A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- November 2016 -

Dollars & Sense

Make What You Say Pay

Lab Notes

New Products


Dollars & Sense

Snow White Never Has a Bad Day

Michael Karlsrud

Millions of people a year flock to one of several Disney properties around the world for a once in a lifetime experience.  Imaging all the planning, anticipation, excitement, tension, anxiety, financial commitment and sacrifice- and you haven’t even boarded the plane yet!   But what happens if you get there and Snow White is having a bad day?

Maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend.  Perhaps she is having trouble at home, or she just isn’t feeling good. Instead of getting the cheerful character that is always perfectly quaffed, you get a grumpy, dis-shoveled, rude character of a woman.  What happens to all the anticipation and excitement you have for meeting the rest of the Disney characters?  What happens to the hopes and dreams shattered that were once created in imaginations and storybooks? 

What really happens when Snow White has a bad day?

The Disney company goes through an extraordinary hiring, training and coaching process to ensure that they provide “good show” every single day, with every single character.  Why?  Because the future and reputation of their brand depends on it.  If they didn’t insist on “good show” as their standard, one “bad show” would lead to thousands of brand impressions that are not their ideal or up to their brand standards.  It’s fun to talk about Disney and the idea of “good and bad show” until we start to think about our own companies.  Do you provide “good show” to your customers?  Is your customer service team providing the best possible experience or just going through the motions.  When your sales people show up to accounts, are they prepared and providing the best possible brand image they can?  How do you know?

Like Disney, I am a firm believer in training, developing and coaching our people that face our customers.  “Good show” reaps huge dividends in the long run.  Sadly, few independent laboratories see the value in training their folks- or more importantly, keeping them trained up to execute the level of your brand promise.  Certainly there is product training that is ongoing, and needs to be to remain competitive.  However, when was the last time they went through a sales training course?  When did they get to hone their skills in a safe environment so that “bad show” is replaced with “good show?”  When was the last time there were “ride-alongs” and coaching done to improve performance.

Snow White and your customer facing employees, can never have a bad day.  Your brand depends on it and frankly, it makes great 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!

Why You Should Never Present

By Anne Miller

I nearly lost a client last week because we defined “presenting” differently. When I looked at the slides his team was using, I saw immediately how the disorganized content, lack of a clear message, and weak headers  were serious contributors to what he saw as his team’s weak presentation skills.  When I pointed these out to him, he said, “No! No! Leave the content alone. Just fix their presentation skills!” Which raises the question: What really constitutes successful “presenting?”

Presenting  vs. Communicating

Of the seven definitions in the dictionary for “present”, nearly all involve a single act: to present something or someone (one’s card, a bill for lunch, a person, a play, oneself, a result).  Influencing the receiver of these items or people is not part of the definition.

It’s like the waiter in a restaurant who serves your meal on a covered plate, then removes the cover and says” Voila! He is hoping you will like what you see.

Hope is not a good presentation strategy.

The definitions for  “communicate” are quite different.  They all suggest a transfer process:  to get someone to understand your thoughts or feelings, to transmit information, thought, or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received or understood.

It is the waiter who not only tells you what the special of the day is, but who then describes to you why you will like it so you see the value of ordering it.

Showing your slides, explaining what is on them is “presenting,” but is not by itself “communicating.”

Communicating happens when the speaker:

  • Understands how people process information, and
  • Knows how to turn that information into a story or argument that resonates with a listener

That means having a structure to your content that engages, a clear message, knowing how to make points relevant and interesting to your listener, involving the listener,  simplifying complexity, and creating momentum for action.

Happily, with some examples and good “communication” on my part, my client saw the light and we worked on the core communication issues first so that his team could then “present” their information in a persuasive manner.

Voila! or Value?

Do you present or communicate?

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



Lab Notes

The Vision Council Announces Ashley Mills as new CEO


The Vision Council is pleased to announce Ashley Mills as the new CEO following the retirement of industry veteran Mike Daley, previously announced in June.

Ashley brings over 20 years of progressive trade association management, marketing and leadership experience to the position. Ashley joined The Vision Council as the Vice President of Tradeshows & Meetings in January of this year after serving as the Director of Communications for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Prior to that, she held marketing positions with The Council on Foundations and Seenery Productions, and served as The Vision Council's Director of Marketing & Shows from 2003-2006.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead The Vision Council forward,” said Mills. “Thanks to Mike Daley’s careful stewardship of the association, the great work of the team of professionals who serve our membership, and the commitment and high level of engagement among our volunteer leadership, the organization is poised to be even more effective and impactful in delivering on our mission to grow the marketplace and ensure the success of our members.”

Ashley will officially begin her role as CEO on November 1. Mike Daley will continue his work with The Vision Council through December 1, providing a seamless transition for the organization and membership.


HOYA Corporation announces agreement to acquire Performance Optics, LLC


HOYA Corporation (HOYA) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Performance Optics, LLC (Performance Optics), including its subsidiaries VISION EASE and Daemyung Optical.  Performance Optics is a global ophthalmic lens manufacturer specializing in polycarbonate, photochromic, polarized and high index eyeglass lenses.  This acquisition will strengthen HOYA’s ability to provide customers with a broader portfolio of leading products, while continuing to provide best-in-class services to the eyewear industry. 

“The acquisition of Performance Optics expands HOYA’s customer reach, particularly through VISION EASE’s presence in the Americas and its strengths in polycarbonate products and technologies,” said Girts Cimermans, CEO of HOYA Vision Care.  “Performance Optics provides HOYA with additional capabilities in polycarbonate, photochromic and polarized lens technologies, as well as an expansion of our global footprint in high index lens casting to reinforce our position as a global technology leader in lens manufacturing. Importantly, we also will augment our global research & development capabilities, creating a new technology center of excellence outside of Japan.”

Performance Optics is a global eyeglass lens manufacturing company employing over 2,000 people around the world. With manufacturing facilities in the United States, Korea, China, Thailand and Indonesia, Performance Optics serves the worldwide needs of eyewear customers.  “Performance Optics’ subsidiaries, VISION EASE and Daemyung Optical, have capabilities and cultures of innovation, quality and service that strongly complement HOYA’s footprint and long-standing reputation in the eyewear industry,” said John Weber, CEO of Performance Optics.  “By joining forces, we will better meet our customers’ global needs across geographies.”

“Our acquisition of Performance Optics continues HOYA’s strategic initiatives in the Life Care segment,” said Augustine Yee, Chief Legal Officer and Global Head of Corporate Development and Affairs at HOYA Corporation.  “Performance Optics enables HOYA to become a more broad-based leader in Vision Care, our largest division.”

Calvin Robertson, Jr. Dies

By Staff

Dedicated optical entrepreneur, leader and volunteer, Calvin Robertson, Jr., co-owner of Robertson Optical Laboratories for 58 years, has died.  He was president of the nation’s Better Vision Institute from 1978 - 1980, and served as educational chair on the board of directors of the Optical Wholesaler Association in the early 1970s. As chair, he was honored by the International Film Producers of America for his technical direction of the film, “More Than Meets the Eye”, which won a Cindy Award in 1974 and shown throughout the world. Robertson Optical has been serving the eye care industry since 1958, currently ranking fifth in the nation among independent wholesale lab companies by sales and number of prescriptions*.

Calvin is pre-deceased by his father, Robertson Optical founder CW “Jack” Robertson, Sr., who started the business in 1958 in Atlanta with Calvin and other associates. Calvin’s brother and co-owner Richard Robertson, OD joined them shortly afterwards, with the brothers directing the company’s operations for more than 57 years until Richard passed away in 2015. Calvin’s son Chip Robertson is currently a company co-owner, managing Robertson Optical of Greenville, SC.

Calvin was tremendously instrumental in the rapid growth and success of Robertson Optical. The company serviced 22 prescriptions the first day, 149 the first week, and fills more than 7,000 a week today. It began with 11 employees, now having more than 100 and serving customers throughout the US. Through the management of several co-owners, lab locations have been in seven southeastern cities, occupying a least 15 buildings. In addition to its current labs in Loganville, GA, Columbia, SC and Greenville, SC; locations have included Charlotte, NC; Orlando, FL; Albany, GA; Chattanooga, TN and various suburbs of Atlanta. In addition to processing thousands of prescriptions, the Robertson team has sold frames and contact lenses, developed the first one-step fining pad for grinding plastic lenses, and started a company which designed and sold jumbo lens trays and frame drawer dividers. With Calvin’s co-direction, Robertson Optical has stayed on the leading edge of lens technology by adding state-of-the-art service equipment for digital free-form surfacing, AR coating, top-of-the-line edging and private-label lens production.

In 2009, Calvin wrote The History of Robertson Optical Laboratories in which he traces the company’s growth over 50 years and its vital role in enabling ECPs to deliver optimal eye care through groundbreaking optical products.  Calvin states, “When Robertson Optical opened, my father said, ‘If we can receive 50 prescriptions a day, I’ll be happy’.  The same week, one year later, the company processed an average of 96 a day.”  The history book outlines the early years of the company’s inimitable marketing strategies, many of which were created by Calvin.  One included his design of an exhibit booth at an optometric convention in the late 1950s that featured a fashion runway of Barbies wearing eye glasses. “A Pair for Every Wear” was the slogan. “Barbies had just been launched, so this was more popular than we ever imagined,” stated Calvin. The book also includes summaries of enjoyable times shared by associates, customers and colleagues at eye care conventions, grand openings and employee events, all contributing to the positive company morale that Calvin made sure to instill among his corporate associates and owners.

One popular tactic that Calvin continued through the years, and started by his father, was wearing red socks every day, whether they matched his pants or not.  He would wear them at the office and while visiting accounts. “Customers would look forward to seeing the man with red socks,” remembers Glenn Hollingsworth, general manager of Robertson Optical, Loganville, GA, who worked with Calvin for 55 years.  “The socks were attention-getting, helping them remember the relaxed, enjoyable and hospitable nature of Robertson Optical’s customer service.”

“The first day I started work at Robertson Optical, Calvin greeted me with a Coca-Cola, smile and laughter,” said Hollingsworth. “His caring attitude and humor, blended with his passion for eye care, are the virtues that made him successful.”

David Scott, a marketing consultant in Atlanta, who assisted Calvin with compiling the history and other projects, said, “I’ve never had a colleague or friend whose outlook on life was as positive as Calvin’s. His loyalty to his company and friends in the eye care community was beyond admirable. I could be feeling pessimistic and no matter the circumstance, if he called me, it would brighten my day. I remember one day he called, and I asked, ‘How are you Calvin?’ His jovial and uplifting reply was ‘Super fantastic!’, and the next time I asked, his answer was ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!’ That was Calvin.”

In addition to his son Chip, Calvin is survived by two daughters, Debra Parker and Kim Hash, and 4 grandchildren. His mother was the late Lois Robertson. After his death in September, Calvin was honored by eye care professionals, family and friends at a memorial celebration in Loganville.


Focus On...

Extra, Extra Read All About It

By Julie Bos

Ready or not, a new year is just around the corner—and it’s time to get prepared. For your lab, this can mean a fresh start, new strategies, and a renewed commitment to go after key growth opportunities. If your resolution is to take your business to the next level, knowing what’s new in the world of edgers and polishers might be one key to unlocking new potential in 2017 and beyond.
To keep you up-to-date on this category, we turned to several leading equipment providers, who share information about the latest edging and polishing solutions that are already making a splash in the market.Our thanks go to experts at Briot USA, Coburn Technologies, National Optronics, Santinelli, Satisloh and Schneider Optical Machines, who graciously contributed their insights.

Part 1: What Trends Are Driving the Market?

Trend #1: Simplification, efficiency and automation are still in high demand.

Simplifying the edging process through automation and reducing the amount of operator input necessary to run jobs are definitely ongoing trends. Products that can help labs get more done with less direct intervention continue to be in high demand.
“To improve efficiency, the focus has been on eliminating non-value-added labor through processes like blockless edging and incorporating edging functions like drilling and complex edging,” explained Kevin Paddy, director of finishing at Satisloh. “Not only do these features offer a reduction in labor, they provide objective results and improved quality.”

Trend #2: Milling for unique lens shapes and designs is becoming a differentiator.

“Milling is a hot new trend in edging systems,” said Matt Curtin, marketing specialist at Briot USA. “Being able to offer
unique lens shapes and designs to customers and patients is one thing many eye care professionals are using to differentiate themselves from large retail chains and etailers.”

Trend #3: The need for specialty edging remains constant.

According to Steve Swalgen, Santinelli’s national director of lab business, “The eyewear market is moving in two
distinct directions—high-end specialty, and low-cost. The mid-tier segment is waning. As such, the need for specialty
edging will remain a constant whether it be industrial and automated or stand-alone and tabletop. High-speed
throughput for generic or low-end Rx work where qualitative results are less rigorous, will be a continued norm.”

Trend #4: Economy and choice always matter.

Swalgen also stated that while “one-size fits all” solutions are often desired by labs, economically-priced tabletop edgers continue to offer labs real value and expanded choice, compared to more costly, industrial platforms.

Trend #5: The edging evolution continues.

“Edgers continue to evolve as the needs of ever-changing frame design and Rx lenses bring challenges to the
wholesale lab,” added Swalgen. “Maximizing visual acuity with varied frame curvatures is still a critical priority,
and edging companies continue to develop various angular edging methods (e.g., wet, dry and hybrids) to
address these needs.”

Trend #6: Labs want to keep more work in-house.

Digital generators can cut just about any curve and Rx available; but the sticking point has always been the ability
to polish above certain curve ranges. Today’s labs want new technologies that can help them keep more andmore work in-house.

Part 2: What New Equipment Is Available?

Briot USA’s Attitude Edging System

The Briot Attitude raises the bar for what’s possible in the in-house finishing lab. This lens processing solution is extremely fast and accurate—in fact, one of the fastest on the market—which makes it ideal for modern optical practices and wholesale labs alike. The edger has four different bevel options, including a full step bevel and mini bevel. It also offers a Smart Design Technology shape-creation tool and in-chamber drilling, which means the finished product is only limited by your imagination.
The company’s new Attitude Premium Patternless Edging system is the first and only edging system that has integrated wavefront power mapping lensometry built right into the blocker. This technology not only allows opticians to verify that a progressive lens design will fit in the frame shape, but also allows for accurate calculation of prism, along with verification that progressive lenses are within tolerance.
Gravitech is another unique product feature. This patented tracing technology is revolutionizing the industry by eliminating the need for a mechanical tracer. Not only is tracing fast (under four seconds), this product offers a
more accurate trace than a traditional mechanical tracer.
It’s the only optical tracer on the market that has true one-to-one shape reproduction. In addition to the Briot Attitude, the company offers two all-in-one edging systems (the Briot eMOTION and Perception) that feature simple user interfaces and a small footprint to fit in any sized lab.

Coburn Technologies’ New HPE-8000X Exxpert Edger

The new HPE-8000X Exxpert Edger is the successor to the company’s current model, the HPE-8000, and offers processing time that is 20 percent faster than its predecessor. Newly introduced “step bevel cutting” assures that the lens will fit precisely into high-wrap sunglasses even with special shape cuttings, such as ventilation holes. This machine also offers 11 different lens edge finishes, providing more available options for different jobs. Edge finishes include step bevel, standard bevel, rimless, grooving, mini bevel, asymmetric bevel, U-bevel, partial bevel, partial grooving, dual grooving and hybrid grooving.
To reduce lens slippage, an adaptive swivel chuck is used to clamp the lens more evenly. The Exxpert edger introduces
“axial roughing,” which prevents the lens from rotating on the wheel until the thickest part of the lens is removed, and in conjunction with the one-touch hydrophobic mode, eliminates the possibility of lens slippage.
Labs also have the ability to directly import DCS job files, including frame shape, FPD, finishing style, lens material, drill coordinates and more. They can store and maintain these files in folder format, removing all concerns of file duplication.

New Solutions from Santinelli

Santinelli International offers both high-speed tabletop lens edgers and the highest throughput automated systems, without compromising quality at any level. The company’s new LE-1200 tabletop unit is economically priced and engineered for fast “wet” lens processing.
Alternatively, on the industrial side, the company’s automated “wet” and “dry” dual edger systems produce unparalleled “per hour” throughputs in an unprecedented small footprint. The AES-2200 (containing two SE-9090-Supra wet edgers) averages 33-39 standard jobs per hour, with an average mix of work. The ADS-2200 (containing two Xtrimer SE-1 five-axis, dry cut edgers) produces an average of 43-47 jobs per hour of standard work.
In addition, Santinelli’s new LE-1200 offers a “Mini-Bevel” for very thin metal eyewire frames, and the LEX-1200 offers
“Mini-Shelf” bevel along with customized high wrap beveling. The Xtrimer SE-1 industrial “tool-based” edger offers high-speed drilling, customizable shelf beveling, specialty safety beveling and faceting with polish, and is able to rough lenses at an industry-setting record of 60,000 rpm’s.

Schneider Edgers and Polishers

For edging, Schneider offers the HSE Modulo, the first high-speed double spindle edger for fully-independent
edging of the left and the right lens—either on-the-block or blockless. The two separate multi-axis systems enable truly independent simultaneous processing of the lenses, no matter how diverse the job requirements. The edger’s high rigidity and precise tool clamping allow for the highest rpm processes. Working with exceptional speed,
HSE Modulo sets new standards in performance and throughput. The intuitive and easy-to-use shape editor opens up a broad range of finishing options to process even the latest complex styles, including specialties. The result is virtually unrestricted lens finishing. Plus, using the Schneider blockless edging option, labs can reduce costs significantly.
On the polishing front, Schneider now offers two different polisher models with an extended curve range to 18 total diopters. This expands the current curve range of digital Rx’s from approximately 12 total diopters—an expansion of 50 percent. This exciting new development gives labs the ability to process more Rx’s digitally and keep more work in house. Schneider now offers this revolutionary new technology on its CCP Modulo Automated Polisher and our CCP Nano manual polisher.


Brian Dunleavy, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Brian is the Editor of LabTalk. He covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Brian at [email protected].

Copyright © 2019 LabTalk. All rights reserved.

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