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Dollars & Sense
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Hard Isn’t Easy

Early on in my career I remember an old sales executive who was about ready to retire get on stage to say his final remarks.  He started his speech with these few words- “Hard isn’t easy.” We sat there mostly silent, and you could hear a nervous chuckle spreading across the room.  We all thought, “What does THAT mean?” 

He went on to say that in business, no matter the area or department, making the hard decisions and doing the hard stuff of business, is never easy.  Change falls into that category. Change looks easy, but in reality it is very hard work.

Often I am asked to come into an office or business and “fix” it.  Usually what is broken is not the easy part of business (books, inventory, operations, etc.) but the hard, soft stuff, or culture.  No one likes to do it.  No one wants to do it. Few sign up for what it really means. Those who do, create an organization that is better equipped for whatever comes their way in the future because change is no longer something to be feared. 

You can tell you have a cultural problem by taking a quick assessment:

  1. Is there a gap between what you say you deliver VS what you really deliver?
  2. What is your average turnover rate of employees?
  3. Do you have a soured or caustic work environment?
  4. Is your organization a positive, forward moving one or flat and reactionary?

Today’s business environment guarantees one thing; if you’re not changing you’re dying. Teaching your organization how to approach and adapt change will be critical to remain nimble, relevant and profitable in the future.

Before you take on the endeavor of cultural change, keep in mind a few key things to ponder.  First, not everyone will make the change.  Some of your current team will not like change and leave.  Second, change is not only for employees; you will have to change as well.  Third, don’t start unless you have a clear vision what the end game looks like.  And finally, plan on 18 months of hard, diligent work to swing the culture into the new vision and have it stick.  Yes, hard isn’t easy. 

Good Selling!

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


DAC Vision

Lab Notes

Cherry Optical Makes Big Investment

Cherry Optical, Inc celebrated their latest investment in Schneider Optical equipment in grand style at Vision Expo West by delivering a “big check” to Schneider in the exhibit hall.  Cherry Optical’s newest investment includes a new generator, polisher, laser engraver and blocker.  “We originally invested into Schneider equipment eight years ago.  Our experience with their equipment and technology along with continued growth of our business made for a natural decision to expand,” said Adam Cherry, president of Cherry Optical, Inc.  “With the additional Schneider digital processing line we will be able to improve our already outstanding service levels and position ourselves for long-term growth with increased capacity.”  The new equipment is part of a 4,500 square foot addition to Cherry Optical’s current laboratory operations that includes expanded space for shipping, stock room and future equipment needs.  Cherry Optical is one of the only laboratories in the country to produce all of the major free-form product lines including all Varilux, Essilor, Shamir, Signet Armorlite, Seiko, IOT and Carl Zeiss Vision designs.

15th Annual Hall of Fame Honorees

The 15th Annual Hall of Fame Honorees were inducted into the Optical Hall of Fame on Wednesday, September 17th, at The Mirage, in Las Vegas.  The 2014 honorees (L to R) included: Larry Clarke, Satisloh North America, John Fried, A&R Optical Machinery,  Virginia “Susie” Lesher, Brondstater of America, Michael Brown, Practical Systems, Inc., Jerry Mansuy, Vision Craft, Inc, Matt Iovaldi, Midland Optical Lab, and Jim Roussel, JL Roussel & Co.  Not pictured: Mike Dougher, Hoya Vision Care and Frank Giammanco, First Vision Media Group, Inc.

The Vision Council’s CEO Ed Greene was awarded the Directors’ Choice Award at the same event.

Optical Laboratory Website of the Year

With 44 eye care professional nominations, iCoat’s Website makes it to the top as Website of the Year for 2014. LabTalk editor, Christie Walker, announced the Top Ten Websites, and presented iCoat with the winning trophy at Thursday’s annual lab party, Labapalooza.

 “After years of being a Top Ten website, the iCoat site took top honors, with dozens of ECP comments on the usefulness of the site, pushing the site to the top,” said Walker.

iCoat wows its Website visitors with its clean, modern look, and its easy-to-find information. Here’s what iCoat customer Pamela Ramsdell had to say about the Web site: “It is attractive, light/bright, has eye appeal, user friendly and has moving parts that look really good without being annoying. It has a LOT of useful information. We can order starting right at the home page.”

2014 Optical Laboratory Website of the Year​

iCoat Company 
2. Laramy-K Optical
3. Optical Prescription Lab
4. FEA Industries
5. Superior Optical
6. Interstate Optical
7. Walman Optical
8. Midland Optical
9. Prescription Optical Group
10. Classic Optical

The Vision Council Names New CEO

The Vision Council named R. Michael (Mike) Daley as the new Chief Executive Officer of The Vision Council, effective October 1, 2014, following the previously announced retirement of Ed Greene, who has led the organization for the past eight years.

Longtime optical industry veteran, Mike Daley began his optical career as an instructor with Ferris State University in 1975. After 34 years with Essilor, he retired in 2008 as the president and COO of the organization’s Lens Division. In his current position, Daley serves as The Vision Council’s Optical Laboratory Division Liaison, formerly the Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) - the organization's largest division.

“I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to work with The Vision Council in this capacity, and hope to continue the great work that has been done at the organization under Ed’s leadership,” Mike Daley stated. “I think that the industry is heading in a very exciting direction, and I’m looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the organization’s overall programs and services.”

Exclusive Information for Members

Did you know that members of The Vision Council have direct access to exclusive industry information and insight? The Vision Council is constantly tracking the latest in government and regulatory affairs, market research, sales strategies, and many more topics of importance to the optical industry.

To ensure that you and your colleagues are receiving the information that you need, make sure you’re signed up by logging in to your profile and setting your topic preferences.

As an added bonus, updating your preferences by August 15 will enter your name into a drawing to win one of twenty $50 American Express gift cards! What's more, every time you add the contact information for a colleague at your organization who would benefit from information provided by The Vision Council, you'll receive one extra entry into the drawing*.


DAC Vision

Focus On...

October Insights

By Judith Lee

Insights asks your customers what they want from their optical labs. Each month, we ask questions you might like to ask, and bring you the answers from ECP’s, optical dispensers, retailers and practice managers. While the individuals aren’t talking specifically about you and your lab, you might ask yourself, “Does my lab do this or does my lab offer that?” Read up to gather Insights into the way your customers think and then make changes and adjustments to make sure your lab is the best it can be. The two optometrists answering our questions this month are:

Kerry Beebe, OD, Brainerd Eyecare Center, Brainerd, MN
One practice location, uses two different labs

Jeff Eger, OD, All American Sports Vision, Mesa, AZ 
One practice location, uses two different labs 

Q. What one thing could your lab do for you to make your life easier? 

Dr. Beebe: Provide more in-office patient education information. 

Dr. Eger: Operator answer right away (no music), say thank you for your order, fast service 

Q. What does your lab do best? 

Dr. Beebe: Quality, on-time lens manufacture and delivery. 

Dr. Eger: Make my glasses exact to my Rx order.

Q. What one thing does your lab do or has done, that makes you think, “I’ll never change labs.” 

Dr. Beebe: Quality, on-time lens manufacture and delivery. 

Dr. Eger: The redo rate and service is perfect 

Q. What would have to happen to make you want to switch labs? 

Dr. Beebe: Not giving me the best pricing available to any of their accounts.

Dr. Eger: Insurance companies making me use their lab, which I feel is unfair

Q. What is the biggest pet peeve when it comes to ordering from a lab? 

Dr. Beebe: Not giving me the best pricing available to any of their accounts.

Dr. Eger: Can't get an operator, timely, service to my office, timely and exact RX I order.


DAC Vision

LabTalk Spotlight


By Judith Lee

Think of your lab as a baseball team that made it to the playoffs. Your expensive equipment is the star pitcher, crucial to success, but unable to win without the team and the coaches. The other players are consumable products that make it all run smoothly, and the coaching comes from your manufacturer tech reps.

“Selecting the best combination of consumables for your equipment/process is critical. In every manufacturing environment the goal is to maximize throughput whie minimizing rework. This makes the lab more profitable and helps the business to grow,” said Dan Clarke, value stream manager for Coburn Technologies Lab Works Group.

Choosing consumables is a lot like building a winning team. Rather than just minimizing cost, it’s best to evaluate how a prospect will contribute and how well all the players will perform together. Some consumables are developed to work with specific equipment brands, so check with your manufacturer. 

Consumables “play” so integrally with equipment; it’s hard to separate the performance of one from the other. For example, say the lab is using an older polish that is fairly caustic to aging cylinder machines. You begin to notice an increase in your scrap rate coming off of that line. You find that you have an air leak causing your pressure to be off at the point of contact due to a corroded ring and membrane.

So how can a busy lab manager stay up-to-date on products, and sort out when it’s time to try something new? Call in the coaches.

Find out what the “coaches” have to say and check out the roundup of new or newly-enhanced consumables that will enable your lab team to play at its peak, and “hit it out of the park” at


DAC Vision

Make What You Say, Pay!

5 Steps to Engaging Demos

When is your demo failing? When is it putting people to sleep? When is it becoming as exciting as watching grass grow or paint dry?  When you find yourself saying, “Click here to.., Then, click here to…, Then, click here to…”etc.  Don’t let this happen to you! Here is a proven strategy to keep clients engaged, interested and eager to work with you.

1. Give people a high level value/benefit of the screen BEFORE you explain the details of it, e.g., “This is the dashboard. It gives you everything you need to know about … in one place, which saves you time and increases efficiency.

2. Then, “clear the visual.” What are people looking at? “The blue area is… The gray bar across the top is…, The numbers to the right are… and the bottom graphic  tells you…”

3.  Then, give your example(s) of how they could use the screen

4.  Involve as much as possible

• Ask a question before Step 1 or step 3, e.g., “How do you do X now?” or “How long does it take you to…?”   “Bill, Jason, how do you know if…?”

• Use their answer to link to the selling points of the screen.

5. After you complete the explanation on the screen, get their thoughts, reactions, feedback on what they just saw.

It’s Not About You

When you say something, you own it. When your client says something, he owns it.  The more you can involve your client in your demo, the more he can (literally) see himself using your service, and the more likely it is he will want to buy from you.

To put a twist on an old saying, “You can never be too thin or too rich,” I would add, “You can never be too involving in a demo” as well. Side bonus: you will have much more fun presenting as well!

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

New Products

Santinelli Expands Optical Catalog

Santinelli International is introducing over 20 new products in their new catalog supplement for tools and supplies. Highlights include an “anvil style” bench block, a spring hinge tool kit, a screw-extractor set, plus replacement temples, bridges and nose pads for today’s popular frame styles. The new catalog supplement is available upon request and is also accessible in an e-mag version via the company’s Website at To request the full catalog or the new catalog supplement, email [email protected]

New Digital Lens Targets Growing Millennial Market

ZEISS’s new Digital Lens is a free-form customized design that integrates the wide, clear distance view, single vision wearers demand with a digital boost of focusing power ranging from +0.50 to +1.25.  This digital viewing area is optimized for digital devices and is reached with minimal head and eye movement.  Full Rx customization provides the best possible optics for each wearer. Wearer trials show that ZEISS Digital Lens reduced reported Digital Eye Strain complaints by over 50 percent.

Chemistrie Blue

Chemistrie magnetic lens layering technology adds another “layer” of products with their new Chemistrie Blue. Chemistrie Blue is a computer lens layer designed to filter out a portion of High Energy Visible (HEV) light, commonly referred to as blue light. This lens layer easily attaches to any pair of glasses using the patented Chemistrie magnetic system. Featuring a proprietary coating over clear lenses, Chemistrie Blue reduces the transmission of the violet-blue light that adversely affects eye health, thereby easing discomfort and DES while reducing glare and providing better visual contrast and improved focus. Available in plano through +1.50 powers, Chemistries Blue in plano is an excellent solution for those who wear glasses with single vision lenses. The powered layers are ideal for patients with presbyopia and who have difficulty adjusting to the narrow intermediate corridor on most progressive lens designs. For more information on Chemistrie Blue or any other Eyenavision product, please visit


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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