A Monthly Update for Optical Laboratory Owners and Managers October 2009

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Make What You Say, Pay!

Prevent Presentation Derailment
By Anne Miller

Make What You Says, Pay!

You have an important small group presentation to give. You prepare. You rehearse. Now, you’re in the room. You begin talking. Things seem to be going well. Soon you notice some wandering eyes around the table. Then, you see someone glance at his watch. Oops! Someone else yawns. And why is that person at the end of the table working on his Blackberry? Clearly, you have lost the group.

After all your preparation, how could this be happening?

Most good presenters open up with a client-centric focus along the lines of, “Our goal this morning is to help you achieve X goal (improve revenue, cut costs, shorten sales cycles, etc.). Good presenters will next give a very brief re-cap of the client’s situation, along the lines of, “My understanding is...” This is typically followed by a high level overview of their solution or recommendation and, depending on the length of the presentation, a stated (or visual) agenda.

Successful presenters do something different.

Don’t Guess—Ask!
Successful presenters stop at two critical points in the above process. First, they stop after the re-cap of the client’s situation and confirm their assumptions: “Is that correct?” or “Has anything changed since we met?” or “Is there anything else I should add here?”

Your entire presentation is premised on your understanding. If your understanding of the situation is even slightly off, you will hit the wrong points and overlook important issues. Doing a reality check will minimize these potential problems.

Second, they stop after a stated agenda and get agreement on the direction of the presentation. “What would you like me to emphasize?” or “How does that sound?” If topic A and topic B are of less importance to your group and topic C of greater interest, you need to know that. This added input lets you change the time you spend on A and B or you can decide to jump right to C.

Presentation Insurance
You want to be in sync with your listeners. It is about them, not about you. Asking these checking questions and then adjusting your presentation on the spot to the group’s answers will keep your audience attentive, unaware of the time, and doing less work on a Blackberry.

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

©2009, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"

LabTalk Spotlight
October 2009


Educating Your Customer
In a perfect world, eyecare professionals would open the doors to their shiny new practices with all the optical knowledge, customer service skills and business training they need in order to be successful. Labs who believe this universe actually exists need to wake up and smell the heat transfer fluid because, in reality, most ECPs don’t possess the full complement of skills necessary to maximize their profitability.

The reason that labs need to be concerned about the competence level of their customers is that ECPs who don’t have the skill sets they need in order to succeed will not bring the lab a great deal of business. Labs have a vested interest in making ECPs successful—the more money the ECPs generate, the more successful their labs become. In a sense, dispensers serve as a gateway for revenue—money must first flow through the ECP’s office before it can trickle into the lab’s coffers. Assisting dispensers to increase their profitability equates to increased business, whether directly or indirectly, for the labs that extend a helping hand.

According to Tom Schroeder, president of Schroeder Optical, labs provide three types of training to their customers. “We do technology training—usually seminars with a vendor to explain freeform technology, for example, or how a Drivewear lens works. We also provide practice management training,” he said. “What’s also needed just as much is the fundamentals, such as training a new hire how to use a lensometer or how to take a PD and seg heights.”

Schroeder acknowledged that it is not the sole responsibility of the lab to provide this type of training, but he lives in the real world, where not every ECP knows what they should. “Plus,” he said, “there is loyalty to be gained from all of this.”

To learn more about LabTalk's feature article, Educating Your Customer, log onto where you'll find the article listed under the Features section.



Beware the Offshore ThreatBeware of the Offshore Threat

Although most in the labs industry proudly announce that they compete on quality and service, the practice of price competition is rampant. With two for one deals, cash incentives, unlimited warranty/redos, special price lists, and supply/tying agreements, price competition is arguably where the overall market could be headed.

The current economic climate hasn’t helped either. Customers who just 18 months ago were willing to pay for up-sold add-ons and designer fashions are holding onto their old glasses longer and being more value conscious with their eyewear purchases.

All of this is certainly not new news to most lab owners, but it may intensify. Manufacturers are always looking for opportunities that reduce costs and still deliver a quality product. Many manufacturers are already importing lens blanks for sale to independent labs.

The next stage is likely to be surfacing and coating of lenses offshore for finishing in their own U.S. labs. Importing surfacing and coating can reduce costs and translate into increased price competition. As processing matures in export countries and delivery time decreases, price competition will ultimately increase. Consumers will not know the difference between a lens that was processed in Albuquerque, New Mexico or Bangladesh.

If the quality, service and delivery time is equal, what is your lab’s value proposition? Is it the knowledge and experience offered by your staff, particularly the sales and customer service reps that interact directly with accounts? Is it the educational programs you offer? The special sales promotions? Each of these factors can contribute to the added value you offer customers, and can help differentiate your lab from both domestic and international competitors.

In addition, lab owners need to look closely at their operating expenses and cost of goods and be prepared to face competitors with product from everywhere.

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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].


Teri Moosman of Diversified Ophthalmics

Teri Moosman of Diversified Ophthalmics

  Teri Moosman

Diversified Ophthalmics was started in 1977 by a group of independent eyecare professionals with a goal of remaining competitive with the larger retail chains. Diversified Ophthalmics is now one of the largest ophthalmic suppliers and independently owned laboratories in the country. Teri Moosman, customer service representative, has been with the company since June of 1994, and assists in giving the quality service Diversified Ophthalmics provides to its accounts.

Moosman is responsible for many tasks, including data entry, billing, shipping, tracing and ordering both lenses and frames. She enters jobs and helps customers on the phone throughout the day, as well as managing shipments at three specified times. Moosman sees her role with the company developing and evolving as products and process change. “After 15 years with this team, we’ve all learned to grow together. Our customers are the large, driving force in this business, and we are continually striving to give them the best,” said Moosman.

Moosman describes the atmosphere at Diversified Ophthalmics as hard working and fun loving. “The camaraderie that comes with a family-owned business is like none other,” said Moosman. “I’m continually learning to be a better person, and be of maximum service to the human race.”—Samantha Toth

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Top Labs

Vision Monday’s Top Labs for 2009 were recognized at the lab event, Labapalooza.

Labapalooza Hits All the Right Notes at Expo West Debut—Several hundreds guests, including optical laboratory executives and vendors, turned out last month for the Vision Expo West debut of Jobson’s Labapalooza party. LabTalk editor Christie Walker presented the winners of Trash to Treasure, a finishing pad art contest to BJ Gregory, Southern Optical; Courtney Allessio, Perferx Optical; Carolyn Harris, Southern Optical; and Sabrina Wells, Southern Optical. Walker also presented the Optical Laboratory Web Site of the Year Awards, with Diversified Ophthalmics taking home the top honors. Lab Advisor editor Andrew Karp presented Vision Monday’s 2009 Top Lab rankings. Karp and the Free-form Five band entertained guests with their new “hit single,” “My Generator.” See the complete 2009 Top Labs Report and hear “My Generator.”

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OLA Names Directors’ Choice Recipient and Awards of Excellence Final Nominees—The Optical Laboratories Association announced that its board of directors has selected Daniel Torgersen as the recipient of the 2009 OLA Directors’ Choice Award. Torgersen, who has served as the OLA technical director for 15 years, is vice president, MIS and special projects, for Walman Optical in Minneapolis, Minn.

The OLA also announced the final nominees for its annual Awards of Excellence. The OLA will present both the Director’s Choice Award and the Award of Excellence on Dec. 4, 2009, at ceremonies during the Opening Reception of The OLA 2009 Annual Meeting, at the Gaylord National Hotel, near Washington D.C.

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Home page of new POG Web site.

POG Launches New Web SitePrecision Optical Group (POG), based in Creston, Iowa, has launched a new and improved Web site. The site will keep current customers informed of new products, promotions and information and will showcase all their products and services to potential customers. A new element on the site is the live chat feature. Users can ask a POG sales or customer service rep questions about orders in process, optical products or quote pricing.

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OSI Relocates Headquarters—Optical Services International has relocated its headquarters to 3295 River Exchange Dr., Suite 420, Norcross, Ga., 30092. The group’s telephone numbers and e-mail address remain the same.

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VisionWeb Announces LOTY HonoreesVisionWeb has announced the honorees for its 2009 Lab of the Year program. The program, now in its fourth year, rewards spectacle lens laboratories that have shown exemplary results growing and maintaining customer loyalty using VisionWeb.

This year’s honorees are Omega Optical, Dallas, Texas; Perferx Optical, Pittsfield, Mass.; and Personal Eyes Optical, Plymouth, Minn. These honorees are among the top 20 labs as voted by VisionWeb members.


21st Century Optics

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21st Century Optics Releases Private Label AR21st Century Optics, the New York based wholesale lab that is part of the Essilor group, has released a value-priced, private label anti-reflective lens called Xtreme AR. According to 21st Century, Xtreme AR AR is produced with the same AR technology used in Essilor’s Crizal AR lenses. The lens offers superior anti-scratch, AR efficiency, anti-smudge and cleanability, plus a 110-degree contact angle.

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PureCoat by Zeiss

PureCoat by Zeiss

Manufacturer: Carl Zeiss Vision
Description: Top of the line AR coating for Zeiss, SOLA, AO and other lenses
Features: High 99 percent luminous transmittance delivers crisper vision that is virtually free from distracting reflection. Anti-static technology sealed with a super-slick coating resists smudges and dirt, keeping the lenses cleaner much longer. Exceptional abrasion resistance and a long-lasting hydrophobic coating resists scratches and makes the lenses easy to clean for the life of the prescription. Independent testing by COLTs Laboratories shows that the surface retains 96 percent of its hydrophobic capabilities after the equivalent of two years of normal wear and tear.
Availability: Currently available on over 400 substrates, including most Zeiss, SOLA and AO lenses, and many lenses from other manufacturers, with more substrates being qualified continually. Over 10 labs are certified to apply PureCoat, including: Carl Zeiss Vision California, Carl Zeiss Vision Cumberland, Carl Zeiss Vision Florida, Carl Zeiss Vision Great Lakes, Carl Zeiss Vision Kansas City, Carl Zeiss Vision Kentucky, Carl Zeiss Vision North Central, Carl Zeiss Vision Southwest, Carl Zeiss Vision Virginia, Expert Optics and Perfect Optics.
(858) 790-7700

Profiler Edger

Profiler Edger

Manufacturer: e-Lens
Description: Five-axis, multifunction industrial edger
Features: Six-inch granite base provides foundation for precise 8,000 point resolution contributing to exceptional one-cut rates and improved throughput. Low profile, variable pressure, dual-drive lens clamping assembly eliminates stress at the lens surface, offering unparalleled performance when edging delicate lens materials and coatings. Rotary axis provides tooling access to all lens surfaces, permitting perpendicular or angular edge drilling, grooving, beveling, ledges and blind holes. Touch screen display with 3D user interface allows for easy job entry and modification. Auto updating software, job history database, an expandable 14-tool pallet and OMA compatibility allows for unforeseen future needs.
(800) 665-0091

iZon SL Lenses in Transitions VI

iZon SL Lenses in Transitions VI

Manufacturer: Ophthonix
Description: “High definition” wavefront-guided high-index, photochromic lens
Features/Functions: Provides patients with a UV light activated changeable tint that can offer many high definition vision benefits, including better vision in low luminance and intermediate contrast conditions. 1.60 index of refraction. Includes index-matched scratch resistant coating and premium anti-reflective and super-hydrophobic coatings. Produced from patient’s optical fingerprint, or iPrint, that contains all 2nd to 6th order aberrations of the eye measured by the Z-View aberrometer. The iPrint, coupled with Ophthonix’s proprietary algorithm, is used to determine the best sphere-cylinder fit for the back surface of the new iZon SL Lens in Transitions VI.
Availability: Gray and brown tints in single-vision and progressive designs.
(877) 367-4966

Micro-PAL Identifier

Micro-PAL Identifier

Manufacturer/Distributor: Optisource International
Description: Compact, reliable PAL identifier
Features: Device allows PAL etchings to be viewed easily. Super-bright LED light makes it simple to read reference points, add-power, manufacturer, lens model and material markings. Can be used for identifying patient’s current lens, marking lenses or finding test points, regardless of the age of the lens, scratches, tint or coatings. Use during final inspection to clearly see blemishes or imperfections. Uses 4 “AAA” batteries. Automatic shut-off feature preserves battery life (optional 7V, 0.5A power pack available separately).
Size: 7 ¼ inches deep by 3 ½ inches wide by 6 inches high
(800) OPTISOURCE (678-4768)

Vocational Lens Line

Vocational Lens Line

Manufacturer: Quest Optical Specialty
Description: Unique vocational lenses designed to fill the void in the limited vocational lens type availability offered today and fulfill patients’ needs in a variety of professions and life styles
Features: Lenses feature a dynamic design that is totally flexible and individualized for specific patient’s needs and fitting conditions such as FT seg sizes 28, 35, 40, 45, hard of soft design HD F-F PAL, corridor length, etc. For PAL and FT design, the FT can be on the bottom and the inverted PAL on the lens top. (Top left). For PAL and HD RS (Top right), the HD RS can be any diameter, visible or blended, add up to 10.00 diopter. If needed, the HD RS can be on the bottom and the inverted PAL on the top of the lens. Also, the HDRS can have minus add power, i.e. a regressive add.

These types of vocational lenses are an expansion on Double D, Double E-line, and Double Round Segs. Double D segs are the most common type of vocational lens used today and have been successfully used over many years in varieties of professions like librarians, dentists, pharmacists, pilots, machinists, mechanics, and many others. The new Quest Lab design HD F-F PAL & FT is an effective vocational lens enhancement particularly for advanced presbyopes due to the intermediate vision correction capabilities of PALs.
Availability: Available in most lens materials
(800) 665-0091


In This Edition...
Beware the Offshore Threat
Teri Moosman of Diversified Ophthalmics

Labapalooza Hits All the Right Notes at Expo West Debut

OLA Names Directors’ Choice Recipient and Awards of Excellence Final Nominees

POG Launches New Web Site

OSI Relocates Headquarters

VisionWeb Announces LOTY Honorees

21st Century Optics Releases Private Label AR

Prevent Presentation Derailment
Managing Waste

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Tech Talk

Managing Waste

Tech Talk

Your lab is required by law to manage your waste in compliance with EPA, state and local environmental regulations. An effective environmental program will not only greatly reduce your company’s liability of fines from the EPA, but will also contribute to improve production efficiencies. The penalties under U.S. environmental laws could result in up to $25,000 a day per violation fine. In some cases, criminal penalties could result. The types of wastes that are typically produced by optical labs include:

-Non-Hazardous Waste (Non-Regulated Waste):
Industrial process waste not considered a hazardous waste under Federal environmental laws. This waste could be suitable for sewer disposal if approved by the local sewer district. Examples of non-hazardous waste are tints and polish waste.

-Hazardous Waste:
Any substance or mixture of substances having properties capable of producing adverse effects on the health or safety of a human being. Lead based alloys used in labs produce hazardous waste.

Unnecessary wastes from lab processes generally add to your cost of doing business. It is too easy for optical labs to use the most convenient method of disposal, an open drain to either a sewer system or storm drain. In most instances, it is illegal to discharge industrial waste into the local sewer system unless a permit is obtained from the local sanitary sewer district.

Even if a chemical is non-hazardous or it is labeled biodegradable, it does not automatically make it suitable or legal for sewer disposal. Typical optical laboratories' non-hazardous waste is generally not suitable for untreated disposal in the sewer system including tinting waste, lens polish and liquid coolants. Disposal of theses wastes depends on your local environmental regulations.
—Roger S. Hill, MA, Certified Hazard Control Manager