While economists and glass industry executives say it could be 2013-14 before we see any significant recovery, glass companies aren’t sitting idly by, waiting for the upswing. Instead, they're making calculated--albeit cautious--investments to ensure current and future success.
And although this doesn't come as a surprise to me (I'm continually impressed by the creativity and resiliency of our industry), I do think these positive efforts are too often overshadowed by the negative effects of a tough economy. So as we tackle 2012, I'd like to focus on some steps industry companies are taking in anticipation of better days ahead.
Coral Industries is being “very frugal" in case there isn’t an upswing, but that hasn’t stopped the Top Glass & Metal Fabricator from refining its systems to improve efficiencies in the office and on the production floor. The company is also investing in new marketing efforts, says Executive VP Lewis McAllister.
“We are revamping our marketing with a new website and more organized email capabilities to better communicate with our customers,” he reports.
Similarly, Carolina Glass & Mirror has a marketing campaign “that we are waiting to roll out until we think the time is right,” says David Fitchett, president and co-founder of the full-service glass company. “Spending too much money at this time with those efforts would not be prudent,” he says.
On a larger scale, Guardian Industries is evaluating new operations globally. “We are upgrading and expanding our production facilities in several locations,” says Scott Thomsen, president, Guardian Flat Glass Group. “In addition to new float and pattern operations, we also continue to invest heavily in large-area vacuum coaters, large-area liquid coaters and large-area laminating lines. Our strategy is to add value and increase the unit of sale.”
In face of the news that we’re looking at another year of little to no growth in construction starts, it’s encouraging to continually hear of glass companies finding success, one step at a time. To read more about what industry firms are doing to prepare for the eventual market rebound, see the January/February 2012 issue of Glass Magazine. And if you have a story to share, please let us know.
Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.