90 select customers to participate in a unique, day-long “Insider” event that stressed business management skills. The wide-ranging program, which took place at a Manhattan hotel, offered business analysis techniques, sales and marketing strategies and practice-building tools.

“This is an approach I have been developing that essentially is built on the premise that technical competence alone will not ensure success,” said Anthony Fulco, vice president of sales and marketing for the New York City-based lab. “I believe that ECPs for too long have underestimated business as a field of knowledge. They assume that their license is enough. That mindset was good enough years ago because of the heavy margin inherent at the retail end. But today, optical has been embraced by big business, and the independent needs to understand how a business operates. The fallacy that what pertains to big business is not applicable to a small business needs to be changed if they are to survive.”

Guest speakers at the event included Erin Byrnes, chief digital strategist, Burson-Marsteller, who discussed Internet marketing strategies and analyzed the discrepancies between consumer intent to purchase and actual premium product sales, and Tim Fortner of Transitions Optical, who explained how ECPs can “tell the best story” about their products and services. Dave Cole, managing director of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand for Transitions Optical, gave a keynote speech in which he discussed the company's Healthy Sight global initiatives.

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Eschenbach Clip Read


Manufacturer: Eschenbach
Description: Small reading glasses that attach to electronic devices for easy access
Features: Clip&Read is a miniature pair of reading glasses that can attach to any portable device (cell phone, digital camera, laptop) using either a lanyard or velcro fastenings, so they are available when and where they are needed. Available in two powers (1.5D and 2.5D) and two colors (gray and red), with short flexible temples that sit in place on the temple of the patient without any pressure points. The glasses weigh only 3.3 grams and come with a case. A rotating 12-piece display is also available.
(800) 487-5389

Gerbercoburn G Blocker

E2G Blocking System

Manufacturer: Gerber Coburn
Description: Eco-friend blocking system consisting of the E2G blocker, new surface blocks, a deblocker, and a proprietary environmentally safe medium called Onyx-Bond.
Features: Onyx-Bond is the heart of the E2G blocking system. As a reusable, machinable, and eco-friendly blocking material, labs worldwide will benefit from the use of this material for processing all conventional and digital (free-form) lenses, according to Gerber Coburn. Because the material is neither wax nor alloy, it eliminates the harmful effects of alloy and EPA issues associated with alloy contamination, while removing lens cleanup issues attributed to wax materials.

Onyx-Bond is compatible with AR coatings. Additionally, with the blocking firmness of alloy and friendliness of wax, Onyx-Bond allows knife-edge and digital (free-form) lenses to be produced to the specifications required without damage to the lens or to generator cutting tools.

The E2G blocker is based on the technology of Gerber Coburn’s Eclipse platform. It features one-touch blocking, automatic block and lens detection, and high volume throughput. The E2G has been enhanced to allow for full diameter blocking, which eliminates lens edge chatter issues by providing maximum support and stability during the generating process. Another enhancement is the single block design. Block-to-lens curve matching is no longer required, thus saving time and reducing block inventory. The newly designed blocks are available in Acublock or standard pin style and are fully compatible with downstream advanced lens processing equipment. The new deblocker easily removes the Onyx-Bond in a single wafer form, leaving no residue on the lens. It provides for easy cleanup and ensures a clean lab environment. Once deblocked, the Onyx-Bond is placed back into the E2G premelter, where it is remelted and ready for continued blocking.
(800) 843-1479

Optivision Lab Management

Laboratory Management System

Manufacturer: Optivision
Description: Windows-based version of the Optivision Laboratory Management System
Features: Taking advantage of the user-friendliness, speed and other feature-rich functionality of the Windows operating system, Optivision's powerful lab software properties promote accurate job entry and automated lens processing for wholesale or retail surfacing, finishing and AR labs of any size, the company reports. From precise surfacing calculations, machine interfacing and lens manufacturing through complete job flow tracking, inventory control and lab business information management, the system can be tailored to suit the way each lab conducts business.
(800) 795-9927

Rudy Project

Freeform TEK

Manufacturer: Rudy Project
Description: Digitally surfaced lenses with Shamir's EyePoint Technology designed exclusively for Rudy Project frames.
Features: Enhanced visual acuity at every angle and distance; designed to restore natural vision.
Availability: FreeForm TEK lenses will initially be offered in Rudy Project's ImpactRx photochromic and photochromic polarized material in both progressive and single-vision. The lenses are available in all of Rudy Project's technical performance styles.
(888) 860-7597

Rodenstock Progre Purelife

Progressiv PureLife

Manufacturer/Distributor: Rodenstock/Optical
Distribution Corporation
Description: Proprietary progressive design uses data and technology employed in the development of Rodenstock's optimized and individualized free-form progressive lenses.
Features: Utilizes actual wearers’ data gathered over the past several years which show changes in both human physiology and the way people use their eyes. Rodenstock's “Perfect Balancing” concept, which allows for excellent binocular vision and image clarity as the eyes move across the surface of the lens.

Progressiv PureLife also incorporates the Retina Focus Principle, designing the lens in the as-worn position, which enables the image to always focus on the retina. This improves visual acuity in all fields, but particularly enhances intermediate and near vision. PureLife provides customized channel placement, using the patient's specific distance and add powers.
Availability: Choice of two progression lengths, with a minimum fitting height as low as 14mm, makes lens suitable for most frames. Lens material options include 1.50, ColorMatic 1.54 gray and brown, 1.60 and 1.67, with availability from +8.00D to -10.00D out to a -4.00 cylinder. The short corridor PureLife XS is available from +6.00D to -10.00D out to a -4.00 cylinder. Adds are from +0.75 to +3.00 on XS, with +0.75 to +3.50 on the longer progression length.
(888) 407-3937


Vigor Gold Pliers Clip

Limited Edition Gold Pliers

Manufacturer: Vigor Optical
Description: Limited Edition Gold Pliers
Features: Presented in a small leatherette case, the set of five adjusting pliers are recommended as gifts for valued employees, customers, or recent graduates. The adjusting combo is stainless steel with gold plating.
Availability: Quantities limited
(800) 847-4188

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In This Edition...
Maintaining Fiscal
Discipline in a Recession
Martin Ponce
of Tri-Supreme
How ECPs Use
Their Labs

Zeiss Signs License
Agreements for Customized PALs
With Three Labs

Essilor Enhances
Advantage Plan For
Independent Lab Reps

Cherry Optical Adds
Digital Surfacing Line

Hawkins Optical Turns
60, Adds AR In-House

21st Century Optics
Hosts Business


OSC Honors X-Tra
Lite Optical
and X-Cel Optical

Mar-Lite Joins OSI
Tough Times Mean
Back to Basics
Manufacturing Challenges,
Part 2
Tips for Long
Distance Managing

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DAC Vision
LabTalk Spotlight
December 2008

In LabTalk's November/December issue, Linda Little's article on “All the Little Things—Add up to Increasing Costs for Labs” focuses on the non-optical components of doing business such as fuel, postage, shipping, electricity. Learn how labs are dealing with the rising cost of these items.

Check out this excerpt:

The biggest cost increases have been seen in the area of shipping and transportation costs, averaging a minimum of 20 percent increases over last year.

“By far, shipping is the biggest area of cost increases,” commented Dana Weeks of Optical Services International. “All our labs continue to look for ways to reduce these costs, but servicing the customer remains the priority. No one in our group has added a shipping surcharge yet, but I know other labs have.”

Transportation costs are being felt around the world. One can see the effects in the cost of food, product availability, and many services we might have taken for granted. Globally, rising transportation costs are causing a renewed look at the “neighborhood effect” as some economists are calling it—“putting factories closer to components suppliers and to consumers, to reduce transportation costs—could grow in importance if oil remains expensive.” Although shipping costs are not the only factor in operating a business and determining locations, suppliers and customers, the costs of transportation are not expected to take a serious downturn any time soon.

Other operations that are directly affected by transportation costs for laboratories are sales costs and travel costs. If you were able to book a plane ticket for Vision Expo West at the same or similar rate as last year—you are very lucky. For many, the increase has been 20 percent to 30 percent in the price of the plane ticket alone.

“Last year my ticket to Las Vegas was $350,” commented Craig Giles, of Soderberg Optical, a division of Walman Optical. “This year I struggled to find one for $490.” It’s these little increases that are adding up to be a lot of increased costs.

To read the entire article, “All the Little Things—Add up to Increasing Costs for Labs” log on to http://www.labtalkonline.com/. Here you will find the article listed under the Features section. After December 28th, you can find the article in the Archives, under Lab Operations—Nov/Dec 08.

Buying Group & Lab Association News

R.I.P. MOLA—After years of declining membership and decreased participation in its annual meeting, the Midwest Optical Laboratories Association has ceased operations. In a Nov. 15 letter, MOLA administrator Carol Michael notified members and vendors that the Association’s board of directors has decided to dissolve the organization.

“…The feeling was that many are beat up by the various meetings there are to attend both as attendees and participants,” said Michael. “And the fact is that in the past two years, the association took huge financial hits by lack of contribution in the convention and membership.”

OSC Honors X-Tra Lite Optical and X-Cel Optical— Optical Supply Co-Op (OSC), an alliance of independent wholesale laboratories, has named X-Tra Lite Optical as its 2008 lab of the year. OSC president, Danny Pugh, presented the lab of the year award to X-Tra Lite president Ken Lin at a ceremony on November 7.

“OSC presents this award every year to the laboratory that demonstrates outstanding performance in sales and marketing, industry participation and networking,” remarked Pugh. “X-Tra Lite Optical is a strong partner in our cooperative. They continue to participate in group marketing programs and voluntarily network with other member labs and suppliers.”

Also, OSC named X-Cel Optical, a full line supplier of semi-finished ophthalmic lenses, as supplier of the year. Connie Achman, vice president of sales and marketing, for X-Cel, accepted the award.

Mar-Lite Joins OSI— Optical Services International, an association of independent, family-owned ophthalmic labs, announced that Mar-Lite Optical Suppliers in Modesto, Calif. has become its newest member.