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Dollars & Sense

Three Things to Do Today to Help You Compete Tomorrow

.in twenty-five words or less describe why someone should do business with you? When I buy your company and its services, what am I really buying? Don’t give up until you can get your message down to 25 words or less. You should be able to articulate your value proposition to anyone who asks in those few words.  

2nd...get out of the lab and get into your customers office. It may be easier said than done, go do it anyway.  If you want a relationship with your customers to transcend time of great change, you have to be present with them, literally.  It is way to easy to break a relationship with someone you have seldom if ever met.   It’s not business as usual anymore, it’s personal.

3rd...look what your customers have become over the last few years.  Have you been a part of that?  Have you been the impetus of change?  Everyone is either a strategic supplier to someone, or we have strategic supplier relationships with our own venders. We need our suppliers to challenge us to think globally so that we provide products, services, technology and education to a marketplace that requires it for survival.  Our customers are a reflection of ourselves.   What they need to have to survive, we will need to survive. Our companies and customers for that matter, will be only as good as the strategic suppliers or partners we choose. If they aren’t a good fit for where you need to go, change them.

Staying relevant and competitive is rooted in staying connected to your value proposition.  As we kick off this new year, your proposition will be challenged as our customers own value proposition will be challenged by their customers. In the end, be flexible, know what you do well, and deepen your relationships as we all enter this period of great change together.

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


Tracing Points Good Things Happen Weekly

Lab Notes

Optical Prescription Lab Wins Transitions Lab of the Year 2013

A five-time finalist for the Transitions Lab of the Year award and a previous winner, Optical Prescription Lab, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., took home the top honors as the U.S. Transitions Lab of the Year. Perego, one of the most historic lab in Brazil, took home the Transitions Lab of the Year award for Brazil and Servioptica of Columbia, took home the Latina American Transitions Lab of the Year award. All three labs were on hand to receive their award at the 18th Annual Transitions Academy held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

Coburn Lab Works Group

Last year, Coburn created its Lab Works Group, focused initially on the development and sale of consumable products to support the U.S. laboratory segment. Building on the success of the new organization, Coburn has now expanded the group to include complete laboratory equipment configurations and coatings. The Lab Works team of employees 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. The Lab Works team will be headed up by industry veteran Charlie Seidel, who has been part for the optical industry for over 46 years, most recently providing sales support with Coburn to wholesale labs.

Automated Secure Offsite Backup Service

Optivision’s automated secure offsite backup service is one way to solve a lab’s data protection dilemma. Lab data backup and recovery services can be configured by Optivision to be automatic, effortless and worry-free. No longer will lab staff be required to think about and change out the backup media. Nor will anyone need to manually verify that completed backups are successful and not corrupted. Should the need arise, lab data can be restored from Optivision’s backup servers at any time.

Optivision’s reliable, automated online backup system bypasses the tedious, yet critically necessary, backup process. An email confirmation is sent each day letting the lab know when the successful backup process is completed. This service offers fast and easy back-up to secure, redundant offsite locations managed by Optivision.   For more information contact Optivision at 800.795.9927


Optical Lab Division News and Updates

Nominations for Optical Pioneers Hall of Fame... Nominations for 2014 Optical Pioneers Hall of Fame Inductees are now being accepted. Further information and forms are available at Website.

COLA Meeting... Save the date for the next California Optical Laboratories Association meeting, which will be held April 24-25 at the Temecula Creek Inn in Temecula, Calif.

Progressive Indentifier... The 2014 edition of the Progressive Identifier Book is slated to be released in mid-March. All lens companies are urged to complete their record updates, and labs that produce private label lenses can be included, as well. Please contact Carmen Sevilla, memberships and programs director at The Vision Council, at [email protected] for more information.

Essilor Labs of the Year

Essilor of America announced the winners of its Independent Distribution Division (IDD) Annual Laboratory Awards during their annual sales meeting in January. The awards recognize independent distributors who have achieved top sales performance in a combination of both sales and unit growth in specific Essilor product categories.

Essilor IDD Lab of the Year:   IcareLabs

Essilor IDD Managed Care Lab of the Year:  Spectera Vision Laboratory

Crizal Award of Excellence:   Expert Optics

Varilux Award of Excellence: 3M

Essilor Transitions Award of Excellence:   Knoxville Optical Supply, Inc.

Essilor Polarized Award of Excellence:   OnSight Optical

X-Cel Outstanding Achievement Award:  Pinnacle Optical

Free Software for Free Form

PFO Global is offering free software for free form lenses with no minimum purchase, as long as the lab commits to purchase 100 percent of their Poly, 1.67 and 1.74 (SF and F) from PFO Optima.   PFO Optima is an innovative manufacturer of advanced free form lens designs for private label.   Available designs are Acuity, Identity and Updrade.

  • Acuity is a standard free form progressive lens offered in Smart, Home and Play.
  • Identity is a custom, state-of-the-art free form progressive offered in Smart, Home, Play and Pro, with individualized fitting parameters.
  • Upgrade is a custom free form single vision design that is optimized to provide clear vision over the entirety of the lens.

If PFO can install the design software remotely, there is no installation fee. The individual lab is responsible for any USA Zeiss/Seiko reporting and payments. For more information contact PFO Global at 866-996-7849 or visit their Website at


Tracing Points Good Things Happen Weekly

Focus On...

Randy Carter and Northstar Lab

What Randy Carter and Northstar Medical Management’s optical lab might lack in size, they make up with a positive outlook and recent investment in technology. A trip to the Satisloh Slugfest in 2013 and subsequent purchase of Satisloh’s Micro Line was the culmination of a two-year consideration of digital free-form surfacing for this small volume producer in Missoula, MT. Carter has managed Northstar Lab for 11 years and previously worked at Walman Optical lab for 16 years.  Like managers of optical labs both large and small, he called his duties “unending.”

“There are only three of us at our lab so we all have to know how to do everything from computer entry, blocking, edging, surfacing, coating, customer service, and so on,” Carter said.

Northstar took the plunge into digital free-form in October 2013, and Carter described it as “quite a learning experience.”

“We feel it was an excellent decision that is already paying off, not only in the quality of work we are producing, but with the reaction our dispensers are getting from customers when they first put on a pair of digital, backside progressive lenses.  They feel like they are looking at HD television,” Carter said.

The technology is keeping Northstar ahead of the other labs by providing customers the most up-to-date lenses in the shortest amount of time.  The switch to digital surfacing has enabled the lab to produce lenses faster with the same small staff, but Carter is quick to note that the high level of experience represented by staff members may also have a lot to do with it: “Together, we have over 94 years of experience making eyeglasses.”

The most experienced staff person has been in optical for 40 years, but   has embraced free form technology along with his co-workers. What’s next for Northstar? Local advertising to inform patients that the lab has entered the digital age. The lab may add its own A/R coating process, Carter said, “but we are holding off after such a large investment in our new Micro Line.”


Tracing Points Good Things Happen Weekly

LabTalk Spotlight

Taking a Closer Look at Market Trends for Labs

If you haven’t already done so, check out the overall 2014 economic forecast in the January issue of LabTalk. This is a general business climate outlook for the year. But there are also trends that hit a bit closer to home. These trends will impact your lab today, throughout 2014 and in the years to come. Check out these trends and the impact they have on your lab.

Value-Added Options Gaining Strength, “Add-On Sales” Gain Steam

After a slowdown in AR growth in 2009 and 2010, AR is starting to show signs of increasing across the board. According to Satisloh, they have seen an increase in labs purchasing AR equipment to keep up with the new demand.

“In 2012, we installed double our budget of 1200 chambers in the U.S. and the 2013 numbers have been well ahead of 2012,” explained Larry Clarke, president, Satisloh, North America, during their summer Slugfest event. “Micro AR is also booming. Satisloh has sold several hundred SP-200 sputter coaters in the past 18 months.”

Other value-added and second pair lens opportunities are also showing signs of growth especially prescription sun, polarized lenses and 100 percent digital lenses. The ability to process complex edging jobs has also created new revenue and profit streams for labs equipped to meet the demand.

What This Means for Labs

Optical labs that have invested in AR equipment should see their numbers in AR continue to increase, provided they continue the education process with their customer base. Same holds true for digital surfacing, polarized and specialty edging jobs. Let your customers know your capabilities and then tell them again.

To learn more trends and what they mean to optical labs, read the entire article at  You can now comment on article online.


Tracing Points Good Things Happen Weekly

Make What You Say, Pay!

Lighten Up a Dry Topic

What do a U.S. President and an animal researcher have in common?   At face value, very little. But both recently used the same technique to hook people into listening to their otherwise tough message, in the first example, and dry message in the second, a technique that you can use in your B2B business as well.    What did they do? They both used right brain appeal to engage listeners to lead in to their left brain information.

President Obama's State of the Union

With his ratings at an all-time low and many factions in the country critical of his performance and judgment, the President did not open his talk with a string of data points. Instead, he began with a series of verbal images of a cross-section of Americans to hook us emotionally (right brain appeal) into his key point: that it is the citizens of America “who make our union strong.” Only then, did he turn to facts (for his listeners’ left brain to digest).

Animal Researcher Nick Perony posted Nick Perony’s talk today online about complexity as it can be observed in animals, specifically bats and meerkats. BUT, that was not the title. The title is “Puppies! Now that I’ve Got Your Attention: Complexity Theory”   

How could you not smile at that! “Puppies!” with all their cute right brain images and associations, is a grabber. “Complexity” with all its promise of, well, complexity, not so much.   However, put them together and enough curiosity is aroused to make you want to listen to Nick’s talk.   [And it was interesting. The link is at the end of this article.]

Start “Right” in Your Presentations

Try this technique in your next presentation. Begin with one or a series of short captivating verbal images: successful customer stories or an evocative word or phrase that is sure to delight. Then use that right brain opening to lead into your main point, e.g., that it was your company that made these successes possible and that you can do the same for them.

That opening will definitely have them wanting to hear more…

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

New Products

Unique Spring Hinge Tool Kit

The Spring Hinge tool kit from Santinelli International assists with the removal, repair and replacement of spring hinge temples with ease.   The kit is a must-have aide as it simplifies the reassembly of “pesky” spring hinge temples. Previously this type of work was a challenge using hard-to-handle tools that were not designed for the job at hand. The Spring Hinge Tool Kit has everything needed to extend the spring hinge from its housing, simplifying the realignment and assembly. This patented, handy tool kit includes a hemostat-type clamping plier, easy-lock tweezers, a lever tool and a set of three pins, with six varying sized tips. For more information call Santinelli at 800-644-3343 or visit their Website at

Two New PALs from HOYA Vision

HOYA Vision Care has launched two new highly customized progressive lens designs: iD LifeStyle 2 Harmony and iD LifeStyle 2 Clarity. iD LifeStyle Clarity is a progressive lens design with its primary focus is on maximizing distance vision, which tends to be most important to newer, more active, progressive lens wearers in the 35 to 50 age range. iD LifeStyle Harmony is designed to be the “go-to” progressive lens when you want to provide the most comfortable distribution of powers across the primary viewing areas.

iD LifeStyle 2 Harmony and Clarity are available in a wide range of materials including polycarbonate, plastic, Phoenix, hi-index 1.60 and 1.67 as well as with Transitions and Suntech. For more information contact visit the HOYA Vision Website at .

Versatile Advanta FSV

Vision-Ease Lens introduced Advanta, its new spherical FSV polycarbonate lens that is the ultimate in versatility. Advanta lenses feature flatter front curves, providing better aesthetics and fitting with today’s frames, and ample edge thickness on low minus and plus powers accommodate rimless and drill mount frames. For maximum scratch resistance and excellent AR compatibility, Advanta lenses are protected by VEL’s own Continua thermal-cured hard coating. The lenses have base curve compatibility with Vision-Ease Lens SFSV for out-of-range surfacing or stock outage. Advanta lenses use the latest polycarbonate resins for the best optical clarity, manufactured under ISO 9001 guidelines and inspected to meet industry leading quality standards. Immediate availability is 65mm and 75mm diameters for +4.00 to -8.00 spheres up to -2.00 cylinder. For more information, visit .

Digi-Sheen MAX

Coburn Technologies newest polishing compound Digi-Sheen MAX is an advanced lens polishing compound, which has been specially engineered for conventional and digital lens polishing, works on all non-glass lens materials and uses a higher particle formulation to achieve a better surface finish on all lenses requiring an anti-reflection application.

 “The formulation of DigiSheen MAX offers our customers a higher baumé option for a more mechanical polished result that more and more AR coating processes require,” Dan Clarke, product development manager for Coburn’s Lab Works division stated.

Digi-Sheen MAX is available worldwide, and online for U.S. customers at For more information contact the Coburn Lab Works division directly at 866-450-0412.

Santinelli’s New Industrial Edging Platform

Santinelli International has entered the 5-axis edging arena with their all-new Xtrimer SE-1 Industrial Edger featuring dry cut lens edging technology. The Xtrimer SE-1 provides state-of-the-art processing with its revolutionary “V” tool design,  which introduces an entirely new and more efficient method of dry-cutting and milling, addressing the growing complexities of today’s frame shapes and lens materials.  The 5-axis engineering design, combined with specialized high-speed motors, maximizes throughput efficiency. True “3-D Fit” technology is complemented by a new interlocking mechanical cutting method which vastly increases the first-time-fit ratio.  Incorporating five individual processing tools, the Xtrimer SE-1 expedites the roughing process on all organic lens materials, including Trivex and Polycarbonate.  For more information contact Santinelli International at 800.644.3343.


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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