glassblog

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It’s been a long time since the glass industry could look back and describe a year as “busy.” Although busy is good, there’s still been a lot to learn along the way to our industry’s new normal. For some, the challenge has been how to remain productive with limited staff and production capabilities. For others, it’s finding skilled laborers for specialized jobs. Whatever the challenge, it’s safe to say we aren’t approaching project bids, manufacturing or support services the same way we were eight years ago when the recession hit.

So, what’s proved the most successful? Here are my thoughts on three of the most important lessons learned in 2016. 

1. Prioritize partnerships. Many of us apply “the difference between success and failure is a great team” philosophy to our immediate workplace. A collaborative environment where people work together is undeniably key to bettering any company. But, it’s important to go a step further. Trustworthy, reliable partnerships with others outside your company are just as valuable to your business success as are your own employees. This rings particularly true in a busy market. 

One of the best ways to leverage your existing labor and effectiveness is to partner with trusted suppliers and manufacturers. Whether it’s prompt service, clear communication to eliminate project setbacks or quality materials made right the first time, quality partners can help your team deliver a project on-time and within budget.

2. Prioritize efficiency. If the latest research is right, then growth remains on the horizon in an industry that’s already spread thin and juggling demanding schedules. The Dodge Construction Outlook predicts U.S. commercial building construction starts will grow 6 percent in 2017. This means efficiency will become even more important in the coming year.

For some companies this will translate to automation to maximize production; for others it means additional employee training to learn about new materials or reassessing the supply chain to better deliver on project deadlines. Whatever the approach, it’s important not to lose sight of quality craftsmanship during the process. We all lose if we start shipping sub-par products or cutting corners on the jobsite to meet deadlines. 

3. Prioritize scheduling. The labor shortage is complicating the demands of a busy marketplace. For example, a general contractor that waits to hire a glazier might find out there isn’t one available to meet his schedule. This results in project delays, frustrated customers and strained relationships. 

Early and frequent collaboration with the trades is essential to avoiding these setbacks. This is particularly true in high-end jobs. The increase in construction spending has led to buildings with more complex glass installations. Not only is it a real challenge to find laborers with the skillset for these specialized jobs, but complex installations often require technical support and onsite custom work. Building time into the project schedule to account for labor needs and custom work is critical to ensuring the glass assembly is installed correctly and in line with the project schedule. If a project delivery team hasn’t worked with a particular glazier or subcontractor before, it’s also critical to factor in time for hands-on training and collaboration. 

 

Jeff Razwick is the president of Technical Glass Products, a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. He writes frequently about the design and specification of glazing for institutional and commercial buildings, and is a past chair of the Glass Association of North America’s Fire-Rated Glazing Council. He can be reached at 800/426-0279.

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, December 12, 2016

Last week I announced the group of candidates that came close but ultimately did not win the 2016 Industry MVP. As I noted then, so many great people and companies are worthy, and picking one is truly a challenge. For the winner this year, I went with a person that I have seen first hand making a difference in our world. This person is active at the trade group level, taking a leadership role and bringing a passionate approach to it.  his person also uses his voice online to educate the industry on issues and situations that we all really need to pay attention to. In fact he took one of my pet causes and has brought tons of attention to the holes there and did it in a classy but forceful way. Plus our winner is just flat out a good person and I have been a fan of his for years.

So without any further build up, the winner of the 2016 Industry MVP is Chuck Knickerbocker of Technical Glass Products. Chuck will probably want to kill me for heaping all this praise, but it is deserved! Also props must go to Chuck’s employer, TGP. They obviously see the great value in having Chuck out and active in the industry. Ao a thank you and a nod to the management and team there. Congratulations, Chuck- keep up the good work at GANA, your blog, and hammering on NFRC and the other issues that concern our world daily.

Elsewhere…

  • While I am in the handing out good news mode, major kudos to Bendheim on the release of its updated website. The new site is fantastic. Loaded with info and details. Building websites is not easy. Populating them with great resources is a massive challenge. Congrats to the folks at Bendheim for the excellent work!
  • Following up on the AIA story and their membership “uprising” over the post-election press release. The Media Relations Director of AIA resigned last week, and according to sources in published reports, it was because the AIA ignored his direction in the whole process. Like I noted when this happened, this was a massive PR failure on many levels and continues to be one as negative press is still active. As one commenter online noted, “Sometimes it's worthwhile to listen to your PR expert.” 
  • I recently saw the new movie “Dr. Strange,” and one glass-related item stood out for me. In many of the stunts, it looked to me like it was good old annealed glass being broken out instead of the usual tempered. This movie had a ton of computer-generated graphics, so maybe that was it, but it was jarring to see large annealed shards breaking in scenes with human interaction.
  • In my first post of 2017, I will review what we experienced in 2016 and hit on the trends expected in the New Year. One trend will be advanced social media, like Periscope. The great John Wheaton is making a major effort with that platform and the episodes I have been lucky enough to catch have been interesting and thought provoking. More on this and others in a future post, but follow John at @johnlwheaton1 on Twitter and you’ll get the notifications of his next Periscope. 
  • This will be the last scheduled post for 2016. Obviously that may change, as there are at least two major industry transactions that may take place before year end, so if and when they do break, I’ll make some comments on Twitter and here. I truly enjoy the communication with all of you and I thank you for your support. I believe 2017 will be an excellent year and I am excited to experience it. (Well all but the part of my daughter going to college in 2017. I am NOT excited about that…) In any case I would like to take this time to wish all of my readers a HAPPY and HEALTHY holiday season and year ahead. Take care and enjoy!

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, December 5, 2016

We are right in the middle of holiday season. Two weeks ago we were thankful for our blessings. Have we already forgotten them? Have we been swept into the hustle of the season only to forget how fortunate we are? 

At the end of every year, we naturally reflect on where we are. We tend to compare ourselves to other people. Sometimes decisions are made that are based upon the emotions of the season without considering the future. Let’s do something different this year. Let’s dream big dreams.

Let’s imagine an amazing future for ourselves, our families and our businesses. Here’s a question that gets me thinking about possibilities:

If time and money were no object, what would you do, where would you go, who would you help, and what type of business would you build? 

Let me caution you. Be careful with whom you share these thoughts. Most people do not think this way. Don’t be surprised that as soon as you start sharing your dreams with others, they respond with:

  1. You can’t do that.
  2. No one has ever done that before.
  3. You’re not smart enough.
  4. You don’t have the money. 

Most people make future decisions based on “analysis”:

  1. What have I done in the past?
  2. What have others done in the past?
  3. What are my current circumstances?

Based on the answers to these 3 questions, a decision is made. I’m suggesting a different approach.

  1. Decide what you want.
  2. Develop 10 possible ways to get it.
  3. Prioritize the 10 possible ways.
  4. Start working #1. If it doesn’t work, go to #2. Repeat until you hit your goal. 

You see, plans change but decisions don’t. Let’s make some decisions and find a way to make them come true. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

Bill Evans is president of Evans Glass Co. Write him at bevans@evansglasscompany.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, December 5, 2016

It’s time to talk Industry MVP, but a few items before I start with the 2016 process. In my last post on this, I screwed up. I forgot a past winner, which was C.R. Laurence in 2014. I’m getting old and after 11 years of weekly posts, I’m not as sharp as I used to be! 

Before I unveil the runners up for this year, I want to recall all of the previous winners and runners up. The reason being is pretty much all of these people and companies are still very active and important in our world. And I am also trying not to repeat anyone, though it’s getting tough as some of the past runners up could be MVP most years. So for the future I may have to rethink. Anyway, let’s look back before we go forward.

2013

Winner: Tracy Rogers

Runners up:

  • Tom Culp
  • Mark Silverberg
  • Ed Zaucha
  • Mic Patterson
  • Oliver Stepe
  • Dr. Helen Sanders
  • Scott Thomsen

2014

Winner: C.R. Laurence

Runners up:

  • John Wheaton
  • Rick Wright
  • Tom O’Malley
  • Bernard Lax

2015

Winner: Jon Kimberlain

Runners up:

  • Garret Henson
  • Walker Glass
  • Dip Tech
  • Kris Vockler

On to 2016. This group of people and companies stepped up, represented their organizations and the industry with class and passion. My judging parameters as always:

  • Overall influence on the industry in 2016 
  • Technology/Innovation
  • Industry Support/Education
  • My opinion and knowledge of them and what they do. In the end, it’s my call and I own it. 

Mike Albert, S Albert Glass

Not only has Mike’s company been a long-time fixture in the glass and glazing world, but also he’s been a leading force at the National Glass Association as a board member and most recently Chairman. The NGA is surging now, and Mike absolutely had a hand in that and his overall care and passion for the industry are always on display.

The team of Thom Zaremba and Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell

I’m going with this duo, though it’s normally a trio with Dr. Tom Culp as the third. But Tom was a runner up in 2013, so he’s on the list already. Simply said, what Thom and Urmilla do for this industry is so crucial and so important I am not sure I can give it enough emphasis. They represent our industry at code levels all over the world and navigate some choppy waters. It’s hard to do the “right” thing when there may be competing levels of “right,’ yet these two do it and do it well and with respect. Without question, they have helped raise the level of respect our industry gets from other industries thanks to their professional and classy manner.

Sapa

The only company to make the list this year. I love that they take an aggressive approach to education with their Architectural Profile Academy and Shapes. Al website. Smart to teach and grow the audience the right way and these things take time and resources, so kudos to them for that. Plus a nod to Mark Spencer of Sapa who is a positive fixture at every event and one that carries the company mission out perfectly.

All listed above are worthy to win this year, but there was one person who rose above to win it and next week on my final post of the year, I’ll reveal who that is.

That’s it for this week. Next week, not only will I have the winner but also a look at a great new website from a classic industry company, annealed glass in the movies, more AIA/Trump press release fall out 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.