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Dollars & Sense

The New Yellow Pages

Do you know anyone who uses the Yellow Pages anymore?  Mine was just delivered this week, and as per my ritual, I take the unused ones from the cupboard and replace them with the ones what will never be used. Is your ad in there? If it is, I missed it last year, and I will miss it this year too.

Over the years I have been (with thousands of others) studying the behavior change that is occurring with two sectors of the marketplace: business-to-business and business-to-consumer. If we look just at the B2B sector and how it sources its vendor partners we see some important changes. 

First, you MUST be online. The new Yellow Page ad is your homepage on the Web.  If you’re not there already, get there.  We are no longer selling to the technology adverse person behind the counter; we’re now selling to folks who have been programing your VCR for years.  Second, your online presence is an opportunity to convey your story and image that will leave an impression. Take advantage of it.  Don’t show me a picture of a building with your sign on it; I’m not going to drive to you.  Show me pictures of folks I am going to talk to; the ones who are doing my work and solve my problems. Build a connection between us by making yourself accessible and approachable. You have just seven seconds to make that happen, so take some time planning your first impression.

You must be where your customers are looking. Today, they are looking for you on the Web not in their cupboards.

Michael Karlsrud is the owner and CEO of 6 Calls, a tele-services company that serves the optical industry with its two divisions; Telecare and Business-to-Business. or


Lab Notes

Diversified Ophthalmics Names 2012 Transitions Lab of the Year

Transitions Optical, Inc. named Diversified Ophthalmics, Inc. as the 2012 Transitions Lab of the Year during a recognition ceremony at the 17th annual Transitions Academy event in Orlando. Diversified Ophthalmics – which also took home the coveted Transitions Lab of the Year title in 2005 – is a single source supplier for ophthalmic products and services. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, with accounts in all 50 states, Diversified is now the 11th largest independently owned laboratory in the United States. To learn more, visit

Essilor Acquires LensTech Optical

Essilor International has acquired LensTech Optical, a wholesale lab in Greenwood, Ind., with annual revenue of $6 million. LensTech, now an Essilor partner lab, will be provided with new technologies that will speed the distribution of Essilor brands such as Varilux and Crizal in the Indiana and other markets served by LensTech. The lab’s management team of Bill Harding, Greg Dallas and Greg Kyle, will remain in place.

Coburn Technologies Creates New Lab Works Group

Coburn Technologies has established a new branch within the company called Coburn Lab Works. This team of employees within Coburn headed up by new hire Daniel Clarke, is tasked specifically with the support of independent optical laboratories including the development of new products, product/process support, and insuring the highest level of value on a lab-by-lab basis. To contact the new Lab Works group for updates on new products or for a new volume pricing on consumables products, you can call the new direct number (860-648-4926) or call the Coburn main number (800-COBURN-1) and ask for the Lab Works division.

IOT Signs Free-Form License Agreement with Carl Zeiss Vision

Indizen Optical Technologies (IOT) has entered into a royalty-bearing license agreement with Carl Zeiss Vision. The agreement covers certain types of back-surface freeform progressive lenses and processes by which they are made. These include types of progressive lenses whose front surfaces are rotationally symmetric with the back-surface progressive design determined by the individual prescriptions alone or in combination with other customization options.

Maui Jim Creates Millionth Pair of Rx Sunglasses

The company started in the early 1980s by one man selling sunglasses on the beaches of Maui, Hawaii, broke a major milestone. Maui Jim, now the fastest growing manufacturer of premium polarized sunglasses in the world, made its one-millionth pair of polarized prescription sunglasses. In the manufacturing process, prescription sunglasses go through 22 separate manufacturing steps and are inspected six times throughout the process to ensure quality. Unique to Maui Jim is that the engineering process is customized to compensate for each frame. They are the only company that not only accounts for the unique aspects of a patient’s prescription, but also adjusts the digital manufacturing to the precise measurements of their frames. Less than one percent of jobs are returned for manufacturing errors. This is the lowest return rate in the industry.”

Focus On...

Focus On Aspen Optical

Aspen Optical faces today’s challenging business climate with a down-to-earth strategy that comes directly from its president, Dave Kathe. “Our mission is to be the easiest lab to do business with. It’s something we take very seriously. Our customers have a lot on their plates and we work hard every day to make sure we don't provide lip service but actually make a difference to their practices,” said Kathe, who’s been with the Mesa, AZ lab for 27 years.

To stay in touch with lab employees, products and customers, Kathe spends every Friday working in the lab’s finishing department. “I can take a pulse of what our customers are dispensing and see the beautiful work Aspen sends out every day. I really look forward to that part of my week,” Kathe noted.

An Essilor Partner Lab since 2006, Kathe believes this hands-on approach keeps Aspen Optical keenly focused on the customer. In 2012, Aspen opened a training center that offers optician courses for beginners all the way to advanced level. “Aspen's largest focus is education and training. Our mission is to help all our accounts provide the best visual solution for their patients because at the end of the day our goal is to make sure everyone sees better,” Kathe said.  

Aspen was the first lab in Arizona to realize the importance of No Glare and install an in-house process. “On the other hand, many have asked us why we have not yet added in-house digital. Our Partner Lab network enables us to be successful with digital and plays to our strength in the finish department,” Kathe explained.

New equipment is on the horizon, including a new edger, upgrading the finish room, and updating No Glare with new in-house UV options, RB Tech and Mirror coatings.

Kathe said he is proudest of the Aspen team: “Technology has changed our processes, but fortunately, continued growth has allowed us to retain our employees.  The combination of our tenured employees of more than 20 years with newer employees trained in advanced technology keeps our manufacturing standards to the highest levels.”

LabTalk Spotlight

Finding Balance with Redos, Remakes and Warranties

Most optical labs today believe that a certain percentage of their ECP customers are abusing their warranty/redo policies—and that may very well be true. In such cases, it’s easy to understand why frustrations abound because this practice has a direct (negative) impact on laboratories’ money, time and profits.

But let’s consider this: Even if as many as 10 percent of your ECP customers were, in fact, abusing your lab’s warranty process, are you willing to frustrate the other 90 percent of your customers by cancelling or scaling back your warranty policy? Would it make wise financial sense to venture down that path?

ECPS Speak Out on the Subject

To help you formulate your answer, we’re presenting the opinions of four ECPs, who participated in a panel discussion during the Lab Division meeting at Vision Expo West and have valuable thoughts on the matter. Our four ECPs are: Bob Hubsch, co-owner of Metropolitan Eyecare (with five offices in the Chicago suburbs and Northwest Indiana); Zach McLean, ABOC, optical manager at Eclectic Eyewear in Austin, Texas; Michele Self, ABOC, FNAO, optician supervisor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Optometry; and Kirk Underwood, ABO-NCLE, Underwood Optical in Cortez, Colo. To find out their viewpoints on several important questions plus see statistics from The Vision Council of America’s Lab Division research project on the subject, go to where you will find the entire article.


Make What You Say, Pay!

Two Presentation Tips from Presidential Inauguration Speech

In a world of 140 character tweets and sound-byte messaging (which have their place), there’s nothing like an inaugural speech to provide a refreshing look at older timeless techniques for effective communication. Though there were many rhetorical techniques used, below are just two. See how to adapt them into your presentations for maximum results.

The Rhythm of Triads 

Three is a magic number. Not only is a list of three items easy to remember, we like the music in a list of three. We say: One, two, three; a,b,c; Tom, Dick and Harry; bacon, lettuce and tomato; etc. President Obama frequently taps into that rhythm in his speeches.  His inaugural was no exception: “ We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names…” and “That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American.”

Using Triads is as Easy as, well, One, Two, Three

  • Can you net out a situation to three bullets?
  • Do you list the benefits of your solutions as three bullets or in crisp groups of three?
  • If you have multiple options, can you chunk them into three categories for easier understanding?
  • Can you rationalize the use of your services in three clear, crisp thoughts?


When you learn a language, you hear the word, you say it, you read it, you use it in a sentence, in a question, etc. The act of repeating it deepens its impact. Repetition for meaning, retention and drama was evident throughout the President’s speech.

How to you use Repetition in your Presentations?

  • Do you link your various informational points back to the key message of your presentation?
  • Do you use mini-summaries to repeat key points before moving to new ones?
  • Do you have a recurring visual in your PowerPoint that conceptually makes your point?
  • Do you have a recurring sentence pattern or phrase that stays with your listener?

Learn by Example

If you want to communicate effectively, it is a good idea to read the great speeches of the day when they occur and to read the best journalists of our day every day. Notice how they use language to persuade, to explain, or to influence you. Then, adapt these perfectly legitimate techniques to your own situations.

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

New Products

The Auto Range Series by A&R Optical Machinery

A&R Optical Machinery introduces the Auto Range series of fully automatic systems designed to improve throughput for a specific process in Rx ophthalmic lens labs.

The A&R Auto Range series designs are task specific. The systems have a small footprint that can be easily integrated into the lab workflow. This high-production, four-station system includes: The AutoMapper featuring the Dual LensMapper for comparing the data of the lens design file with the measured values taken from a digitally surfaced lens, such as free-form lenses; the AutoInker using the newly developed Digital Lens Inker for printing lenses; and the AutoBlocker aligning the lens and applying the finish block automatically. For more information call: 262-641-8780, or visit us online at

New Sapphire All-Material Fining Pad

Coburn Technologies introduces a new one-step, all-material fining pad called “Sapphire.” This new 7-petal pad uses premium self-sharpening aluminum oxide abrasive grains that are precision coated to provide superior life, fast cut rate and consistent finish. Designed to fine all common lens materials that have been lathe generated (except glass) this new pad is available in all standard sizes. For more information visit their Web site at or call 1-800-COBURN.


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

Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor
[email protected]

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