VMail Extra
A Monthly Update for Optical Laboratory Owners and Managers May 2009

New Products
Sales & Marketing Matters

Fishing for Business
By Anne Miller

The following story came to me over the Internet and has a lot to say about the traits, talents, and strategies of what it takes to succeed today in sales. A young man from Texas moves to California and goes to a large department store for a job.

Manager says: “Have any sales experience?”

Fellow replies: “Yes, I sold some back home.”

Manager liked him, hired him, and said, “You start tomorrow. I'll come down at the end of the day to see how you did.”

The new hire's day was rough, but he got through it. The sales manager came down as promised at the end of the day.

“How many sales did you make?“ he asked.

“One,” said the new hire.

“Just one?” Said the manager. “How much was it?”

New hire said, “$101,237.74.”

Manager said, “$101,237.74! What did you sell?”

The new hire said, “First, I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fish hook. Then I sold him a larger fish hook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat. So we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin engine Chris Craft. Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the auto department and sold him that 4X4 Blazer.”

The manager said, “A guy came in here today to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and truck?”

The new hire said, “No, he came in here to buy medicine for his wife who had the beginnings of a two-day migraine, and I said, 'Well, since your weekend's shot, you might as well go fishing.'”

Turning 'Migraines' Into Opportunities

I love this story for what it reminds us as salespeople to do: listen to the client and come up with bigger and more creative solutions than the client ever thought of to deal with his/her current problems. Times may be difficult but clients still have needs and therein are your opportunities.

Find those opportunities by asking these seven questions:

1. What issues are you facing today?

2. What are these costing you (in revenue, ROI, market share, efficiencies, productivity, morale, turnover, other)?

3. What is the urgency to resolve these?

4. What will happen if no action is taken?

5. Who has to get involved to take necessary actions to address these issues?

6. What options are you looking at? Why?

7. What would be most useful to you now?

With the answers to these questions as context, you are in a very good position to figure out what you can offer to be of real value to them now that they most likely have not yet considered.

Tough times. Keep that sales energy and creativity going! See you next month.

©2009, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling," www.annemiller.com.

HR Corner

Summer Hires and
Child Labor Laws

By Hedley Lawson

Youth Worker

With the summer vacation period rapidly approaching, employers will be receiving an increase in applications from students seeking temporary employment. Some of these students are considered “minors,” whose working conditions and hours are regulated by state and federal laws. In some instances, the state or federal law will ban the employment of minors entirely.


A Work Permit will be required prior to employing a minor, even during the summer vacation, unless the minor is a high school graduate or has a certificate of proficiency. Federal and state occupational restrictions are such that in most cases, minors must be at least 14-years old to begin working. The permit contains the maximum number of hours a minor may work in a day, range of hours during the day, occupational limitations and any additional restrictions imposed at the school’s discretion.

A Permit to Employ is the employer’s copy of the work permit and expires five days after the opening of the next succeeding school year. It must be renewed to continue employment.


Minors under the age of 18-years old are restricted in any occupations declared by the Secretary of Labor to be hazardous. The complex and lengthy regulations are set forth in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulation Part 570, Subpart E. You should consult your specific state regulations for additional information and statutory restrictions.

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.

Editor's Note

Lab Advisor wants to know how your lab is managing during the economic crisis. If you have any brief stories or anecdotes you’d like to share about the current business climate and how it’s affecting you and your customers, please let us know.

Also, we’re always on the lookout for news about labs. If your lab is introducing a new product, promoting a special program or service, hiring or promoting a key employee or celebrating an anniversary, we’d like to publicize it. Just send us an email and, if possible, a photo.

Andy Karp, Editor-in-Chief
[email protected]



Decision Making: Analyzing Cash Flow

What you need to know to decide whether to make an investment in equipment can be summed up in the two words “cash flow.” Positive cash flow is important because the business cannot exist indefinitely without it. The budget is the best tool to analyze the likelihood of an investment developing positive cash flow or negative cash flow. The budget can be used to project the anticipated change in revenues and expenses associated with the investment and further show the investment’s ability to pay for itself through positive cash flow.

Two mathematical models are often used to evaluate potential cash flow using estimated output from the budget; Payback Analysis and Discounted Cash Flow Analysis. Payback analysis applies the anticipated incremental increase in cash inflow from the investment to the cost of the investment. Comparing the incremental cash inflow to the cost of the investment over time will yield the estimated amount of time the investment will take to pay for itself. For example:

Cost of Investment: $250,000

Projected Incremental Cash Inflows:
Year 1 – $20,000
Year 2 - $75,000
Year 3 - $100,000
Year 4 - $125,000
Year 5 - $125,000

Payback Period: 3 years, 5.28 months

Assuming steady cash flows throughout each year, the payback on the investment would occur at three years and six months. Cash flow generated beyond the payback period is considered free cash flow because the investment has already paid itself back. When analyzing payback, a shorter timeframe for payback is better. Longer payback periods are riskier because of the inherent problems with extended cash flow forecasting and potential for obsolescence of the equipment or technology in which the company invested.

Payback analysis is a good tool for quantifying the risk of the investment to the firm, but Discounted Cash Flow Analysis (DCFA) goes much further in analyzing expected cash flow as created by the investment. The company can apply a discount rate, which is the expected rate of return required by the firm for making an investment (the discount rate and rate of return requirement will be discussed in the next part of this series) to the expected cash outflows and inflows created by the investment and discount those cash flows over time, or Net Present Value (NPV). The formula for determining NPV is shown below, but most spreadsheet computer programs have a NPV calculation function that can be used for the calculation. Doing so determines the Net Present Value of the expected cash flows. Using the same information from the previous example:

Dollars & Sense

Discount Rate: 10%
Investment Cost: $25,000

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Expected Cash Flows






NPV (10%)


NPV (20%)


Using DCFA if the Net Present value is greater than or equal to zero, the firm should make the investment. The above investment yields $62,000 of Net Present Value using a discount rate of 10 percent. The investment should be made. However at a 20 percent discount rate, the NPV is less than zero and the firm would not make the investment. Payback and DCFA are vital in evaluating whether an investment has merit and meets the firm’s investing criteria and whether the cash flows from the investment are worth the investment’s risk.

This article is the third in a series on “Decision Making.”

Read Part 2

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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].

Valley Forge Classified Advertising

Angie Brown of Dietz Laboratories

Angie Brown

 Angie Brown

Dietz Laboratories, in Fort Worth, Texas, was founded in 1933 by Ed Dietz, Sr. The lab’s success over the years can be contributed in part to longtime employee, Angie Brown.

Brown was initially hired into a secretarial position at the lab by Ed Dietz III in 1978. This was her first job in the optical industry, as well as her first full-time position. Before coming to the lab, Brown worked in customer service for Sears. Now, 31 years later, she enjoys her position as the lab’s administrative assistant.

While serving in her secretarial role, Brown’s primary task was accounts payable. Over the years, her responsibilities increased, and her dedication and drive advanced her to the position she holds today, administrative assistant. While she maintains accounting tasks, Brown also assists the sales and marketing team. Other responsibilities included providing support to owner Ed Dietz III and his mother Barbara Dietz, the wife of the late Ed Dietz, Jr., who still serves an important role in running the lab.

During her work day, Brown deals with sales, marketing, human resources, accounting, personnel management and even maintaining computers. When asked what a typical day is like for her, Brown said, “It always starts with making the coffee. Then I have tasks depending on what needs to be done that day, some days are strictly accounting while other days unfold one project at a time. I love that I don’t do the same thing every day.”

Among the highlights of Brown’s career have been the opportunities to travel to various optical meetings and specifically, being present as Ed Dietz III became the OLA president. Reflecting on her years at the lab, she said “For the most part, the work atmosphere is very casual and pleasant. Many of the employees know each other and have been here a long time. Working for a small, family-owned business allows me to have the flexibility to maintain a healthy balance between work and family.”

When asked about advancement and career opportunities in her future, Brown said, “Hopefully, I will be right here at Dietz Lab doing what I do. We’ve just celebrated our 75th year anniversary, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”—Samantha Toth

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Jobson Optical Research
Marty Bassett

Marty Bassett

Walman Optical Announces 2009 Sustainability Project Goals— Walman Optical has announced goals for its 2009 sustainability projects, programs through which the company plans to reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing the company’s overall energy consumption by 20 percent and converting 30 percent of its energy consumption to renewable energy sources by the end of 2009.

Marty Bassett, Walman’s president and CEO, stated, “It is in all of our best interests for companies to become more environmentally sensitive. We firmly believe conservation efforts that reduce waste and conserve energy have significant long-term benefits for the county and our environment. Walman defines the goals as “taking the lead in reducing carbon emissions while enhancing the bottom line.”

Under the definition of “energy” defined by Walman’s project team, eight expense categories have been specifically singled out for monitoring and reduction. These targeted expense categories include electricity, natural gas, water/sewer, waste collection, shipping & delivery, air travel, fleet gasoline and product packaging. The company established prior year baselines in both units and dollars for these various expense categories and will be utilizing these baselines to quantify their progress.

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Carl Zeiss Vision

(L to R): Don Oakley, VSP’s president for ophthalmic operations, Richard Hoerbelt, lab manager and Fred Howard, Carl Zeiss Vision’s president Americas—Pacific, officially open Carl Zeiss Vision – Florida.

Carl Zeiss Vision Florida Hosts Open House— Carl Zeiss Vision Florida, formerly Tri-City Optical, showed off its new, high-tech capabilities to over 150 eyecare professionals at a grand reopening on Feb. 5, 2009.

Attendees saw demonstrations of the lab’s new free-form generators, coaters, and robotic finishing equipment. The new technology was the result of a retooling undertaken by Zeiss and VSP Vision Care, which acquired Tri-City Optical in June 2008 to enhance their Perfect Vision lab network.

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National Vision executives cutting the ribbon at the company’s newly redesigned lab in St. Cloud, Minn.

NVI Expands and Upgrades St. Cloud Lab— National Vision celebrated the grand opening of its new 43,000-square foot ophthalmic laboratory in St. Cloud, Minn. on Jan. 15. The original lab, was acquired by National Vision, Inc. in 1997 with the purchase of Midwest Vision Centers, and is managed by Jim Rueter who oversees its entire operation. Staffed by two work shifts and initially 140 associates, the lab was designed to ultimately fill over 35,000 orders a week for stores nationwide.

The new lab is equipped with Satisloh lens surfacing equipment and National Optronics edgers with additional state-of-the-art vendor equipment. “This lab has been designed for maximum flexibility in the future, which includes designated space to add three anti-reflective coating machines,” said Rueter. “Both our glass lenses and special Rx work is now processed at this facility.”

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US Optical

US Optical Marks One-Year Anniversary— US Optical recently celebrated its first anniversary in business. Employees of the East Syracuse, N.Y. lab, which specialized in digitally surfaced lenses, are pictured at right standing in front of the lab’s free-form digital manufacturing equipment.

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Robertson Optical

Robertson Optical Brothers Honored—For the past year, Robertson Optical Laboratories. celebrated its 50th Anniversary with many events. At a recent celebration, Calvin Robertson (left) and Richard Robertson (right) were honored by their employees with this plaque stating, “50 Years of Excellence.”

Calvin and Richard’s father, Jack Robertson, founded Robertson Optical in 1958. The company currently serves the U.S. market from three locations: Loganville, Ga.; Columbia, S.C.; and Greenville, S.C. In 2008, Robertson Optical ranked ninth in Vision Monday’s Top Labs Report, with $15.4 million dollars in Rx sales and 1,450 Rx jobs per day.

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Midland Optical to host 20th Annual Golf Tournament—Wholesale lab Midland Optical is hosting the 20th Midland Optical Annual Golf Tournament at Clinton Hills Country Club in Belleville, Ill., on June 4. Open to all within the optical industry, the Midland Optical Golf Tournament brings 165 individuals together for a fun day of golf, dinner and prizes. This event is sponsored by Signet Armorlite, Transitions, Essilor, Vision Ease, Shamir, Eyewear Designs and Zyloware.

“This is a great event that gives our customers the chance to network with their peers, and also with some of our sponsors,” said Matt Iovaldi, president of Midland Optical. “I look forward to this event every year; I enjoy meeting our customers and spending a day getting to know them better.“

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Marco Kicks Off ‘Doorbuster’ Sales Incentive Program— Merchamp USA has kicked off its Marco polarized “Doorbuster” sales incentive program for the 2009 season. The event runs from April 2, 2009 through to the end of June 2009. The top three optical laboratory sales professionals with the most new doors opened by the end of June 2009 will receive a recognition plaque and a share $2,000 in prizes.

Last year’s first place winner was Heide Matthews-Boullt of Katz & Klein Optical; second place went to Scott Kitzerow of Sutherlin Optical; third place was awarded to Vicki Masliah of Hirsch Optical.

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Younger Optics

GT2 Short in 1.50 Clear

GT2 Short in 1.50 Clear, 1.50 Transitions VI Gray and Brown

Manufacturer: Carl Zeiss Vision
Description:Short-corridor PAL in standard clear and photochromic plastic.
Features: Combines OLA award-winning GT2 design with a 13mm minimum fitting height, one of the lowest on the market. Offers superior optical performance in the full range of small, fashionable frame sizes, according to Zeiss. GT2 Short design offers continually widening near zone as fitting height increases, unlike some other short corridor designs that are optimized only in very small frames. GT2 Short offers wide, clear vision that is virtually distortion-free above the 180º line for satisfying distance and peripheral vision. The progression of power and astigmatism has been carefully managed for excellent control of wavefront aberrations throughout the lens, allowing greater visual satisfaction and ergonomic utility. Compatible with Teflon Clear Coat, Carat Advantage and all other Zeiss AR coatings.
Availability: Polycarbonate and 1.67-index materials. As with the original GT2, the GT2 Short prescription range includes additional base curves, producing better optics and more cosmetically-appealing lenses.
(800) 358-8258

Fog Free

Fog Free

Manufacturer: Opticote
Description: Fog fighting lens treatment.
Features: Allows the wearer to move safely between cold and warm enviroments without having their eyewear fog over. Eliminates the “white wall” effect that occurs when eyeglass wearers transition from one temperature to another. Thermal curing creates molecular bond with lens substrate for excellent durability. Tested by COLTS Laboratories.
(800) 248-6784

Varilux Physio Short 360°

Varilux Physio Short 360°

Manufacturer: Essilor of America
Description: First short-corridor PAL enhanced with Essilor’s W.A.V.E.
Technology: Wavefront Advanced Vision Enhancement
Features: Specifically designed to function best in short frames, the design has been enhanced by the integration of W.A.V.E. Technology, delivering 30 percent greater contrast sensitivity for sharp, natural progressive vision at every distance. The Varilux 360° Optimization process further enhances the lens, providing 30 percent wider fields of vision and reduced distortion, particularly for patients with complex prescriptions. All Varilux Physio Short 360° lenses come with Crizal, Crizal Alizé, or Crizal Avancé with Scotchgard Protector for protection against glare, scratches, dust and fingerprints.
Availability: Varilux Physio Short 360° is available to all Varilux laboratories through Essilor processing centers in the following materials and specifications:

  • Airwear 1.59
    Rx Range: -10.00 to +6.00
    Add Power: 0.75 to 3.00

  • Airwear 1.59 Transitions VI Gray and Brown
    Rx Range: -10.00 to +6.00
    Add Power: 0.75 to 3.00

  • Thin&Lite 1.67
    Rx Range: -12.00 to +9.00
    Add Power: 0.75 to 3.00

  • Thin&Lite 1.67 Transitions VI Gray and Brown
    Rx Range: -12.00 to +9.00
    Add Power: 0.75 to 3.00

(800) 473-3012

1.74 AR FSV with SuperClean

1.74 AR FSV with SuperClean

Manufacturer: Seiko Optical Products of America
Description: Ultra-high-index, anti-reflective and hydrophibic finished single-vision lens.
Features: New, improved 1.74 index monomer is more stable, less heat sensitive and easier to process. The lenses use Seiko’s patented, proven MX aspheric design which corrects primary lens aberrations and provides a spherical fitting button in the center of the lens that provides instant patient accommodation. Seiko’s durable, factory coated AR plus SuperClean super-hydrophobic topcoat repels dust, dirt and grime and makes the lenses easy to keep clean.
Availability: Ultra-thin 65mm diameter plus spheres from +1.00 to +6.00D, out to a -2.00 cylinder; in minus spheres from -2.00 to -10.00D, out to a -3.00 cylinder (total power -9.00 diopters); and in spheres only from -10.50 to -15.00D in half diopter steps.
(800) 235-5367

NuPolar 1.67 in SV Gray
NuPolar 1.67 in SV Brown

NuPolar 1.67 in SV Gray and Brown

Manufacturer: Younger Optics
Description: High-index polarized lenses in gray and brown.
Features: Manufactured with MR-10 resin, a high performance material with good processing and stability characteristics. NuPolar 1.67 is offered in five base curves with precise film placement to allow for minimum thickness over a wide Rx range, and is backed by all applicable NuPolar warranties. Excellent heat stability, even when subjected to the elevated temperatures encountered during many hard coating and AR coating processes; superb adhesion characteristics ensure the lenses will not delaminate or separate, consistent true curve control for today’s digitally processed free-form requirements, high polarization efficiency. Color uniformity allows consistent color matching.
(800) 877-5367

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In This Edition...
Decision Making:
Analyzing Cash Flow
Angie Brown
of Dietz Laboratories

Walman Optical
Announces 2009
Sustainability Project

Carl Zeiss Vision
Florida Hosts Open

NVI Expands and
Upgrades St. Cloud

US Optical Marks
One-Year Anniversary

Robertson Optical
Brothers Honored

Midland Optical to
Host 20th Annual
Golf Tournament

Marco Kicks Off
'Doorbuster' Sales Incentive Program

Fishing for Business
Finishing Essentials:
Polishing and Buffing
Summer Hires and
Child Labor Laws

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Tech Talk

Finishing Essentials:
Polishing and Buffing

Mastering the following tech tips will help you improve your polishing and buffing technique.

Sentilles Polisher Buffer

  • Pressing too hard on the lens during buffing and polishing will cause permanent brush marks, especially with AR lenses.
  • You can do several jobs in a row without cleaning the buffer, but you have to clean the buffer after extended use. Otherwise the polish will harden and cause brush marks on subsequent jobs.
  • Keep the buffing wheel away from tint units, the edger and the sink, basically away from any source of water. Water can damage the wheel.
  • Polish edges before lenses are drilled or grooved.
LabTalk Spotlight
May 2009


In the LabTalk feature, “You’ve Got to Move It, Move It...Introducing Automation to the Optical Manufacturing Environment,” by Ian Gregg, of Satisloh, Gregg takes you on a journey down the road to automating your lab. Whether you automate just your generator or edger, an entire line or the entire production environment, you’ll learn what it takes to get things moving. Check out this excerpt and to read more go to Labtalkonline.com for the entire article.

“In order to stay competitive, labs large and small are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency without sacrificing quality. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal is through the addition of automation to your production environment.

Automation comes in many forms, from a single pick and place robot on a generator or edger, to a fully automated production line with intelligent conveyors for work sorting and tray management. The key is recognizing when the time is right to automate, and what level of automation makes sense for your current and future needs.

As they say, every journey begins with the first step, but before you can take that step you need to know what direction you are going. Your roadmap should begin with a five-year growth projection. A good place to start would be to look at your average growth for the previous five years, consider what opportunities you may have for growth, such as entry into new markets or expanding your geographical reach, and use that information to determine your production needs within that five-year window. A good rule of thumb for capacity is your average daily demand should be roughly 80 percent of your maximum total capacity.”

To read the entire article, “You’ve Got to Move It, Move It...” log on to www.labtalkonline.com and go to the Features section.