glassblog

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another GlassBuild America is in the books, and it was an incredible experience. 2014 featured the best crowd in years, amazing education and demos, networking and business transactions. LOTS of business transactions, actually. There is no question in my mind that the momentum and enthusiasm we have in our world right now is very real. Yes, we have obstacles ahead, but things continue to progress in the right direction. And let’s keep in mind the comments that the great Oliver Stepe of YKK AP said in the Glazing Executive Forum at GlassBuild: "Do not forget the lessons of the past. It would be a mistake to go backward. Keep doing more with less. The market is better, yes, but your competition is better, too."

I can’t agree more, as we surely do not want to go backward in the way we operate or approach our businesses. All in all, let’s keep this positive momentum going!

As I have been doing for many years, I share with you here what I saw and noticed on the show floor. This blog is longer than normal, so you are forewarned.

  • Overall- the level and look of the exhibits was amazing!
  • Great to see Mike Gainey of Azon again. And he was looking great, too. The team from Garibaldi Glass was great to catch up with--Carey, Chris, Otto and Neally. A super booth and some really cool cutting edge/impressive products on display. Of course, it's not an industry show if I don’t get to spend a few minutes with Glenn Miner and Joanne Funyak from PPG, though this year it had to be BEFORE the show kicked off because I could not get in their booth during the show due to the crowds. Speaking of busy, my old friend Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle BE was in deep conversation every time I came within 20 feet of him, so never got the chance to chat. Same with Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural and Steve Cohen of Schott. That’s the only problem with such a packed event, not getting time to chat with everyone. All three guys look like they are doing quite well, though.
  • Good to see Garret Henson and Seth Madole of Viracon holding court on the show floor. Those two just stood in one place and let the show come to them. Nice. The Idaho State Hall of Fame football player Dave Michaeli of AGC was on hand working their booth, which was very sharp by the way. Dave looks like he could suit up for a NFL team right now. Plus, AGC had the legend of Rocky Top Matt Ferguson in attendance as well; wish I could’ve spent more time with him. Very nice to meet Vistamatic boss Kevin Roth in person; I’m a fan of his company's product. And great to run into Devin Bowman from TGP walking the floor; wish I had more time to chat with him. Getting a few minutes to catch up with Lloyd Talbert of C.R. Laurence is always awesome. That company always steps up for the industry and I always make sure to thank Lloyd for that support.
  • The Dip-Tech booth was awesome. Being on the floor early, and seeing it go up from nothing made me appreciate it all the more. And that goes for the entire show. To see the floor a few days before the show opens; it’s an epic disaster. Then by show open, it's absolutely pristine. Kudos to EVERY exhibitor.
  • A fascinating moment for me? Being in the Bottero booth and meeting Kristin Hayes of Luminous Glass Distributors in Miami. She just closed a deal there for a machine and was rightfully fired up. It was very nice to meet her and witness firsthand this exciting move for her company. Very impressive businesswoman for sure. And I loved watching business being done on the floor!
  • Best shirts for the second year go to Salem Distributing. Whoever is making the clothing call there, keep it up--looks great. In close second is Lisec. The maroon/black look is strong. Speaking of Lisec, it was very nice to catch up with Hans Hoenig, Bob Quast and run into Chris Brooks as well. And you can’t mention fashion without mentioning Walker Glass, of course. In a few weeks I’ll share a story about me, fashion and the industry's most stylish man, Danik Dancause, that some of you will get a kick out of.
  • Best booth idea/promotion? Dressing up in zebra-printed sport jackets by the guys from Lite Sentry. Mark Abbott and Eric Hegstrom looked dapper, and it was a good way to get their message across. Also, I really liked what PRL did with their booth--super use of product. And the same can go for HMI Cardinal; they had some product on display that really blew people away.
  • Safety really matters, and so seeing Tuff-n-Lite having a packed booth the entire show was exciting for me. If I was still a fabricator, I’d surely be trying out their safety gear in my shop. There are some really neat advancements of safety technology there. Props to Mary Olivier of Tubelite for her golden touch on booth selection. She hit the jackpot with what seemed to be a perfect spot with traffic coming in from all ends.
  • Bloggers galore. Bill Evans did a tremendous job with his Express Learning spot and Bill Briese of GED was nice enough to step out of his booth for a moment to catch up with me. Love when either of the guys write. And yes, it was great to see my brother Steve. Healthy, happy and strong, and doing amazing things with Bobby Hartong (who refuses to come to GlassBuild for some reason; I think it's me) and their team at W.A. Wilson.
  • Not seen: Unfortunately Ralph Aknin had to cancel out last minute. You were missed for sure, Ralph. Also, because of the crowded show/meeting landscape, Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning had to miss out. Since he doesn’t read this blog, someone tell him he was missed! I believe Joe Carlos from TriView was there, but I missed him, too. Plus, the show was not the same for me (or others I am sure) with Chris “Megatron” Dolan not in the Guardian booth. (Though the gang there did a great job of showing off their product and services as always.) 
  • There’s other news from this week including a good friend of this blog getting a new position and Viracon opening back up in Utah. Those and other stories I will hit next week as we get back to normal. Or whatever "normal" is in my life…

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, September 15, 2014

During the last 10 years, the architectural industry has transformed from a business of two-dimensional drawings and standard systems, to a 3D world with custom demands and consistently increasing performance expectations. This complexity in the design world has been matched by accelerating R&D from building product manufacturers, along with widening product offerings and system possibilities.

In no industry has this been truer than the glass business, where manufacturers have rapidly grown their glass and framing options to provide better performance and more aesthetic possibilities. An architect now has a million potential glass and glazing system combinations to choose from when specifying products, according to estimates from industry officials during the opening panel at the Glazing Executives Forum, held in conjunction with GlassBuild America last week in Las Vegas.

The proliferation of product options pushes the envelope of what is possible on the façade. However, it also opens the door to confusion, mis-specifications and frustrations. And, that can lead to glass-clad buildings that don’t meet energy-performance expectations, which harms the whole industry.

“In some areas of the world, we’ve lost the ‘Battle for the Wall,’” said GEF panelist Jay Phillips, commercial segment director, Americas, for Guardian Industries. In South America, for example, architects are looking to alternative materials for their building facades due to concerns that glass buildings won’t be able to perform, he said.

Educating the design industry about the best use of glass products on the building will be critical to combating misuse of glass products and misassumptions about performance potential, the panelists emphasized.

“We need to be thinking about educating the industry at large,” said Mic Patterson, director of strategic development for Enclos Corp., during the GEF panel. “We need to be collaborating as an industry. … We need to be figuring out how to do this better [in terms of performance], and taking it to the street. And we need to make sure that the technological improvements and enhancements are appropriately utilized.”

At every level in the glass industry—from manufacturers to fabricators to glaziers—companies need to make sure their architectural reps and project managers are familiar with the most up-to-date product options on the market. They need to be aware of the best ways to ensure performance and cost-effective product solutions. They need to assess the needs of each project individually and be able to communicate the best product options to the architectural team.

“It’s not a single product, or what the product can do. It’s the need—what is the design intent, and what are the design requirements,” said Glenn Miner director construction, flat glass at PPG Industries, during a recent interview. “I ask architects to tell me what they are looking for. I don’t want a [performance] number. Say ‘I wish I didn’t have morning glare, or I want the view in the afternoon, or I wish I had more control.’ We can find you glass solutions to fit your needs.”

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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One of the most frequent questions I hear is: How can I get in the magazine? It’s this question that prompted the Smart PR Express Learning session that I will be leading this week during GlassBuild America in Las Vegas. (Check out the schedule here, if you’re at the show and would like to attend).

Being featured in the magazines or online is not only exciting, it’s also smart business. Your customers are likely reading Glass Magazine; features in print prove the quality of your work and the legitimacy of your company; and magazine profiles help foster work pride among your employees. All of this affects your bottom line.

The first step to getting in the magazine is to familiarize yourself with the content. Find out what types of features are in the magazine, and think about where your company’s products and services might be a good fit. Glass Magazine offers numerous opportunities for project profiles, trend studies, technical articles, product announcements and personnel news.

Next, make sure you know who the editors are and that you have their contact information. (My email is at the bottom of this blog for anyone who doesn’t yet have it). We want to hear from you. We like to hear from you. Send us emails, schedule interviews or booth visits at trade shows, or organize facility tours. If something is going on that we should know about, from a new hire to a cool project, let us know. We can’t cover it in the magazine or online if we don’t know about it.

And make sure the editors know you. It helps to have a dedicated marketing point person for your company who will reach out to us with any news, and who will be our go-to person if we are seeking information. You don’t need to have a person whose sole job is marketing. For many companies, even some large glass firms, I work directly with the president and owner. For others, I work with outside PR firms. Both can work work very well. 

Finally, consider authoring an article. Glass Magazine and its online publications feature industry-submitted blogs, columns and technical articles. You have an industry expertise that we don’t, and we appreciate your contributions.

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.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

We’re now one week out from the biggest event in our industry. In this special GlassBuild America edition of the blog, I wanted to first touch on a few things I have not hit on previously.

The Glazing Executives Forum, backed once again this year by industry heavy hitters YKK AP, Guardian, SAPA, Pilkington, Dow Corning, and FMI, will be solid. The forum kicks off with a very strong panel featuring Mic Patterson of Enclos, Jay Phillips of Guardian, and Oliver Stepe of YKK; concludes with the industry's favorite economist Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich; and features timely, needed break-out sessions in the middle. It’s an extremely interesting agenda. Check it out.

Meanwhile, GlassBuild America will also be home to a very important session being hosted by the Department of Energy. Yes, the DOE will be on site with a forum led by Dr. Karma Sawyer. (I am a huge fan of her personally; check my archives.) Participants in this event will be able to provide feedback directly to the DOE Building Technologies Office on their needs over the next three to five years, and to provide input about the facilities that will be critical to moving their energy efficient products to widespread application in residential and commercial markets, in new construction, replacement and retrofit. More simply said, it’s an awesome opportunity to reach people in our world who can make a difference. While there are the typical opportunities to come to the show and do business, there are also these other events that make the overall show even more monumental.

Elsewhere…

  • I’m hearing that the folks from Vetrotech Saint-Gobain will have something really memorable in their booth this year. Go download the GlassBuild America App, and make a note of their location.
  • Speaking of the App, it really makes the show experience more complete. Three ways to get it: Search for GlassBuild 2014 in the iTune App store/Google Marketplace; click here and follow the links/codes; or, if you like to wait 'til the last minute, QR codes will be on signage everywhere during the show, and you can scan and load the app from there. If you are going to the show, you have to have this on your phone.
  • I’ve previously hit on all of the other cool things with GlassBuild America this year: the Express Learning FREE 20-minute sessions on the floor; the demonstrations; the innovation (some amazing products that should not be missed); and just being with thousands of people covering every bit of our industry.
  • You may wonder about my passion for the show. While I do work for this show, I'm also an industry guy and believe that a strong industry benefits from the success of a major event like this. The education, the business possibilities and the innovation on display are crucial for this industry to evolve, grow and be healthy. Yes, I am a full-throated promoter of the show, but one with serious beliefs in the incredible value it brings.
  • As always, I will be working the floor, shooting video, interviewing people and networking. I’ll be wearing my bright yellow media vest; please stop me and say hi.
  • I won’t have a formal blog next week since we’ll be in the middle of show coverage, but the week after I’ll be back here with my traditional "Who’s Who" of the show. For those new readers, that’s where I call out people I got to meet, see and chat with. This blog will also look at the best products and exhibits at the show.

See you at the show!

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, September 2, 2014

In geometry, a plane is defined by three points, not one or two. We have one chair at our kitchen table that can’t decide which three of its legs to use, and it wobbles. The game is to move that chair so that someone else has to sit in it for dinner. Tough crowd at home.

How stable is your organization? I’ve noticed successful and stable companies focus on three categories, not one or two. So, what are they?

  1. Existing Product Line Maintenance. How well do you service your existing customer base? We look at competitors, and some are successful, some not so successful. Some have a great reputation, some not so. What makes us think highly of one company over another? I don’t think anyone would argue great customer service is mandatory. Without mastering this, you’ll never get a repeat order.
  2. Pull. Customers are asking you for certain products that will pull your attention and short term direction. Will your customers pull you too far out of your niche? Sometimes it’s best to say “no” to a potential order.
  3. Push. Do you consider and investigate things that your customer base isn’t asking for or don’t even know they want yet? Ten years ago no one had use for a smart phone app. This is the trickiest and easiest category to drop from your radar. Do you have a good idea of where emerging technologies and products fit into your plans? If you are a start-up company then this item might initially overshadow the other two mentioned above, but before long you will have to adjust and bring all three of these categories into balance.

If your organization increases priority of one or two over the other category, your “chair” will tilt to one direction or the other and become less stable. Get too far out of balance and you might even fall off your chair. Don’t misunderstand; we are all working on more than three things. Just make sure however many activities consume your time that their categories balance, and you have stability.

The author is R&D / Engineering Manager at GED Integrated Solutions.

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.