Three key concepts trended on the show floor during GlassBuild America 2016, held last week, Oct. 19-21, in Las Vegas: innovation, automation and investment. It seems markets are trending positive, companies are getting more jobs, and money is available again for big business investments.
"Now that the economy is better, companies are becoming more quality oriented," says Jack Van Meerbeeck, president, Matodi. "There's money again."
Many of the exhibiting companies at the show debuted new products that answered specific challenges facing the industry—machinery that helps offset labor shortages; handling equipment that increases safety; products that are advanced, yet cost-effective. The new offerings are truly innovative. They have been reconsidered, re-engineered, streamlined and automated to help industry companies capitalize on the positive momentum and continue to profit.
"I'm excited about the automation options and interest within the industry," says Mike Willard, CEO, Salem Distributing Co. "Companies are trying to take out the human component to reduce quality issues, offset labor challenges. But, they can use their headcount assets elsewhere within the business."
Business leaders from across the industry see growth and a positive economic climate sticking around for the next 18-24 months. Officials from GED Integrated Solutions are "overly optimistic" instead of cautiously optimistic for the first time in several years. And while a downturn may come again, industry companies are pushing to stay ahead of the curve. "We're continually pushing fresh automation. That's our safeguard against a downturn," says Bill Briese, engineering manager, GED.
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