glassblog

Monday, December 18, 2017

The last time I posted, I wrote about the differences in North America versus Europe when it comes to the product supply chain. But one of the major differences I did not mention was the emotional approach that North American buyers take versus overseas buyers.

Relationship selling happens all over the world. It happens in every industry and in all types of business. When you enter the term “emotional selling” into Google, more than 73 million results come up. Page after page is filled with links to services, approaches and case studies related to relationship-based selling. But the North American glass and glazing industry takes relationship or emotional selling to a new level.

The psychology around this process is simple at its core: get to know the customer and reach them where it counts, in their hearts. But how do you get there? This was a learning experience for me when I started in the business. I learned quickly that you could have a full range of products from a company that had been around forever, but if the customer did not know you, did not gain your trust, did not feel value from your service to them, you were not going to get much traction selling. 

The glass industry is one that is built on relationships and emotions. In North America that situation is more pronounced than anywhere in the world. Family businesses are more dominant here and that relationship model becomes crucial because the buying chain is getting passed from generation to generation.

The challenge for someone not ingrained in that world is now two-fold: you need to develop that relationship while also working to educate the customer to consider your product and services over someone they already trust.

I have found the approach that works is this: constantly promote the value proposition you deliver while being sincere in getting to know the customer and their business. Care about how they are personally, while being proactive in creating opportunities for them to improve efficiencies and their bottom line. Never disparage the incumbent supplier; rather, focus on your strengths and your abilities to make the difference in their business.

A quality product, coupled with a sincere and focused selling approach goes a long way to selling product throughout North America.

Gareth Francey is the president of Bohle America, a supplier of glazing & handling tools, hardware, consumables, and machinery, for all levels of the glass industry. Francey has been with the Bohle organization since 2001 and led the American division since 2010. Contact him at gareth.francey@bohle-america.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 18, 2017

Before I get to my annual industry MVP, I just wanted to hit on an item that I have been pretty active on over the past several months. This past Monday, GANA sent a voting ballot to its membership asking them to vote on approving a combined entity of GANA and NGA. As I have stated here on many occasions, I believe this combined entity is a must for our industry. It is the opportunity to have one unified voice and bring the best of these two excellent groups together. 

One key benefit is an improved efficiency and approach with meetings and events. It will offer more focus, and provide an opening for more input from parties who may not have been heard or comfortable speaking up in the past. Movements like this and other possibilities will allow the strengths of these organizations to grow. Obviously, a lot of the work still needs to be done to determine how a combined group will exactly look when merged, but that’s normal in any unification. But what I do know is the personalities involved are strong and caring, and they have our best interest as an industry at the forefront. If you have a ballot, please vote. And if you want to talk more about this, I am always up for a dialogue. 

Now on to the MVP…

2017 was a tough one, but in the end, I did find my winner.

First, the runners up. All of these are well deserving because they truly came to play all year long with the best interest of the industry in mind.

Two companies and two individuals make up the group that came close. They are:

GCI Consultants. These folks made the list because they went next level with communication that made a difference. Every other week, for the most part, GCI released a podcast with an industry subject and guest. That is something I have wanted to do for the past three years and couldn’t do and these guys are doing it and doing it extremely well. To find new ways to communicate is a crucial step in reaching more of the world. Kudos and congrats to GCI for pulling it off.

Walker Glass. There are so many people at this company who could probably be on this list solo it only made sense to honor the company as a whole. The commitment that Walker makes to the technical side of the industry is huge. No matter where the meeting is, they usually have multiple people there. And those folks usually take on leadership roles that involve more work than their daily duties. Walker also has excelled at leading the way in newer areas of bird-protective glazing and sustainable glazing with the etched products (going after HPD/EPD etc.) Overall, it’s an impressive body of work. Kudos to Lee Harrison, Ross Christie and the entire Walker team for doing what you do!

Darijo Babic, Guardian Glass. There are stories about Darijo’s work ethic and hustle that are legend-like. There is no doubt he is a person who gets the job done and he brings a passion to the glass industry that is off the charts. Darijo this year and in the past has been tremendous at educating architects and designers on glass and why it needs to be used.  

Cathie Saroka, Goldray. Cathie’s company has tons of admirers with the beautiful product they produce. But it’s Cathie’s activities on the technical side of the industry and her being at the front of promoting the excellent potential uses of decorative glass (instead of non-glass products) wins the day for me. Ten years ago, decorative glass was a niche. It now is standard and the space it goes in can utilize a lot of different non-glass options, so having a champion pushing glass is huge. 

Congrats to the above folks/companies. You all represent the industry well!

Now to the winner. I have known this gentleman for a few years and was a fan of his style and skill.  But honestly it wasn’t until this year when I saw him in action in a few different venues that he hit my radar as a guy that was performing even beyond my initial knowledge. 

My industry MVP for 2017 is Joe Erb of Quanex.  

Joe is easily one of the most likable people in our world and one that I would be stunned if anyone did not hold in the highest levels of respect. He is a focused, caring guy who has thrown himself into several volunteer roles all with the industry’s best interest in mind. As I noted above, I watched him do his thing in a few meetings, and it was awesome. Joe kept discussion flowing and debate/collaboration at a fair and respected pace. All the while making sure that the work being done would provide a benefit to what we all do. Like the past winners of this award, I am just in awe of the effort Joe puts forward and appreciate all he does! Congrats, Joe. I believe this honor is well deserved!

That is it for my last “scheduled” post of 2017. If major news breaks, I’ll jump online and on twitter. Beyond that, I want to wish all of you out there a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and rewarding 2018. I am looking forward to what’s in store and I can’t wait to continue to share my thoughts, gripes and whines with you here on this blog. Take care and enjoy!

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, December 11, 2017

Back in school, nobody liked the “know-it-all”—that over-eager student who always had an answer to any of the teacher’s questions. Raising their hand, squirming in their seat and exclaiming, “me, me, I know, I know,” then grinning smugly at their fellow students after answering.

Guess what? The know-it-all isn’t so effective in the work world, either.

With the rare exception, the know-it-all in the professional world is not always a smiling sycophant brown-nosing the boss. The know-it-all can be a recognized expert in their field, and truly have valuable insights. Being called an “expert” by your colleagues is fine, as long as you don’t believe your own press and give up on continuing to learn.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, encourages his employees to be “learn-it-alls,” not know-it-alls. In a recent Inc. magazine interview, Nadella notes that experts often focus on how they’re viewed by others, rather than on ongoing learning and growth. As a clear example that Nadella follows the “be a learn-it-all” mantra himself, he derived this insight from research he did on how to boost his children’s education.

As CEO of the third largest publicly traded company in the United States, Nadella could easily have convinced himself that he had “arrived” as a leadership expert and had nothing more to learn. Instead, when researching a topic seemingly unrelated to the business world, he was open to insights that could crossover to his role as CEO. It’s what he calls “thinking of yourself as a student.”

Einstein, who was arguably the top physics expert in history, put it this way: “The important thing is to never stop questioning.” Decades after he published his papers on the Relativity Theory that revolutionized our understanding of space and time, Einstein continued to ask “why does the universe work this way?” Up until the day he died, he persisted in his studies, seeking to develop a theory that would unify all of physics.

If top experts in leading multinational corporations and in science devote themselves to continual learning, what does that mean for us in the humble glazing business? Say you’re a top salesperson in your company, earning the highest commission year-after-year. In other words, an expert at uncovering leads and closing business. Your competitors—both in house and at other companies—likely are watching your methods and learning how to best you. If you don’t learn new sales techniques, they’ll catch you and you’ll no longer be an “expert.” For you, becoming a “learn-it-all” could be an intensive action like pursuing an MBA in marketing, a mid-level commitment like attending a multi-day sales seminar, or as simple as reading a sales book or article, or even asking a colleague or manager for their insights. The important thing is to be proactive about pursuing learning opportunities.

W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer who helped Japan evolve from its reputation for producing inferior goods to being a producer of highly desired, innovative goods, drove home the point of why we all should keep learning, whether we’re the CEO or the person on the shop floor: “Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.”

David Vermeulen is the national sales manager for Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. TGP works closely with architects, designers and other building professionals, providing them with the state-of-the-art products, service and support to maximize design aesthetics and safety in commercial and institutional buildings around the world. Contact him 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 11, 2017

The past week brought some technology plays to the forefront of our industry. Usually I am pretty upbeat about the possible innovation breakthroughs because I love when we push the line. However, this time I’m a little more cautious than normal.

The first was from NREL with the press release on a thermochromic glass product. This potential product supposedly will mix the thermochromic property into a solar/electricity generating one. The issue I have is this is not new, has been done, and the product they are showing still is nowhere close to any sort of commercialization. It’s very premature that they are even trumpeting this, but if you Google NREL and glass, this isn’t the first time they’ve pushed their news with every ballyhooed announcement about some solar breakthrough and then nothing happens. This does cause our industry as a whole to take on unwarranted criticism that we are not innovating. It’s a neat concept, but that’s all it is right now and until it can be produced in a consistent manner in commercial sizes, the celebration needs to slow a bit.

The second story came from Merck out of Germany with news on a production facility to produce Liquid Crystal Windows. This has some interesting potentials and it appears this is much further down the process line than the NREL item mentioned above. What caught my eye was the distribution comment:

Merck does not see itself as a competitor to glass and window manufacturers, but rather will supply the modules enabling them to make these smart glass elements, windows and façades. In addition, Merck assists architects, designers as well as window and façade makers in an advisory capacity.

I guess someday soon your window manufacturer will be bringing in LC to integrate into their windows…? It just doesn’t seem that doable given the technology needed to handle it all. But it bears watching and, despite my comments, I am keeping an open mind. 

By the way you may be noticing a lot more news from the “smart” glass world. Reason is based on continuing market studies that say the switchable/smart glass market will be in the billions of dollars in the coming years. It’s been a pretty constant prediction of that since I started blogging and the studies (big numbers coming in a few years!) just keep moving the goal posts. But a billion-dollar potential is surely enticing.

Elsewhere…

  • More positive economic news. The latest Dodge Momentum Index was very strong. It surged up almost 20 percent on the commercial building side in November. Year-over-year the index is up 24 percent. Obviously, very good signs. Another good sign are the commercial building backlog statistics. They currently stand at an all-time high with this last six-month stretch blowing the doors off past numbers. All the metrics do have 2018 looking to be very good. Obviously, we’ll see if everything plays out like the projections are showing.
  • Congrats to Heather Evans of YKK AP America on her first blog on GlassMagazine.com last week. This was a super read and another great use of the medium. Informative, interesting, helpful. Job well done, Heather!
  • Next week, my glass industry MVP will be revealed along with this year’s runners up. All I can say is this has been the toughest call yet and none of the past ones were close to easy. So many good choices!
  • Last this week, folks who know me know I hate the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. So obviously this week was not a good one for me when he signed a new contract with the NFL worth $200 million. $200 million. That just makes me ill. I used to live for sports, and especially Sunday NFL football, but that love is long gone. $200 million. Absolutely insane.

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 4, 2017

According to AARP, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. Combine this with the CDC’s statistic that one out of every five adults in the U.S. lives with a disability, and the trend toward designing for accessibility is a growing one.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was established in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title III focuses on public accommodations and commercial buildings, with guidelines to meet when developing a public space. There has been a recent movement toward specifying accessibility in private condominiums, for example, where ADA isn’t required. The building owner and architect usually make the final call as to whether a building meets their goals for accessibility, rather than the government. This shift changes the dynamic around accessibility for architects, designers, contractors, engineers and building owners.

Whether designing a building to meet ADA requirements, or a non-ADA building with the intent of providing an accessible design, here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Holistic Design: A product is only one piece of the puzzle. An entrance, for example, can enable accessibility to a building, however whether it is ADA-compliant or not depends on many factors. Project teams often make the mistake of assuming products referred to as “ADA Doors” can make a building accessible. But, hardware, approach area, reach, forces and motion are all critical to enabling a product to provide the right level of accessibility. For example, inadequate hardware can make a door too heavy to open. Products must be verified by the architectural and engineering team for each application in an accessible building. Understand what each product specified is capable of, then determine what needs to happen to make the product work as intended.

  • Installation is Key: Installation can make the difference in a product’s ability to perform and ensure the accessibility of a building. It starts with the framing, setting up the proper width of doors and height of windows. A low threshold door is only useful if it is framed, then installed at the proper height. As stated in ADA Section 404.2.5, “thresholds if provided at doorways shall be ½ inch high maximum.” Similarly, the variability of the slab is critical. An uneven slab from interior to exterior may help to keep water out of a building, but it can make accessibility near impossible. This is an easy mistake to make, because the interior and exterior slab is often poured at different times.

  • Collaboration: A holistic design amongst the players involved in the project is critical. Communication early in the process can be key to success. This allows for any product customization to be designed and manufactured in a timely manner and for the installers to understand what needs to be done to ensure accessibility for the particular project.

Heather Evans serves as Certification Program Engineer at YKK AP America Inc. She joined YKK AP in 1999. Heather spent several years managing and implementing collateral and estimating software before joining the Product Development team in 2016. 

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 4, 2017

The glass and glazing industry lost two amazing people last week with the passing of Frank Dlubak and Jack Hoisington. Both men made significant impacts in the markets they played in and will be missed greatly.

Frank Dlubak was a remarkable inventor and founder of Dlubak Corp. Some, including myself, thought of Frank as a mad scientist (in a good way!). He was always coming up with a new product or machine that could change the way the market worked. My first visit with Frank was many years ago and he showed off a new addition to one of his tempering ovens. It was all handmade, all invented and developed solely by Frank. It was jawdropping, and I was speechless. But pretty much you felt that awe after every conversation with Frank because he had this amazing energy about him. 

Jack Hoisington was a Michigan glass and glazing leader for many years, as the owner of Madison Heights Glass. He was also probably one of the overall nicest people this industry has ever seen. He was extremely friendly and positive as well as hard working and ethical. He was a guy that the glass and glazing industry can point to as an excellent example of class.

Frank and Jack were guys who always left a positive impression on you because they allowed you to have a conversation and you learned after every interaction with them. The passing of these two incredible men leaves a massive hole in our world and hearts. My sincerest condolences to family and friends of Frank and Jack.

Elsewhere…

  • Glass Magazine review: The November issue of Glass Magazine is dedicated to the Top Metal companies in the industry, so several pages are focused on that area including some interesting insight on the challenges that some of these companies faced in 2017. Plus, I loved the coverage my pal Tom O’Malley (Clover Architectural Products) got with a full-page shot of the Cummins Building in Indianapolis. I know Tom has always been extremely proud of his company’s contribution to that structure, so it was great to see it recognized. Obviously, I advise reading this (and every issue) cover to cover, but I want to also point out that there’s some interesting content on the Buy America Act, codes on glass wall systems, and an excellent piece by Carl Tompkins of Sika about doing things differently

  • The ad of the month goes to the gang from TGP. The layout of the ad caught my eye with a bold, smart headline and then just enough text to carry the message all the way home. Tremendous work and props to the team at TGP on a job well done! 

  • Last week I asked about the building used on the TV show “The Good Doctor,” and thank you to all who replied with the info. (One was my friend, the great Steve O’Hollaren of National Glass. Very cool to communicate with “SteveO” again.) So, what we know now: This is a real building and it is in Surrey, British Columbia. I’d love to know who fabricated and installed the glass. Tons of tremendous companies in that part of the world, so I am not even going to guess. 

  • Last this week, a story to follow and one that has a lot of moving parts and pieces but does have a glass-related connection. In Philadelphia, there’s a move to get rid of the bullet-resistant glass structures at convenience stores. I have been used to that set up my entire life (there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken we used to go to that was the first I can remember), so I’m very curious to see how this proceeds.

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.