Registration Opens for Annual Optical Lab Division Meeting
Registration for the 2012 Optical Lab Division (formerly the Optical Laboratories Association) meeting, held September 5-8 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, is now open. The annual event will once again be held in conjunction with the education and exhibits at International Vision Expo West.
New for 2012, the education program will begin a day earlier on Wednesday, September 5, and will feature sessions covering timely industry topics.
To register for the Optical Lab Division meeting, visit thevisioncouncil.org/labmeeting.
Williams to Retire from Global
Tex Williams, the longtime warehouse operations manager for Global Optics in Green Bay, Wis., will retire June 30. Williams, a 50-year optical industry veteran, has spent the past 41 years at Global. He will be retained as a consultant over the next year to assist the successful transfer of his responsibilities to Barbara Vitchus and the Global management team, including his son, Chris Williams, and his daughter, Kelly Marinoff.
Global Optics will celebrate Williams' accomplishments at its annual golf outing on July 19, an event Williams is closely associated with.
Bud Bargman Dies at 81
O.R. "Bud" Bargman, formerly of Hawkins Optical, passed away on May 15, 2012 at Homestead Assisted Living in Topeka, Kans. at age 81.
Bargman was associated with Hawkins Optical Laboratories in Topeka for 62 years, fabricating prescription eyewear for optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. He was the co-owner and worked in production and sales from 1949 to 1968 before becoming president in 1969. In 1992 he became chairman of the board, and retired in 2010.
To read the complete obituary, visit VM.com.
Habits of Successful Strategic Thinkers
As a business advisor to business owners in a wide range of businesses, including optical labs, and having spoken and written on the subject of what is required of lab owners and managers to become strategic leaders, here is a simple but profound list of habits that can help you to achieve breakthrough success:
1. Anticipate. Most owners and managers focus their attention squarely on what's directly in their line of sight, leaving their business vulnerable to competitors who may have other competitive advantages or strengths on which to capitalize. To anticipate well, here are several areas to consider:
- Look deeply and seriously for not-so-obvious or break-through opportunities on the periphery of your business offer and seek to broaden your value to customers
- Expand your external networks to help you better understand the competitive landscape and your customer needs and newly identified requirements
2. Think Critically. Conventional wisdom often offers less risk and provides you and your team with the security of "knowing what we do best." Critical thinkers question everything and use the following mastery skills:
- Learn to and then assess the "root cause" of any problems to get to the bottom of things
- Challenge conventional thinking and "we've always done it this way" thinking, including your own
3. Interpret. Solid strategic thinking requires gathering, analyzing and synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint and taking a decision. To become a better strategic thinker, you need to:
- Look at all sources for relevant data and information, not simply standard metrics, and ensure your team follows your lead
- Question all assumptions, especially those that lack facts and solid data, before analysis and decision-making
Hedley Lawson Managing Partner, Aligned Growth Partners, LLC.
Second in a three-part series
Ice-Tech Advanced Lens Technologies
By Judith Lee
Even though the latest lens technologies are literally part of its name, Ice-Tech Advanced Lens Technologies emerged strongly from the recession thanks to time-tested business strategies.
"Our strength is in our commitment to good prices and good service, as well as exceptional lens designs. Every quarter, we introduce at least one promotion to help our customers compete in their own way against other eyecare providers," said Beth Showalter, president of the Atlantic Beach, Fla. lab.
These quarterly promotions give ECPs a break on a lens or lens option, which they can choose to pass on to their own customers, such as a free backside AR with any mirror lens purchase, or the 250 promo which reduces prices on low-powered Rx's.
Showalter said that Ice-Tech also differentiates with lens products: "We strive to set our customers apart by giving them a unique lens not available in every store chain."
This makes customer training an important priority for Ice-Tech.
"There is definitely a learning curve that comes along with our lenses. For one thing, you measure the OCH directly on the 180 line, which is not how everyone else does it in the industry. We fully believe in making it as simple as possible for our customers, which is why we do things differently," Showalter noted.
First in a two-part series
Game Changer: How Effective Training Can Transform Sales
By Julie Bos
A continual onslaught of newly released lenses, coatings and services can mean "information overload" for internal lab sales teams. Not only must your sales consultants stay up-to-date on the myriad of products unveiled every year, they need to understand each product or service well enough to train the ultimate decision-makers, the ECPs themselves. It can be an overwhelming, yet critical, proposition. How can your sales team survive? LabTalk asked several leading optical laboratories to share their secrets for training success. Consider these strategies to augment your own, and prepare to take your sales to a new level.
Brian Conley, marketing director for Optical Prescription Lab (OPL) – the current Transitions Lab of the Year title-holder – shares his company's winning approach to sales training.
Training Process Overview: Once the lab receives a product the process begins. The lab conducts bi-weekly meetings with owners and managers, who then cascade the information to customer service via monthly meetings, online trainings (if available) and the distribution of literature. The team follows up with a Q&A session to make sure there are no gaps in the learning process. And if questions arise that managers can't answer, the questions are posted on a white board in the conference room until we get an answer from the outside sales rep. Once this process is complete, the internal team can begin training our ECPs.
Manufacturer Resources: Typically, OPL uses any and all incentive programs offered by Shamir and Essilor. To support the rollout of digital processing earlier this year, Shamir has held trainings to ensure that ECPs have a clear understanding of Shamir lenses – and what they mean to them in the marketplace. Crizal Advance UV – and the medical benefits of this product – has been another major focus for OPL this year. Finally, the lab takes advantage of the Transitions Healthy Sight Campaign, which offers training specifically designed for the ECP.
Learn additional strategies from Optical Prescription Lab and other labs when you read the entire article at http://www.labtalkonline.com/ under the FEATURES section.