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Signet Armorlite, Inc.


Dollars & Sense
Signet Armorlite, Inc.

The Sales Funnel Has Died

Selling in todays’ market has changed. Not the sales techniques or skills our sales team needs to have to be competitive in the market. Rather, the greatest change comes from how our customers are buying. Customers today are more empowered than ever before and they are using their power to change the way we do business.

Traditionally, sales was defined and talked about using a common image of a funnel. “The Sales Funnel.” I was taught the concept almost 30 years ago, and I have taught it to others for the last 20. The funnel was thought of as almost magical - the more you put in the top the more came out the bottom. It was simple to understand, manage and set expectations for sales teams to accomplish. It was really cool because like a funnel in your garage, it kept things clean, neat and predictable. I loved teaching about the funnel!

The foundation of the funnel methodology was based in that there was an exclusive relationship between the sales professional and the customer. Today, that exclusivity is gone. It has been replaced by something much less neat, predictable or controllable- the relationship. No, not the relationship between your sales team and your customer, but the relationship your customer has with each other. Welcome to the world of social media and social selling. Prospects and customers are not following the rules of flowing through your funnel with the aide of gravitational pull. Instead, they are jumping in where ever they want and starting a conversation with whomever will answer. Will you answer? Or will someone else?

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


Signet Armorlite, Inc.

Lab Notes

COLA Becomes a Subcommittee of The Vision Council

The California Optical Laboratory Association officially became a subcommittee of The Vision Council with the signing of documents at the annual COLA meeting held in Temecula, Calif. Mike Daley, liaison to the Lab Division of The Vision Council and Raanan Naftalovich, president of The Vision Council, signed papers with COLA president Lori Treadwell and Lab Division chair, Susie Lesher before the start of the educational presentations.

“This is a historic moment. You are all here at the beginning of the change,” Daley told a packed room of optical labs and vendor reps. “Today we signed an agreement that will insure the future of COLA. I believe this will be good for COLA and good for the industry.”

COLA was founded in 1957 as a networking and educational event. Over the years, membership has fallen off due to consolidation among optical labs. The future of COLA as an organization was at risk with attendance at the annual meeting shrinking each year.

“It’s great news for all of us to have COLA as part of the organization,” said Naftalovich. “With the addition of the former OLA to The Vision Council, the Lab Division now sits at the same table with the other optical divisions. These divisions drive the strategies and direction of The Vision Council. Now COLA is a part of this process.”

Naftalovich continued his presentation to the group outlining the benefits of being a member of The Vision Council and urging attendees to get involved. With record attendance this year, COLA is back on track, maintaining their mix of fun, networking and education.

John Haigh Named Good Fellow

J&J Optical’s John Haigh was named the 2013 Good Fellow recipient at the annual COLA meeting held in Temecula, California in April. “This man is a doer. He’s a giver,” said Mike Francesconi, Katz & Klein Optical. Haigh is an active member and past president of COLA. The award and traditional golf putter were presented at the COLA Vendor Appreciation Dinner. The following day, education sessions included a California Optical Market Update by Ashley Danchuck, manager of association research, The Vision Council; a Regulartory/Standard Update with a special focus on California Prop 65 by Jeff Endres, The Vision Council; a panel discussion moderated by Susie Lesher, chair, Optical Lab Division, featuring retail, corporate, and managed vision care optical lab perspectives; and other presentations.

Signet Armorlite Moves to New Facility

Signet Armorlite president Brad Staley welcomed dignitaries, guests and employees to the new, smaller, more efficient facility, which includes the corporate offices, sales, marketing and Signetek Optical Lab.

“It’s a beautiful spring morning here in Carlsbad. Spring represents a new beginning and with the opening of this facility, we are entering a powerful new phrase of development,” said Staley.

Carlsbad mayor Matt Hall welcomed Signet Armorlite to his city and thanked them for bringing new jobs to the area. Essilor of America executives John Carrier, president and CEO, Carl Bracy, senior vice president of marketing and business development, and Kevin Rupp, CFO, were on hand for the ribbon cutting and a tour of the new office and lab. Ed DeRosa, Signet Armorlite vice president of global operations presented awards to Signet Armorlite employees who were instrumental in moving from the San Marcos location to the Carlsbad facility.

After the ribbon cutting, attendees were given a sneak peak at a new iPad app for dispensing Kodak lenses. The Kodak Lens IDS (intelligent dispensing software) works with the Apple iPad to help dispensers in three areas: frame selection, lens selection and dispenser measurements. The new software application will help with the dispensing of the new Kodak Unique HD lens to be launched in June.

Groundbreaking New Technology At Digicon

Schneider Optical Machines held their second digital conference “DigiCon U.S.” at the company’s Dallas headquarters with over 140 lab owners, managers and technicians from over 90 different labs throughout the U.S. and South America. Founder and president Gunter Schneider welcomed the group and invited them to “dive into the new world of Modulo.”

Modulo is an unique interface of self-organizing surfacing machines connected by an oval conveyer system. Through the Modulo LMS, machines are constantly monitored and fed new jobs as soon as it has capacity, insuring a machine is never sitting idle. Another highlight at DigiCon was the introduction of Schneider’s first coating solution. The anti-reflective coating machine, EBC 400, is the first in a series of new coating equipment.

In addition to viewing new equipment, participants attended workshops and classes in areas such as troubleshooting, equipment maintenance and creating higher efficiencies. The event wrapped up with a golf scramble and a Segway tour of historic Dallas.

Midland Optical Lab Names Kim Clynes VP of Sales and Marketing

Kim Clynes was named vice president of sales and marketing at Midland Optical, a wholesale optical lab and Essilor partner lab. Prior to joining Midland, Clynes worked in sales management positions with large nationwide companies including Pohlman USA, Bernard Hodes Group, Jobs2Web, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Ernst & Young. Clynes will oversee these representatives and all other aspects of the sales and marketing functions.


“We are delighted to have such a strong player join our team,” said Matt Iovaldi, president of Midland Optical. “Kim is a proven leader, having trained and mentored many top sales performers. She is goal oriented and has all the qualities that will make her successful with Midland Optical. We look forward to the new successes she will bring to Midland in the near future.”

Len Technology International Makes Improvements

Since 1985, Lens Technology International (LTI) has been providing the optical industry with hard and tintable coatings for plastics. The company recently made significant improvements in the way they deliver plastic coatings. In addition to the quality lens coatings they provide, they are taking steps to enhance their expertly trained technical staff by making sure they are able to obtain the latest training in every aspect of the fast changing world of coating technology. In addition the company has added mechanical personnel for design and support of coating application equipment. The company has also added new state-of-the-art processing equipment to expand their capacity and to deliver the best and highest-quality coating products. To learn more about industrial coatings visit the LTI website at or call 714.690.6470 to speak with a company representative.

US Optical Implements Definity and Crizal In-House

Essilor of America, Inc. completed the technology transfer of the DEFINITY and Crizal processes in East Syracuse, NY at US Optical Laboratory in March, 2013. With access to Essilor’s DEFINITY and Crizal EXT technologies, US Optical will be able to fully manufacture DEFINITY lenses including both DEFINITY and DEFINITY Short Lenses, and the Crizal family of products: Crizal Avancé UV, Crizal Alizé UV, and Crizal Easy UV.

“We are extremely pleased to receive Essilor's state-of-the-art DEFINITY and Crizal technologies for in-house production at US Optical. This will allow us to integrate these excellent and leading technologies into our business model, thus providing ECP's with fast service on Essilor's DEFINITY and Crizal products. My brothers and I are elated to continue our 25-year-long term relationship as a distributor of Essilor's products," Ralph Cotran, vice president of US Optical.

US Optical’s new Crizal and DEFINITY facility will operate Essilor’s proprietary and patented processes control to ensure quality compliance, and to guarantee consistency at the highest possible level.


Signet Armorlite, Inc.

Focus On...

Dawn Friedkin and Classic Optical

By Judith Lee

They say true leaders are born, not made, but Dawn Friedkin might have been both born and made for her job as chief operating officer at Classic Optical. Friedkin literally grew up in the business, starting there as the 11-year-old daughter of the owner, who “trayed up” frames during her summer vacations and worked part-time at Classic Optical through high school.

Fast forward through college, law school, and 10-plus years in business and government—including working in the Clinton White House—Friedkin then returned to her roots in the “Classic family” where her role is not entirely dissimilar to that 11-year-old girl’s.

“I do anything that needs to be done—no job is too big or too small for me to help with. I also understand that I am only as good as those around me. I recognize how important it is to surround myself with an exceptional team of managers who complement me, and then I empower them to lead their teams,” Friedkin said.

Classic Optical has been investing in continuous improvements. In just the past two years, Classic has:
• Continued to automate the lab by adding 2,000 additional feet of Flexlink conveyors, elevators, gravity spirals, stackers and de-stackers.
• Added two more MEI edgers with TBA technology (one of the first U.S. labs to employ the technology of edging without finish blocks). An original MEI has been upgraded with TBA and another MEI is on its way.
• Added two more Schneider SMART generators (both free-form enabled); Optotek auto blockers and tapers; and 12 Satisloh finer/polishers.
• Moved its corporate office into a 5,600 sq. ft. addition, allowing that much more room for growth within the manufacturing area.

It’s no surprise that in 2012 the company experienced soaring growth – manufacturing in excess of 600,000 pairs of custom Rx eyeglasses, a nearly 50 percent increase over 2011. In March, Classic introduced a second shift and hired more than 50 new full-time employees.

Friedkin believes her biggest contribution to the company has been her emphasis on team collaboration. “I always strive to listen intently to the management team, our associates, vendors and customers and then act to improve production and give Eye Care Providers and client groups what they want,” Friedkin noted. “This also led to Classic’s business diversification over the years, evolving from a regional lab to the largest independent contract laboratory in the country.”


Signet Armorlite, Inc.

LabTalk Spotlight

Why Customers Bail and What You Can Do About It

By Judith Lee
Most optical labs have been on both sides of this story: A customer “jumps ship,” leaving you for another lab. A customer of that lab (or another competing lab) decides to bail and leaps into the lifeboat that your lab represents.
Why do customers leave their optical lab? An informal survey of ECPs reveals a familiar laundry list:

• Price
• Turnaround time
• Customer service/poor communication
• Can’t handle specialty jobs
• The “job from hell”
• Vision plans

“The determiners that you gleaned from the ECPs have been the same since the beginning of time. And they are all correct. Customers are demanding and should be…to a point,” said Richard Wilhelm of Luxe Laboratories, Anaheim, Calif.
Wilhelm and other leaders of successful optical labs have given a good deal of thought to the reasons why customers bail, and they’ve taken specific steps to plug the leaks that could turn any lab into a sinking ship.

Delve into the above laundry list and find out how labs are “plugging the leaks” with concrete solutions by reading the entire article found at under featured articles.


Signet Armorlite, Inc.

Make What You Say, Pay!

Negotiate Like Picasso

Has something similar to this ever happened to you? An executive recruitment friend of mine produced the perfect senior level candidate for her client in only two days, who then thanked her by insisting she lower her fee for the job! His reasoning? Since these high level specialized recruitment assignments typically take weeks, if not months to fill, obviously, this task was not difficult for her and therefore she should lower her fee! What would you do?

I Recommend the Picasso Strategy.
The story goes that Picasso was at a social gathering when a woman approached him, gushing with praise for his work. Then, she coyly asked if he would draw her portrait on a napkin, which, of course, she would happily pay for. Picasso obliged, finished the portrait in under thirty seconds, and charged her 500 francs.

“Five hundred francs!” responded the stunned admirer. “But it took you less than thirty seconds!”

“Yes, Madame,” replied Picasso calmly, “And it took me thirty years to be able to do that portrait in just thirty seconds.”

Never Forget Your Value
Whether you manage money, sell advertising, or provide consulting and professional services, there will always be clients who confuse deliverables (what they see) with value received (results). Sometimes, in the case of Picasso’s admirer, that confusion reflects a buyer’s naivete and ignorance. Other times, in the case of my friend's client, that confusion is feigned by a buyer to test your limits.

In the former case, educate the client to the true value received to clear up the confusion and solve the problem. In the latter situation, remain calm, restate your value, and hold your ground to signal you stand behind your value and that further pressure tactics will not work. You can even tell the Picasso story to reinforce your point.

Words Matter: Make What You Say Pay! ©2012 Anne Miller, author, “metaphorically Selling”

New Products

New Free-Form Polisher from Augen

The new free-form polisher from Augen features dual independent polishing arms, follows high curves over 6D cyl and 20D sphere, with an easy-to-read monitor for tracing both independent arms simultaneously. The Augen EasyForm FF-2LP is a fast, tough polisher that follows toric, aspheric and progressive design curves to preserve the surface and prescription integrity. Can process up to 30 jobs per hour and polish lenses up to 85mm. Parts and guidelines are included for making your own polishing tools, which provides savings and down time in ordering and waiting for replacement parts. For more information contact Augen at 1-866-284-3611.

Polarized and UV Protection

Xperio UV offers the complete outdoor sun lens solution by eliminating blinding reflective glare with a polarized lens while providing the maximum UV protection on both the front AND backside of the lens. The lenses offer an Eye-Sun Protection Factor of 50+, which provides at least 50 times more protection from UV compared to wearing no lenses at all. For more information visit the Xperio Web site at

Blue Blocking AR from PFO Global

With the ever increasing use of LED displays, concerns about the impact of blue light on the eyes have elevated. Long hours of exposure to blue light may cause eyestrain, dry eye, headaches, vision discomfort and sleeplessness.

iBlu coat is PFO Global's new AR coating specially developed to protect your eyes from harmful UV and blue light, improving contrast and reducing eye fatigue. iBlu coat lenses filter blue light to a high degree of efficiency from both the front and back reflected light.

iBlu coat is available on patented stress free Resolution polycarbonate lenses in a aspheric/atoric finished single vision design for the thinnest, lightest blue light blocking lens on the market. PFO Global will follow shortly with the introduction of iBlu coat on the free form Identity progressive and Upgrade single vision lenses in 1.6, 1.67 and 1.74 materials. For more information contact Kristina Roberts at [email protected]

Blocks Harmful Blue Light and Damaging UV Rays

Launching later this year, Crizal Prevencia No-Glare lenses are a clear lens solution that offers selective protection from harmful blue light and UV rays, helping to prevent the early occurrence of certain eye impairments and disease.

“Our revolutionary Crizal Prevencia lenses help protect the eye from these very specific damaging wavelengths while allowing beneficial blue light to pass through, thus helping to preserve vision and overall well-being while providing the best enduring clarity of vision,” said Howard Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O, and senior vice president of customer development, Essilor of America.

Crizal Prevencia also offers all the features you’d expect from a Crizal coating such as protection from glare, scratches, smudges, dust and water. For more information contact Essilor at 1-800-ESSILOR.

crystalCLEAR Glass Polish from Vision Dynamics

CrystalCLEAR glass polish, a new high grade polish ideal for polishing glass lenses, is now available in one and five gallon buckets from Vision Dynamics Laboratory.
“As the processing of glass lenses shrinks, the cost of buying polish in traditionally available quantities has become quite expensive,” said Eric Lindquist, national sales manager. “At Vision Dynamics, our polish is available in smaller more economical weights to right size your inventory,” added Lindquist.
Specifics of the product include:
• Premium white rare earth cerium oxide powder ideal for polishing glass lenses
• Color: White
• Median Particle Size: 2.2u
• Neutral PH
• % Cerium Oxide: 95%+
• Recommended Baume: 8° - 10°
For more information contact Vision Dynamics at 800-797-2743 or visit their Web site at

Recharge! Reduce Gadget Induced Eye Fatique

HOYA has developed and launched Recharge, an anti-reflective lens treatment that reflects the harmful Blue Light away from the eyes. Within the visible light spectrum there is “good blue light” and “bad blue blight.” The good blue light helps our body’s biorhythms and sleep patterns. While overexposure to the HEV, or “bad blue light,” attacks us with a wide range of annoying and chronic conditions associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and Digital Eye Strain (DES). HOYA’s new Recharge anti-reflective treatment reflects the portion of blue light emitted from back-lit hand held devices that is “bad” and ensures the portion of blue light we need for optimal contrast and other health benefits is allowed to pass through.

“Our eyes were designed for us to use as hunters and gatherers. Now we hunt and gather on Google” stated Barney Dougher, president of HOYA Vision Care, North America. “We are not fully equipped to handle all of the demands placed on our eyes by today’s technological devices.” For more information visit the HOYA Web site at


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Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor
[email protected]

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