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A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- September 2016 -

Dollars & Sense

Make What You Say Pay

Lab Notes

New Products


Dollars & Sense

Are You Looking for the Right People?

Michael Karlsrud

Over the last several years I have been hearing a lot about finding the right people to work in our businesses. There is a shortage of good quality people that want to do the work we need to get done. Are we looking for the right people?

There is an argument that we need to have high-quality “craftsman” in our labs.  However, I think we can all agree that to an extent, technology is turning many of our jobs into more of an “observing” role than an actual “thinking” role. Yet, if I can be so blunt, we need someone who can do more than fog a mirror on interview day.

Recently, I took a client through an exercise on hiring. We looked at their job descriptions, how they placed ads in various media, and the quality of candidate they attracted. Simply put, they were not impressed. The premise of the exercise is simple; we use job descriptions to write our ads to find people. Sit in a room and write down all the characteristics you need in a person you want to hire. We’ll call those “inputs.”  If you step back for a moment and ask yourself a different question; “What outputs are required for this person to be successful in the job?”  Write those down on a separate piece of paper. Chances are, they are two different groups of characteristics and therefore two different people you would hire.

Do you really care about the inputs if you could get the right outputs?

Placing ads online and in papers attract the bottom 30 percent of job seekers, according to employment surveys. The other 70 percent are employed elsewhere and may not be looking for other opportunities. So how do you shake the trees to get the good ones to come work for you?  It starts with a good tag line to start your ad. Don’t use the mundane phrases that litter the want ads. Be creative and stop someone in their tracks as they scan the ads.  Have fun with your line. Don’t be so darn serious. After all, you are just trying to grab someone’s attention. Next, write your ad with OUTPUTS you desire, not with inputs that you traditionally feel you need to have. Ask anyone in your lab; do they care if you have a four-year degree if you get the work out on time, and in high quality?

Once you have a candidate, do a background check—both formally and informally—and have them take a simple cognitive test for intelligence. It may lengthen your process, but in the end, the right hire makes good dollars and sense.

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




Make What You Say, Pay!

Copy Olympiads to Control Nerves

Anne Miller

Performance anxiety is a biological fact of life whether you are running track, diving from a 30 foot high board or presenting to a group. What you experience as nervousness is Adrenalin running through your body. That rush is nature’s way of getting you ready to face the upcoming challenge. You can let those jitters paralyze you or power you up to win.  Here’s how to use them to win.


Do what the Olympics athletes did. Move! Get that Adrenalin flowing. Don’t try to control the adrenaline, which only freezes you up. Use it to get you ready to perform at your best.  Before the water events, the swimmers hopped around, slapped their legs and arms.  Before the track events, the runners walked around, took practice starts. They accepted the Adrenalin rush. They did not fight it.

3 Tips to Control Physical Jitters

Warm up: Find private space (a restroom, an empty elevator) and walk around, jump up and down, roll your shoulders, roll your head, stretch. If you are sitting in a room waiting your turn to present, gently lower your shoulders. No one will notice and the natural tension that can build in your neck and shoulders will ease up.

Embrace the Adrenalin: Tell yourself, This is normal.  This is my body getting me ready to perform.

Breathe: As you are walking down the hall into your meeting room, inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. This will center you.  During your presentation, remember to breathe naturally.

Then, Just Do It

Like the Olympic athletes, assuming you have prepared, focus all that energy onto your goal (of informing or persuading your audience) and give it your best shot.  You will likely do quite well.

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




Lab Notes

LabTalk Editor, Christie Walker, Retires


After nearly 20 years as the editor of LabTalk, Christie Walker is retiring as of September 30th. Walker was the creator of the Optical Laboratory Website of the Year Award, contributing editor to Vision Monday and Street Seen photographer for 20/20. Walker has been the editor of LabAdvisor for the past four years.

“The optical industry has been very good to me. It’s like family. It’s been my pleasure serving the lab side of the business for almost 20 years,” said Walker.

Brian Dunleavy will be the new editor of both LabTalk and LabAdvisor starting on October 1, 2016.

The Lab Division Hall of Fame:


The Lab Division Hall of Fame honors and recognizes the contributions of those who participated in the establishment of the wholesale optical industry in its founding years. These industry veterans will be recognized during the Directors' Choice Award and 17th Annual Lab Division Hall of Fame celebration on Wednesday, September 14 in conjunction with the Lab Division Meeting and International Vision Expo West.

All members of the optical lab community are invited to attend this event. Purchase tickets online now!

2016 Directors' Choice Award:

James C. Tooke, Regional Account Manager for Zyloware Eyewear

2016 Lab Division Hall of Fame Inductees:

Craig D. Giles, Executive Vice President/GM (Retired), Walman Optical

Michael C. Vitale, ABOM, The Vision Council

Christie Walker, Editor, LabTalk

Dick Whitney, Carl Zeiss Vision

John M. Young, Founder, Colts Laboratories

Lab Division Meeting at VEW


The Lab Division meeting is the complete lab event with components thoughtfully designed to help lab professionals grow and succeed through education, exclusive receptions and events, including The Vision Council Lab Division Hall of Fame. The education program features thought-leaders, specialized experts and panelists tackling trending industry topics of importance to labs, and hours of dedicated networking time.
Classes will be held on Wednesday, September 14th and Thursday, September 15th. Topics include: Legal restrictions on industry reward programs, Competing in Abundant Competition, Prop 65, UDI and other legal updates, 3D Printing…A Year Later, and Eye Care Consolidation and the Future of the Supply Chain.




New Products

New Laser Engraver for Optical Materials

Eye DNA announces the release of EyeBeam, a laser engraver for optical materials compatible with Eyedentify eyewear and accessories. This new machine enables the operator to easily create their own branded private label product, via engraving names and logos on plastic and metal eyewear in seconds. EyeBeam features a laser for high-speed marking and engraving with a highly accurate resolution of .01mm, and a 3axis adjustment table.  The laser is rated for 100,000 hours of marking before service recommendation and comes with a one year warranty for any manufacturer defects. For more information please visit

ColorMatic IQ2

ColorMatic IQ2, self-tinting lenses are based on new dyes with a unique molecular structure. Appealing design colors, very true colors as well as even deeper tinting even on hot days and in the shade make these quality lenses into the ideal companion for everyday life. The new photochromic molecules are bigger and react more sensitively to UV light, through which the spectacles wearer experiences perfect tinting in the shade as well. The new molecular structure makes it possible to have deeper tinting than before at high temperatures and provides the perfect balance between the degree of tinting, becoming lighter quickly and clarity indoors. For more information visit

Coburn Technologies Presents the HPE-8000X Exxpert Edger

The HPE-8000X from Coburn Technologies is the successor to the HPE-8000, with a multitude of new features and advancements including: Step Bevel Cutting, 11 Different Lens Edge Finishes, Reduced lens slippage, Import & Store DCS (OMA) Directly, Six Different Edging Positions, and Retouch Support Back Up.

The Expert Edger, HPE-8000X, will be showcased at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas, Nevada, booth LP6075. For more information visit, or call 1-800-COBURN-1 for pricing and additional details.





Consumables Are Your Lab’s Secret Weapon

Judith Lee

In the war for profits in optical manufacturing, consumables have become both an important strategy and a weapon to cut costs. Lab owners and managers, equipment manufacturers and consumable vendors say best practices are more important than ever to maximize savings strategies and hit the profit target.

In fact, lab owners and managers described consumable management and purchasing to be “sensitive” and “proprietary” to their organizations. In order to gather candid comments, LabTalk promised to withhold the names of individual labs and lab managers. Following are their tips on best practices, along with comments from manufacturers and vendors.

Don’t get bogged down

Lab managers warn that equipment makers are becoming more aggressive in tying their customers to purchasing consumables from them or an allied vendor. Sometimes a contract to use the manufacturers’ consumables is a requirement of the sale.

 “We are opposed to that kind of agreement and will even use it as a ‘dealbreaker.’ We would rather do business with an equipment maker that lets us make our own decisions about consumables that will ultimately have an impact on our bottom line,” said a multi-lab supervisor with a large Midwestern operation.

Learn four more tips by reading the entire article at


Christie Walker, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Christie is the Editor of LabTalk and a contributor to Vision Monday. She covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Christie at [email protected].

Copyright © 2014 LabTalk. All rights reserved.

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