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This is a Relationship Business

There are threats to your business, but nothing that strong relationships can't combat. Your competitors are trying to create relationships with your accounts. You are already competing for your customers' business against supply arrangements, buying group discounts, management arrangements, and service incentives. All of this intended to increase profits but not yours. So it is time to start working with your customers to provide services and a relationship that is not easily broken by competitor with a cheaper price or some other arrangement that cuts you out! You must be competitive and develop a relationship with your customer where they need you for more than just the commodity price that your competitors offer. Your customers are less likely stray if you are offering them a partnership. Loyalty is never earned with price incentives or discounts, but through strong relationships built on mutual benefit. How are you working with your customers to build those relationships? —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].


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Hoya Vision Care Opens Lab in South Carolina

Hoya Vision Care recently acquired New South Optical Laboratories in Greenville, S.C. and is now operating the lab under the Hoya Greenville banner. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Pictured at the lab's grand opening are, left to right, Donnie Cross, Hoya Greenville Lab general manager; Donna Simmons, Hoya Greenville customer service manager; David Stewart, Hoya territory sales manager.


VisionWeb Integrates with Diversified Ophthalmics' Practice Maximus Software

VisionWeb's ophthalmic product ordering service is now integrated with Diversified Ophthalmics' Practice Maximus optometric management software. With this module, eyecare professionals using the Practice Maximus software can now place orders directly with any of VisionWeb's lab partners from within their practice management software.









John Granby of Deschutes Optical Dies at 59

BEND, Ore.—John Granby of Deschutes Optical passed away here on Aug. 16 after battling ALS disease for the past several years. He was 59 years old.

In 1989, Granby founded Deschutes Optical, a wholesale lab in Bend, Oregon. He established a branch in Boise, Idaho a few years later. Granby commuted between the two businesses in his private plane or on one of his Harley Davidson motorcycles. Deschutes Optical was acquired by Essilor several years ago. Granby is survived by his wife, Debra, his mother, Lee Granby, a twin brother, Richard, and two sisters, Paula and Mary.

Contributions can be made in Granby's name to Partners in Care Hospice, 2075 NE Wyatt Court Bend, Ore., 97701.


Herbert "Buddy" Cohen Dies at 83

Optical industry veteran Herbert "Buddy" Cohen died on May 30 following a long illness. He was 83 years-old.

A resident of Dix Hills, N.Y., Cohen spent virtually his whole career as a sales engineer for Coburn Optical Industries in the Northeast. During his 35 years with Coburn, he was instrumental in helping to automate the lens fabricating process by selling and installing state-of-the-art generators, polishers and edging machines.

He is survived by Doris, his wife of 62 years, sons Mark and Jay, daughter-in-laws Paula and Nancy and grandchildren Jennifer, John, Steve, Deanne and Kevin. Donations in Cohen's name can be made to the American Heart Association.


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Focus On

Maui Jim's Paul Ponder

By Judith Lee

Think the star power of Maui Jim brand recognition insulates its Rx lab from the challenges you face every day? Think again.

Paul Ponder, Rx Lab Manager, says he deals with it all: continual upgrading and updating of technology, training and retraining the workforce, coping with the learning curve.

"We are a completely digital surfacing lab that provides proprietary lens designs to accommodate our wrap sunglass collection," noted Paul Ponder, Rx lab manager. "Our edging system is state of the art MEI edging equipment designed and configured to precisely edge all of the 4, 6 and 8 base lenses."

Ponder explained that the Maui Jim lab has automated and installed completely digital surfacing equipment. Vendors presented issue number one.

"It took some time working with our vendors to dial in the equipment to meet the requirements of our quality standards. Once this was accomplished we were able to offer our range of prescription parameters to 1/100 of a diopter accuracy," Ponder said.

Issue number two was cross-training the entire lab staff on multiple operations. Although the transition was an operation-wide challenge, it has paid off.

"Productivity has increased dramatically without hiring additional staffing. Turn-time on orders has been reduced, redo's have also reduced, and first-pass yields have increased," Ponder said.

The lab's secret weapon is Maui Jim's training staff that travels the globe to train retailers how to fit and sell the latest styles, as well as promote its latest lens technologies in its patented PolarizedPlus2 lens products.

Maui Jim has made a major commitment to grow its prescription lens business. In 2012, the company formed an optical alliance of key eyecare professionals from North America.

"The strategy behind this is to form a core group of optical professionals to serve as a consulting team to provide industry updates, ideas and new thinking in the optical business," Ponder said.

Digital marketing through the worldwide web is an important priority. The lab promotes the use of electronic ordering through Eyefinity, VisionWeb, as well as Maui Jim's own website. The new "Maui Jim Direct Rx" ordering system is being implemented.

And what about the use of social media to promote Maui Jim Rx lenses?

"We are creating awareness of our prescription program through our social media channels," said Ponder, "and driving the consumers to authorized Maui Jim optical retailers."

LabTalk Spotlight

Workload Rising? Stay Afloat With Automation

By Julie Bos

Is your lab flooded by increasing work? Are you drowning in breakage and spoilage costs? Or simply tired of the torturous trickle of inconsistent quality or undependable employees? These are the dilemmas that can make a lab sink or swim. In recent years, however, the optical industry has discovered a life raft. Labs are increasingly turning to automation to drive efficiency, reduce errors and absorb higher workloads without adding employees.

The right automation solutions – at the right time – can transform large workloads into standardized jobs that are organized, efficient and more cost-effective than their manually-processed counterparts. Time-consuming manual steps are virtually eliminated, leading to far better turnaround time, more capacity, higher productivity and fewer errors. It's no wonder more and more labs are jumping in the game.

Check out case studies of labs that have moved to automation by reading the entire article on the newly redesigned LabTalk website.

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Make What You Say Pay

Everything Old is New Again

I have been cleaning out my files in preparation for a move of offices and came across newsletters that I wrote ten, fifteen years ago. It is amazing how even with the technical changes in our lives in this time period, how some things never change. For example...

From Winter: 2000 "So, What's Your Story?"
Too often sales people, regardless of the service they are selling, make the same mistake. When asked, "Why should I work with you?" they either have the wrong message or a weak message, or arguably worse, no substantive message at all for their clients.

Solution: Assuming you understand your client's situation and where you stand competitively, here are five ways to ensure your story always registers with buyers.

  1. Use a short list of numbered items. State the number of items first. Aim for no more than three Three items are easily remembered, and easily repeated, if necessary to other decision-influencers.
  2. Show a conceptual fit with their existing situation. Does your service complement their status quo? Strengthen it, extend it, shrink it, reduce it or otherwise improve it in some way?
  3. Position your service competitively. All services do X. Only your service does X + Y to help them achieve their goal.
  4. Use a metaphor or analogy and reinforce it with that image on your slide. For example, our service provides the fuel you need to fire up your team, Or, Implementing strategy X is the difference between fishing with a hook or a net; you will get only the prospects you want.
  5. Use a prop. Depending on the appropriateness of the situation, bring an actual item to drive home your point, e.g., a stack of play hundred dollars bills to reinforce that your recommendation will yield the greatest revenue for your client.

Selling in 2012
If it was a challenge to distinguish yourself and your services in 2000, it is even more of a challenge today as the business world has become an even busier and noisier place. More information wasn't the answer then and it is certainly not the answer today. A succinct, memorable message is. So, what's your story?

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


Exxpert Finishing Series

Manufacturer: Coburn Technologies

Description: Versatile lens finishing system

Features: High-speed milling, plus a wide range of standard and custom bevel options, external drilling, affordable system package pricing, all covered by Coburn's three-year comprehensive warranty.


Definity 3 and Definity 3 Plus

Manufacturer: Essilor

Description: Essilor of America is launching a new version of its Definity progressive lens that offers more customization and improved viewing in four visual zones.

Features: Like the original Definity lens design, the new Definity 3 and Definity 3 Plus lenses incorporate Essilor's proprietary DualOptix digital surfacing technology, which splits the addition between the front and back of the lens. The new lenses also utilize a dynamic split, allowing for the add power to no longer be fixed. This creates more opportunities for customization as the split is optimized to the patient's prescription and choice of frame, Essilor said. Definity 3 Plus will also utilize three additional measurements – panto, wrap and vertex – to further optimize the lens to the patient's facial anatomy.

The design of Definity 3 has led to 35 percent less unwanted astigmatism than competitor lenses, according to Essilor. Additionally, Definity 3 offers a 10 percent softer design in the distance zone; 12 percent wider field of vision in the intermediate zone; 20 percent wider field of vision in the near zone; 77 percent of wearers tested reported less swim; 72 percent of wearers tested prefer Definity 3 for comfort in the intermediate zone; equal experience in the fourth visual zone, which Essilor calls Ground View Advantage.


XTrimer SE-1

Manufacturer: Santinelli International

Description: Five-axis milling edger

Features: The Xtrimer SE-1 was designed in Japan by Nidek lens edger engineers with the goal of providing the latest and most advanced dry edging technology and cutting edge software in a user-friendly, reliable, and space-saving design. The edger's robust construction and compact size are well suited to both high volume retail labs and industrial wholesale labs, Santinelli said. The unit is also optimized for processing durable lens materials such as polycarbonate and Trivex. Its new platform will feature the company's signature quality high curve beveling, grooving, drilling, polishing, safety beveling, customized shelf beveling, inclined beveling and partial step beveling.

The Xtrimer SE-1 will be available as a stand-alone edger and is also designed to operate in a large volume capacity in conjunction with the RHU-2200 Robotic Handing System. It will be in final production design in early 2013, according to Santinelli.; (800) 644-3343



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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