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Thread: Bringing Back Relevance To The Dying Field of Opticianry

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    Bringing Back Relevance To The Dying Field of Opticianry

    Folks, it's time for us to make change. More and more corporate entities have taken over our businesses, and have degraded the meaning of opticianry. We are not eyeglass salesmen, we are opticians. It's time for us to start brainstorming ways to change this field for the better.

    I had an epiphany today: A patient had no idea who I was. We cannot let this happen anymore.

    Wes and I have been messaging back and forth of starting some type of "committee" that will spread the word about this Renaissance.

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    Idea LenSync independent labs are coming in 2017!

    I hear you and am on it with a few industry leaders. I am working to bring technology to opticians in a few ways:

    1-Opticians refract in Canada and have for many years; that model can work in the US but with a technology boost! We can utilize a product like Eyenetra or one of the other tools that are being developed. VSP is an investor in Eyenetra and this would allow self-refraction with assistance by a trained refractionist who completed a 100 hour course and passed a live exam. I am working directly with Caroline Miller of the POF (she did the work in Canada to bring refracting to opticians), Barry Santini, Dr. Warren McDonald and Vitor the founder of Eyenetra. You can join us if you want to see what we are working on.

    2-LenSync can now allow any ECP to build all finish work to the highest standards with consistency. We are running Focal Point optical lab owned by David Salk, on all new Santinelli equipment with LenSync with great results. I can quote Miguel who runs work" The Lindbergs are 1,000% better- that meant he used to hate them and now they are his favorite product to build". He now has a basis and the tool to become a great optician who can utilize modern technology to get the best work out possible every time.

    3-Custom Clips from eClips- also David Salk- will be able to build and ship without sending the patient frame or you can build them in-house with a drilling edger. Custom clip-ons for any frame that can be in any type of lens that can differentiate your offerings. The eClips lab is designed to now run LenSync software to allow them to produce clips on a computer vs the machine. Machines don't run when they are being set up to run other jobs.

    4-Clip-ons from Chemistrie- We are now running on LenSync the Chemistrie lab in Pittsburgh with edgers from MEI, Santinelli and Huvutz all on the same system. They used to run 3 separate systems with programming on all the edgers; now it is done in LenSync to improve flow and consistency amongst the 3 brands of equipment they use. Joe Zewe has been very open to change and embracing technology.

    5-LenSync is working with Santinelli, MEI, and Huvitz already as technology partners to improve the utilization of what there machines can do with more automation of the work-flow process. They have been great partners and understand the issues that we face since they get the phone calls from us. They want us to be able to utilize their technology at a maximum level on every job based on the preference of the ECP and not the person running that machine on any given day. The machines will be LenSync approved with custom settings designed to maximize quality and efficiency for each practice.

    6-LenSync lenses are coming to an independent lab and ECP near you in 2017!

    The LenSync platform will allow the ECP to build custom lenses on an App right in front of the client! All aspects of lens design are able to be customized then sent to a lab for processing. This has been shown to a few industry leaders and the response has been amazing; ECP's want to be able to understand what they are building and labs want to not have to read special instructions on every order.

    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS ARE AN EXCUSE FOR NOT HAVING A PROPER PLACE TO ENTER THE INFORMATION; IF IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAN IT SHOULD GO IN A SPOT THAT IS UNDERSTOOD BY THE RECEIVING LAB SOFTWARE AND NOT USING A STICKY NOTE WITH HIGHLIGHTERS!

    We are already have a number of independent labs ready to offer the complete system; we are working to get it installed in the facilities but the response has been amazing. We have 3 labs that are doctor owned who want the system for their internal group of offices. We would be the lens of choice for all the 80+ offices. They own part of their future and this is a model that can work for all ECP's. HINT!!

    There are also 4 major independent labs who want the system and we are working out the details as fast as possible.

    My team has been working on this for the past year and we will UBER/Amazon the optical industry in 2017.

    Stay tuned for more information.

    Craig, Harry and Dave

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    Redhot Jumper Folks, it's time for us to make change..............................

    Quote Originally Posted by Wisconsin ABO View Post

    Bringing Back Relevance To The Dying Field of Opticianry

    Folks, it's time for us to make change. More and more corporate entities have taken over our businesses, and have degraded the meaning of opticianry. We are not eyeglass salesmen, we are opticians. It's time for us to start brainstorming ways to change this field for the better.

    It is nice to see that you woke up 10 years late. There is no more brainstorming needed to change the field, as the corporate entities have set a solid footing on this continent and are continuing successfully growing on a world wide basis.

    Retail opticians have disregarded all signs of it over the years, disregarded all warnings, and embraced new re-hashed types of new lenses and frames on older ideas, and ways of doing it, that could be sold for higher prices and profits.

    Opticianry that is a former handicraft that has grown into the technical age along the few hundred years of its existence, has turned a blind eye that the majority of their customers that are just plain humans that grow older to the age when they they need glasses because of age.

    The non computer savvy generation is dying off, and is now on it way to heaven or other places they earned to be. That generation never cared for any commercial activity on the web.

    The next generation replacing them already had to use computers on the job or just for plain fun. They are already trained in the use of the web and have learned how to make a search for anything interesting.

    Corporations have their trained specialists, looking forward into the future and have at high cost decided, that the big future of many commercial activities is through the internet in cases where no manual intervention is needed.

    The hands on service of the optical retail industry, has blinded and caught the retail opticians with their pants down. There are already ways of taking measurements for prescriptions and more to come as time flies by.

    So far the corporations play it two ways and opticians are going along with it ......................until it is too late.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Do you buy your glasses on-line?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    It is nice to see that you woke up 10 years late. There is no more brainstorming needed to change the field, as the corporate entities have set a solid footing on this continent and are continuing successfully growing on a world wide basis.

    Retail opticians have disregarded all signs of it over the years, disregarded all warnings, and embraced new re-hashed types of new lenses and frames on older ideas, and ways of doing it, that could be sold for higher prices and profits.

    Opticianry that is a former handicraft that has grown into the technical age along the few hundred years of its existence, has turned a blind eye that the majority of their customers that are just plain humans that grow older to the age when they they need glasses because of age.

    The non computer savvy generation is dying off, and is now on it way to heaven or other places they earned to be. That generation never cared for any commercial activity on the web.

    The next generation replacing them already had to use computers on the job or just for plain fun. They are already trained in the use of the web and have learned how to make a search for anything interesting.

    Corporations have their trained specialists, looking forward into the future and have at high cost decided, that the big future of many commercial activities is through the internet in cases where no manual intervention is needed.

    The hands on service of the optical retail industry, has blinded and caught the retail opticians with their pants down. There are already ways of taking measurements for prescriptions and more to come as time flies by.

    So far the corporations play it two ways and opticians are going along with it ......................until it is too late.
    What is the point of telling someone trying to look for positive change that they are 10 years too late? Are you sure the $7,000 was not being a negative nelly?

    You can see the poor in anything but that is why we are all still alive and breathing. Sorry you gave up on us and continue to seem to enjoy putting down the opticians who are left.

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    This is a major reason we started OPT magazine. There wasn't enough left that seemed to be giving enough information for independents, and were really corporate-focused. I've actually had people turned off because it's "too independent". If there's anything I can do to help out any type of independent movement, then I'm all for it.
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    Counterpoint:

    Old-style Opticianry is dying because it has failed to adapt to changing times. Reminiscing about the good ol' times is not constructive. Thoughtful reflection is.

    My thoughts:
    Technology is rapidly replacing old-style/hard-skills at a frightening clip.
    Soft-skills - so often looked down upon by old school opticians - are the future. This means understanding the basics of good business.
    Survival for B&M opticians is to get out of the security zone of Doc and VCP, and concentrate on generating, meeting and fulfilling wants.
    Having all your old skills is a given. You now need to master a full suite of soft skills, which no school, ABO, NCLE or the like will test or credential you for.

    Chin up. Open mind. Willingness to learn anew.

    And maybe...just maybe...Chris was right all along.

    Happy New Year!

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wisconsin ABO View Post
    Folks, it's time for us to make change. More and more corporate entities have taken over our businesses, and have degraded the meaning of opticianry. We are not eyeglass salesmen, we are opticians. It's time for us to start brainstorming ways to change this field for the better.
    Today's world is heavily reliant on computers and technology. Every industry is facing the same dilemma. Craftsmanship is a dying art. We can all wax poetic about the loss of (and rising costs of) hand made products. That said, the most costly portion of running a business is payroll. Technology has lowered the cost of payroll at the expense of real knowledge.

    Gone are the days when we had to lay every lens out by hand. Calculate curves, prism, thickness. Many of today's 'opticians' don't know what to do with, nor use, a sagitta gauge. Calculate prism? Calculate minimum blank size? What about knowing the effect of decentration on thickness? Nice try. Let's not even discuss vertex distance and slab off calculations. On the bench end, how many of today's techs understand the box system, or manual layout? Sad.

    With the advent of Freeform, there really is no way to bring manual calculations back, but come on, not knowing Prentice's Rule is heresy! Not being able to calculate decentration without LMS, well, you decide. These are minimum standards of knowledge! Technology has made us lazy. Higher productivity has taken time away from training the art of opticianry. Instead, corporations are training stylists and machine operators. Nothing more.

    Do I want to sit down and manually calculate every pair of glasses again? Do I want to operate a hand pan ever again? Do I want to hand cut patterns, or even pull patterns from the board? Hell no. But the point is, I can.

    Yes, it's time to make a change. Question is how, in this digital age where payroll eats profits? I am truly interested in what you guys come up with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by other_bill_fea View Post
    This is a major reason we started OPT magazine. There wasn't enough left that seemed to be giving enough information for independents, and were really corporate-focused. I've actually had people turned off because it's "too independent". If there's anything I can do to help out any type of independent movement, then I'm all for it.
    Love Love Love this magazine. Just opened another magazine yesterday and it was all frames and no content. Tossed it in the trash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    I hear you and am on it with a few industry leaders. I am working to bring technology to opticians in a few ways:

    1-Opticians refract in Canada and have for many years; that model can work in the US but with a technology boost! We can utilize a product like Eyenetra or one of the other tools that are being developed. VSP is an investor in Eyenetra and this would allow self-refraction with assistance by a trained refractionist who completed a 100 hour course and passed a live exam. I am working directly with Caroline Miller of the POF (she did the work in Canada to bring refracting to opticians), Barry Santini, Dr. Warren McDonald and Vitor the founder of Eyenetra. You can join us if you want to see what we are working on.

    Craig, Harry and Dave
    Sorry just wanted to reply quickly to this before I read on. There are a select few opticians who can refract in Canada but there was only a very limited time that Opticians were approved for this. There is only a handful left that can refract and no othe ropticians are allowed to be trained to do this due to the laws being changed soon after(when the college of optometrists had a problem with it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    Today's world is heavily reliant on computers and technology. Every industry is facing the same dilemma. Craftsmanship is a dying art. We can all wax poetic about the loss of (and rising costs of) hand made products. That said, the most costly portion of running a business is payroll. Technology has lowered the cost of payroll at the expense of real knowledge.

    Gone are the days when we had to lay every lens out by hand. Calculate curves, prism, thickness. Many of today's 'opticians' don't know what to do with, nor use, a sagitta gauge. Calculate prism? Calculate minimum blank size? What about knowing the effect of decentration on thickness? Nice try. Let's not even discuss vertex distance and slab off calculations. On the bench end, how many of today's techs understand the box system, or manual layout? Sad.

    With the advent of Freeform, there really is no way to bring manual calculations back, but come on, not knowing Prentice's Rule is heresy! Not being able to calculate decentration without LMS, well, you decide. These are minimum standards of knowledge! Technology has made us lazy. Higher productivity has taken time away from training the art of opticianry. Instead, corporations are training stylists and machine operators. Nothing more.

    Do I want to sit down and manually calculate every pair of glasses again? Do I want to operate a hand pan ever again? Do I want to hand cut patterns, or even pull patterns from the board? Hell no. But the point is, I can.

    Yes, it's time to make a change. Question is how, in this digital age where payroll eats profits? I am truly interested in what you guys come up with.

    The problem is really a simple one. There is no accepted definition of Optician in the country, and not required education and/or training requirement. In 27 states here (including Wisconsin) the arduous requirement to use the title, Optician........is a pulse. In Canada, England, Germany, and many other countries there is a fixed method for entry into the field that requires education and training and licensure in most jurisdictions. Here.........training comes in the guise of cheap labor we call apprenticeship, which was eliminated as a training method by very other health-related field decades ago. Now before someone tells me about the move back towards apprenticeship training, relax. I am well aware, but it also includes a formal education component to do almost anything. Here, little training takes place, and the person doing the training at most corporate locations is the one with the best sales skills........one of those soft skill things my buddy Barry continues to talk about, and so we continue to dumb ourselves down with each new generation of folks entering the field. Sales is very important, but it is difficult to sell something you know little about, especially when it is related to something as important, and as complex as the correction of vision. Opticians clearly need to change. Is it too late? I hope not. I will continue to address it as long as I can, but at some point, it will be. There is more for us to learn. Refraction, contact lenses, low vision, management, and other related professional activities that will make us relevant once again. But it will require a change I am not sure we are ready to undertake. Are we? The original poster on this thread is on the mark..........and he/she has walked to talk by going beyond the minimum requirements to complete nation board certification. Why not get the rest of that beautiful (but cold) state to accept and require the ABO as an entry level requirement? Why not every state? You will soon see why.........20 people will now follow me on this wonderful site for optical "professionals" to let the world know education is not needed here. And the world goes round and round.............

    On a better note to end my diatribe.........I wish for each of you the very best in 2017! We have a ways to go, but thanks to the fine folks here at Optiboard we have a place like this to share our disparate views. Eventually, it will all sift out to where it is supposed to be and the world will continue to turn on its axis. Happy New Year everyone.
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 12-30-2016 at 10:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jc17777 View Post
    Sorry just wanted to reply quickly to this before I read on. There are a select few opticians who can refract in Canada but there was only a very limited time that Opticians were approved for this. There is only a handful left that can refract and no othe ropticians are allowed to be trained to do this due to the laws being changed soon after(when the college of optometrists had a problem with it)
    This was an example of the ODs standing against Opticians advancing.......all in the name of the health and well-being of the citizens of Canada. They did not help to shape it to assure safety, they squashed it in an economic turf battle. I understand, and was not surprised. But now technology is advancing into refraction. We will see what happens then, when someone with real money gets in this battle. Refraction by Opticians now does not look so bad to the OD leadership I know any longer.

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    Refraction is not the key to success.

    Doing what opticianry has been doing, and doing it well, and understanding it, is where the future lies.

    The OD schools are cranking out decent refractionists by the hundreds. But they don't understand optics.

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    Refraction, among the several other things mentioned, is at least something beyond measuring PDs and Seg Heights. I would have expected one of the ODs here to be the first to weigh in on the refraction comment, but you should worry more about these new devices taking your bread and butter than us. While I appreciate your faith in the knowledge of optics of my colleagues, you are simply incorrect in your thinking that most Opticians......with a high school education, and very poor training, understand optics at any level. In my classes all across the nation for the last nearly 30+ years, one of the things that struck me each time was the lack of understanding of even the basics. In your schools there are specific courses related to optics most Opticians would think is Greek. Thank you for your misguided faith is my colleagues, but know that even on this board, only a few really understand even basic optical principles. And with the advancement of technology, doing the same old stuff just will not cut it any longer. We must do more to regain even a semblance of relevancy.

    Know that the sorry state of Opticianry is not the fault of Optometry, or the corporate folks...... or the Easter Bunny. Opticians sat around and watched the world evolve, and did nothing. Three kinds of folks in the world. Those who make things happen, those who let things happen, and those who wonder what happened. The last category fits Opticianry well. We did not change, and so to focus on what we have always done correlates with Einstein's definition of insanity.........doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. It has not worked in the world of he OD, in the corporate environment, nor any other facet of society, and needs to change in this field.
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 12-30-2016 at 11:22 AM.

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    I'm talking about finding a niche, regardless of how you get there.

    There was a time that optometrists knew optics rather well: they founded CL companies, they were involved in optical laboratories, lens designing,etc. That's gone and not coming back because optometry does not value it.

    Someone has to do that. Ergo my suggestion.

    A good optician on Optiboard knows more about optics than the average OD that I tend to come across. Not prescribing, but understanding the practical aspects of lens design, how to match the design to needs, the mechanics of lens fabrication, etc.

    Case in point: http://www.optiboard.com/forums/show...Coating-Defect
    Last edited by drk; 12-30-2016 at 12:01 PM.

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    As to refraction, I'll say this until I'm blue in the face but you cannot tease out prescribing for ametropias (and using refractive methods as a tool for that) from treating the entire patient's ocular situation (dry eye, mac degen, cataract, BV problems, etc.).

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    Refraction, among the several other things mentioned, is at least something beyond measuring PDs and Seg Heights.
    And I have no beef with you, Dr., but you have devalued lens POW design merely by that comment.

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    The relative death of opticianry, in my view, is totally related to economics.

    As the independent optician's lunch money has been stolen, it does not attract the quality individual it normally would, because it does not pay.

    As to the definition of insanity, paying for the privilege of going to opticianry college BEFORE you get a paltry hourly wage working in the mall is insane.

    Hoping that our dear regulator$ are going to stop taking bribes from "big-money optical" and protect the citizens of this country from deregulated vision care is a noble cause, but currently a pipe dream.

    Optometrists, who still have some money to fight big-money optical in the statehouses, just aren't that motivated to do so. They think they can hide behind a bottle of antibiotics. I disagree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    And I have no beef with you, Dr., but you have devalued lens POW design merely by that comment.
    Most Opticians think POW is a marketing term, unfortunately, Doc. But I appreciate the faith in us. If Opticians could do the basic stuff it would be excellent, but that is just not the case. Folks in the field generally have no idea what Prentice's Rule is, much less how to utilize it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    As to refraction, I'll say this until I'm blue in the face but you cannot tease out prescribing for ametropias (and using refractive methods as a tool for that) from treating the entire patient's ocular situation (dry eye, mac degen, cataract, BV problems, etc.).
    I understand that significant differentiation well. But there were mechanisms established long ago, in conjunction with noted Optometric and medical leaders, that would have allowed Opticians to do a basic refraction based upon established guidelines. It did not fly politically. Now with the new technologies, they will be forced to accept them based upon that big money you describe in another thread here. Some feel inherent tumors will develop overnight because of such heretical use of said technology, but we will see. Established procedures is the answer. The world continues to evolve, and it is not just the world I live in, but all of health care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    The relative death of opticianry, in my view, is totally related to economics.

    As the independent optician's lunch money has been stolen, it does not attract the quality individual it normally would, because it does not pay.

    As to the definition of insanity, paying for the privilege of going to opticianry college BEFORE you get a paltry hourly wage working in the mall is insane.

    Hoping that our dear regulator$ are going to stop taking bribes from "big-money optical" and protect the citizens of this country from deregulated vision care is a noble cause, but currently a pipe dream.

    Optometrists, who still have some money to fight big-money optical in the statehouses, just aren't that motivated to do so. They think they can hide behind a bottle of antibiotics. I disagree.
    The pay in many areas of the licensed states is more than the typical school teacher requiring a college education. What most feel appropriate for us is a mere Associate Degree, and it can be completed online in large part.....at least the didactic component. Salaries are not bad, and in fact corporate folks in my state are paying significant money for licensed folks. But economic forces had a role to play for sure. I suspect you and I would have a great conversation, and you probably will find more that we have in common than you might think. But if you reflect back on the growth and development of Optometry, it was education and then legislation that was the process. Your folks entered a field that paid poorly, and stuck with it. You had dedicated leaders who were bound and determined to make it what it is today. We had some good leaders at one time, but they were largely uneducated, and had limited vision for what we could be if we worked together, and remained divided across state lines. Today, most of the leadership is so confused that there is no individual coming to prominence that can and will offer the needed leadership to move us forward. Too much distrust. Therein lies our main issue.

    I really am enjoying this dialogue. Thanks for your thought-provoking comments.

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    Redhot Jumper The relative death of opticianry, in my view, is totally related to economics.

    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post

    The relative death of opticianry, in my view, is totally related to economics.


    Hoping that our dear regulator$ are going to stop taking bribes from "big-money optical" and protect the citizens of this country from deregulated vision care is a noble cause, but currently a pipe dream.


    drk ..................just about said it.

    So we should know how to change the economic times and find the solution fast, ................or we have to change the way we are doing a business to adapt before others who seem to be successful will dominate.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    The world continues to evolve,
    Evolve, if technology is used to complement humans doing their job.

    Devolve, if technology replaces humans.

    Once a knowledge base (opticianry) is lost (or becomes only encrypted in software) then it's gone for generations.

    What will probably happen is that a few monks will survive the dark ages and carry the torch forward. I'd aim to be one of those monks.

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    Redhot Jumper The relative death of opticianry, in my view, is totally related to economics.

    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post

    Originally Posted by drk

    The relative death of opticianry, in my view, is totally related to economics.



    So would you agree that opticians could successfully change their way of doing business, by simply adapting to times, and charge for services rendered, while charging supplied goods at cost or close to it ?

    Which would translate into the better you are and know, the better you could charge.
    Chris Ryser
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    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

  24. #24
    Master OptiBoarder
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    I would agree we should expand our services, and charge appropriate fees........not trying to speak for drk, but in times of economic turmoil we cannot remain static. To charge fees that can sustain us, we must also have a knowledge base worthy of those fees. We cannot fool people any longer, and have to improve. But I agree with drk, we have about said it all. Enjoyed this conversation.

  25. #25
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Redhot Jumper I would agree we should expand our services, and charge appropriate fees.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post

    I would agree we should expand our services, and charge appropriate fees........not trying to speak for drk, but in times of economic turmoil we cannot remain static. To charge fees that can sustain us, we must also have a knowledge base worthy of those fees. We cannot fool people any longer, and have to improve. But I agree with drk, we have about said it all. Enjoyed this conversation.

    Thank you Warren, coming from you multiplies the value of the comment.

    Of course service charges should be according to professional standards and knowledge base.
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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