Lab Advisor

February 2011

Dollars and Sense

Transitioning a Family Business

Working with family businesses, I’ve seen some lab owners retire happily handing the baton to their children or trusted employees, while others must very slowly transition out (or not at all) due to lack of preparation. Molding them can have its benefits both when you retire and while you are still actively engaged in the business. Many family businesses have flourished when the owner’s children or trusted employees were mentored to take the reins, achieving success through their implementation of good ideas.

Dollars and Sense

If you have children or trusted    employees in the business who you would like to pass on ownership or management to, determine if those children have the commitment and ability to operate and grow the business early. When you are satisfied that they truly have that commitment and potential to follow your footsteps, you train them. So often in family-run companies, the matriarch or patriarch does not enlist the next generation in decision making. Begin by encouraging your children to grow and learn. Trust graduated decision making with them as they mature in their professional capacity. Hold them accountable for deadlines, targets, and initiatives, and celebrate their successes while mentoring them through their failures. Your job is to groom them, not to be you, but to take your place when the time is right.

Starting this transition planning/training early not only increases the chances that you can enjoy a well-deserved retirement, but can also improve the company that you pass down to the capable hands of the next generation —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

2011 Vision Monday Summit

Toledo Optical Named 2010 Transitions Lab of the Year

Dollars and SenseTransitions Optical has named Toledo Optical Laboratory its 2010 Transitions Lab of the Year. Making optical industry history, Toledo Optical is the first U.S. lab to earn the Transitions Lab of the Year title three times. The 20th annual award was presented before an international audience of more than 1,400 industry professionals January 25 during the 15th annual Transitions Academy at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. The Toledo team is pictured above after receiving their award at Transitions Academy.

The Transitions Lab of the Year award is presented to an independent lab that has shown the highest level of commitment to growing its business with Transitions Optical’s Family of Products and programs over the past year. In recognizing Toledo Optical again, Transitions Optical said the lab, located in Toledo, Ohio, has consistently incorporated the Transitions brand into all of its messaging, from education to its staff and customers, to promotions and special events.

Lab of the Year finalists Central Optical and Walman Optical were also recognized for their year-long efforts.

Additionally, Transitions Optical named Unilab Soluções Ópticas as its 2010 Brazil Lab of the Year, and Servióptica-Superlens Ltda, Colombia as its Latin American Lab of the Year

Essilor Acquires Winchester Optical and NEA Optical

Essilor of America recently acquired two U.S. wholesale laboratories, Winchester Optical, in New York State, with revenue of around $9.3 million, and NEA Optical, based in Jonesboro, Arkansas with revenue of $3.7 million. Both labs are now part of Essilor’s network of partner labs. The management team at Winchester Optical, headed by Brian Lynch, and NEA Optical, headed by Jim Evans, will remain in place.

Expert Optics Names Michael Bradley Director of Sales

Toledo OpticalMichael Bradley recently joined Expert Optics in Shoreville, Ill. as director of sales, filling the position vacated by Sid Moore who retired.

Bradley’s optical experience began 16 years ago as a frame rep. In 1996 he started working as a regional manager for Marine Optical managing a sales team covering the Western half of the U.S. In 2001, he joined Polaroid Corp. as sales manager for the Americas with responsibility for developing business in lens sales and sunglass distribution throughout North and South America. Bradley has spent the past year-and-a-half supporting several companies in efforts to establish distribution in the Americas.

Bradley’s primary responsibilities will be to direct the sales team and to manage strategic growth initiatives of the company. He will report directly to Expert Optics president Greg Ruden.

Transitions and Essilor Sponsor Brothers’ Optical Disney Giveaway Cruise

Toledo Optical

Transitions Optical and Essilor sponsored the Brothers’ Optical Disney Giveaway Cruise for Brothers’ Optical Laboratories, Inc. and 75 of their top accounts this November. Attendees, pictured here, were invited to cruise around Newport Bay aboard the legendary actor John Wayne’s former yacht, the Wild Goose, as a thank you for their participation in a recent Disney Giveaway promotion.

In addition to the giveaway winnings, which included Disney gift cards, attendees had the chance to win a $1,000 grand prize, sponsored by Transitions Optical and Essilor. Brothers’ Optical is the largest independent lab in Southern California with headquarters in Orange, Calif.

Davis Vision Labs Receive ISO Recertification

Davis Vision’s ophthalmic laboratories in Plainview, N.Y., Newtown Square, Pa. and Las Vegas, Nev. have been recertified by the International Standards Organization (ISO) to ISO 9001:2008 International Quality System standards. Davis Vision is one of only a handful of ophthalmic operations, and the only managed vision care company in the nation that is certified to these standards.

Additionally, Transitions Optical named Unilab Soluções Ópticas as its 2010 Brazil Lab of the Year, and Servióptica-Superlens Ltda, Colombia as its Latin American Lab of the Year.

Equipment Exchange


LabTalk Spotlight   February 2011

LabTalk SpotlightGoing Digital:
One Small Step for Equipment Makers, One Large Step for Your Lab
Judith Lee

When an optical lab decides to move into digital surfacing, the lab owner might feel like astronaut Neal Armstrong when he took that first step in the 1969 moon landing. It’s a big step for an individual, backed by a significant investment of capital, human resources, equipment and planning.

• The investment is $350,000 to $500,000, with manufacturers offering digital surfacing generators for both large and small labs.

• A large generator will cost about twice as much as a small generator.

• The size of the generator will affect, if not dictate, lab productivity going forward.

• The lab needs the right blocker for the generator that was selected, as well as specific testing equipment.

• The lab may have to reconfigure its production area.

• Digital surfacing saves labor and usually enables workforce reduction, but the workers must be more skilled.

• Training is an important part of the transition, and time off-line for training must be factored into the budget.

• As with any new technology, the “learning curve” at first will reduce productivity and profitability.

Even with all these challenges, we say “when” regarding digital surfacing rather than “if” because the technology is here to stay.

“At some point in time, if a lab can’t go digital, it will be in very difficult straits,” said David Cuffe, director of technical support at Essilor. “For our lens products going forward, the updates will be in digital format only.”

Numbers shared by Satisloh North America CEO and president Larry Clarke bear this out. By the end of this year, a total of 180 digital surfacing generators (all brands) will be installed in U.S. optical labs, representing nearly a third of wholesale labs and about a fourth of all labs.

In 2009, 1.8 million progressives, or 7 percent of all progressives, were made with digital equipment. But Clarke expects digital production to jump to 21 percent of all progressives by 2012, and 61 percent by 2015.

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!

Color Your Way to Success

Make What you Say, Pay!

Alan Mulally, Ford CEO, uses a low-tech technique that really speeds up understanding, increases retention, helps determines priorities, and gets everyone organized to focus on top priorities.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Mulally meets with his 15 top executives every Thursday at 7AM to review Ford's business progress and problems. He requires them to post 300 plus charts to indicate problems, caution, and progress.

How does he make sense of all that data? With color. Each chart is color-coded red, yellow or green to indicate problem, caution, or progress. The colors quickly pinpoint what needs to be done and help drive decisions.

Our brains are wired to notice and respond emotionally to colors. That is why most consumer products are packaged in color, why most advertisements have color, and why just a splash of color with a black and white outfit or shirt and suit is so dramatic. Color can also helps you be more productive, effective, and efficient. How many of these uses of color do you employ?

1. Use Avery dots to highlight notes in a seminar. When you review your notes, you can quickly see what was important to you.

2. Use different colored folders to indicate items to be done ASAP, Within a Week, and Whenever. Makes it easy to help you manage your time.

3. In presentations, put key numbers in a color other than black to make them more memorable and vivid.

4. Send mail to prospects and clients in a colored envelope to draw attention and get your proposals, letters, materials opened first.

5. Use tinted paper for proposals and letters, so that they stand out on a desk of white papers.

When you want something to "pop," give it a color. It will definitely add to the green in your bottom-line.—Anne Miller

©2011, Anne Miller, author, “Metaphorically Selling”

New Products

Crizal Easy


Manufacturer: Essilor of America
Entry-level “no glare” lens. Replaces original Crizal lenses, which will be discontinued in first quarter, 2011.
Super-hydrophobic top coat provides improved oil, water and smudge resistance. Patented Pad Control System layer ensures excellent adhesion of the leap pad for precise and consistent edging and drilling. 110 degree contact angle that provides improved cleanability over original Crizal lenses and competitive lenses. Over 83 percent of the top coat’s performance remains intact, even after 20,000 cleanings. Double-sided integrated hard coat that ensures scratch resistance and durability that lasts.
Rx and finished single vision lenses.

Excelon HPE-7000 Edger

ASTA Handling System

Distributor: Coburn Technologies
Top-of-the-line edger in Coburn Technologies’ new Excelon finishing system, which integrates edging, blocking and tracing. Designed for ease of use and low cost of ownership and reliability.
Features: User-friendly touch screen and graphical user interface make processing easy for all operator skill levels. Fast and easy hole editing functions with “drag & drop” option. Detailed edging status is displayed graphically in real-time. Dual side feelers scan the lens simultaneously for 50 percent faster lens reading. Bigger cutting wheels and robust motor system offer up to 30 percent faster cutting speeds and reduced vibration and noise. Automatic door and durable LED light enables safer, faster and easier operation. Dual CPU system supports full multitasking, job editing and loading. SD Card storage and memory for full PC compatibility and portability. Advanced 3-Dimensional digital technology substantially reduces the overall cycle time. An optional integrated drill module provides fast and accurate high speed drilling with up to 30 degrees of mobility to support high curve lenses and drill mount frames. Three-year warranty. Excelon 7000 series edgers are compatible with other components in the Excelon line, including the CFR-4000 tracer; HBK-7000 smart, semi-manual blocker; CBK-4000 manual blocker; CAB-4000 automatic lens tracer/blocker.

Carl Zeiss Vision Transitions XTRActive

#3009F Budgetool

Manufacturer: Carl Zeiss Vision
Carl Zeiss Vision is releasing a broad range of Zeiss, SOLA and AO designs in new Transitions XTRActive lenses.
Transitions XTRActive lenses are the darkest everyday lenses available from Transitions Optical. Outdoors, they will reach a 90 percent tint at 73 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 percent at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a slight tint indoors, clearing to 83 percent light transmittance without AR, and 89 percent with AR. Behind a windshield, they will darken to a 50 percent tint.
Transitions XTRActive lenses are currently available on customized polycarbonate and 1.67 lenses from Carl Zeiss Vision, including Zeiss Individual and Zeiss Individual single vision, as well as SOLA ASL polycarbonate and 1.67 semi-finished single vision.

Reveal Line Extensions

Kodak Digital Progressive Lenses

Distributor/Manufacturer: VSP/Carl Zeiss Vision
VSP’s new Reveal free-form lenses with optics by Carl Zeiss provide advanced personalization for progressive and single vision patients.
VSP Reveal Freeform Vi premium progressive lenses go beyond the prescription and the frame and optimizing visual performance by using precise fitting measurements. The lens design also employs Vision Expansion Technology, which balances the optical characteristics that are most critical to visual performance and patient satisfaction, providing up to 50 percent wider fields of vision. Due to their advanced technology features and the additional individualized measurements required, VSP Reveal Freeform Vi progressive lenses are a category “N” lens in the 2011 VSP patient option list and deliver the highest level reimbursement. VSP Reveal Freeform SVi lenses offer patients with a single vision prescription the same customization, optimized for their individual prescription and position of wear to provide a unique fit and great visual performance. The lenses also utilize Vision Expansion Technology and give the wearer up to 50 percent larger fields of view compared to conventional single vision lenses. i.Scription by Zeiss is available for all VSP Reveal Freeform lenses, giving patients a uniquely customized prescription.
Availability: VSP Reveal Freeform Vi and VSP Reveal Freeform SVi are available exclusively through VSP private practice doctors to VSP members and non- members. VSP providers can receive $20 for every pair of VSP Reveal progressive lenses ordered through eClaim or eLab (Excludes Medicaid and Medicare claims). $10 earnings will appear on the VSP Explanation of Payment (EOP). VSP providers can visit VSP Online at for more information. Additionally, $10 per pair is available with

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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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