glassblog

Monday, July 21, 2014

UPDATE (July 21, 2014):

In January 2009, I wrote this blog in response to a flood of emails I had received regarding a fake shipping scam targeted at small and mid-sized businesses that can cost companies upwards of $10,000, in addition to lost product and time. 

In the more than four years since publishing the blog originally, the post has received hundreds of comments from business owners worldwide that have been victims, or near-victims to these scammers. Several of these owners have offered a number of new red flags to help business owners spot these scams.

This blog update includes the new red flags and additional tips for business owners. Make sure your customer service and sales team is aware of the scam, so you catch on before you get caught. 

UPDATED: Red flags for fraud

  • Email orders with numerous typos and grammatical problems
  • Orders for large quantities product 
  • Orders that require long-distance shipping (often for products that could be easily sourced from a local supplier)
  • Orders that request use of a shipping company chosen only by the customer (unfamiliar companies that are not easily discovered in an Internet search)
  • Orders paid for with a credit card that has a different billing address than the shipping address
  • Orders from a Gmail, Yahoo or other free email account
  • Email orders with an overseas timestamp (often the timestamp doesn’t match the stated location of the purchaser)
  • Quotes for freight do not include a phone number
  • Orders through relay operator for the hearing impaired 


In August, we launched a Scam Alert page on GlassMagazine.com to alert readers of fraudulent ordering schemes, including scams using fake shipping companies. Since posting the warning page, I have received numerous e-mails and calls from small business owners and managers in and out of the industry who have been affected. The same scams that have plagued the glass industry have hit vinyl dealers, print shops and even ice cream truck suppliers. Many owners caught the scam in time. Others were not so lucky.

I don’t want to belabor the point—I have blogged and reported on these scams previously--but the best way, and seemingly the only way, to beat a scam is to stop it before it happens. Know their tactics. Know the red flags.

According to my scam sources (a.k.a., business owners that have been scammed or nearly scammed), this is how the fake shipping company scam usually works:

  • A customer contacts a shop via relay operator or e-mail to order a large quantity of product; in the glass industry, it’s usually 1/8-inch or ¼-inch annealed glass. (Red flags: The email exchanges are often littered with misspellings and poor grammar, and often come from a Gmail, Yahoo or similar free e-mail account.)

  • The customer wants to pay for the product with a credit card and wants to ship the order a large distance, sometimes the end destination is across the country, sometimes it’s on another continent. The purchasing credit card is usually stolen. (Red flags: Scammers usually place an order for products they could easily get from a local shop, and the credit card billing address doesn't match the shipping address.)

  • The customer says they want to use their preferred shipping company to transport the product. The customer asks the business to pay the delivery company directly and says they will send a check or money order the business to repay the delivery costs. (Red flag: Business owners have reported scammers request to use the shipping companies AGC Delivery International, Ox Direct Shippers or Cargo Trust Shipping Freight Co.)

  • After the business has paid the delivery company, the scammer’s check or money order won’t go through, leaving the business without the thousands of dollars of delivery costs and with wasted product.


“We almost got taken. We had a order for approximately $12,000.00 to be shipped to Ghana. $6000.00 of that was shipping to be paid to via money gram to Agc Delivery International,” one business owner told me in a recent email. "I did not start checking things out until the three cards they gave me were declined. I typed the delivery company and your site popped up.”

Visit the Scam Alert page to see the latest postings from other business owners.

If you are contacted by a scammer, tell your peers and tell us. We’ll anonymously post your scam stories, fraud identification tips and any other advice you have on our Scam Alert page to help warn other business owners. Leave a comment on this blog, or e-mail me directly.


Katy Devlin, Editor, Glass Magazine
 
The opinions expressed here and in reader comments are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The World Cup of Glass final is coming up, but before that, let’s talk about some other winners: the folks who have made it to the finals of the Glass Magazine People Awards. These awards are truly the industry gold standard. Nominations come from the industry and voting is done by the industry. Winning here is a huge honor. Once again this year, amazing candidates from all over the country have been nominated.

I am familiar with all three finalists in the “Best Sales Representative” category, and picking a winner will be pretty impossible for me. I have known Dan Pompeo for a very long time and he is amazing—tons of energy and he always comes through. I have worked with Stacey Quesada of Glass Apps on a few occasions and her attention to detail and follow up is one of the best in my experience. I have always heard great things about Zach Passman, so seeing him on this list was no surprise at all. It's a tough one, but I will eventually pick someone, and everyone out there should do the same—for this category and the others as well. These folks are all winners in the fact they made it this far, and it will be fun to see who gets the nod for being the best in 2014! Voting ends July 31st.

Elsewhere....

  • So it’s the finals of the World Cup of Glass. Our three finalists are USA, Germany and Italy. Each won in their respective “group” over the last few weeks. Now they face each other. Four categories; points are: 3 for first, 2 for second, and 1 for third. Most points wins. Here goes:

Innovation:

USA 3
Germany 2
Italy 1

The United States actually gets lucky that it faces these two in this category. While the U.S. is strong in innovation, it's not dominant. But compared to the competition, it still takes this category.

Quality:

Germany 3
USA 2
Italy 1

Maybe it’s a myth, but I do subscribe to the theory that Germany is the home of the best quality products around.

Products:

USA  3
Italy 2
Germany 1

The United States dominates here, based on sheer product range and usage. Picking second was harder, but I went with Italy based on their decorative product lines.

Industry Support:

USA 3
Italy 2
Germany 1

I almost went with Italy for No. 1 because of how they really step up to support GlassBuild, but the Italian contingent is not that active at the trade or code level so there’s no way they could be first. 

Final Total:

USA 11
Germany 7
Italy 6

Final conclusion: This was a fun exercise to do. The one downer is that we’re not unified from a world standpoint when it comes to code and design. That is something that needs to be improved upon. I will say that it gets me excited that events like GlassBuild America bring ALL of these countries together on one floor, so you can see the greatness in action from all over!

  • Speaking of GlassBuild America, I am really excited about a few things, but the one callout I’d like to make this week is to the folks who are taking major sponsorship roles. These companies realize that they are supporting the industry and the industry's largest North American show, while also getting amazing brand recognition. So major props to Quanex, Bohle, Dip Tech, GGI, Hartung Glass, Kuraray America, Diamon-Fusion, YKK AP America, Guardian, SAPA, Dow Corning, FMI and Pilkington North America for stepping up. 
  • Last this week: A quick personal note. My nephew Josh, who has been in the industry now for several years including his current run at W.A. Wilson, got engaged over the weekend. Congrats to Josh and we’re thrilled that our family is getting a great new addition with Nicole!

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, July 14, 2014

As the soccer World Cup ends, our glass world cup competition still has two more steps to go. This week was the debut of the good ol' USA and they did not disappoint, but I have a feeling they will find the finals much tougher! For this round the foursome was the United States, Spain, Japan and Russia. Since it's been a few weeks a quick reminder on the categories for scoring: Innovation, Products, Quality and Industry Support.

For this round, the glaring omission of France really played out. When the tallies were added, Russia really was not ready for this tourney. While they have what is considered to be an awesome trade show, they’re still quite a bit behind in every other category at this point. Japan and Spain both had solid showings and may have done better in a different group. Spain, with its dominance on the decorative side and strong support of the industry showed well, and Japan, with major float players and some solid innovations, helped mask its limited industry support.

Meanwhile, the United States won the group because innovation is still strong, and industry support is significant, despite what many may think. The final totals: USA, 15; Spain, 10; Japan, 10; Russia, 5. So next week is the final. It will feature the United States, Germany and Italy. There is no question this will be a very difficult one to score with each country bringing so much into the process. 

Elsewhere…

  • A hearty congratulations to Steve O’Hollaren of ICD for passing his LEED Green Associates exam; that is NOT an easy test. Great work sir. Can’t wait to call you with lots of LEED-related questions!
  • While we’re patting people on the back, kudos also to Dip-Tech on the launch of their new blog/newsletter. The folks there obviously put a ton of time, thought and planning into it because it was a really sharp and organized effort. Something I look forward to receiving on a regular basis!
  • The Dodge Momentum index is up again for 3rd straight month. Overall, the indicators have been solid and momentum for sales has shown to be positive. The worry, I believe, continues to be cash flow. All in all though, summer is off to a solid start.
  • I think I was the last person in the U.S. to see the movie “Frozen,” and I enjoyed it, as it was typical Disney. But the reason I write this is that I read people have been waiting up to 6 hours to meet the “princesses” at the theme parks. SIX HOURS. It got me thinking: Is there anyone that I would wait 6 hours for, to just get to say hi. I mean if it was a 6-hour wait and you get some time with the person, then sure I could name a few, but just to shake a hand or get a picture? Not sure I can come up with a living person. 
  • Pretty cool case study I read recently on the social effect of “green” products. Two sets of hand sanitizer were laid out at a trade show. One was marked with one basic title. The other with a similar title, but noted it was “green.” So during the event the table was watched onsite and discreetly. When someone was standing at the table, the large majority went for the “green” product. When no one was working the table, the totals flipped the other way; many more went for the regular product. Goes to show you we still have a society that has people who say the right things and may publicly try to do, but in private still do what they are more comfortable with.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Twenty-five years ago, one of the primary focuses in the fire-rated glazing industry was developing products with greater design flexibility. Architects were no longer satisfied simply using wired fire-rated glass in individual windows, borrowed lites and small view panes in doors. They wanted large, visually compatible glazed areas that could extend from floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, and across multiple stories.

Over the last two decades, the push towards clearer fire-rated glass and sleek, fire-rated frames ultimately led to one of our industry’s greatest breakthroughs – fire-rated glazing systems. Designed and tested to work together as a cohesive unit, integrated fire-rated glass and frames made it possible for building teams to use fire-rated glass floors, roofs, and curtain walls to meet stringent fire and life safety codes.

Despite these advances, some building teams still question whether they can meet their design goals with fire-rated glazing. As is true in every industry, some manufacturing processes yield better results than others. But, the bottom line is there is no reason fire-rated glazing should force a major compromise on design goals. Here are several practical ways glass industry professionals can demonstrate how fire-rated glazing systems can advance building design.

Show how fire-rated glazing systems can do more with less - During informational sessions with design professionals, be sure to highlight fire-rated glazing systems with dual or triple functionality. Products that make it possible to accomplish more with less – like fire-rated glass floor systems and curtain walls – can help customers maintain their design intent and satisfy various project performance requirements.

Promote visual consistency with other building elements - Fire-rated glazing previously tended to have much thicker frames and glass to provide the necessary fire protection. This often created aesthetic discrepancies with nearby curtain walls, windows, and doors. Since many of today’s fire-rated glazing systems have crisp frame edges and clear fire-rated glazing, it’s important to show building teams that smooth integration with surrounding applications is possible. New options like silicone-glazed (SG) fire-rated curtain walls can even match the smooth, frame-free exterior surface of structural silicone glazed curtain wall systems.

Demonstrate design flexibility - For many architects, potential trade-offs between fire and life safety requirements and appearance are hard to swallow. If you are involved with the customer early on in the design process, the good news is in many instances there are readily available system solutions. One example is using fire protective materials with sprinkler systems. Approved systems like FireLite Plus WS in combination with TYCO Model WS Window Sprinklers can serve as an alternative to fire-rated assemblies requiring a 2-hour rating, when acceptable to the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Because the glass in the system provides fire- and impact-safety, achieves up to a 120 minute fire rating and can withstand thermal shock, building teams have greater design freedom than was possible with tempered glass alternatives. For example, the assembly eliminates the need for a 36 inch ponywall often previously used with the TYCO WS system, and allows the fire-rated glazing to be butt glazed for a seamless aesthetic.

Keep looking forward -Twenty-five years ago it was hard to see past the limitations of wired fire-rated glass. Now the industry is producing advanced systems like fire-rated glass floors and fire-rated curtain walls with the appearance of structural silicone glazing. Imagine where the glazing industry could be in another twenty-five years if we keep working to resolve fire-rated glazing design challenges. How are you working to change fire-rated glazing design perspectives in our industry?

Jeff Razwick is the president of Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. He writes frequently about the design and specification of glazing for institutional and commercial buildings, and is a past chair of the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FRGC). www.fireglass.com, 800/426-0279.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.
Monday, July 7, 2014

Before I get to the AIA review, I have to lead off with the gigantic story that broke late Thursday and was posted first on GlassMagazine.com: Cardinal Glass Industries is buying Catalina Tempering Inc. From a commercial side this is not big news. From the residential side this is earth shaking. Just a huge acquisition for Cardinal and now the second one in the last few months that has really made waves (first being the acquisition of Northeast Laminated in late April). Cardinal now has jumped in with two sharp, strategic moves and is signaling their intention to continue to be a force especially on the residential glass world. Catalina was a homegrown company that saw major success built by strategically placing plants near window manufacturers to supply them custom tempered. I don’t believe many people could have seen this sale coming; surely there were no major indications of such. The bottom line here is that Cardinal is making moves, and companies once thought to be “off the market” may actually not be…

Elsewhere…

Because of the size of the AIA recap, I am pushing Round 3 of the World Cup of Glass back a week…

  • AIA was a mixed bag. It is always great to see people and learn new things about the industry, products, and services. However the show itself was just not that good. Traffic was inconsistent and very light in some areas of the floor, and it’s apparent that the architects that were there have too many things to see and do during this show. I know some companies were pleased and others not so much. And no matter, it does not dampen my enthusiasm for the next big event in our world: GlassBuild America. That show is coming along nicely with huge new exhibitors, innovation, and probably the coolest education set up you can imagine.
  • As for the seen and visited part of the show… here goes:

It was good to visit Joe Erb while walking the floor; he’s always got a great insight or 100.

Walker Textures is really an impressive company. I know I always comment on their sartorial splendidness (Danik in a bow tie at this show—wow), but the fact of the matter is that this operation should be used as a case study for a group that really “gets it.” They are always evolving and innovating. Plus, it was super to get to chat with Ross Christie of Walker.

Speaking of innovation, I was very impressed with the Viracon App. It is a really a strong tool and will be used in the way that medium was designed.

It was a pleasure to run into Jerry Schwabauer of Azon—I had not seen him a while.

A cool product that was not really in our industry was the home elevators from Savaria. They do feature beautiful glass doors, though. Now I don’t think I’ll ever need or have a home elevator, but if I get one, this is what I’ll buy!

Guardian was at AIA in force, and as always, so hospitable to me. Amy Hennes is a class act, and getting to see the legend Brian Craft is always a pleasure. Brian’s healthy and looking great, and led a sold out seminar during the show.

I knew very little about Vetrotech Saint Gobain, but came away from their booth impressed. Getting hurricane-resistant approvals is no easy task, and they did it with their product.

Also impressive is the new unit glaze system from CRL/US Aluminum. I really appreciate Paul Daniels giving me a quick demo.

And I made a quick visit to see Sage. I was impressed by their new booth showing shapes, sizes, and new product advancements.

PPG was there as always. I got to chat with my favorite Jan Rogan, and visited with Glenn Miner as always. Rob Struble happened to be there, but I never got to talk with him as he was engaged with someone every single time I swung by. That to me may be my biggest regret of the show!

You can always count on YKK to have a buzz around their booth, and this year was no different.

I was also very very impressed with the team from tesa tape. They will be showing at GlassBuild for the first time this fall, and I think they will be a very popular destination for attendees to visit.

A lot of foreign companies were on the floor trying to get a foot in the market. Hopefully they realize that doing AIA is only one part of the mission to reach North America’s buyers.

  • Random other thoughts…

I blew it by not bringing my running gear. The temps were perfect and there were so many places to run. I downloaded the app and took “Uber” everywhere. The semi controversial car sharing service was a godsend for me. I know that those in the cab and transport industry hate them, but as a pure consumer, in an event like this where getting around is such a pain, it was the MVP of my time there.

  • Last this week, the World Cup of Soccer surely had our country enthused. I am wondering what happens in four years when the games are in Russia and the times of games aren’t as convenient to watch live. Still it’s been a fun tourney with still some great games to go.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.
 

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.