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Monday, September 27, 2010

But they are not without value. And despite their differences, most point upwards.

"[Solar market] forecasts tend to be wildly different from source to source and from quarter to quarter," says Patrick Barnds, market segment director, Energy, Guardian Industries. "After studying it for a few years now, the one thing that we can say with a high degree of certainty is that all the forecasts are probably wrong. There are just too many factors that have the potential to impact the growth rates over time. These include technical developments, government policy and incentives, industry capacity, the cost of power generation from existing sources (i.e. oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydro-electric), etc."

That doesn't mean the glass industry shouldn't prepare for growth in the solar market, however. We still need to develop a forecast, Barnds says. "In fact, it's critical for our [Guardian] plant and asset planning purposes if we are going to invest ahead of demand and market needs."

Guardian, for example, expects the North American photovoltaic market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of between 23-31 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to Barnds. "From 2015 to 2020, we expect the CAGR to be closer to 33-35 percent. There will be some bumps along the way, and we don't expect the growth curve to be smooth. However, we believe that the averages are reasonable in any three to five-year period."

At PPG, Wayne Boor, manager, solar technology transfer, for the company's performance glazings business, said solar glazings could account for 10 to 20 percent of flat glass sales, if not more, by 2015.

And at GlassBuild America, Richard Voreis, CEO, Consulting Collaborative, reported PV worldwide installations could double by year-end 2012.

These are big numbers. As to how accurate they are, only time will tell. As Barnds points out, there are a lot of factors in play. Here in Colorado—where solar panels are becoming a more common sight—it's easy to see a future in which residential and commercial buildings are powered by the sun. But what are you seeing in your market? Are these forecasts in line with your expectations? 

The author is editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well, another GlassBuild is in the books. Overall, I thought the show was very positive. The vibe there did fall on the side of hopeful, and the buzz about the future was encouraging. Yes, there were some rough parts, like some slow and spotty crowds and some key people missing, but considering the climate we are in, I would easily deem the show a success. The people that came and walked the show gained from the new and exciting things they saw, and for the most part, the exhibitors should have gained from a focused attendee base, not just people using the show as an excuse to be in Vegas. The hope here is when we meet back up in Atlanta next year, we're talking about how much better things are than now. 

Elsewhere...

  • One theme that I spent time on was the fact that back in 2005 when things were rolling, did any of us sit back and say "Wow, this is great!" Chances are you didn't, so I think when times change again we'll be able to appreciate them more.
  • Vegas itself really is an amazing place... from the awesome architecture and design (and my goodness the interiors of the CityCenter were incredible) to just the cheese factor that is Vegas. Like hundreds of people watching the show outside of Treasure Island. Lip synched songs and fire I guess attracts 'em in. But the other wild thing is getting up at 4 a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. flight and seeing the hotel lobby and casino packed. That can only happen in Vegas.  

Read more...

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day two of GlassBuild came through with bigger crowds and more enthusiasm. I felt day two was going to be the make or break of the show, and personally, the crowds being stronger puts this show in the "make" category. Now obviously, this is not a show to compare with the good ole days of 2005, but for the timing and place we are in the economy, it really was a positive showing.

Now on to what was seen and heard...

  • Always a great thrill to see Raj Goyal, now doing consulting for Technoform. A major class act and a credit to our industry for sure. And Technoform's booth for the second day in a row was jumping... Those guys are probably thrilled with the show so far.
  • Heard from many people that the GEF (Glazing Executives Forum) was super. Major kudos to Matt Rumbaugh and his team for the success.
  • I attended the GlassBuild reception for the very first time. This is my fifteenth show, and I never made it to a reception until now... It was jam packed and great food on hand. Man, I blew it missing the past 14.
  • Cool as a cucumber Jay Phillips of Guardian was everywhere on the floor. Guardian may not have had a booth, but Jay covered the real estate on the floor like he was riding one of those Segway motor scooters. He was everywhere.
  • Very thrilled to meet in person Newton Little of Ace Glass in Arkansas. Good man who donates a ton of time for the betterment of our industry.
  • Best business cards... Tom O'Malley of Doralco... just the coolest layout and very eye catching... I think I may have to ask him if I can borrow his design. These cards were the same width as a normal card but slightly shorter height; the key was the font, and design of the card was dynamic. 

Read more...

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day one on the show floor was surely a fun one for me. I hadn't been to GlassBuild for two years, so it was great to be back amidst the action. Overall, I thought the day was solid; the crowd came in waves and I saw some booths swamped with people. That said, I know some folks might have commented that it was slow or light, but I think for a first day when all was said and done, it was better than you think.

Seen and heard and experienced on the show floor.... Larry King or Page 6 style:

  • Before hitting the floor, I ran into Rick Friel of Cardinal. He was looking great, proving West Coast living must agree with him.
  • Best look of the day: the gang from PPG looking nattily clad in their very cool vests. Yes, the great Rob Struble strikes again with that idea. I need to beg him for one of those! 
  • Loved the GGI wide-open booth. Went over to say hi to my brother, but he was always entertaining someone.
  • No Starship Enterprise booth this year as no Oldcastle showing. Dang. 

 Read more...

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Evans Glass Co. has a longtime supplier that has changed names and ownership many times during the last 30 years. Their previous salesman lived in another city, yet called us and/or called upon us regularly. We developed a friendship. We knew about each others' hobbies, families and favorite sports teams. Their present salesman lives in the same community as our company. Yet he only calls upon us once a quarter or after we have contacted him for a price or to answer a question. Evans Glass Co. was important to the previous salesman. Evans Glass Co. is not important to the current salesman. The supplier is receiving less business as a result.

I cite this as an example. All business is conducted because of human relationships. Now let’s turn the table. How does Evans Glass Co., or your company, treat its customers? We must define who our best customers are.  Evans Glass Co. uses these guidelines:

  • Which customers give us repeat business for reasons other than low price?
  • Which customers give us the most referrals?

These are the only two judgments we use for a preferred customer classification. 

We pay close attention to these customers. We do not take them for granted. We determine their preferred method of communication and use it. For example, do they like telephone calls instead of e-mails? When we make it comfortable for the customer to buy from us, we eliminate competition.

We discover their likes, dislikes, hobbies, birthday, anniversary and pet peeves. A dozen Pro V1 before a golf tournament may be a good idea. A recommendation of a good restaurant at their vacation destination can help them remember you fondly. A birthday card is usually welcome. Send a get-well card to someone’s spouse when needed. Possibly the best way to keep the customer is to refer them business.

In this economic climate, it is imperative that we work smarter to keep our best customers. If your customer exercises regularly, don’t take doughnuts. Don’t take them to a tofu restaurant if they like meat and potatoes. All of these are very elementary, but often forgotten. I have been training to run 56 miles, yet we have a supplier that continues to bring doughnuts and pastries that go mostly uneaten. 

In summary, know your customers as people first,, customers second. If you know them as people first, the relationship will go well beyond that of customer-supplier. Appreciate them; communicate with them; help them grow; and they will help you grow.

—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville   

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 7, 2010

Everyone knows there's no more important gathering each year for glass industry professionals than GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo (Sept. 14-16 in Las Vegas). But with so much to do and only a few days to do it (after all, the show's in Vegas, and you've got to allow a little play time, right?), I thought I'd share my "Eight Wonders of the GlassBuild America 2010 Expo."

In no particular order, please step right up and gaze in amazement at:

1. Trends in decorative glass seminar: Led by industry favorite Bernard Lax (a natural wonder in his own right), this interactive panel discussion features three leading experts exploring how specialty glass is selected and perceived by each facet of the glass industry.

2. Fifth Annual NGA Glazing Executives Forum: One of our most popular events every year, the 2010 forum will again feature several interactive breakout sessions, dynamic speakers and a must-see economic forecast for the glazing industry.

3. Innovations Pavilion: Returning after the rousing success of its 2009 introduction, this year's pavilion will feature even more cutting-edge technologies and exhibiting companies.

4. Inaugural Window & Door Dealers Forum: Created exclusively by and for independent window and door dealers, this much-anticipated program is patterned after the Glazing Executives Forum and is hosted by the Window & Door Dealers Alliance.

5. PV Seminar: Sure to be one of the most talked-about sessions of the week, this educational program will examine architectural and other technological considerations driving the fast-growing photovoltaic industry.

6. AAMA's FenestrationMasters Program: This exciting new online training module -- designed specifically for the window and door industry -- will be launched at GlassBuild America.

7. Business alliances -- I have several meetings already scheduled to "make our economy." How about you? Are you ready to close that mega-sale?

8. The exhibits! The exhibits! More than 1,000 booths will showcase the best and most cutting-edge glass industry products, services and designs. There's something new and exciting literally around every corner.

Remember, it's Vegas. It's fall. And it's the only event in North America this year where our entire industry will be under one roof. Need I say more?

There's still time to register. Don't miss out on this unrivaled opportunity to generate new business, expand your professional network and build your sales pipeline for the coming year. The 2010 GlassBuild America Expo begins one week from today!

The author is vice president of association services for the National Glass Association, McLean, Va. Write him at dwalker@glass.org.

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 6, 2010

The big GlassBuild America show is next week and my plan is to do a "live" blog at least two of the days. For those of you new to this blog, when I go to shows, I make observations and also cover it in a "Page 6" style. I am excited for the show and believe it will be a good one as the people attending are serious about business/education/networking, etc. Plus, I haven't been to a show in two years, so to get to catch up with so many people across the industry will be a treat.

Elsewhere...

Well, last week I started a new adventure in my life. Getting going at Vitro was fantastic and I can't help but be excited about the future there. People who read this blog weekly have followed my range of emotions from the good, bad and ugly- and there's been way too much of the last two... so it's really refreshing for some good. Now, hopefully the economy will also pitch in and we can start getting some good news there too. In any case I am pumped to be where I am at and I am really looking forward to getting to know the people here. 

Read more...

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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.

Friday, August 27, 2010

When the house that I've had my eye on for some time went up for sale, I was among the first in line to take a peek. It was a great place, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and lots of fixed and operable windows. At first glance, it appeared to be a perfect example of how one can use glass to bring the outdoors in and maximize interior light. Upon closer inspection, however, it revealed itself to be an energy nightmare. Every piece of glass in the home—and there were many—was single-pane.

As I calculated the cost of replacing the glass and windows with energy-efficient units, the home quickly exited my price range. A couple of days later, another buyer snatched it up.

Which led me to consider: How many homeowners and building owners are in the dark when it comes to the energy costs associated with single-glazed windows?

Now maybe the buyer just had deeper pockets than me and could afford to replace all of the glass. But maybe, they simply weren't aware of the costs associated with heating and cooling a single-glazed structure.

In a recent interview with Charlotte Broussard, president and CEO of Universal Window and Door, she said her company sees buildings with single-glazed, malfunctioning windows. "With these single-glazed units, the amount of heat transfer is unbelievable. They are heating the outside of the building!" she said.

My question is, do they know it? And if so, how can we convince them to upgrade their units? According to Broussard, tightening codes and standards is essential, as is educating owners about the return on investment. According to NFRC CEO Jim Benney, an industry-wide effort is necessary to communicate the value energy-efficient windows bring to the table. And then there is the R-value versus U-value debate and how we can best speak to customers in a language they understand. What do you think? How many customers are in the dark, and how do we show them the light? 

The author is editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One of my favorite reads each week is from e-glass weekly's sister publication WDweekly. This past week, John Swanson had an interesting piece on whether the marketing boom of being "green" had run its course, and it's truly a great question. Two years ago, you could attach the word "green" to anything, and bam, you had an instant marketing piece. But there is no doubt that now other priorities, along with tightened budgets, have changed that. Plus, do not discount the fact that enough people reacted negatively to folks who "greenwashed," and that too has lessened the push. Green is a lifestyle that will persevere for years and years, but for now the marketing sparkle has surely dimmed. And maybe that's a good thing in the way that people will actually try to be green before they promote it. Anyway, this Wednesday, John will have a follow up on his question, and if you are not getting WDweekly, you can click here to sign up. Surely worth it.

Elsewhere... 

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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, August 23, 2010

It has been about a year since I last blogged about the tenacious scammers targeting glass companies. Many of you know the game, perhaps even from experience. Here’s the common scenario: A scammer contacts a company (often via emails littered with misspellings and grammatical errors) asking for a large amount of a fairly generic product type; pays using stolen credit cards and requests the business use (and pre-pay) a shipping company that turns out to be fake; and if successful, disappears with the money paid to the fake shipping company. The business is out the money (sometimes several thousand dollars) and stuck with the product the scammer ordered, which for some businesses cannot be easily sold to another customer.

Related articles

Warning: Fake shipping company scam

Scam alert: Red flags and examples of fraudulent orders

Glass shops fight fraud: Tips to identify ordering scams

Scammers strike glass companies in fraud spree

Stand up to scammers

Why write about the same old story? Well, the best, and seemingly only, way to stop these scammers is to spot fraudulent orders before you’re scammed. Ordering fraud is a prevalent threat to industry companies, so you need to be able to spot red flags. Even though you might be familiar with the scams, are your employees or co-workers? I’ve posted some recent examples from glass industry companies at the end of this blog. I encourage you to pass along this information to others in your business (particularly personnel who receive and process orders), and to peers in the industry. And, if you’re targeted, post the exchange on this blog, even anonymously, if you prefer.

The more information and real-world examples on the Web, the easier it is for businesses to cross-check information when they receive a fishy order. In January 2009, I wrote a blog that listed the names of several fake shipping companies reported by business owners. Since then, the blog has received about 180 comments from business owners who have been targeted, many of whom simply Googled the name of the shipping company a scammer requested they use and found it on our blog. Many of the scammers use the same email text for all the companies they target. The more companies that share information when they are targeted, the more likely other companies will be able identify the scam.

One final note of warning, though. The same old story might be changing. As business owners become wiser, the scammers become smarter. Some of the more recent scam emails I’ve seen have contained more precise product information and fewer blatant grammatical errors. Additionally, scammers aren’t sticking with the same shipping company names or organization names. Trust your gut. If something seems off in an order, follow up and do your due diligence. Why would someone in Ghana try to order a fairly standard glass product from a small or midsized glass shop on another continent? Why would a customer refuse to use your normal shipping company and instead request to use their company that charges two or three times as much?

Good luck! And keep spreading the word.

EXAMPLE 1:

From: l45salis@gmail.com

Subject: Sunroof panel order

Hello Sir/Madam,

Good day and how are you? First of all i go by the name Mark Collis,i would like to know if you have some window sunroof panel in stock.Below are the type and the brand i want from you.

Glass Size Cut Hole Size Outer Frame Size

13 5/8 x 28 5/8 15 1/8 x 30 1/8 16 3/16 x 31 3/16

I would like to hear from you and hope we can go from there.Thank you and stay blessed.

EXAMPLE 2:

From: Ben Hurtson [mailto:ben_hurtson2000@yahoo.com]
Subject: Glass Order

Dear Customer Service

My name is Mr Ben Hurtson with the Hurtson & Company and i am sending this email in regards to the order of some Clear Glass and i will need size 30 by 30 1/ 8 each thickness Soda Lime Clear Glass and i will need 120 pieces of that 30 by 30 1/8 each tickness Clear Glass so don't hesitate to contact me back with the price plus tax for 120 pieces of the Clear Glass along with your full contact name so that i can get back to you to place the orders..Awaiting for your response to start ...

Best Regards
Mr Ben Hurtson

EXAMPLE 3:

FROM: revchriscurtis@yahoo.com

Dear Sir
With much regards to your company services and products, I am
Christopher ,and would like to make a purchase on the below product .

30x30 18 inch glass ,
4x4 117.5 inch Clear glass.
18 Inch x 30 Inch Flat Glass Mirror .
3/8" & 1/2" Frameless Shower/Steam Door.
5/8 In. - 12 In. x 12 In. Glass .

Kindly send me a return e-mail on what you currently have in stock and
what you can offer with prices and availability.

God bless
Christopher ... 

--By Katy Devlin, associate editor

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