glassblog

Friday, May 26, 2017

Every day, Glass Magazine editors receive announcements of new hires, company expansions, product introductions and recent project completions. The glass industry is developing and growing, and we love hearing about and sharing its advancements.

We want to make sure we're hearing from you.

To that end, we have made it even easier to promote your company's growth and innovation through easy-to-access online submission forms.

Please consider sharing your news and great ideas with us. Read on for details of the content types we regularly publish in print or online. And click through to submit your information. And, if you have an idea for content, or any comments about the content we publish, please feel free to reach out directly.  

Products.

In every issue, Glass Magazine runs an Industry Products section that features descriptions and photos of new product offerings. Find examples here

Submit your new product here.

People.

Glass Magazine runs news items about new hires and promotions as news at GlassMagazine.com, in the e-glass weekly newsletter and in every issue of the magazine. Find examples here

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Great Glazing.

Glass Magazine runs a Great Glazing project feature weekly in its e-glass weekly newsletter and on GlassMagazine.com. The Great Glazing project features will also be considered for publication in the magazine. Find examples here

Submit your recent project here.

Here's an Idea...

The Here's an Idea... series of articles, which runs in every issue of Glass Magazine, gives the proper recognition to industry businesses that are implementing great—though possibly small—ideas. What is your company doing to improve customer service? Employee morale? Organization? Reputation? Help us showcase your company's behind-the-scenes, innovative ideas. Find examples here.

Submit your great idea here.

Bethany Stough is managing editor for Glass Magazine, GlassMagazine.com and e-glass weekly. 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, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, May 22, 2017

I’m just back from the Texas Glass Association conference I mentioned last week, and it was truly a memorable one for me. I really enjoyed the opportunity, and I think for a first-time event it was an absolute hit. I was so excited to run into people I had not seen in years. Kelly Townsend of Trulite is an old friend and seeing him looking healthy and strong was a day maker for me. Visiting with former co-worker Jack Wickstrom, now of Tristar, was fun as well. Meeting new people also charged me up. One example was Craig Garner of Hartung: good and interesting guy. Another was Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass. This guy is unreal, a breath of fresh air to our industry and the way we do things. I plan on doing more with Dustin as time goes on. Plus, he’s got a pretty cool video series that can only help raise our profile (see my Video of the Week for one of them).

The key of the conference was learning. Greg Oehlers of Tristar did not disappoint, with a truly entertaining and informative session that included his prediction that 4th surface low-Es and Argon will be growing and be more crucial products on the commercial side in the coming years. That was surely something that caught my attention. Also, his talk on inconsistent code officials is something I may have to revisit in the future. Meanwhile, seeing younger sharp presenters like Yuwadee Senamontree of Guardian and David Linhart of Vitro gave me some serious hope about the future of our industry. We need that youth, intelligence and energy! And it goes without saying the presentation that Nicole Harris provided on “Building a New Glass Industry” was strong and important. There is so much happening from the industry level and getting more insight and communication amongst all parties is something that will have to continue to grow for us to be our best. Bottom line is: conferences like these are extremely helpful in educating and building a better world for us. It was an honor to be involved in the process.

Elsewhere…

  • Every month I review Glass Magazine and I note various stories and details that I believe stand out. The May issue, like its predecessors, is loaded, but features one article that you have to read if you are in the position of trying to recruit for your workforce. Bethany Stough did a fabulous job pulling together real-life examples and giving very crucial tips in trying to help you build your workforce in the article Creative Recruitment. It is the most serious challenge our industry faces: getting people to work with us. This article really is a resource that every executive and HR person needs to see. 
  • The May issue also featured an excellent cover story on collaboration and all that goes into it, as well as very good quick pieces on codes, tough customers, sales techniques and more. I am constantly amazed at what Katy Devlin and her team do every month, and they keep topping my expectations! The work they do brings great value to the reader and the industry and deserves all the attention we can give it.
  • In the same issue, for my “ad of the month,” tt’s Viracon with the “Bigger View” piece. The graphic they placed caught my eye: good use of wording and font size. And it was also the minimal amount of text that allowed the reader to enjoy the ad and take in the message. I have no clue who to specifically give kudos to at Viracon, so hopefully one of the folks there will pass on the credit. Nice work! 
  • Last this week, I mentioned two weeks ago about new greenfields coming to our industry and one of the many I am following was announced. Aldora is opening in Atlanta. Given the major consolidation that market has seen over the years, the move looks to be a good one and moving into a building that once housed a very respected fabricator is surely not a bad play.

Read on for links and video of the week… 

Max Perilstein 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, May 22, 2017

Glass installations continue to impress. From complex curtain wall to jumbo lites to decorative facades, finished architectural glass projects garner attention and catch the eye. However, the finished installed product tells only one story of industry success. Missing is the process—the collaborative design, the complex fabrication and the impressive installation. Glass Magazine will highlight these behind-the-scenes accomplishments in the September issue, with its Glass Magazine Awards and Reader Photo Contest.

Two new categories of the Glass Magazine Awards spotlight the process achievements of glass and glazing companies. In the Most Impressive Feats of Fabrication category, glass fabricators are invited to tell the design and fabrication story of a particularly challenging and innovative project. The Most Impressive Feats of Installation category welcomes glazing contractors to do the same regarding a recent challenging installation job.

Meanwhile, the Reader Photo Contest invites companies in any industry segment to submit photographs that highlight the achievements and advancements seen across all segments of the glass industry, from the factory floor to the jobsite. The contest is intended to celebrate what’s possible with glass and glazing; to recognize the complexity and aesthetic value of industry products and processes; and to provide a glimpse into the everyday experiences of workers in the glass and glazing community. A panel of judges—including Glass Magazine editors—will select finalists, and readers will be able to vote on winners on GlassMagazine.com.

The deadline for nominations for the Glass Magazine Awards and for the Reader Photo Contest is June 5, 2017. View all categories for the Glass Magazine Awards here.

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

“Don’t confront me with my failures. I have not forgotten them.”

 —Jackson Brown, ‘These Days’

Failure. The word evokes a response, doesn’t it? It’s a word we don’t like and a reality we typically prefer not to discuss. We prefer to not fail, and most of us prefer to not be vulnerable enough to talk about our failures, individually or as an organization.

But failure—not winning, not meeting a client’s expectation, failing to meet a deadline, not measuring up, failing to win a project award, not handling a situation correctly, losing key people, hiring the wrong ones, or making a poor choice related to daily priorities—is something all of us experience at one time or another. In fact, the ability to respond properly to failure, and to learn, grow and move forward has much to do with defining who we are as a person or a business. It’s not a place to remain within, but it is important to know how to learn from our failures.

Here are just a few things I’ve learned over the years about how to respond, react, and deal with failure and struggle of various types:

  • Do not hide or disappear. Lean into it; be honest about it; own it. Good leadership leans into the failure, the lack of performance, the issues. It does not hide. It takes a proactive position. It may not be clear how to deal with it at first, but it must be brought into the open. Everyone knows it and sees it anyway, so just be real.
  • Leaning into failure and being responsive shows strength. It also is a relief to colleagues, a client or project team. “Good, we don’t have to hide the elephant in the room.” Be communicative. Don’t leave people wondering.
  • Be direct with your team and direct with your client. Assure them that you'll do everything in your power to deal with it, act appropriately, and bring the project or issues back into compliance with expectations and needs. Everyone makes mistakes, but good people and organizations correct them and make things right.
  • Remain collaborative as solutions develop and until the issues are reconciled. Collaborating says that we believe collectively we have more knowledge and wisdom than any one person. Collaboration should take place within an organization, and also externally with clients. It may be “our problem,” but a solution developed in isolation may be one of the reasons there’s trouble in the first place. Inform, communicate and listen.
  • Develop a written plan of attack. Outline it, note the action steps, develop it as a team, and share it.
  • Set up benchmarks to monitor the progress. Measure it against whatever standard, monitor, client satisfaction scale or applicable metric is appropriate.
  • Engage with and ask the opinion of colleagues, peers from non-competing businesses, board members, or others that are not involved or invested in the work, to provide a different perspective. They can be more objective. They can notice blind spots that a team may not see. They can approach it without being emotional.
  • Be visible. Be engaged. Be present.

There's a lot more to be said, but for now we'll leave it here:

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

—Dr. Brené Brown

John Wheaton is the founder & co-owner of Wheaton & Sprague Engineering, Inc., also known as Wheaton Sprague Building Envelope. The firm provides full service design, engineering and consulting services for the curtain wall/building envelope/building enclosure industry, and works at “Creating Structure” for clients. He can be reached at jwheaton@wheatonsprague.com and on Twitter, @JohnLWheaton1. 

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, May 15, 2017

After only commenting on two main items in my previous post, this week I have a bunch of quick subjects to talk about. Time continues to fly as we are already in the middle of May. Unbelievable.

First off, a lot of show and conference news and insights…

  • I am excited about being in Waco, Texas, this week to speak at the Texas Glass Association Glass Conference. To be on included with Nicole Harris, President of NGA; the legend Greg Oehlers of Tri Star; David Linhart from Vitro; and Yuwadee Senamontree of Guardian is quite the honor. This really will be an excellent opportunity for attendees (and me as well) to learn about what’s going on in our world on several different levels. Plus, I love the great state of Texas and have never had a bad time there.
  • Another conference that is coming up that I unfortunately can’t attend is the annual Glass Connections Conference, held in Burnaby, British Columbia. If you are nearby or interested in growing your knowledge on some important glass and glazing subjects, consider attending. The educational slate is very strong with dives into some of the biggest issues and growing trends our industry has going. One such subject is Bird Friendly Glass, and I’ve mentioned here a few times the great work people like Walker Glass do on that end. Getting more insight out in conferences like this is huge. More info can be found here
  • And of course, coming this fall, the always must-attend Glazing Executives Forum at GlassBuild America. More on that as the weeks go by, but this past week the agenda for that event was released and worth the review. The “Solution Sessions” are the huge key, given the subjects they cover and what you can learn and take back to your day-to-day operation. 
  • Finally on this subject, a conference/meeting that was just completed that really impressed me. The Insulated Glass Certification Council had its meeting, and it was the first one I have ever attended in all my years, despite always being involved with operations with all units IGCC certified. The meeting was very impressive. Incredible technical minds in the room with discussions that were more innovative and forward-thinking than what I see from the traditional technical meeting. It was a breath of fresh air really to experience what was happening there, seeing that this group is working into the future. And kudos to my pal Joe Erb of Quanex. He basically ran a major portion of the meeting as the chair, and he was like a great orchestra maestro with keeping everything going from all angles of the room. Good stuff!

Other items to catch up on…

  • If you are in the retail part of the glass business, you know the Angie’s List and Home Advisor names pretty well. Chances are they’ve called you a hundred times to work with them and you surely see their ads. Now the two will be merging (so less salespeople bugging you), and it will be interesting to see how the new entity works. I was not a big fan of Angie’s List. I always said if there was an “Angie’s List” to review the real Angie’s List they’d get a poor one. We’ll see if combining services will move the needle at all in the very challenging world of catching consumer eyeballs.
  • I was very happy to hear my long-time friend and former co-worker Dave Gillikin landed a new  gig at Advanced Glazing. Great hire for them and I think a super spot for Dave. Dave is among the handful of people who has known me basically from when I started in this world and actually will still talk to me on occasion. Haha. Congrats to Dave and Advanced Glazing. Good combo!
  • Last this week, I try to always point out other blogs and the value they bring to you. If you missed Andrew Chatfield’s entry last week on glassblog, please go back and check it out. An excellent code compliance piece with focus on railing installations. Railings are one of those “hot” items that I see out there, and the confusion on glass usage is real. Andrew did a nice job in breaking it all down

Read on for links and video of the week…

Max Perilstein 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, May 9, 2017

Only two subjects this week: the proposed EFCO acquisition and AIA recap.

EFCO Acquisition

For the last few months, I have been hinting towards a “big deal” in our industry and at the start of [last] week, one of the deals I have been tracking—Apogee's purchase of EFCO—appears to have finally come together.

Way back in 2007, this blog broke the EFCO-Pella deal, and I’ve always paid close attention to what was happening at that company. When I heard more than a year ago that Pella was selling EFCO, I was not surprised. The fit never seemed to take the way people envisioned. As this latest deal started to come together, the information and misinformation was flying at record speed. I knew several months ago who the players were, and all had good reason to try and acquire EFCO and add them to their operations. In the end, Apogee, which has been aggressive on the buying front, won out and adds another interesting piece to a very-well-put-together puzzle. An already strong company got stronger.

Out of the gate I don’t see much changing, especially as the market is very busy right now. But I have to assume as things settle down the product lines that repeat within the overall Apogee world will get a long look to reach more efficiency. And I think this will force other competitors to raise their game, meaning the acquisitions are not over.

Another angle here is Apogee's stock. If you follow Apogee’s stock, you know it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride as of late. Things were carrying along very nicely for a while, and then they had a very rough day on April 13, when the stock dropped from $58 to $50. Evidently some investors expected a better outlook for next year. Slowly but surely in the last month the stock has been climbing back, but there’s no question that the analysts and markets are paying attention, and a deal like this can only help in that process. For many in our industry, this is a process that many have no concept of, because publicly traded companies are not common in our world. Every move made here is watched a lot more than the typical private company.

I have to note that, unlike 2007 when I was younger, immature, and considered myself bulletproof, I simply don’t break news like a pending acquisition on here anymore. But because of my connection to the past deal, and knowing what I knew, people inside of the deal started to contact me to tell me wrong information to throw me off the trail. I took it as an honor that a transaction worth a couple hundred million had people worried about an industry consultant with a blog. Pretty cool, right? Obviously, I was saddened that people I respect would go out of their way to outright lie to me for the purpose of throwing me off, but hey, it is what it is. They had to do what they thought was best.

In the end, a major acquisition is basically done, and there are more in the pipeline that can rival this one. Plus, get ready for some new greenfields that are in the works. too. Bottom line: there is a lot of action in the market right now. 

AIA

The feedback came in waves last week, and the majority of the responses were the same: the architects are simply not walking the floor or visiting the exhibits. And that is not new. This has been the case for years. Yet exhibitors are always there, and one reason is because AIA has a great way of always having a “carrot” of a great location for the future. In previous years, people looked past terrible shows because Washington, D.C., or Philly were coming up. And this year is no different with New York being the 2018 site. It is a shame that so much money and so many resources get wasted this way, but for many that dream of hitting it big with an architect on the show floor overshadows all else.

Don’t get me wrong, I love trade events and shows. And AIA serves a purpose for networking and growth, just not for reaching architects. The exhibit portion of that show will never show up on a list of “what an architect wants.” I can only imagine taking a show budget and using it on direct appeal approaches instead of three days of waiting around.

Overall the attitude of the vendors on the floor and the rare decision makers that visited were that the positive trends we keep reporting are real. I love to hear that. As we know everything can change quickly, especially in a world filled with turmoil, but so far so good. 

Last, if you feel differently about the AIA show, I’d love to hear about it. I enjoy the opinions of others and always want to learn!

Next week, I’m back with the normal format blog, including a show in Canada that is worth the effort to visit, a technical meeting that blew me away, and much more!

Read on for links and video of the week…

Max Perilstein 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, May 9, 2017

 Q: With complexities and variance in code adaption that affect glass and glass railing systems state-to-state and locally, how can installers more easily determine what code standards to work to when installing glass railing systems?

A: As railing systems are often installed at project-end, time is rarely on the side of the glaziers or fabricators doing the installation. While getting in and out of the job as quickly as possible and doing quality work are critical for profitability, compliance considerations are as critical and can create costly delays if not properly specified or installed to code. That’s not made any easier in that navigating code compliance can be confusing.

Currently, the IBC 2015 is the model code to which all states and jurisdictions should be heading. What IBC 2015 essentially impacts regarding glass railings systems is glass requirements, top-rail use and, by association, glass-edge appearance. Yet, as it currently stands, only 15 states have adapted it as their model code with many still using IBC 2009, the previous update year. That’s not to mention code requirements also vary by local jurisdiction, as installers are well familiar.

So, in light of IBC 2015 as the ideal model code—but also among the variance of its adaption—I tell those involved in glass railing installations to look at four things to get a better handle on compliance:

  1. Understand if tempered-laminated glass should be used
  2. Know how top-rail is required
  3. Be familiar with ASTM standards for edge tolerance
  4. Consult the Authority Having Jurisdiction to confirm before installation

Tempered-laminated glass vs. monolithic tempered glass: IBC 2015 requires fully tempered or heat strengthened laminated glass meet Category 1 or Class A impact requirements with the intent to protect individuals from falling glass. Per IBC, monolithic tempered glass as Category 1 or Class A is only allowed where there is no walkway under the glass, or if the walking surface is permanently protected from the risk of falling glass. Everywhere else it has to be tempered laminate.

The inclusion of top-rail: IBC 2015 also requires all glass systems be designed with a top-rail to hold the glass in place should it break. The one exception is when the glass system uses laminated glass of equal plies of the same thickness and with panels designed to withstand loads as specified in IBC 1607.8. From an installation standpoint, remember to use a design factor of four with the additional caveat that the building official Authority Having Jurisdiction has to first approve the installation and advise as to which version of the IBC codes apply in your area.

Edge appearance: With the use of tempered laminate glass comes the issue of exposed edge appearance and by default the tolerance of the visible exposed edges. For this the realm of standards for tolerance falls not just under IBC 2015, but under ASTM Standards. When a top-rail is not required, or the glass is used as a four-edge supported infill panel, the quality of the visible edges from both a safety and aesthetic perspective becomes all the more important. Architects and specifiers expect the edge quality to be uniform whether laminated or monolithic glass is used. This expectation is obviously more of a challenge in the case of laminated glass; meanwhile, the industry is currently in the process of reviewing how to appropriately respond. Here is a link to ASTM resources for specifying edge tolerances with relevance to glass railing systems to provide clarity:

  • ASTM C1036: Standard specification for flat glass
  • ASTM C1048: Standard specification for heat strengthened and fully tempered flat glass
  • ASTM C1172: Standard specification for laminated architectural flat glass
  • ASTM E2353-06: Standard test methods for performance of glass in permanent glass railing systems, guards & balustrades
  • ASTM E2358-04: Standard specification for the performance of glass in permanent glass railing systems, guards & balustrades

Authority Having Jurisdiction: While the best-case scenario from a safety standpoint would be universal adaption of IBC 2015, the fact remains that variance exists and will continue to exist. Where applicable and for a number of reasons ranging from aesthetics to costs, laminated glass, and top-rail don’t always find their way into the specifications used in design.

Understanding when to use laminated glass and top-rail, and the ASTM standards for edge tolerance as it relates to laminated glass help determine what code to work to. But at the end of the day, ultimately it’s still your best bet to confer with the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Depending on location, this authority could include the fire marshal, building inspector, accessibility reviewer, and so forth. For assistance in determining the authority for the next job, your railing supplier can lend a hand to point you in the right direction.

Have a railing installation or code question? Contact Bethany Stough, managing editor, with your questions, and Andrew will respond in a future blog or column. 


Andrew Chatfield is the director of architectural glass systems for the Wagner Cos. With more than 25 years in the glazing industry in Europe and North America, Andrew has extensive experience working with architects, specifiers, installers and end users around the world in relation to glass, glass hardware and most recently in glass railing and balustrade systems, and code compliance.  

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, May 1, 2017

Editor’s Note: Next week’s From the Fabricator post will include a complete recap of and reaction to Apogee’s acquisition of EFCO, announced today

As many in our industry gathered in Orlando for the AIA show, my thoughts wandered over to a subject that I have covered a few times here: the seemingly age-old question of how to attract more people to our industry. It frustrates me to no end that young people would rather have a dead-end job in a gigantic company than an opportunity to learn and grow in an industry that would truly embrace them.

Evidently, we are not alone in dealing with this issue, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is touring the country having “listening” sessions with different business leaders. The goal is to get ideas to make skilled trades and the less popular industry segments attractive to the workforce they need to survive and thrive. Ideas that have come from some of these sessions include promotional campaigns from an industry standpoint and public demonstrations (at malls and other busy retail areas) of what the industries are about.

Two things to consider here: 1) We as an industry need to come together and build a campaign to promote ourselves and all the good that we do. Hopefully the talks with NGA and GANA lead to an agreement because one strong voice there would surely help. 2) Other industries are stepping up, so not only will we be competing with the “sexy” businesses, but also other trades similar to ours.

I will be curious what the U.S. Chamber reports back when their tour is done. If anything of relevance comes out I’ll surely break it out here. In the meantime, we need to consider the situation and be prepared to do what we can to attract the next generation of people to us.

Elsewhere…

  • The AIA show. I’ll have some more thoughts on my next post as I have not gotten a lot of feedback in yet (writing Sunday). It looked busy and loud (Guardian did a great periscope of a presentation, but the music from a booth nearby was blaring). I will note it is always interesting to see which glass and glazing companies exhibit there. Some make sense and, quite frankly, some do not. But the dogged desire to get to see a real, live, breathing, architect in the flesh for 12 seconds can be pretty tough to pass up…
  • The latest Glass Magazine review. This is the issue that has the guide to specifications that I mentioned last week. That is outstanding. Some other pieces to surely read. Good reminder/best practices article from Marco Terry on “Seven Tricks to Improve Cash Flow.” I am a fan of Pete de Gorter and he has a very level-headed look at steps to take when buying equipment. I think that is very relevant since it feels like everyone in the industry right now is looking or buying some sort of equipment. And as always, whenever Joe Schiavone of CRL writes, I’m reading it. In this issue, he broke down the Florida Building Code and impact products. There’s all of that and much more; check it out!
  • Best ad of the month was a tough one, but I am going with SageGlass as I thought they took an interesting approach with their ad. Usually the dynamic guys focus on the product and what it does, but this ad was about the installation. Different focus and it made me stop and read. Kudos to the gang there!
  • Last this week, the news that ESPN was letting go of more than 100 people was all over social media during the week. There were many theories on ESPN making major cuts, but the biggest one that people rarely mentioned was that the network got too fat. Too many people, too many ventures, the focus was all over the place. We see it in our industry all the time. When times are good people sometimes expand for expansion’s sake and not with a plan. We should always be challenging everything we do, and if we diversify it’s with a plan and approach in mind. I think that’s where ESPN lost its way and quite frankly they may still have more cutting to do.

Max Perilstein 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, May 1, 2017

Glass and glazing exhibitors at the AIA Expo 2017, held in Orlando, April 27-29, used the show to make connections and promote themselves to architect customers. But, to reach customers, particularly in the architect and design community, exhibitors expressed the need to do more than offer a great product. Instead, they are working to be industry resources to customers, asking: what can glass do for you? 

“It’s hard to set yourself apart, where [customers] remember you. We have to do more than offer products to reach architects and customers,” said Leigh Anne Mays, national architectural services manager for Guardian Glass, during the show. The company launched its Solutions Hub in Orlando, where attendees could sit down in a relaxed space for five-minute tech talks covering common glass specification questions. 

Much of what glass and glazing companies are doing is listening, and building trust with architect customers as industry experts. “We’re here to listen to architects, to ask them what they need, and provide it in a cost-effective way,” said Joe Erb, commercial sales specialist, Quanex Building Products

“We want to create a relationship with architects, so that they come to us to solve their building problems,” said Steve Schohan, marketing and communications manager, YKK AP America.

To directly confront these problems, Kawneer revamped its AIA booth to showcase its focus on solutions for urbanization challenges. “The mega trend is urbanization. We’re asking what are the challenges in vertical markets, and what innovations can we bring to customers to address specific urban challenges?” said Karen Zipfel, director of marketing, Kawneer. 

During the show, exhibitors stressed the importance of partnerships, for industry companies as well as with architects.

Dip-Tech exhibited at AIA for the first time, emphasizing the possibilities of glass through partnerships, over glass printing technology. They shared booth time with customers, including GGIM3 Glass Technologies, Cristacurva and Downey Glass, to connect architects with glass fabricators to get the look they want. “Our goal is to increase product demand for our customers by directly reaching architects,” said Eyal Porat, architect manager, Dip-Tech.

Viracon’s architecture design team focuses on education over sales to build customer partnerships. “[The team] stresses the importance of picking the right partner, what to be mindful of,” said Annette Panning, director of marketing and product management, Viracon. “Glass on a building is our reputation for years to come. We need to be a resource, to ensure architects do it right.”

Beyond expanding their reach to become a resource for architects, companies are also expanding product offerings to provide options for architects. Quanex expanded its Mikron line to offer 20 colors. Guardian now offers back-painted interior glass. YKK AP launched the YHW 60 TU unitized window wall to mimic curtain wall at a lower cost. Technoform reformatted its TGI Spacer with a steel reinforced wire embedded into the plastic to withstand the added weight of oversized glass lites. The spacer is also available in a variety of colors to meet aesthetic needs. 

To learn more about the integrated, expanded product lines from glass industry exhibitors, check out the show floor photo galleries, and review the @GlassMag Twitter feed. 

 

Bethany Stough is managing editor for Glass Magazine, GlassMagazine.com and e-glass weekly. 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, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Recently, I needed to run my filthy truck through the car wash. I opted for an ‘Express’ wash, a process that involved driving through an automated alleyway (the likes of which have scared young children for generations), followed by the actual washing process: a shower of water, the plop-plop of a blue-green colored soap, a thorough cleansing with vertically hung and heavily waterlogged strips of felt and their horizontal spinning counterparts, another showering rinse and, finally, the all-important hurricane-force hot air dry.

Upon emerging from the tunnel of cleanliness, two young men motioned me to move forward, then stop so they could hand-dry the truck. My first thought was that this extra step was unnecessary and not a good business practice. After all, these kids were probably making minimum wage, there were several of them waiting to dry cars and, if the owner of the car wash had simply invested in a more powerful blow-drying machine—say, an EF5 simulation— it would have mitigated the need for the additional personnel. Then I had an epiphany of sorts.

While it was not necessary for two people to hand-dry my truck, it was a nice touch. It was their version of going the extra mile, of providing a personal service to an otherwise automated process. And I concluded that the young men were, in all likelihood, not being paid minimum wage but instead depended upon the appreciation of strangers—at which point, I searched frantically through my wallet for cash.

This business owner had it right—they went the extra mile and did so in a way that resulted in a win-win for everyone. The young men were collecting tips, supplementing whatever hourly wage they were earning, and the business owner was providing an actual hands-on service that went above and beyond the usual automation. I call that pretty smart.

In business, we must look for ways to go the extra mile, to provide that extra bit of service without compromising our bottom line. Providing customers with personal service that goes beyond automation results not only in satisfied customers, but also builds a positive and lasting relationship that will pay off in spades.

(And, yes, I tipped them well.)

How do you go the extra mile for your customers?

Ron Crowl is president of FeneTech, the Aurora, Ohio, provider of software automation products and services to the glass, window and door fabrication industries. Write him at ron.crowl@fenetech.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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