Lab Advisor

January 2011

Dollars and Sense

Cutting Through The Confusion

Like all of you who have had teenagers, mine tend to like confusion. Confusion can create opportunities for you to make a decision that you would not make under ideal circumstances. The same thing holds true for those who you buy from. Not everyone who presents you with a deal is being disingenuous, but making the decision to buy, or not buy, promote or not promote should not be based simply on what the rep is telling you. No, more thought needs to be put into it.

Dollars and SenseWhen reps come to you and tell you what the suggested selling price is and how well it will sell, see how it works with your discount structure. Once you have that, poll your competitors/friends selling the same product. See what they are doing with rebates, credits, and promotions. Does it really make sense to promote a product when a competitor is selling them for “buy one get one free” or at a 50 percent discount for the next six months? Maybe you need to talk to a trusted friend that has bought the piece of equipment and get an unbiased opinion from them. Talk to good customers and take their advice respecting demand. Also, be careful of minimum order quantities and thresholds. What if the product doesn’t take off? Will you still be required to pay the minimum quantity fee, or will there be a cost for canceling use of the product?

As labs by nature, you are in the middle. Confusion comes from downstream and upstream in your business. Do your best to cut through it and see what your real opportunities are when you turn off the noise—Jason A. Meyer, Managing Director, 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 A. Meyer at [email protected].


Lab Notes

Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit

PixelOptics Names Four Labs to Distribute Electronic Eyewear

PixelOptics announced that it has obtained commitments from four leading optical laboratories to support the regional rollout of its emPower! electronic eyewear in early 2011. U.S. Optical, Robertson Optical, Luzerne Optical and Pech Optical have all signed agreements to manufacture emPower! lenses starting with the launch of the Southeast U.S. region. An additional two labs based in the Southeast that are expected to join the network within the next 60 days, the company said.

The four labs are being trained by PixelOptics’ laboratory support teams and will partner with the PixelOptics’ regional management team as well as the Aspex Eyewear sales team. The three teams will provide a combined field presence of 45 people throughout the southeast U.S. Aspex Eyewear has been licensed to have North American exclusivity to manufacture, sell, and distribute electronic eye glass frames that enable and activate emPower! lenses.

PixelOptics’ expects to launch emPower! in early 2011 in the Southeast, followed by a regional rollout across the country throughout the year, and international launches in late 2011 and into 2012.

Transitions Supports Three Rivers Optical’s Lens Promo To Benefit Local Children’s Hospital

TransitionsTransitions Optical recently supported the efforts of Transitions Heritage Lab Ambassador Club member, Three Rivers Optical, to raise $10,000 for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the third annual DVE Rocks for Children’s Radiothon. Representatives from Three Rivers Optical, Transitions Optical, and WDVE 102.5 FM presented the check to Greg Barrett, president of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation (far right), on Nov. 5.

Through the Heritage Lab Ambassador’s Club program, Transitions Optical provided Three Rivers Optical with strategic business support and customized marketing materials to launch a promotion that encouraged patients to take their kids in for an eye exam. For every Transitions lenses sold during the month of October, Three Rivers Optical donated $5 to Children’s Hospital.

Toledo Optical Launches Free-form

Toledo OpticalToledo Optical recently installed a complete line of digital lens processing equipment. The equipment consists of a Schneider Smart generator, two Swift polishers and a laser engraving device. Working with their DVI lab management system, Toledo Optical has already been able to switch more than half of their current production to their new digital line. In the coming months, Toledo Optical will also debut digital products from Varilux, Seiko, Zeiss, Shamir and other lens makers. In addition, Toledo Optical will be working with a software design company to create a proprietary digitally fabricated private label progressive lens.

The expansion of this new technology will coincide with a full blown training initiative designed to help customers of Toledo Optical better understand the fundamentals of this technology as well how they should position it within their practices, in order to maximize our collective potential.

Pictured here, inspecting the new digital equipment, are general manager Bob Lommerse, left, and company president Irland Tashima.

Walman Optical Acquires Harbor Optical

Walman Optical Company, based here, recently acquired Harbor Optical, a wholesale laboratory in Traverse City, Mich. The purchase price was not announced.

According to a Walman spokesperson, no changes are anticipated in the lab’s current management team, which is headed by Geff Heidbrink.

Harbor Optical was founded in 1997. It was ranked number twenty-two in Vision Monday’s 2010 Top 25 Independent Wholesale Labs Report, with estimated Rx sales of $6.5 million dollars. Walman Optical Company was ranked number one, with estimated Rx sales of $98.0 million.

Local Eye Site
Focus On

Nexus Vision GroupGoing Digital: Nexus Vision Group
Columbus, Ohio

“The process of going digital is not plug and play by any means,” said Gerry Shaw, president of Western Carolina Optical and head of the Nexus Vision Group, a collective consisting of eight independently owned labs located throughout the Southeastern U.S. Nexus services not only its own members’ labs but other labs as well. “It takes a lot of planning time and money to bring it all together when you’re starting from scratch. Looking back, I would have built in more time.” Shaw’s advice to anyone starting up a digital lab: plan for delays.

Shaw noted that a lot of planning was involved in making sure the lab’s infrastructure was adequate infrastructure to handle considerable electrical power needs of the machinery. “We had to add 12 tons of air compression,” he said.

The data management side is equally complex, according to Shaw. “The amount of computing power we need to make all this work was fairly mind-boggling,” he said. “I’ve got basically one server handling my lab work, but I also have 15 computers, one for every vendor. The LMS from DVI requires a number of computer with adequate backup. There’s a data line for each piece of equipment running back to the main servers.”

Nexus is producing two licensed brands of progressives, Shamir Autograph and Seiko free-form as well as Proprius, a private label brand. With the three lenses positioned at different price points, Nexus is able to offer its accounts a choice of good, better and best.

Nexus’s investment in digital is “a little north of one million dollars,” said Shaw, adding that it’s early to say when the lab will break even. “We’re taking some major risks in a down economy,” he said. “But we’re confident this is an investment in the future.“

Juan Pesante, general lab manager of the Nexus Vision Group, is seen here showing visitors a Satisloh iFlex generator during a recent open house event.

Click here to read more about Nexus Vision Group and other labs that are “going digital” in Vision Monday’s Special Report: Digital Immersion.

LabTalk Spotlight   January 2011

LabTalk SpotlightSparking the Right Connection
Why Choosing the Right LMS System is Critical to Your Success
By Julie Bos

Today’s leading LMS software providers answer questions about LMS requirements for digital surfacing.

When migrating from a standard generator to a digital free-form generator, why is choosing the right LMS software so important?
According to John Keane at DVI, the big difference between LMS software for digital generators versus traditional generators is how they interface with the free-form lens design systems (LDS) provided by the lens companies. In addition to communicating with the free-form design data, the LMS must also be able to integrate into the existing lab workflow. This requires that the LMS be able to predict the manufacturing feasibility of the end product and properly select the correct lens base curve, size and thickness that the free-form system will require for the generator. The LMS must then use this information to manage the use of the laser and mechanical engravers. Finally, the LMS must manage lens-inventory complications introduced when using either single vision lenses or “pucks” to produce styles, and also assist in calculating click fees.

To read the rest of this informative article, log onto and go to the Features section where you will find this complete article.
Make What You Say, Pay!

Get Out of the Thicket

Make What you Say, Pay!

President Obama’s current communication dilemma is one that faces anyone who attempts to sell, influence, or persuade. He has a lot of talking points, but no overarching or umbrella story or message that ties them together. Tom Friedman captures his problem very well: “[Obama] has not tied all his programs into a single narrative that shows the links between his health care, banking, economic, climate, energy, education and foreign policies...Without it...his eloquence, his unique ability to inspire people to get out of their seats and work for him, has been muted or lost in a thicket of technocratic details. His daring, but discrete, policies are starting to feel like a work plan that we have to slog through, and endlessly compromise over, just to finish for finishing’s sake—not because they are all building blocks of a great national project.“

Lost in the ‘Slog’
Based on the extensive presentations training and coaching I do, I suspect your clients and other constituencies have the same feeling about most of the presentations they see as well. For example, in the digital world, I see presenters talk about their audiences, their metrics, and their technology (and everyone excels in all those areas, of course), but rarely do I see a clear story line that pulls those assets into a compelling value narrative to really excite listeners to take action. To take another example, in the asset management world, presenters wax euphoric about their process, customer service, and, when possible, their performance, but, again, no clear value narrative that shapes those assets into a distinctive, compelling story. In research presentations, listeners will be shown beautiful graphs, charts, and spreadsheets, but, again, where is the story that ties all that information together?

Find Your ‘Story’
Look at all the information you intend to tell someone. Then, ask yourself, “At the end of the meeting, what is the single clear message that pulls my information together for my listeners? Plug that message in at the beginning of your presentation, reinforce it thoughout your information, and re-state it again at the end. President Obama has yet to do this. Hopefully, you are one up on the President.—Anne Miller

©2010, Anne Miller, author, “Metaphorically Selling”

New Products



Manufacturer: Younger Optics
Short corridor progressive polycarbonate lenses with NuPolar polarization
160 degree of viewing freedom in the distance zone; minimum fitting height of 13mm; very wide near zone for a short design; generous corridor width for a clear view in all areas; 90 percent of add is reached at only 11mm below pupil; 76mm effective blank size; no secondary calculations necessary for use; NuPolar polarizing filter blocks blinding glare; polycarbonate material well-suited to outdoor activities. High adhesion ensures lenses will not delaminate or separate; consistent true curve control for today’s digitally processed free-form requirements; high polarization efficiency. Excellent color uniformity and consistency.
Polycarbonate with NuPolar gray or brown
(800) 877-5367

ASTA Handling System

ASTA Handling System

Manufacturer: Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI)
Fully automated taping system
Features: Combines PSI’s Automated Surface Tape Applicator (ASTA) with conveyors and robotics to completely automate lens taping process. Easy to install and operate. Can be incorporated into a lab’s existing conveyor belt system. Lenses are taped two at a time for a speed of up to 400 lenses an hour. Modular design allows unit be to manually operated, off-line if necessary and simplifies maintenance and tape replacement.

Manufactured to customer specifications based on left or right loading of the tray, job tray type and the placement of lenses in tray. Options include standard cutter blades or new hot knife technology that reduces blade replacements and offers a cleaner cut with less debris. Unit accommodates polycarbonate lens gate without adjustments and tapes with no overhang. Arrives completely assembled and uses standard air and 110V electrical hookups. System uses any type of tape, with or with out liners. (PSI recommends their new double-roll Blue or Green Len Saver tapes to reduce the number of tape roll replacements during the day.)
(800) 237-8154

Azio and India

Azio and India

Manufacturer: Essilor
First personalized ethnic lenses available in the U.S.
Designed with Essilor’s W.A.V.E. Technology 2. Lenses provide sharp vision at any distance and in any light, especially challenging low-light conditions, with easy accommodation and fast adaptation. Varilux Physio Enhanced Azio and Varilux Physio Enhanced India lenses are personalized based on three key areas for Chinese and Indian ethnic groups:

-Ametropia: Varilux Physio Enhanced Azio and Varilux Physio Enhanced India lenses account for the unique needs of different eye shapes.

-Physiology: These lenses are also personalized to the specific facial anatomy of Chinese and Indian patients.

-Reading Behavior: Varilux Physio Enhanced Azio and Varilux Physio Enhanced India lenses provide a personalized near-vision zone for these specific patients.

Essilor Azio Single Vision lenses are the only single vision product class with W.A.V.E. Technology: Wavefront Advanced Vision Enhancement, offering a personalized single vision lens for Chinese wearers with clearer and sharper vision as well as wider fields of vision. These lenses optimize each prescription for each position of wear, assuring optimal vision, according to Essilor.
(800) 843-3937

#3009F Budgetool

#3009F Budgetool

Manufacturer: Western Optical Supply
Foam Grip Wide Jaw Angling Plier
Smaller grip and the same construction of Western’s heavier duty tools. Foam grip wide jaw angling plier is for adjusting pantoscopic tilt and temple angles on all types of frames. Opens extra wide to accommodate large temples and hinges. Recessed hole in each jaw protects the hinge screw.
(800) 423-3294

Kodak Digital Progressive Lenses

Kodak Digital Progressive Lenses

Kodak Precise Digital Lenses, Kodak Precise Short Digital Lenses, Kodak Concise Digital Lenses
Manufacturer: Signet Armorlite
New generation of Kodak progressive lenses designed to benefit most wearers. Hyperopes will find wider near and distance-viewing areas; myopes will experience a wider, clearer distance area. Wearers with stronger prescriptions will enjoy the most significant improvements.
Designed by Crossbows Optical and produced in Signet Armorlite’s advanced technology optical lab, Signetek. Signet Armorlite’s Digital Design Technology creates a complex, precise three-dimensional back surface, which improves the optical performance of each of these front-surface progressive designs. Based on typical wearing conditions, this Technology provides more consistent optical performance over the range of prescription powers, according to Signet Armorlite. Reduction in wavefront errors results in sharper vision in principal viewing areas of the lens. The Digital Design Technology also allows flatter base curves, providing lenses with a more appealing cosmetic appearance without sacrificing optical performance.
Availability: Offered in a wide range of lens materials, including clear, photochromic and polycarbonate choices. Kodak AR coatings, which are durable and easy-to-clean, may be added.
(800) 950-5367

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Andy Karp

Andrew Karp
Editor, Lab Advisor
[email protected]


Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk
[email protected]

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