glassblog

Monday, April 13, 2015

Once there were two companies that were located on the same street and serviced the same market. Both installed new countertops and replaced old countertops. Both had access to the same products from the same vendors at the same volumes and prices. They both had the same number of employees and the same equipment. They both had the same number of trucks and office staff with equally skilled salesmen. However, Company A chose to sell and promote standard countertop laminates, because in their opinion the products were less expensive and easier to sell. Company B chose to embrace a more elegant and beautiful granite countertop, although it was much more expensive. Both companies installed the same amount of product by the end of the year. However, Company B made three times the profit of Company A.

Rather than trying to win every project and fight over half a penny in price, Company B chose to upsell their clients and provide better solutions to their situation. The customer had a need to build value in their home and wanted to make it more beautiful. Company B knew this was the case and found a way to introduce granite choices for his customers. Salesmen were taught what to look for and who to seek out for potential business. Company B’s customers were so happy they referred more customers to him, and soon his marketing budget was cut in half. He had more business than they could handle.

While both companies lived and worked in the same city and served the same marketplace, Company B made a choice to embrace a technology that could enable his company to thrive while Company A scraped by, barely able to eke out a living.

Business owners need to ask themselves the following questions: “Am I overlooking a technology that could help my company become more successful? If so what might that technology be? How can I educate myself and my employees to sell more of it to help my business become more profitable?”

What if a Company B glass business across the street embraces value-added products, such as dynamic glass or other advanced glass technologies, as a means to solve the customer’s problems, but you do not because you think it is too expensive? Where will the customers go?

Chad Simkins is vice president of Pleotint and vice president of sales for Thompson IG. He can be reached at csimkins [at] pleotint.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, April 13, 2015

Events are crucial for networking and education, and if you are in the business, you need to make sure you are keeping up. We are about to enter the late spring show/conference season and there are three that I have marked on my calendar for importance and impact.

Coming up on April 29th is the 28th Annual Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo in Maryland. This event is always packed with many regional glass and glazing companies, and rarely disappoints. Then two days later is an event that I simply cannot wait to experience. I am getting to attend the iconic Garibaldi Glass Day on May 1st. Being a glass geek, I love to see and learn new things. What Garibaldi Glass does every year is simply brilliant, educating the industry and bringing so many stakeholders under one roof. Being there in person has me excited beyond belief. The final event on the schedule is the annual AIA Expo, this year in Atlanta. While I pick on our industry's over-the-top obsession for architects and their approval (we are like that needy child, desperate to catch the attention of the distracted parent when it comes to our need for love from architects), there is value to this show, because of the networking and new products usually on display.

In the end, making shows or conferences a part of your yearly marketing budget is a must. That budget absolutely must include GlassBuild America, because if you are not attending/participating in that show you are truly doing yourself and your business a disservice. Obviously I’ll have a lot more to say on that event as we get closer, but it does boggle my mind when people skip it and then wonder why their competitors are gaining or passing them.

Elsewhere…

  • Heads up with your e-mail folks. A very nasty and tricky virus is out there. Basically you will get an e-mail from a recognizable friend of yours. It will start off as “Hi, how are you and then ask, “have you seen this” and leave a link. And that’s it. That link is a virus to add to your computer. And this virus is so tricky that you truly think it’s from a friend. In addition, another version has a link telling you to review “an invoice” and that too is bad. Needless to say, you have to be on guard with every e-mail nowadays. If it looks wrong or different, it probably is…
  • Tremendous issue of Glass Magazine is out now, and once again the great team led by Katy Devlin knocked it out of the park. Like each month, it's time to give props to the best ad of the issue and this one was a no brainer. The new ad from GGI was spectacular. Just stopped me in my tracks. That is what you want from a magazine ad for sure. Congrats to all involved on that one.
  • Also congratulations to Rick Hamlin of Cupples on his new post as president. Rick is a fantastic person and a true gentleman. Rick for the last few years has moderated the Glazing Executive Forum’s popular “State of the Industry” panel with great care and style. So happy that he’s continuing to be recognized for his talents.
  • Last this week: book review. I just finished “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” by Nicolas Carlson. It was solid--not quite as good as the last few books I have read--but if you want to get a feel for the way billion dollar companies make decisions, most of them bad, then you’ll want to read this. There’s also great inside insight on the configuration of Boards and volatile shareholders that's pretty enlightening. 

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, April 6, 2015

Each year, the Window Safety Task Force of the National Safety Council takes the first full week in April to educate on the importance of practicing window safety year-round. National Window Safety Week is designed to increase awareness on helping to prevent window falls and the proper use of windows for emergency escape purposes.

Falls from a window can result in serious injury or death and pose an especially dangerous threat for children. About eight children under age five die each year from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital, according to Safe Kids Worldwide’s 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home.

“It only takes seconds for a preventable window fall to occur,” said Amy Artuso, program manager for the National Safety Council. “To avoid these needless tragedies, it is very important for parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent home falls.”

Suppliers of window products for multifamily and single family applications can take an active role in educating customers about important safety measures to prevent falls through windows. To protect children, the Window Safety Task Force offers the following tips that manufacturers can share with customers:

  • When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked.
  • When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach. For example, the upper sash of a double hung window.
  • Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing.
  • Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.• Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
  • Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies or patio doors. Keep play in the center of a room, if possible.
  • Install code-compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open or window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire) to help prevent a fall.
  • Teach children how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency, such as a fire.

Click here to learn more about window safety, and read tips on promoting Window Safety Week over social media here.   

Angela Dickson is marketing manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and is current chair of the Window Safety Task Force. 

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, April 6, 2015

Since my last post, two major energy efficiency efforts received big boosts. And despite our current comfort with lower energy prices, energy efficiency is crucial to our society and our industry. First, the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings Bill was re-introduced and the odds of it being pushed forward are positive. If a bi-partisan bill like this can’t make it, then there’s no hope. Meanwhile, the Senate passed the Better Buildings Act of 2015, which will push commercial buildings to be even more energy efficient. More details can be found here, but suffice it to say, we have the products to get this done. And these are examples of why I have been so bullish on the dynamic space. That product line surely should be in the discussion with regards to these pieces of legislation.

Elsewhere…

  • Your monthly update on the Architectural Billings Index: the latest results had the index in the positive but the new project score did dip. Overall attitudes are still very positive when it comes to building and the economy. From my own view, I am seeing more cranes and shells of buildings in process than I have seen in years.
  • Folks, don’t forget to get your nominations in for the premier award program in our industry—The Glass Magazine Awards. Deadline for nominations is this week—April 10.
  • Birthday wishes to two cool folks in our industry: Lewis McCallister of Coral Industries and Jan Rogan of PPG.
  • A heads up to anyone who’s into SEO and websites: Google is making some big changes to their algorithms, specifically location coding. Back in the day, you could list your company and connect with every city you could think of, then just have it link back to your main site. In this new update, Google is devaluing websites that do that, potentially moving them down the rankings quite a bit. If you need more info, drop me a note.
  • The final agenda for Glass Performance Days is out, and those of you going to Finland for it will surely experience a serious overload of glass and glazing education. A few pieces to check out include the awesome Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning going deep on hyperelastic materials, tech legend Chris Barry on spandrel defects (Chris will make serious news I believe with his findings), and the extremely talented Jim Gulnick of McGrory Glass with a solar power case study.
  • And speaking of Mr. Kimberlain, hopefully by that June trip he'll be over the Kentucky loss in the Final Four. The great 1976 Indiana team still holds the mantle of being the last college team to go unbeaten all year.
  • Last this week, one big item I have missed is the growth of Health Product Declarations in our industry. Slowly but surely there’s been a significant demand for these and many in our industry have jumped on board and are able to supply them. In addition having the document helps in the whole LEED v4 effort as well. I can honestly say I don’t know the process very well at this point, but I’ve decided to dig in and figure it out, especially with HPD 2.0 now in process. In any case it looks like this is a need that is here to stay for sure, so be aware.

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, March 30, 2015

Dedicated to automation within the glass industry, the three-day 2015 Glass Processing Automation Days, held March 18-20 in San Antonio, hosted 14 machinery and software companies presenting solutions for automated glass processes. The event focused on the catchphrase "Automation, Integration and Innovation," and GPAD’s sponsoring machinery manufacturers and attending glass fabricators discussed the latest solutions for everyday problems.

So, what are the major drivers of development in software and equipment for the glass industry?  Presenters, officials from event organizer FeneTech, and attendees boiled it down to four factors: efficiency, cost, safety, and quality and value. 

  1. Efficiency.
    Every automated machine discussed during GPAD addressed the need for increased efficiency and production while reducing labor, handling and waste in the glass fabrication factory. However, one of the biggest new product announcements also addressed building end-use efficiency, with a solution for increasing building energy savings using the latest glass technologies. Michael Spellman and Hermann Frey of IGE Glass Technologies announced the new vacuum insulated glass fabrication line from LandGlass. While the concept of VIG isn’t new, the concept of using tempered glass for VIG is new, according to company officials. LandGlass has developed a solution that marries the demand for increased aesthetics with energy-efficient benefits. A LandGlass VIG unit offers heat and sound insulation equal to a studded insulated wall, anti-dewing properties, wind load resistance, high-performance and longevity to building facades, compared to the traditional IGU, according to the presentation given by Spellman and Frey.
  2. Cost.
    Closely tied to increasing efficiency is cost. Glass fabricators are seeking ways to reduce cost by reducing labor, waste or production time. One solution discussed during GPAD was Vitrosep’s automatic water filtration system, which needs no manual involvement while it continuously cleans and reuses water and coolant. “The more competition we have, the more efficient we must be,” says Josep Sais, general manager for Vitrosep. “Legislation is also becoming more difficult. Water treatment is important for combatting both.”
  3. Safety.
    By carefully considering each step of storing, loading and cutting glass, Turomas-Tecnocat has developed machines that integrate automatic and manual functions to maximize efficiency, but most importantly, increase safety in the workplace. Machine flexibility creates safer environments, says Javier Rios, communications manager of Turomas.
  4. Quality and value.
    Because customers are demanding more from glass—jumbo sizes, irregular shapes, etc.—glass fabricators are offering value-added products. Roberto Nori, general manager of Denver S.p.A. asks, “How can we eliminate tooling costs, handling costs and waste across these different machines? How can we achieve superior quality while also dealing with out-of-square, shaped patterns?” He says integrated, automatic machinery deals with the modern issues glass fabricators now face.

Bethany Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at bstough@glass.org.

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Time is running out to nominate your best product or project for the 2015 Glass Magazine Awards, with the deadline to submit nominations coming up on April 10. 

Glass Magazine Awards will be given for the following categories:

  • Most Innovative Curtain Wall Project
  • Most Innovative Storefront/Entrance Project
  • Most Innovative Decorative Glass Project: Interior
  • Most Innovative Decorative Glass Project: Exterior
  • Most Innovative Glass Product
  • Most Innovative Curtain Wall, Window or Storefront Product (system or component)
  • Most Innovative Machinery, Tools or Equipment
  • Most Innovative Software, Website or Web Tool

More information about the 2015 product and project categories―in addition to instructions for submitting nominations―is available here.

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

There was a mix of economic-related news that populated my Twitter feed last week. First the good news, where on a link from Conners Sales (@ConnersSales) any initial fears about the awful housing starts number from last month were calmed. Basically the analyst called it “winter” and said to wait another month. That’s good enough for me. Then the bad news came up via Ted Bleecker (@TedBleecker) with a story on the scary debt situation in China. Surely one to continue to monitor especially since it will have a massive effect on the world economy. Both items will be big drivers and warrant following along.

Elsewhere…

  • Quick family note: I'm absolutely thrilled about my nephew Josh joining the fine folks at Pleotint. As any reader of this blog knows, I am a huge proponent of dynamic glazing and its usage and potential. Great to see Josh signing on to that world, and I'm very excited to see what great things they do together.
  • Last week I posed two questions at the end of my blog: one on ultra thin glass and one on the upcoming Apple Watch. I really was blown away by some of the insights I received, and learned a lot as well. The great Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP educated me on a few things including ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), which is being used in glazing areas on some really intense projects. Overall on the thin glass question, the issue of finding the sweet spot for usage was the theme. As for the watch, universally negative responses toward its success. Apple has not failed with a product launch in a very long time, so we’ll see if their winning streak is up or we’re all missing the boat here. Thanks again to all who responded!
  • Congrats and good luck to Margaret Brune who recently joined the tremendous team at Saand as a manufacturer's rep in the Michigan market. Once again a good match of company and salesperson. I’m glad I’m not involved in sales anymore, because back in the day I had to compete with Margaret and she crushed me on a daily basis…
  • Over in England there’s a very strong daily blog called Double Glazing Blogger, and the author had a post last week that was very interesting. The use of quadruple glazing in China, combined with a video of a 57-story building in China going up in just 19 days using the quad glazing system. Just crazy how things get done over there… I wonder, will the quadruple glazing run come this way? Given that triple glazing has not gained as much market share in North America as the experts predicted, I’d guess this one going mainstream is still far off.
  • And while on the subject of China (my gosh, three items related to China this week and none featuring me ranting…odd): a good look here at two all-glass skyscrapers designed by SOM. The key? Huge IGUs but oriented a little differently than we are all used to.
  • Programming note, no post coming from me next week, unless of course big news happens, which right now seems doubtful as it's pretty quiet out there. Next post coming first full week of April.

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, March 16, 2015

“You never know the relationships that you're going to build over social media,” said Max Perilstein last week during a presentation at the BEC Conference. No matter the platform—Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.—social media can offer glass companies exciting opportunities to create relationships, reach customers, and keep up with industry news. However, to capitalize on those opportunities, business owners need to know the options, understand the benefits, and put forth the effort. 

Below are 10 tips and considerations from Perilstein for bringing your business to social media. 

  1. Know the ‘why’ of social media
    “Why do this? It’s free PR. It’s a way to get your message out, to tell people what you are doing. It’s building your brand and helps you control your message,” Perilstein said. 
  2. Know your options
    A new social media platform seems to launch every week. Do some research to find out which platform is right for your company. Platforms that are currently big in the industry include Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and emailing programs such as MailChimp. Keep an eye out for Instagram and Pinterest as well, Perilstein recommended. 
  3. Remember to be social
    While social media offers opportunities to talk about your company’s activities, it also serves as a venue to communicate. “It's networking. Reach out, follow people, and get in conversations,” he said. 
  4. Get to know Instagram
    The photo-sharing social platform lets glass companies show off what they do best, in images. “We make beautiful, beautiful materials. We should show it off. I have a feeling this is something that is going to take off,” he said. 
  5. YouTube is more than videos
    “YouTube has hidden value—it is the second most popular search engine, after Google,” Perilstein said. 
  6. People do check those LinkedIn business pages
    Many users know LinkedIn is a great way to interact and network. However, it also hosts business pages. “There are people that look for businesses on LinkedIn. It’s another outlet—and it’s free,” he said. 
  7. Claim your Google profile
    Google offers a business profile that appears when users search your company. It includes address, hours and a description. Claim this profile to ensure that all information remains up to date and correct. 
  8. Name your social media go-to
    Make social media upkeep part of the job description for someone at your company. “You can do it yourself, or you can assign it to a person at your company. You can hire someone. Just know who is going to do it,” Perilstein said. 
  9. Make a plan
    “I recommend companies figure out the first six months before they begin. Don’t share all your content in your first week,” Perilstein said. 
  10. Stick to the plan
    “This is not going to happen overnight. This is part of a bigger plan—part of a growing online empire. You’re getting the word out about what your company does,” Perilstein said. 
Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.
Monday, March 16, 2015

After spending several days out of the office, I’m scrambling to keep up. So for this week’s blog, no lead story, just a bunch of quick hits…

--The positive economic trends in our industry are still moving along, but then again so are the continued tightening of supply and lack of consistent transportation. Last week I spoke to several industry insiders who told me they are rolling with things the best they can, but it's getting tougher every day. The key? Planning and communication. The more you do of both, the better off you will be.

--You never know what and whom you will see in Las Vegas. And while I have been there at least 40 times (in my best estimation), I have never run into anyone as epic as Steve Cohen of PPG did last week: the “baddest man on the planet,” former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson. Nice! I wonder if Iron Mike will now be calling on architects with Steve; could make a convincing case to get products in the spec! Plus, props to Steve for taking a selfie with him. Way to go, my friend.

--The Glass Magazine Awards are back with the 2015 edition. Nominations are being accepted now for the products and projects portion of the annual awards program. For more info, including the specific categories, please click here!

--Caught a very interesting documentary this past week: Pink Ribbons Inc. The focus was the massive “pinkwashing” surrounding fundraising for breast cancer awareness and more importantly the lack of progress in identifying what causes breast cancer and finding better treatments or a cure. Really intriguing to watch as I have never been a fan of certain organizations jumping on board to help their own image (the NFL every October is a big one). It's frustrating to see billions of dollars raised, yet no major advancements in place. Worth the watch if you are interested.

--Now that BEC is in the books, next up are a couple of excellent regional shows, including the always-popular Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo April 29th, and then AIA May 14-16 in Atlanta. Before you know it, GlassBuild America will be here, and from all indications this year’s event will be very strong. I’m excited to see how things progress there.

--Last this week, two questions I am curious to get your opinions on: one pop culture/social and one industry.

  1. Do you think the Apple Watch will make it? I am torn. I love Apple products but have not worn or needed a watch in years. I can’t see the need when my iPhone does everything. But I’m also old and staid. Curious for other insights.
  2. At BEC, guest speaker James O’Callaghan made mention of the use of ultra thin glass. There are a few manufacturers who make it (AGC had their Dragontrail on display at GlassBuild last year), but finding a home for use is still a question. So do you think that this product will find its way into prominent places in the exterior glass world?

As always feel free to e-mail me, as I don’t monitor the comment section very closely.

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, March 10, 2015

When James O'Callaghan, director, Eckersley O'Callaghan, presented the first design ideas to Steve Jobs for the Apple flagship store in SoHo, New York City, it featured all-glass stair treads paired with a metal rail system. Jobs responded, “I think you should make it all out of glass,” O’Callaghan recalled. And thus began Apple’s iconic and increasingly innovative structural glass stairs and storefronts. 

Attendees at the BEC Conference yesterday in Las Vegas were treated to a tour of the evolving innovations in glass at Apple, where designers and engineers continued to push the envelope of what is possible in glass design. 


First structural glass circular stair, at the Apple store in Osaka.

Two-story circular stair, in New York City. 

Refurbished Apple glass cube, with just 15 glass panels. 


Istanbul Apple store, made of just four massive glass panels. 

Photos by Eckersley O'Callaghan.

From the beginning, the idea was “a very simple structure,” O’Callaghan described to the group of about 400. At each step, and in each new store, “we began to strip away the levels of connection. … Each time, there is a small incremental change.” 

That first location in SoHo featured the all-glass stair rail and treads, with minimal hardware. A location designed soon after in Los Angeles includes a stair that can meet significant seismic loads. “The stair is hung rather than supported at the base, and it can accommodate lateral sway,” O’Callaghan said. 

Next came longer staircases (a 5-meter stair in Beijing), and circular staircases, like that in Osaka. “This required chemically tempered glass,” O’Callaghan recalled. From single-story circular staircases came two-story staircases (14th St. in New York).

In 2006, the company moved beyond stairs to develop a glass cube entrance to the 5th Ave. underground store in Manhattan. However, the dimensions of the cube—30 feet on each side—required 106 panels and 250 primary fittings, and thus more interruptions in the clarity of the space. 

So, the design team began investigating ways to get larger glass lites, requiring fewer connections. “We were looking for large format glazing applications where we [could] maximize transparency and minimize fittings,” O’Callaghan said. 

Working first with seele, which bought a 15-meter autoclave, O'Callaghan's designs began to feature much larger lites of glass. “However, the logistics associated with such large lites were quite challenging. There were no machines to lift the glass, or to ship the glass,” O’Callaghan said. Beijing North Glass also made large investments in equipment to produce the large lites for Apple, including developing a tempering machine to handle 12- to 13-meter curved glass for the glass drum at Apple IFC Shanghai

With large format glass now available, the company began exploring glass railings made of one lite of glass, like that used at the Hamburg, Germany Apple Store. And, in 2011, it refurbished the 5th Ave. glass cube with the large glass, totaling just 15 panels and 40 fittings. “There is a certain elegance when we start to strip down the connections,” O’Callaghan said. 

The newest developments in glass for Apple include glass walls that act as structural support for the roof structure. The company completed a store in Palo Alto, California, where glass columns support a steel roof. And, the new Apple store in Istanbul consists of just four massive panels of glass that are joined at the corner with silicone joints and topped with a carbon fiber roof. “It’s drilled down to the minimum. It’s almost not there. This is a successful conclusion regarding where we are trying to drive design,” O’Callaghan said. 

And of course, there are the large-scale architectural feats on display at the now under construction Apple headquarters

Looking ahead, O’Callaghan says even larger lites are coming, with 4 meters by 20 meters now possible. And, he sees great architectural possibilities with Corning’s Gorilla Glass, an ultra-thin, ultra-strong glass. “This is different than float glass. We are able to use a cold bending method to create new forms. It’s something that can be a flexible material on the skin and used to create more lightweight structures,” he said. 

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.

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