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FEA Industries Expands Free-form Lens Production

FEA Industries, a full-service independent wholesale laboratory located in Morton, Pa., has acquired two additional high production, digital surfacing lines to support the on-going growth of free-form products within their laboratory. The acquisition of this equipment and technology from Schneider Optical Machines will allow FEA to more than double its daily production of digital lenses, while bringing their total number of digital lines to four.

"FEA has been focused on educating our customers about the benefits of free-form and we are now seeing the demand take off. Our long term plan is to continue substantial investments in both manufacturing equipment and software," said Bill Heffner, owner of FEA.

John Greco Joins Rochester Optical

John Greco has joined Rochester Optical as director of lab operations, where he will be responsible for the day to day operations of Rochester, New York's largest full-service optical laboratory.

"John is one of the most experienced optical professionals in the industry," said Jeremy Ho, president of Rochester Optical. "He's a natural leader and teacher, and his efforts enable each lab employee to reach his full potential."

Greco's 42-year career has taken him across the optical industry. He started in 1973 at Robertson Optical in Atlanta, Ga. Greco also worked at VisionStar, LLC, where he was instrumental in the installation of the VisionStar software in many labs including NOSTRA, Luxottica Dallas and Rochester Optical in 1999. He was also invited to Shamir Kibbutz in Israel, where he learned about digital lens technology from some of the best optical professionals in the industry.

Lab Italee Implements Essilor's Optifog Technology

Essilor of America has implemented its patented Optifog technology at Lab Italee in Los Angeles, California. With access to Optifog technology, Lab Italee can fully manufacture the Optifog lenses, which, when combined with Optifog Activator, provides immediate and efficient fog-free vision.







Habits of Successful Strategic Thinkers, Part Two

In Part One of this article, published last month, guest columnist Hedley Lawson outlined three habits of successful strategic thinkers: anticipate, think critically and interpret. Here are three more "habits."

4. Decide. Often, leaders display "analysis paralysis." To avoid this leadership shortcoming, identify 'best practice' processes and analytics. To do so, you should:

  • Review each area of your business that requires strategic versus transactional decisions and review the decision analytics you use for basing your decisions
  • Seek to identify other methods of data gathering and analysis that may allow you to fix focus on high value, high quality decision solutions

5. Align. Team consensus is frequently "agreeing with the boss" as opposed to the result of high value and sometimes spirited decision solutions. A strategic leader hires talent that, among other things, exhibits strong character, unwavering honesty and trust, and then engages the team fully even when views differ. To do so, you need to:

  • Create "One Agenda," with the team focusing solidly on what is important and not their own importance to be right
  • Create a climate where even the toughest problems and difficult decisions are put squarely on the table, even when it may place a shortcoming directly and publicly in the team's view

6. Learn. As your lab grows and profits from becoming more strategic and less reactive, daily candor and a willingness to bring problems to the table will increase. This is highly valuable to the team's ability to learn and grow. Make sure to:

  • Encourage and display honest, candid and non-pejorative behavior
  • Provide course correction where necessary quickly and as appropriate
  • Celebrate success and continue to focus on less successful but insightful lessons

Organizations and leadership that focus on these six strategic thinking imperatives have a higher probability of improving financial, operational and organizational performance, and a more effective, engaged and loyal team environment.


Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Managing Partner | Aligned Growth Partners, LLC
[email protected] | | 707-217-0970



Focus On

Ice-Tech Advanced Lens Technologies

By Judith Lee

Last month, Ice-Tech's president, Beth Showalter, discussed how the Atlantic Beach, Fla. lab differentiates itself with lens technology. In the second part of our interview, she talks about how the company's significant investment in lens processing technology has paid off.

Ice-Tech provides in-house AR, 10 mirror colors, and its own custom, three-axis edger for edging difficult wraps. Ice-Tech's patented thinning technology, called Thin-Ice, removes up to 50 percent of the lens material no longer required.

Technology creates an ongoing need for in-house training, met with weekly training of Ice-Tech staff.

"For example, we recently revamped our AR and upgraded our super-hydrophobic coating on two-year warranted AR jobs. This seemingly simple upgrade can ruin a lens if cleaned improperly too soon after application, so it takes integrated training for the production staff, as well as customer service and sales staff to be able to communicate it properly with the customer," Showalter noted.

Automation has not reduced staffing needs, as Ice-Tech continues to grow briskly. Production has doubled, and so has staff size.

"Ice-Tech is automated in many ways, but we still rely on the human knowledge to produce our lenses and perfect our designs," Showalter said.

The lab's use of technology extends to its website and a social media program. Each Ice-Tech customer is assigned a private web page where orders can be placed and tracked. Ice-Tech has a vigorous Facebook program that offers monthly discounts to those who "like" the page. Once again, the lab is supporting its customers with social media marketing.

"Business is all about networking now," said Showalter. "Even though we don't have a million dollar budget to advertise our lenses to the public, we can still spread the word through social networking. I want the public to know about our lenses so they begin asking the ECP's for them."

LabTalk Spotlight

If Prospecting Is Dead, Then So Are Your Plans for Long-Term Growth

By Michael Karlsrud

There is a disturbing trend in the sales world. No one is prospecting anymore. Companies are asking…demanding that sales organizations find double- digit growth year after year. Where is all this growth going to come from?

Your long-term growth plans may be in jeopardy if you're not constantly building a broad customer base. Sounds foundational, right? Then why aren't companies requiring sales representatives to deliver 10 or 15 percent of growth from new business? There are many reasons, and frankly they wouldn't fly in many industries today. Some common reasons have to do with "organic growth," "the market is saturated," "the market is dominated by just three or four players and we can't compete." Rubbish. The reality is it's just hard work.

Growth in sales has always been attributed to prospecting for new opportunities while maintaining the current customer base. The sales funnel simplified: the more you put in the top, the more comes out the bottom. Prospecting is dead because of two reasons: management and the sales people they manage. The sales game being played today is a dangerous and a short-term game. A company wants 10 percent growth in sales in the coming year, however they won't distinguish between current or new customer growth. All the company wants is to show growth. They might define a market segment to grow at the same time announcing an arsenal of new products to be launched in the coming year. As any "good" sales representative knows, you just set him up for a really good year! And, you set the company up for becoming more vulnerable in a volatile market.

Learn additional strategies from Optical Prescription Lab and other labs when you read the entire article at under the FEATURES section.

Make What You Say Pay

Top Sales 3.0 Skill? Listening

Last month, Anne Miller discussed why it's important for salespeople to develop their listening skills. Here are some more of Miller's tips:

Why Listening?
For two reasons.

First, listening is a time-related issue. In this high-tech world, time is the overwhelming limited resource. If you skim over buyers' real needs and expectations, you're wasting their time (and yours) and irritating them in the process. So, listening is not just a nice-to-have skill; it is essential for being perceived as value-added in peoples' busy lives.

Second, listening is a human nature thing. When people really listen to us, whether it's our significant other, our doctor, or the guy selling us a new computer, we tend to feel cared about, important, and secure. Strong listening builds trust. Strong listening in selling elevates you to the level of expert in the eyes of the other person. Strong listening encourages people to share information and feelings.

Bottom-line, strong listening produces a more robust discussion that is most likely to pay off big-time in increased revenues.

What's Your LQ?
You need to be intensely focused on the other person, to have a kind of "listening intelligence." That means

• Seeing buyers with the intention to understand them and their situations first before you talk. ideas/solutions (Think: I am here to help the buyer win and, as a result, I will win as well.)
• Paying attention and responding to the other person's expressed/observed emotions, (e.g. Buyer: shaking his head while saying, "We really need this to work." Rep: "My sense is this is more than usually important. What is going on that makes success here so important now?")
• Asking questions for clarity. (Why? What does that mean to you? Tell me more...), and, last, but not least...
• Suppressing your need to listen to the sweet, dulcet sounds of your own familiar voice

To Win Big, Listen Big
While no one ever listened him/herself out of a sale, many have talked themselves out of one.

Words Matter: Make What You Say Pay!
©2012, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling"

Second in a two-part series


DSC Prolab

Manufacturer: Schneider Optical Machines

Description: The DSC Prolab is an integrated surfacing center designed for start-ups, partner labs, retail shops and independent labs.

Features: The DSC Prolab combines a generator, polisher, laser marker and measuring unit in a single compact system. The modules are based on proven technologies from their Schneider stand-alone counterparts: the HSC sprint, CCP swift or CCL C*mark. The full integration of lab management and the lens-design software make the DSC Prolab a self-sufficient surfacing center.

Other key features include:

  • Fully integrated digital surfacing cell
  • Pre-installed lab management and lens design system
  • Full Rx and free-form capability
  • On-board verified, premium lens quality
  • Compact industrial design
  • Intuitive single point process guidance
  • Ideal solution for start-ups, partner labs, retail shops and independent labs; (972)247-4000 (U.S).

DB2 DeBlocker

Manufacturer: Quantum Innovations

Description: Table-top unit that offers a cost-effective, easy way to deblock lenses.

Features: The DB2 DeBlocker deblocks two lenses at a time. According to Quantum, it reduces costly lens breakage, eliminates lens impact and eliminates operator hand impact and the carpal tunnel syndrome that may result from it. Additionally, the DB2 reduces employee contact with Hazmat materials (alloy) during deblocking.

Specifications: The unit requires an air supply of 90 psi @ 0.5 cfm. It weighs approximately 54 pounds, and is 13 inches wide by 11 inches high by nine inches deep. It has a two-lens capacity and a throughput of between 300 and 500 pairs of lenses an hour.


3M LEAP LSE (Low Surface Energy) Finish Blocking Pads

Manufacturer: Santinelli International

Description: A solution for edging hydrophobic coated lenses, 3M LEAP LSE (Low Surface Energy) finish blocking pads.

Description: The 3M LEAP LSE Pads are made of a specially formulated adhesive designed to improve the edging quality of today's hydrophobic, "non-stick", low surface energy coated lenses. The pads offer a "one-step approach," eliminating the need for intermediate film and thereby streamlining the process of accurate blocking. The pads are designed to adhere to hydrophobic coatings, while maintaining all-important axis stability.

Availability: Santinelli International offers five types of 3M LEAP LSE pads in varying sizes and shapes, and for different block types.; For free samples, call (800) 435-3343.


Send us news about your lab's new products, services, special events, tech advances or personnel changes.

Andy Karp

Andrew Karp
Editor, Lab Advisor
[email protected]


Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk
[email protected]

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