glassblog

Monday, July 31, 2017

Playing a pricing war is a battle that businesses will never win. But, surprisingly, some businesses think they can succeed merely by pricing goods and services cheaper than the competition or making an incredible introductory offer to new clients to get them in the door. Low prices, they assume, will generate sufficient sales to overcome razor-thin profits. While price should never be the cornerstone of your strategy, it also can't be ignored. There are some ways an average-sized company can still maintain competitive pricing and turn a reasonable profit.

  1. Carve out a niche.
    If you have the lion’s share in a particular market, you have more latitude to set your own prices. If there are a dozen replacement window companies in your city, you'll face constant price competition. Specializing in a specific brand, material or options provides less price pressure.
  2. Work smarter, not cheaper.
    Improve profits through innovative practices. Find ways to de-bottleneck production and reduce the time it takes to complete an installation, for example, without sacrificing quality. Look into equipment that speeds up and/or streamlines operations.
  3. Focus on value, not price.
    Value is a term used to represent the combination of quality, service and delivery for a price. Likewise, a client may be willing to pay a higher price for your goods and services if you can deliver the job faster with fewer hassles than the competition. Excellence, innovation and service are competitive advantages that can help justify higher prices.
  4. Target the right customers.
    Not all customers are willing to pay more, even for better quality. Make certain to aim marketing efforts at customers who are predisposed to buy from you, will respond positively to the differences offered, and can pay a slightly higher price for that value.
  5. Build loyalty to your company and products, not your price.
    Even if you use special pricing such as volume discounts or something extra for free with a certain-sized order to initially attract customers, immediately go to work developing a relationship that keeps customers coming back—or referring you—when prices goes up.

Understand that price wars transfer money and control from sellers to buyers. This is not a good thing if you’re the pricing person, or a business owner. Companies start price wars to “win market share.” Sometimes, this is based on a careful analysis of lifetime customer value to support aggressive pricing into certain market segments. More often, it’s just a matter of competitive instinct coming ahead of profit.

Either a price cut will cause a shift in market share or it won’t. If it doesn’t, you’ve just given your customers a big discount and hurt your bottom line. If it does, your competitor is likely to respond, negating any advantage.

Vince DiCecco is a business coach and owner of the Acworth, Georgia-based consultancy, Your Personal Business Trainer Inc. Contact him via email at vince@ypbt.com or visit his company website, ypbt.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, July 31, 2017

There’s a new entrant into the world of forecasting the construction industry, and this one in its initial report provided some very interesting insight. The USG & US Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index provided by Dodge Data made its debut and it’s a quarterly index of commercial construction through the eyes of the contractor world. The report featured a “Confidence Index” that pegged in at 76, which meant it was squarely in the “healthy market” zone and included a ton of survey detail on everything from hiring to green building practices. The eye-catching thing for me was the green aspect and what I would consider a surprising lack of enthusiasm or usage on such products. The survey showed that only 26 percent of respondents see requests for energy-efficient products and only 30 percent seek them out in a major way. 68 percent either seek them out a little or not at all. The majority of people requesting or working with energy products are from larger firms (100 million and over), where 48 percent request and use green related products vs. small ones (under 10 million), who checked in at 7 percent.

One major point that jumped out at me: is it possible that the respondents don’t realize they are seeking out energy-efficient products? After all, so many products have gained performance over the years. Do you consider a double silver low-E an “energy-efficient” product? Or does it have to be triple silver? Or with BIPV?  Not knowing how someone defines energy efficiency is a major question for me. Still, it is scary that so many in a major position of power admit they only sparingly look for products that could make an energy difference.  

I would assume a lot more on this will be coming out over the next days/weeks/months, and I look forward to the 3rd Quarter report to see what else is involved and how the “Confidence Index” is doing. I’ll obviously keep you apprised on here…

Elsewhere…

  • It’s been a while since I have given props on a new or updated website, so time to shine the spotlight again and this one goes to WA Wilson for their awesome refresh. Yes, my brother Steve is an owner there, but even if he wasn’t I would absolutely point out the fresh and very effective approach that they took. Congrats to my brother, Bobby Hartong and everyone at WA Wilson who made this happen.
  • Really interesting read here on the trees being planted at Apple’s new campus HQ and the difference they will actually make with regards to the carbon footprint. 
  • GlassBuild America note. When you registered, did you sign up to come to see Cam Marston at the opening session? Remember, the opening session is open to all, so if you are going to be there and ready for the show, I strongly recommend adding this to your schedule. Those who have seen Cam speak previously raved about the insight he brought, so I don’t think you will want to miss it. A note in an email from the GlassBuild team summed it up:

    Build your workforce. Key to addressing the industries' workforce challenge is recruiting young people. GlassBuild America attendees will have the opportunity to hear generational expert Cam Marston address this subject during the GlassBuild America Opening Session—OPEN TO ALL. He will share how understanding the differences of each generation, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, can help attract and retain a new generation of employees. Attendees will walk away with actionable ideas to help them effectively manage across the generations.
  • Last this week, can you believe football season is about to start? NFL preseason kicks off this coming week. College (which I love) is a month out. My goodness. Time is flying at warp speed. 

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, July 24, 2017

It’s going to be awesome when it’s done. This was our mantra as we developed a new website for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. We spent many painstaking hours, days, weeks and months developing and perfecting what we hope to be our members’ go-to resource for all things AAMA. Throughout the development, we definitely hit a few bumps, but all our effort was well worth the investment. If you’re considering a website redesign, hopefully you can learn from our experience.


The new site offers a clean, streamlined look with consistent branding throughout.

Our web vendor, Cubic Creative, sent cards highlighting our mantra to encourage persistence.

Intuitive Interaction

At the very beginning of our efforts, we performed usability testing at one of our national conferences. Several members from different backgrounds met with our web vendor individually for 10-15 minutes in order for her to watch how they navigated the site and to hear what areas needed improvement. Much to our surprise, all the debates our staff had about where a new page should be added in the menu were moot. Most members didn’t even use the menu, but instead used the search function. A short, concise menu design and a robust site search, along with quick links to take site visitors to their most frequently visited pages made the most sense for our members.

Lesson learned: If users can’t find what they need, they won’t use the site. Create functionality that revolves around how web visitors expect your site to work.

Educated Engagement

Once the site launched, our team had been building its features for two years. We were incredibly aware of where to find committees, what area housed conference presentations and how to change a password. Our members? Not so much. Therefore, we scheduled in-person workshops and an online webinar to educate our audience about not only what was new but also where to find what was previously available. In addition, we reinstated the Website Quick Tips section in our monthly newsletter.

Lesson learned: It’s no good if no one knows how to use it. Schedule a webinar. Host a forum. Provide frequent tips.

Continued Collaboration

Since the site launched in February, we have encouraged members to contact us if they notice any funky functionality. This helped us to resolve programming issues before we even knew they existed. It has also aided our team in creating a phase two list of improvements. What? You thought you were done once the site launched? A website should be ever evolving and changing to meet visitors’ needs.

Lesson learned: It’s ineffective to rely solely on staff. Invite user input. Respond to questions, even if you don’t have a solution right now.

Budget Busters

We planned the site for months. Our team had a distinct vision of how things would look and function. Well, just like a #Pinterestfail, our vision for a few pages was blurry. Some items only required tweaks to the programming, while others were major overhauls (see phase two reference above). Those small fixes still impacted the budget. Nobody works for free, right? Be sure to allocate funds to cover minor changes.

Lesson Learned: It’s unrealistic to think it’s all going to work perfectly. Just like with a home improvement project, budget a bit extra in case you run into issues.

If you’re about to embark upon a website redesign, don’t worry…it’s going to be awesome when it’s done.

Angela Dickson is marketing manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Contact her at adickson@aamanet.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, July 24, 2017

The 2nd half construction forecasts now have been released by a few of the groups I follow, and the news continues to be good. Depending on the analyst, non-residential building is up 5-7 percent so far this year and the backlogs/starts continue to be strong lending quite a bit of confidence in the belief that 2018 and now 2019 should be solid. You may see some reports showing forecasts slower than this, but keep in mind these forecasts get revised, and in the last two years pretty much everyone has been revised upward. Obviously, the political landscape all over the globe has the ability to change all of this. But for now, the trend is certainly our friend.

Also, the Dodge Momentum Index and the Architectural Billings Index both just reported strong results in their June reports, and both have been on fire all year. This is surely a great run from economic side. Let’s make the best of it industry wide!

Elsewhere…. 

  • We as an industry have a ton of providers of materials on a job. There’s the glass, metal, hardware and components like sealants, caulk and shims. We all want to promote everything we do, but context is needed when the promotion comes. If you show a picture of an entire skyscraper, but you only did a fraction of the material, and it’s not really shown, should you promote that entire job as yours? Or at least leave the impression that it is? It’s misleading and not right. Our industry had an example of that online last week. It was disappointing in that it happened, but also that it was never addressed or corrected. As an industry, we take a lot of heat on many things that are not our fault, so it sure would be nice to not bring on extra woe unnecessarily, especially a potential misrepresentation of product on a project. So, when you see the beautiful photo—and not a rendering—of the completed 609 Main project in Houston, credit for the massive amount of glass in the picture should go to Viracon (tower façade) and Novum (podium). Harmon was the glazier. Congrats to those companies for a job well done!
  • Get well soon wishes to an old and great friend Danny Danese of Thompson IG. Danny is an awesome man that has a heart as big as the globe. I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll be back at it on the road and out and about in no time after this health concern.
  • Congrats to Seth Patterson of Thermal Windows on his promotion to VP of Commercial Sales. Seth was always very welcoming whenever I would see him at GlassBuild, and he knows his stuff. Good to see him moving up the ladder.
  • One week ago, I talked green rating systems with WELL versus LEED. After posting I got some excellent feedback from one of the people I consider the smartest in our world—Kerry Haglund of the Efficient Windows Collaborative. Kerry left the following message on it.

    “Max, just a bit of clarification on LEED vs WELL. LEED is about energy efficiency/conservation and the built environment. WELL is all about the health and well-being of the people in the buildings and occupied spaces. WELL focuses some on efficiency strategies but only if they are for the benefit of the occupants. So, the two standards/rating systems are not comparable. Though they can be done in conjunction and there are a few strategies and preconditions/optimizations that can satisfy both WELL and LEED.”

    Thank you, Kerry. I appreciate the additional information, and I think with how important this subject is (overall sustainability and how we rate and track). I will be getting with you to get and share more insight with the industry!
  • Last this week, the Top 300 Architectural Firms list was released and for the 6th straight year Gensler was number 1. Not a lot of movement among the top 25 showing the big players continue to dominate.

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, July 17, 2017

Last week’s blog addressed the search for step change—a breakthrough innovation in glass that will shape the future of the industry into the future. Startup companies are essential to this process, and such innovative companies took center stage last month at the 2017 Glass Performance Days Conference in Tampere, Finland.

The startups, which hailed from all over the world, were key to GPD’s new Step Change program. According to organizers, the Step Change program was aimed at bringing new technologies, startup companies and investors together to develop the entire glass industry by finding new concepts.

Twenty-six startups were featured in the Step Change program and participated in the Step Change Pitching Competition. For the competition, a representative from each firm presented a brief pitch of their breakthrough technology to attendees and a panel of judges.

The technologies pitched during the competition were interesting, exciting and sometimes unexpected. Many technologies addressed the need for better efficiency and even energy generation. Others solved challenges in production and workflow. Some of the startup products are still in development stages, while others are already at mass production. Featured innovations included everything from laser glass cutting and LED foil interlayers, to 3D printed glasses and production trackers.

Brite Solar Glass (pictured top left) took the top prize in the Step Change Pitching Competition with its transparent photovoltaic panels that can be integrated as windows in greenhouses, homes and office buildings.

In second place was another solar technology, the energy-producing window from Next Energy Technologies Inc. (pictured center). The glass provides functionality of low-emissivity glass with the added benefit of renewable energy production, while offering clarity. The solar window is available in a range of colors.

The third-place award recipient was Lightglass Technologies with its ALED Privacy-Plus technology (pictured right). The glass enables transparent glass panels to be turned into even surface lighting with the push of a button. ALED Privacy-Plus glass received the 2016 Glass Magazine Award in the Most Innovative Glass Product category.

For more information about the GPD Step Change program and its startup participants, click here

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Last week on GlassMagazine.com, Katy Devlin had an excellent blog post on our industry and breakthrough innovations. If you have not had time to read it yet, please go and check it out. My take on this is two-fold.

1. There is absolutely no doubt that we as an industry are mired in a glacial-like pace when it comes to innovation and change. There is an absolute fear of disruption and match that with a lot of companies that prefer a more conservative route and you have the incrementalism that Katy covers in her piece.

2. The other issue is the many companies that are working on change and processes that could truly push our world forward are doing so in a bubble. They are doing it without any true industry insights and thoughts and so they end up drifting blindly into our space and then find it to be unwelcoming and uninterested.  

 In my mind, the key is both sides need to give. The industry must be open to trying new things, pushing new approaches etc. And, developers and inventors need to engage the industry earlier in the process to get true and real insights so they can prepare for the potential objections and work through them. If you are one of the hundreds of companies incubating change for our world, reach out! Don’t wait. Do it earlier in the process than later. And from an industry standpoint, if one of these folks reach out to you, take them seriously, engage with them, work to see where it can come into play. Be willing to disrupt for the good and for the growth.  Let’s do this. 

Elsewhere….

  • The GANA Fall Conference schedule is out, and the event is different than its predecessors. With GANA Fall Conference now integrated into GlassBuild America, changes were made and the result was a smart, streamlined conference that allows work to be done and networking achieved while doing it in an efficient manner that truly serves the stakeholder. Have you registered yet? Do it today. 
  • Kudos to Rob Struble and the team at Vitro on the launch of their Inspirescapes blog. This is really a nice resource to have and constantly visit. It’s a good mix of promotional and informational. I especially liked the piece on full-sized mockups. Good work, folks!
  • What is everyone’s take on the WELL Building Standard? As most readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of LEED. Is WELL a better option? Does it do more for the environment? Is it a better program that has potential for more acceptance? Or does this end up with many other “green” rating systems that tried and ended up being footnotes thanks to LEED’s massive shadow?
  • Last this week, it looks like our friends in Kansas City are going to get a new airport terminal. As anyone who has flown through KCI can attest, it really was not a terminal set up for the rigors of post 9/11 security, and when flight delays happened, you were really in trouble. So it’s good to see this happening for that. Plus, we all know tons of glass and aluminum get used on these projects, so that’s cool too. The thing to watch is what architecture firm wins the bid. Some serious powerhouses involved in the process. I’m excited to see it all play out!

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, July 17, 2017

Last week on GlassMagazine.com, Katy Devlin had an excellent blog post on our industry and breakthrough innovations. If you have not had time to read it yet, please go and check it out. My take on this is two-fold.

1. There is absolutely no doubt that we as an industry are mired in a glacial-like pace when it comes to innovation and change. There is an absolute fear of disruption and match that with a lot of companies that prefer a more conservative route and you have the incrementalism that Katy covers in her piece.

2. The other issue is the many companies that are working on change and processes that could truly push our world forward are doing so in a bubble. They are doing it without any true industry insights and thoughts and so they end up drifting blindly into our space and then find it to be unwelcoming and uninterested.  

 In my mind, the key is both sides need to give. The industry must be open to trying new things, pushing new approaches etc. And, developers and inventors need to engage the industry earlier in the process to get true and real insights so they can prepare for the potential objections and work through them. If you are one of the hundreds of companies incubating change for our world, reach out! Don’t wait. Do it earlier in the process than later. And from an industry standpoint, if one of these folks reach out to you, take them seriously, engage with them, work to see where it can come into play. Be willing to disrupt for the good and for the growth.  Let’s do this. 

Elsewhere….

  • The GANA Fall Conference schedule is out, and the event is different than its predecessors. With GANA Fall Conference now integrated into GlassBuild America, changes were made and the result was a smart, streamlined conference that allows work to be done and networking achieved while doing it in an efficient manner that truly serves the stakeholder. Have you registered yet? Do it today. 
  • Kudos to Rob Struble and the team at Vitro on the launch of their Inspirescapes blog. This is really a nice resource to have and constantly visit. It’s a good mix of promotional and informational. I especially liked the piece on full-sized mockups. Good work, folks!
  • What is everyone’s take on the WELL Building Standard? As most readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of LEED. Is WELL a better option? Does it do more for the environment? Is it a better program that has potential for more acceptance? Or does this end up with many other “green” rating systems that tried and ended up being footnotes thanks to LEED’s massive shadow?
  • Last this week, it looks like our friends in Kansas City are going to get a new airport terminal. As anyone who has flown through KCI can attest, it really was not a terminal set up for the rigors of post 9/11 security, and when flight delays happened, you were really in trouble. So it’s good to see this happening for that. Plus, we all know tons of glass and aluminum get used on these projects, so that’s cool too. The thing to watch is what architecture firm wins the bid. Some serious powerhouses involved in the process. I’m excited to see it all play out!

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, July 10, 2017

The last time the global flat glass industry saw a breakthrough innovation was in 1952, when Sir Alastair Pilkington invented the float glass process, said Scott Thomsen, managing partner at Innoscovery Inc., and former president of the Global Glass Group for Guardian Glass during a video presentation at the 2017 Glass Performance Days Conference in Tampere, Finland. 

Certainly, the industry has innovated, advanced and developed new products and technologies since Pilkington’s game-changing innovation. Recent decades have seen the development and widespread adoption of low-emissivity coatings and high thermal performance systems, the emergence of switchable glazing and smart glass, the implementation of automated manufacturing, and more. While important, these changes are not enough, Thomsen said. The industry continues to wait for its next step change—a significant, game-changing alteration in the market that will propel the industry forward, he said.

“The glass industry is mired in incrementalism,” said Thomsen. “Industries die if they don’t make large changes. Industries fail without a major step change every 30 years.”

Thomsen’s fellow GPD presenter, Bernard Savaëte, founder of BJS.Différences, called the lack of breakthrough innovations “the key difficulty for our industry.”

If the glass industry won’t drive the next step change, the likely innovators will be the technology giants that have been catalysts for disruptive change in other industries. “It will be Google, Tesla, Amazon,” Thomsen said. “Tech giants have started to automate the home and are driving innovations in building.”

However, it’s not too late for glass companies to get involved and ensure that the next step change remains in the industry. In fact, the industry already has firms that are dedicated to discovering the next breakthrough innovation for flat glass. There are more than 150 start-up companies working in the glass building material space, Thomsen said, and these companies “outpace development at primary glass companies at a rate of three-to-one.”

To find the next step change for flat glass, companies should look beyond their own research and development activities and consider collaborations with the quickly growing field of start-up companies, Thomsen said. Established glass companies—both primary glass manufacturers and fabricators—should collaborate with these start-ups to capitalize on the innovation and become part of the process. “Identify start-ups that impact your business and provide some value to the start-up,” he said. “Get involved early. … Be willing to take risks.”

The next flat glass step change is inevitable. The only question is: who will drive that change?

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

We are now just nine weeks from GlassBuild America 2017, and the show is really shaping up very nicely. The amount of people I am hearing from who will be attending is really exciting. There is no question that more and more in our industry are realizing that they have to come to events like this to be able to gain knowledge and networking. If you have not registered or booked your hotel yet, do it now. Atlanta, September 12-14. And if you have any questions on what you may find when attending the show, feel free to drop me a line.

Elsewhere…

Last week Glass Processing Days in Finland wrapped up. Katy Devlin provided fantastic coverage on Glass Magazine twitter feed. I caught up with Chris Fronsoe of ICD High Performance Coatings who had the extreme honor of presenting during the conference. Below is my quick Q&A with him.

What did you speak about at GPD?

A current challenge happening to spandrel glass is occurrences of thermal stress breakage that can be costly and potentially dangerous. Silicone opacifiers were examined as a solution to prevent strength reduction in HT glass, therefore reducing the risk of instances of thermal stress breakage.

How do you think it was received? Any reaction from the audience?

Our group’s topic was well received by world-class glass fabricators and industry experts. Scientific data, in addition to a demonstration video showing silicone opacifiers having no weakening effect on the glass – in some instances greatly improving glass breakage resistance – was powerful and thought provoking. Many conversations post-presentation revealed genuine surprise and awe.

What was it like to speak at an event like this?

Speaking at an event like Glass Performance Days is truly a privilege. Gathered in one place are the top industry experts, architects, designers, suppliers, etc. Each has come to see the latest and greatest innovations, and address and solve the top concerns in the industry. Presenting a solution to a global problem in front of an audience of brilliant, open-minded, forward-thinkers is a remarkable experience I will never forget.

Any other insights you picked up while there?

I picked up so many ideas that the applications where I can apply my company’s technologies to are hard to number. In one presentation, given by Daniel Vos of Heintges, NYC, the need for precise harmonizing colors for spandrel glass was highly evident. Daniel showed photos of large architectural mock-ups where the spandrel glass color was just slightly off, resulting in a clear visual difference between the reflections of vision and spandrel glass. To Daniel, and many others, color always matters. 

Thank you, Chris. I look forward to hearing this presentation when you give it in the United States sometime in the future.

A couple of quick tidbits to end this post…

  • If you do email blasts to folks in Canada, you need to read this and prepare accordingly!
  • Congrats to Bill Daubmann and family on a very cool recent honor. D3 Glass was selected to be on GrowFL’s 2017 “50 Companies To Watch” list. It is believed that the Daubmann’s are the first family to have two businesses selected for this honor with their MY Shower Door operation being highlighted in 2013 join this latest recognition.

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.