Does being very busy almost everywhere mean the industry is back and healthy? Was the industry ever really that healthy to begin with? Regardless of how you may feel about the second question, it’s the first question that needs to be examined. While many people report to me that their sales levels and backlogs are excellent, and the booming registration of GlassBuild America lead me to the conclusion that people are busier/happier than in the past, there’s still a nagging fear. That worry is couched in two areas: cash flow and the overall international economic conditions. Cash flow, as I have written here a few times, is still a challenge for many. There does not seem to be an easy fix, given that banks are still not providing that safety net that many companies were used to.
The overall economy still has issues and holes that are worrisome. This recent run is not built on a very solid foundation, and world (and in some cases domestic) volatility makes one very skittish. Regardless, this is the time to make it go. But keep an eye on all that is going on, so if the foundation cracks open, the fall may not hurt as much.
- Some great reading in the most recent Glass Magazine. First off, major kudos to the three great industry pros in the G3 section who answered this month's question about expectations for GlassBuild. All three folks, Mike Wallace of Quality Metalcrafts, Lloyd Talbert of C.R. Laurence, and Alysa Hoffmeister of Dip-Tech gave thoughtful answers to the question and they all made a point to note that this show--the biggest and most important in our industry in North America--is a must to support. Companies like these and the hundreds others displaying in the show really GET IT.
- Also my monthly award for best ad of the month was a tough one. Some excellent and creative work in the issue, but we can have only one winner and that goes to Kawneer for their smart “hole in the wall” piece. Very eye catching and well done! Love the picture and idea.
- This very interesting and disturbing story on why some states are keeping the spread of solar panels down. This is surely not the direction our country needs to head!
- An architectural message board I monitor had a wild thread this week. Actually, the thread started in 2009 and somehow was resurrected. The discussion was on annealed vs. tempered glass and the differences. Something we take for granted as a no brainer in our industry did garner some dialogue on this site. Even the great Bill Coady of Guardian jumped in and tried to educate, but discussion continued. In any case, the point here is what we take as simple may not be as such in other areas of the building product universe.
- The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been one of the most amazing grassroots charitable efforts I have ever seen. Basically people of all walks of life are challenged to donate or dump buckets of ice water over their heads. Most now are doing both to spread the word. To date, reportedly more than 15 million people have taken part. It is everywhere. The Atlantic wrote about why this process just exploded and provided more background if you are interested. This is a charity close to my family’s heart since our dad passed from this disease in 2001. My brother did the challenge (figures the smarter, more successful one of us led the way) and passed it on to my kids and me. We did it. And man it was cold. The evidence is my video of the week; please feel free to check it out. Also a thank you to the always-classy Mike Cully of United Plate Glass who did the challenge in honor of our dad.
- Please, in the end, whether you donate to ALS or you have another charity or charities that you support, continue to do so. It is ALWAYS appreciated!
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.