glassblog

Monday, May 5, 2014

My father was a member of the G.I. Generation (1901 – 1924), and he realistically employed three generations of people. His customer base was, primarily, also three generations. I am a Baby Boomer (1946 – 1964), and employ and sell to four generations. The trick is being able to reach and communicate with each of these generations. Let’s define the generations. 

The Silent Generation (1924 – 1946), age 68 – 90, is still active in the workforce and is still buying glass and related goods. They get their information from newspapers, television and word-of-mouth. They use computers and Smart phones as tools, but trust information in print and from personal relationships. They are “Old School Traditional thinkers.” They are the great grandparents. 

The Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), age 50 – 68, are very active in the workforce and often are at senior positions in their established companies. They get their information, primarily, from television and computers, with support from newspapers and smartphones. Some have teenage children, but most are grandparents. 

Generation X (1964 – 1982), age 32 – 50, are also very active in the workplace. They are “climbing the corporate ladder,” or building their businesses. Many are parents of young children. They get their information from computers and smartphones with little impact from newspapers and television. 

The Millennials (1982 – 2001), age 13 – 32, are still in school or relatively new to the workplace. There are a larger than ever number of Millennials living at home. The minority are parents and they, almost exclusively, get their information from smartphones. 

Communication with all of these groups involves two items: the message and how are you're delivering it. Tailor your message and its delivery method to each respective generation. The message doesn’t change. The emphasis is altered depending upon the target generation. 

In general, as employees, The Silent Generation and The Millennials are very similar. Both want to have fun at work.  For different reasons, both want to work limited hours. And also for different reasons, both generations tend to be short-term thinkers.  

As customers, The Silent Generation and The Millennials couldn’t be more different. Silenters buy as a reward to themselves or to help them adapt as they age. Silenters have lived for delayed gratification and now are reaping their reward. They buy things that are practical yet plush. Millennials are much more “me” oriented. They buy because it’s fashionable and want instant gratification. As a general rule, they are less interested in longevity of a product because they view many things as disposable. 

To me, as a salesperson and employer, The Baby Boomers and Generation X are very similar. As employees, they take a longer term view because they have responsibilities. As a general rule, they are both still working for achievement. Both generations are dependable as employees. They work until the job is done regardless of how long it takes. 

As customers, they are also very similar. As a general rule, the products these generations buy don’t have to be as cutting edge as Millennials, but more modern than The Silent Generation demands. Both use glass more than the other generations. Both want a good value. 

In summary, we interact with four generations. We all get in the habit of thinking everyone is like "me." Each generation has its own peculiarities. How do we communicate with each respective generation? The most important thing is just to be aware of the differences. The differences include how each thinks, how each communicates, what is important to each, and how they make employment or buying decisions.

Bill Evans is president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville, Tenn.

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 28, 2014

With the whole “Glass” debate happening thanks to Google, I've been taking a longer and harder look at where glass products are being used. One building area that uses glass extremely well is new and remodeled airports. I seriously think you could have your next trade conference inside Dulles Airport and just spend hours looking at all the glass—where it's used, as well as the multiple styles in play. Or you can go to Terminal B at Newark International, or the car rental center in Atlanta, among many others. Glass plays a massive role in this segment. Dulles, in particular, is truly impressive as it uses floor-to-ceiling glass and everything in between. Honestly, I think if you took the folks from the Patent and Trademark Office to Dulles (not far from their offices) and showed them the way that glass works, this whole effort would be done with.

On the whole Google note, feedback to my last post was excellent; thank you to all. But one specific shout out to reader Celia who brought the following comments to the table:

Interesting take on the Google glass issue; I didn't realize that it was such a hot item. What kind of effect do you think this would actually have on the glass industry if Google succeeded? Trademarking common words also came up recently in the news, regarding Candy Crush. The app creators have trademarked the word "Candy" in the European Union, although it was denied in the U.S. Also, Xavier Morales points out that "Apple," "Time," "Shell" and "Caterpillar" are trademarked common words. Apparently, sometimes, it's quite appropriate to "own" generic words.

On the issue of "effect" on the glass industry, I honestly am not sure. I don’t like our livelihood being owned by a company that seemingly owns so much already. But maybe this is much ado about nothing? On the second point, I did not realize—and it's pretty wild—that trademarking generic words is possible. All I know is every time I had to work with a trademark lawyer on anything it was painful and those were SPECIFIC materials and not generics!

Thank you Celia for the note and everyone else who commented both publicly and privately!

Elsewhere…

  • Don’t forget this Wednesday is the Mid Atlantic Glass Expo. It should be an excellent show as always!
  • An ugly Architectural Billings Index hit in March. This index baffles me. Sometimes I think it only exists to give me monthly fodder for my blog. The index in March was down below the break-even mark and it was attributed to possibly being affected by the horrible winter. Sorry; I don’t buy it. The bad winter is affecting work installing NOW, not 9-12 months from now or coming onto the books. Just a head scratcher for me…
  • A major congrats to good friend Tom O’Malley who is starting his own venture called Clover Architectural Products. Tom is insanely talented and I know he will do great things with this new company. He’s assembled a strong team and he’s hitting the ground running. Good luck Tom, and don’t forget us common Midwestern folks after you make it big!
  • A big acquisition hit last week when Cardinal bought Northeast Laminated. This one was accomplished far beneath my radar, that’s for sure, and it’s a great get by Cardinal. 
  • Last this week, have you noticed for no real particular reason gas prices are creeping up again? I think this is the year, sadly, that we break the $4 mark and stay there…  It is amazing what the oil companies get away with.

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 28, 2014

The Glass Magazine Awards in the upcoming July issue provide an exceptional look at the product advancements the industry has developed, and the innovative and exciting ways architects are using those products in the field. However, at the root of these industry innovations and applications are the people that make them possible, which is why we are delighted to once again present the Glass Magazine Award People Categories: best installer, best production supervisor, best project manager, and best sales rep.

Nominations for the GMA people awards are due May 15. To recognize a stand-out industry employee, make your submission.   

The Glass Magazine editors will narrow the nominations to three finalists in each category, and the industry will decide the winners. The past two years of the program have seen thousands vote for these exceptional industry representatives.

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

A few months ago while watching the Winter Olympics, it occurred to me how incredibly specialized these athletes are. I mean, have you ever tried the ski jump or gone down an icy mountain at 70mph? I wouldn’t dare, but these athletes spend a good portion of their lives developing and refining their specific skill, allowing them to perform at this high level. Just as these athletes train for years, why should we expect success with our workforce without training?

We are seeing a positive trend in building and manufacturing activity from those dark times of a few years ago, and are under pressure to respond. We need to re-tool for higher performing products; to automate; to increase staff; increase productivity; and we might need to remember how to do tasks that we’ve not done for the past several years.

Your manufacturing facility, your installation processes and your offices are filled with technology. Your machinery is an orchestra of movement; that tube of sealant contains some amazing chemistry; that software has tremendous power; and that tool works great…all if used properly. Without doubt, advancing technology is our natural tendency; it’s in our DNA to do things faster and better. However, new technology brings with it complexity and this can be crippling if taken for granted.

That’s right, the key is TRAINING. How do you commission a new piece of equipment? How are new employees trained? Many times existing operators train new ones who are often temporary.  Repeat that cycle a few times and your process is quickly out of control. 

While visiting a manufacturing facility recently I noticed a sign in front of each machine saying, “This Machine Requires a Certified Operator”.  Bravo to that manufacturer!

Does your workforce know how to safely perform their job function? Is there a documented training program that validates and certifies competence, and have funds and time been allocated for this most important process? Your success depends on it.

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.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A few weeks ago, the story broke about Google requesting to own the word “glass.” A few people, including the brilliant Oliver Stepe of YKK AP America, took up the cause in different forums to make it clear that Google should not be able to patent that word; that it is as much a part of the public domain as you can get. Heck, my great grandfather came to the United States in 1898 with $34 and a glasscutter and was in the “glass” business then—long before a “google” was created. I cannot even see the U.S. Patent Office being so shortsighted to allow this; but, in our world, crazier things have happened. So far the attempts have been denied, but Google continues to appeal. So we may as well get involved while we can. Oliver created a petition that you can sign. And if you're interested, you can access the maze of documents from the U.S. Patent office as well.

The arrogance of Google is simply mind blowing. I think it's time we all find a different search engine to use (though I know that’s impossible). In any case, this is a story to watch.

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of Google, I had tried a few weeks ago to get into the whole Google+ thing. I still get emails from people who rave about it. And again, it does nothing for me. Nothing at all. I seriously think the only people who use it are employees of Google and their family members.
  • The fine folks from Garibaldi Glass are having their 4th Annual Open House this coming Friday. This should be an amazing time and one I am bummed to miss. These guys bring in suppliers and industry trades to educate their customers as well as architects and designers. Basically it’s a trade show/seminar/open house all in one.  It’s a tremendous idea being pulled off by a company that supports this industry strongly. Good luck guys; sorry I won’t be there. Though, me not being there will probably help attendance! 
  • Last week I had the chance to watch American Hustle and was seriously disappointed. Maybe I was in an off mood, but I thought the movie was horrendous and surely not worth all of the hype.
  • As I do each month, I always look through the latest issue of Glass Magazine and after reading the tremendous content, I look at the ads to see which ones stand out. Props to the team at Matodi USA for an ad that just popped off the page. Love the simplicity of it and the right use of color. Nice work gang.
  • I received remarkable feedback from my interview with Anthony Branscum of Innovative Glass. There’s a lot of interest in the interior switchable space these days that is for sure. The interesting part for me is that many people don't know where to source the material and the concern over finding a credible supplier. I guess I take it for granted since I know the legitimate players out there; but evidently it's not that clear to the marketplace. 
  • Not sure if Diana Bernal of Key Glass will become a regular on the Glass Magazine Glassblog circuit, but I sure hope so. Her maiden effort was terrific. I love the passion and approach. Hopefully there will be more blogs from her in the future!
  • Last this week, for my running friends, a new song for your motivational pleasure. It’s called 300 Violin Orchestra by Jorge Quintero and it’s simply awesome. If that song can’t get you pumped to keep running, nothing will. 

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 14, 2014

General contractors talk about the “team” and “trade partnerships,” but in the current market, we find this rarely exists. Consider two recent examples our company has faced.

Recently, we were awarded a project well after ground was broken. After being given the “go ahead,” the contractor expected us to be on site two weeks after signing the contract. Then, as could have been predicted, the architect rejected our finish samples and decided to go with a custom special paint. Thus, more lead time. We worked through all the problems, expediting as best we were able and getting no additional monies to offset our efforts. We ended up pulling off a miracle, eventually completing the project and getting paid.

A few months later, we had an “opportunity” on another project with this same contractor. I follow up on this opportunity and am informed that the project management team from the previous late-award project mentioned to others within the firm that we did not “adequately” perform. Well, that job is gone…

This week, another opportunity presented itself on a project we have budgeted several times over the last six months. Our estimating/project management team attended a pre-contract scope review with the contractor. Going in, we were encouraged, as we had samples submitted and approved. We even did some preliminary drawings to illustrate what our scope was. The meeting went well until we were informed the following: the project has a 90-day schedule, we are expected to work seven days a week, AND…there will be a liquidated damage clause in our contract. We learn that there will be no money offered for us to expedite this job or for overtime, and are told, “get the job done, and liquidated damages will not be an issue.” None of these issues were part of any bid package we were privy to.

Are you kidding me? I understand that, without a project to build, no revenue is generated and nobody has a job. And I understand that price is important. But performance is what it is all about. Very few contractors bring the glazing contractors into a project early on, like they do for mechanical trades. They look at the Division 8 specification section as one they wait on to buy out.

We have to do a better job and work to change the current accepted business practices. We have to prod our contractor team members to realize that partnerships, if used correctly, are a WIN/WIN.

My suggestion to eliminating these problems is for the owner/developer/contractor to continue to have high expectations, but be realistic. Each construction project has its own challenges; many are unique to each. Involve your trade partners early, be honest about what is achievable within the budget established. Communicate what your expectations and deadlines are. Realize your glazing contractor is a critical component to your project's success. Working to establish your team early will produce a project completed on time, and with memories of how successful trade partnerships produced a project that everyone involved is proud of, and one that provides for profitable continuing trade partnership.

Diana Bernal is a marketing executive for commercial glazing company Key Glass, in Bradenton, Fla.

Monday, April 14, 2014

We can debate the merits of programs like LEED until we’re all blue in the face. The bottom line, though, is the performance and sustainability of the building when all is said and done. And while the various green rating systems are pivoting and making efforts to evolve their programs into ensuring long-range success, there’s one process that guarantees it: the Net Zero building.

Slowly but surely Net Zero is taking off. It's important in the glass industry, because the process rewards the glass/glazing performance and basically will force those pesky HVAC guys to size their efforts correctly. Too many times we get blamed (unfairly I must add) for the oversizing of HVAC units because there’s no trust in fenestration. With Net Zero, we’re all working together and the playing field does level. There’s a ton to this process, and it's still pretty raw, but I do believe it will be in the mainstream sooner than many think.

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of sustainability, one of the great champions of the effort in our industry is Mark Silverberg of Technoform. Last week he was named to the AAMA Sustainability Steering Committee. Can’t get a better man than that to be a force in the effort!
  • The energy of the trade show/industry conference is the hottest in years. So far 2014 is showing a major uptick in attendance and excitement. A couple more regional shows are coming up to be aware of. The 27th Annual Mid Atlantic Glass Expo hits April 30th in Greenbelt, Md.  Then in Canada, the Canadian Glass Association's Glass Connections conference in Nova Scotia (would love to go, birthplace of the great Sidney Crosby) comes through on June 4-5. Both events will provide excellent learning and networking potential. And don’t forget about the granddaddy of them all, the biggest show in all of North America: GlassBuild America, in September in Vegas. That floor is filling up nicely, and it will be an incredible event not to be missed.
  • After a hiatus in doing interviews on the blog, we welcome that segment back. One area of the business that I am always fascinated by is switchable glass, specifically  liquid crystal and suspended particle products. These products are growing in usage thanks to the boom on the decorative glass side. It’s surely moving up from the “niche” category. So it was great to catch up with Anthony Branscum, director of architectural sales at Innovative Glass Corp. in New York, and talk with him about the growth of the product, some of misconceptions out there and more.

MP: What do you think is driving this positive direction and usage?

Anthony Branscum: I think it’s mainly because the products have come a long way and are now beyond the “Proof of Concept” stage. Architects around the country, and the world for that matter, are realizing the practical benefits of using these products in their designs. Perhaps more importantly, they have gained confidence that the technology will last when it gets out there. They have become educated consumers. 

MP: Speaking specifically on the liquid crystal product, there’s been talk recently in different circles about uneven performance and products failing. Do you think such talk is legitimate or is it being overblown?
 

AB: I have heard and read some of the same things you are alluding to. There’s a lot of posturing going on within the industry right now. Some suppliers of switchable glass are spending a lot of time bashing their competitors instead of talking about their own virtues. They believe it makes their product appear as if it’s “the best”, but what they’re really doing is hurting the industry at large. They’re creating a perception out there that the product won’t last.  It is simply not true.  When fabricated properly, one can expect many years of service from liquid crystal technology. Of course, there are companies that don’t produce a great product, but they are not the majority, and time will eventually run out on them.

MP: What should buyers do or look for to make sure they are dealing with the right people?

AB: They should make sure whoever they are dealing with can provide them a functioning sample. They should ask for a copy of the warranty. They should definitely ask for references and perhaps ask to see a job local to them where the glass has successfully been installed. If the vendor can’t satisfy these requests in a timely fashion, they should think twice about going too far with them. 

MP: You and your company have been in the switchable space for more than a decade. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen with the product offerings?

AB: The biggest change has been the advancement in the clarity of the LC films when they are in their clear state. The industry has come a long way in achieving better clarity. The second notable advancement would be the film widths. The product is available in wider widths than ever before. This helps satisfy most of the common architectural sizes we come across.

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, April 8, 2014

Do you have any people around you that like the negative? You know, the folks that always look for the dark cloud looming instead of soaking in bright shiny day? Today for this post, it’s going to be me. This past week, both the USA Today and the New York Times ran stories predicting a crash in the markets. The USA Today piece put a date on it, predicting that in mid-May the market will reach 1,311 trading days since the bull market began, meaning, based on past history, the market will crater. The entire story, with details and statistics is actually pretty interesting. Add in last Friday’s drop, and this theory may have some legs. So will this happen? Let’s hope not….but surely a worry given the coverage popping up in the media.

Elsewhere…

  • More good news on people, with new gigs this week. I was thrilled to see the story on Chris Cotton at Dlubak Specialty Glass. Chris is a class man, and I think he'll do well in his new role. I feel a connection with Chris on another area as well, as he has to deal with what I do every day. That is the adventure of having a more popular brother in the industry. 
  • One news item that deserves more focus is the “Product Category Rule,” as it plays a big role in the latest version of LEED and is a big component people are looking for when it comes to sustainable building practices. The Glass Association of North America just finished a PCR for flat and float glass, and it’s a tremendous first step for our industry. Props to Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell and her team at GANA for a job well done. Believe me you will see the acronyms PCR and LCA a ton more in the coming months and years.
  • I noticed Glass Magazine added a new blogger last week with the addition of Jeff Razwick of TGP. I am a big fan of Jeff (and his company overall), and he’ll do a super job in that space. It’s a real thrill/honor for me to share spaces with guys like Jeff, Bill Evans, Rod Van Buskirk, Chris Mammen and the great writers of Glass Magazine. 
  • A great follow on Twitter is @TedBleecker, as he always has good and interesting links. This one on the look differences in NYC storefronts in just the last 10 years may be one of the coolest stories I have ever seen. Great piece! 
  • Kind of ironic that in the week I write my BIPV Boom or Bust column, a new report says that market will grow to 2.7 billion in 2019. I guess that would be boom, eh? I did get several e-mails on this subject, and most people are still very leery of the possible success of BIPV, specifically on the curtain wall and storefront sections of the building envelope. 
  • Next week, if all goes well, I plan on having an interview in the space with a player in a market that is growing quite a bit. So, stay tuned. 
  • Last this week… Don’t forget the Glass Magazine Award nominations are due April 17th. This is the most prestigious award program in our world, so do not miss your chance to recognize the people and projects that deserve it!

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, April 8, 2014

Time is running out to nominate your best product, project or employee for the 2014 Glass Magazine Awards, with the deadline to submit nominations coming up next Thursday, April 17.

This year marks the return of the Best Installer, Best Sales Rep, Best Project Manager and Best Production Supervisor awards. To view candidate criteria and submit a nomination, click here. And remember, after determining the finalists in each people-centric category, the editors of Glass Magazine will open voting up to the industry on GlassMagazine.com, where winners will be determined by popular vote. Thousands of glass industry members voted last year, and we're hoping for even more participation in 2014.

In the most innovative product and project categories, Glass Magazine Awards will be given for the following:

  • Most innovative curtain wall project
  • Most innovative curtain wall product
  • Most innovative storefront/entrance project
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: commercial interior
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: commercial exterior
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: residential
  • Most innovative decorative glass product
  • Most innovative energy efficient glass project
  • Most innovative energy efficient glass product
  • Most innovative specialty glass product (fire-rated, security, hurricane, etc.)
  • Most innovative specialty glass project
  • Most innovative machinery/equipment 
  • Most innovative commercial window 
  • Most innovative website 
  • Most innovative software

More information about the 2014 product and project categories―in addition to instructions for submitting nominations―is available here

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Who out there still believes in building integrated photovoltaics? I follow a few people on Twitter who are still loyal to the cause and I know several companies that are confident their product will be the one that hits it big. The reason I bring this up is that this past week I saw a news report that Heliatek reached a new world record in efficiency with its transparent solar cells. I chuckled, because back in my past life I was involved with a product, not too different than the Heliatek one, that I believed and still believe could have been the gamechanger. The effort is still ongoing, but here we are five or six years later, and BIPV is not near the mainstream yet. Will it get there? I still believe that there are too many parts of the building not active and that with the push for net zero and net positive, BIPV is a must. The question is: When will the right product, with the right efficiency and at the right price come to fruition?

Elsewhere…

  • Meanwhile, the numbers for traditional solar installations are interesting. In 2013, solar-generating capacity beat wind-generating capacity for the first time. By 2023, solar is expected to dwarf wind, almost doubling its output. What’s the reason? Major utilities are jumping on board and pushing it. Clean energy is undoubtedly something that has not reached anywhere near its potential yet.
  • Congrats to my good friend Mike Dishmon of Virginia Glass Products on his recent appointment as VP of Sales and Marketing. Mike’s a great and talented person who will do tremendous things there.
  • Last week I wrote on VUCA, and all week I heard various thoughts and opinions on it.  The main theme was no one had heard of VUCA before, and now that they’ve heard of it, they are fascinated by it. I have to admit, I am too. Really interesting mindset to have.
  • The Architecture Billings Index was a little flat last month, but given how insanely bad the weather has been, with across-the-board complaints on the effect the weather has had on construction, it's not a surprise. I believe good things are still to come.
  • Spring, however, will not be coming. I’m convinced of that. I just think we’ll go right from winter into next winter.

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.

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