glassblog

Monday, January 29, 2018

Business should not solely be about profits. Business is about relationships, finding answers to problems, goodwill, and contributing to the greater good of all. If you’re looking only to make as much profit as possible, you may be successful, but at what expense? Often it is at the expense of others, like not paying comparable wages or spending time constantly searching for lower costs, therefore missing areas of opportunity.

As costs continue to rise, let’s not sell ourselves short looking only for the lowest price. Rising costs are not an enemy when adequately prepared for.

Rising prices bring opportunities for innovative solutions. When executed correctly, this creates an opportunity to raise standards. Take China for example. It’s been one of the world’s low-cost manufacturing leaders for decades, contributing an enormous supply of goods to the global economy. Today, we see costs in China continue to rise and companies are reevaluating the cost/benefit analysis of manufacturing in China. China has been creating higher standards domestically and at the same time leveling the advantages of producing there.

2017 was by far the best I’ve experienced in my 11 years in the glass industry. In 2018, there are things to evaluate that will ensure continued success, even considering forecasts of continued growth. Most importantly, the continuous rise in costs of goods and services. Shipping lanes are full contributing; fuel prices are up about 10 percent from last year; wages are up; insurance never seems to go down; and specific to glass, large growth with lower supply across our industry contributed to shortages in 2017. Plan on these to continue in 2018 as demand may again outweigh supply. Nevertheless, know there are ways to prepare.

My advice (the two cents it is worth) is to forecast and plan the next couple years based off the current trends. We can expect growth in our market and must plan how to handle rising costs. A two-to-three-year plan should be continuously updated, especially in times of rapid change. Develop new relationships, find backup suppliers, plan for a possible shortage situation, expect prices to go up, and don’t leave the people who make the business what it is behind. Preparation is key, and without it you’ll be left scratching your head wondering where things went wrong.

Pete de Gorter is vice president of sales and marketing at DeGorter Inc. Contact him at pete@degorter.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, January 29, 2018

Well here we go again. Every few years, a big media outlet writes a story hammering the use of glass in buildings. Now we have the latest one via CNN. The headline is “Are architects turning their backs on glass skyscrapers?” but the interesting thing for me was the URL used to locate the page had the title of “Why glass architecture is bad for our cities.” Hmmm. It’s one thing to lead with architects choosing different styles or approaches, it’s totally another to flat out make the argument a negative one. In any case, to me no new ground was broken. The same tired and unproven arguments were made, and we are once again in the crosshairs with people who do not care for the product we base our livelihood on.

The “thermal performance” card was played, and while we all know there are quite a few products and systems that exceed any model, obviously the people quoted in this article aren’t seeing them. It was nice that those noted in the article said glass wasn’t going away anytime soon, but the fact we still see these pieces should be of concern.

Our product is awesome and there are so many great options for it. We need to get our message out. This is YET ANOTHER REASON why the combined NGA\GANA group is so crucial. A unified voice to promote where needed and push back where necessary. In the end, we all know we have great products, and we need to do our part to let the world know that as well.

Elsewhere…

  • Another big industry deal went down this past week with Morse Industries being sold to MD Building Products. Morse is a classic family business that has done very well over the years, and it looks like it reached that time to sell to a bigger player to move it to the next level. Congrats to the Morse family on what looks like a great deal!

  • Modular building is growing. I spoke about this at a meeting last year, and I think the audience thought I was nuts. Those of you who know me know I am nuts, but in this case, I am on top of it. An article this week came out trumpeting the growth of this segment, and it makes sense. Labor is a challenge; jobsites can be tricky. This helps both. It’s similar to why unitized is growing like crazy on the glazier side: efficiency is king. 

  • The Amazon Top 20 locations have been announced, and while I was bummed Detroit did not make the cut, I was not surprised. And the betting odds of which city will end up the new Amazon HQ2 are not surprising either. Atlanta is the betting favorite followed by Washington, D.C., Nashville, Boston and Austin, Texas. Philadelphia, Chicago and Pittsburgh follow close after that. When I wrote about this last October, I said Atlanta and Dallas would be the favorites, so Atlanta in the lead obviously does not surprise me, while Dallas not being in the top 10 is stunning. This will be fun to keep watching. It will be interesting to see what the overall effects on the winning city will be as the plus of adding new jobs and infrastructure will also come with some unintended negatives as well.

  • Good news from the Architectural Billings Index in December. It was in the positive range yet again at 52.9, which, while very good, was a bit of a drop from the amazing 55 the month previous. The work is still coming, which is good to hear as January for many has been a bit soft. Whether it’s the weather or just lulls in the backlog process, I did sense some worry creeping in.

  • Last this week, my heart goes out to all my pals in Minnesota. It sure would’ve been nice for you to not only have your team in the Super Bowl but at home no less. That’s a tough one. Now it’s down to New England and Philly. I am good with whomever wins as long as the crowd boos Roger Goodell with a white-hot passion when he comes to present the trophy. I know the New England fan base will do that; hopefully the Eagle fans will do so as well!

Read on for links and video of the week…

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Do you have a “Can Do” company or a “Can’t Be Done” company? That simple change in phraseology can make or break your entire company. It can set you apart from the competition either way.

It all comes down to mindset. What is the mindset you as leaders of your organization convey to the rest of the team? What does the rest of the team echo? Enforce an absolute ban on the use of “can’t.” Transform “can’t” into “can do.”

A “can do” attitude says, “I know there must be a way, and we will figure it out.” You add value to your customer relationships by going the extra mile and working to make things happen. Your customers will respect and appreciate you just for trying. If you become transparent and ask for their participation and involvement to help solve the issue, an even deeper bond will form, and this will carry over into every aspect of your relationship.

Change your mindset, change your company. Stand out from the crowd and adopt a “can do” attitude. Accept the challenge, and transform your organization.  

Chad Simkins is director of sales and marketing, new ventures at Guardian Glass, guardianglass.com. He can be reached at csimkins@guardian.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, January 22, 2018

2018 is now rolling along and we’ve flown right by the midway point of January, so I better get my trends/predictions out for the year. They are…

  1. Trucking 
    Trucking at all levels will be an even bigger challenge. Getting truckloads has been difficult for the last several years because of the lack of equipment, drivers and companies. That will continue. But now at the fabricator and glazier level, there are Department of Transportation rules in effect that could disrupt the way things are usually done. New restrictions on hours and more accurate logging is already changing the way the logistic world plays out and the trickle-down effect will be delay of materials and less flexibility on jobsite deliveries.

  2. Big and sophisticated
    Big and sophisticated are achievable. In the past, the specs would call for materials that were either too large for most fabricators or too difficult to be cost effective. Those days are over. Suppliers have adapted. Now glaziers and glass shops are realizing they can get virtually whatever they want glass wise.

  3. Security glass
    Security glass goes wild. Dang it I am putting this on here until it happens. 2018 will be the year.

  4. Private equity
    Private equity in and out. 2017 saw a few new private equity players invest in the glass industry. I am betting that 2018 will see an existing one leave, most likely selling to another PE firm or a company from overseas.

  5. Association merger
    The merger of NGA and GANA will go through and be great in the end. Yes, I am a proponent of the merger. I heard from a dear friend this week that he was not and his reasons why. There is a fear that there’s still a lot to be known on how this deal will look in the end, but I am extremely confident, knowing the players on both sides the way I do, that it is going to come out fine. I love that there is a dialogue and that needs to continue for the good of our industry and the success of a combined entity that features one unified voice.

Elsewhere….

  • If you are coming to GANA BEC (you really should), then get your hotel reservations done asap. That week in Vegas has some other action happening and the room rates GANA secured are excellent (trust me I studied it). Deadline is Feb. 1, so book it now while you are thinking about it. Learn more and register here.

  • For my fellow road warriors, we need to get legislation passed for at least one outlet on the night table next to your hotel room bed. This week I had a hotel where the only outlet near the bed was behind it and low to the floor. It was not fun trying to plug the phone in. Yes, I am spoiled, but no way I am alone in wanting this!

  • From the times change file, I watched Saturday Night Fever for the first time in probably 30 years. Wow, talk about a movie that could never be done in these times. Amazingly politically incorrect (I’m not PC, but this was off the charts), and in many cases disturbing and vile. I had only remembered the great Bee Gees music. The re-watch was painful.

  • Last this week, a call for thoughts and prayers for George Sultage of Vitro. George posted word on Linkedin about a pretty serious health crisis he is having and, quite frankly, can use all of the positivity we can muster. George is a great guy, respected and popular with all he interacts with. Hang in there George; we as an industry are behind you!

Read on for links and video of the week…

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.

E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Being featured in Glass Magazine allows industry companies to connect with customers, introduce new products and recent projects, share company news and recognize the achievements of employees. Highlighting a company’s work and its workers in the magazine can foster pride and ownership among employees, while demonstrating achievements to customers.

As we enter a new year at Glass Magazine, I wanted to take some time to remind readers of the various editorial opportunities available to industry companies. Whether it’s a product introduction, a personnel announcement, breaking news or an innovative project completion, Glass Magazine wants to know what’s happening at your company.

Below are top editorial opportunities, with links on how to submit. For additional coverage opportunities, feel free to write me directly at the email below. We look forward to working with you in 2018. (Note: For readers interested in learning about advertising opportunities, click here.)

New products

Glass Magazine runs an Industry Products section in every issue that features descriptions and photos of new product offerings. Companies submit a press release announcing a single, new product introduction.

People news

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

Innovative projects

Glass Magazine spotlights innovative glass projects in its weekly Great Glazing project features, which run in the e-glass weekly newsletter and on GlassMagazine.com. The Great Glazing project features will also be considered for publication in the magazine.

Great ideas

Companies from all parts of the glass and glazing industry have implemented innovative, out-of-the-box ideas to improve business from the ground up. The Glass Magazine article series Here’s an Idea… showcases these sometimes small behind-the-scenes ideas that can make a big impact on a company’s bottom line.

Top lists

Glass Magazine recognizes leading North American industry companies in its top list programs: Top Glass Fabricators, Top 50 Glaziers and Top Metal Companies. For more information on how to submit to the various programs, contact Assistant Editor Norah Dick, ndick@glass.org.

Award programs

The annual Glass Magazine Awards recognize the incredible potential of architectural through its innovative project and product awards. The magazine also launched a popular Reader Photo Contest that allows readers to submit the behind the scenes photos from the factory floor to the job site. The submission processes for both programs begin in April. 

Katy Devlin is editor for Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at kdevlin@glass.org.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Each year I start my blog posts with a look back at previous predictions and then forward with ones for the new year. 2018 has great potential for all involved, and I am excited for all that is coming down the pike. I’ll hit more on the year ahead next week. For now, let’s look back.

In January of 2017, I made the following predictions. Let’s see how I did.

#1- More Unitized. Honestly, I think I nailed this. Unitized is the hottest segment on the framing side and not cooling off soon. (Speaking of unitized, get to BEC. A great discussion is scheduled on this subject there.)

#2- Net Zero growth. I am going to say I got this half right. It grew, but not nearly as much as I thought. I am bummed that more structures continue to fall for the folly that is LEED and not NetZero.

#3- Security, Again. I predicted in 2016 and was wrong. I brought it back in 2017 and was wrong again. It just did not take off like I expected. I am half tempted to put it on the 2018 list again. It’s going to happen. Someday.

#4- Deals and Acquisitions. I think this was an easy win thanks to Apogee buying EFCO along with some other smaller, but still important, deals.

#5- A new social push. I got this one wrong. Maybe because the industry is so busy the advancement in the social media world was light. Or maybe we are really an old-school industry. Either way, the big push was not there.

In the end, I think I did ok, but I am determined to get them all correct in 2018! Check back next week for my trends and predictions post for the year ahead.

Elsewhere….

  • Before we get too deep into January, it’s time for my monthly Glass Magazine review. The December issue with the amazing cover photo of the team from Giroux Glass in LA handling some seriously heavy materials. The overall theme of this excellent issue was handling and safety. Those are HUGE subjects that affect us all, so very worthwhile reading inside. There were some seriously good HR resources in there. Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece at the front of the magazine on a “near miss;” a very meaningful and helpful article, and my heart was beating way too fast during the start of it. In addition, one of my pet issues, the OSHA Silica Rules are covered as well. All in all, if you are not reading these issues, you are missing out…

  • Ad of the Month is going to double as a plea from me. The ad for BEC in March with keynote speaker Jeff Havens gets my nod. The ad is delivering a message on the generational workplace and it does it quite effectively. And quite frankly, BEC is the event that you need to be at to continue to stay ahead of the trends while keeping your network strong. If you are doing BEC in the spring and GlassBuild in the fall, you are doing it right. In any case, nice ad on the speaker and what he’ll cover. If you want to learn more and register for BEC, click here.

  • The NGA-GANA combination continues to proceed. If you are a GANA member and have not voted, please do so. There is still time and it is worth the few minutes. As I have stated here previously, I believe this deal is a very good one and I am excited about what is next. Also, if you are an NGA member I believe you have a vote to handle as well. So folks, get to the ballot boxes!

  • It was a big week for fellow Glass Magazine blogger Gareth Francey of Bohle America. He and Bohle purchased the shower door hardware manufacturer Portals. Exciting deal for both sides and I am happy for Gareth and team as they continue to grow in the space. So far, all of the deals announced in 2018 are looking very promising for both the folks involved and segments they serve.

  • Last, congrats to my friend Lewis McAllister of Coral Glass on his Crimson Tide winning the National Title. I don’t know anyone else who lives for Alabama football like Lewis, so I am thrilled for him. ROLL TIDE!

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, January 8, 2018

2018 is here and we are back at it with a lot of news and notes to get to. Normally I use the first post of the year to have recaps and predictions, but I am going to push that into the next couple of weeks because there are other items to cover.

  • On the company side of things, we had a deal involving one of the companies in this industry I respect the most. In an announcement soon after the new year, Technical Glass Products sold to Allegion plc. I don’t know much about Allegion, but I do know they got an amazing company with incredible people. Congrats to the Razwick family on the deal. Everyone at TGP has always treated me extremely well and I am happy for them as this situation really looks positive for everyone involved.

  • Aside from this one, there are a few other deals that are bursting at the seams and I expect announcements in the next week or two.

  • Also, one of my favorite companies had a major rebrand at the end of the year. SC Railing is now known as Trex Commercial Products. SC sold to Trex last July, so this makes sense to bring them into that family. No matter the name, the influence and growth that SC/Trex has had in the industry has been quite impressive.

  • And while I am talking about words like impressive and favorite, a gentleman who fits both descriptions took on a new position at the start of the year. Dan Wright was named president of Paragon Tempered Glass, moving up from his previous role as vice president of sales and marketing. I cannot tell you how happy I am for Dan, a wonderful guy who I knew was destined for greatness way back in the day when he had to put up with my constant whines and cries when I was a customer of his. Congrats, Dan. You will do awesome in this role!

  • Good news from the last Architectural Billing Index for 2017. The ABI crushed it with a crazy score of 55.0, which is highest of the year and really had people talking. The main analyst from AIA chimed in with this positive nugget:

    “Not only are design billings overall seeing their strongest growth of the year, the strength is reflected in all major regions and construction sectors,” said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The construction industry continues to show surprising momentum heading into 2018.”

    We are geared up nicely, so as I noted above, I am saving my recaps and predictions for the next weeks, and one reason is I want your input. I have a poll posted on my Twitter feed @maxpsolesource where you can add your vote (and feel free to comment below that poll or here) that will add into my thoughts. This obviously is very unscientific, and my Twitter reach is not huge, but an interesting angle to me nonetheless.

  • Last but certainly not least this week, there was some very sad news to report out of the gate as well. Peter de Gorter, president & CEO of DeGorter Inc., passed away right before the new year. The news was incredibly sad to me. The de Gorter family has such a strong positive presence in our industry and have been so active, that a loss like this shakes you. My thoughts and condolences to the entire de Gorter family.

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, January 8, 2018

According to James Mulvey, senior social media strategist, Hootsuite, there are three main challenges for businesses utilizing social media in 2018. They are: the continuing decline of unpaid, organic reach; keeping pace with social network innovation; and validating the worth of existing strategies.

Here are five trends to implement in 2018, according to Amber Naslund, senior director, industry leadership, Hootsuite
 
1. Persistent questions regarding social ROI
While companies expand their vision of Return on Investment, when it comes to social media, companies remain uncertain about what metrics to track and how to tie data to business outcomes. Social media can help companies understand customer preferences and lead to better business decisions beyond marketing. Think of social media as a window into the customer journey, which includes loyalty and advocacy. 
 
2. Brands as broadcasters
Mobile has fed the growth of social TV, shifting social media platforms toward video content. Social video viewing keeps rising. In Q1 2017, video made up 21 percent of brand posts. Social networks will continue promoting video and TV-style content, which attracts advertising dollars. Launching products with live social media broadcasts, which has a higher engagement rate than other video, is an opportunity for companies. Don’t be afraid to go unscripted with live video, which inspires credibility.
 
3. Declining institutional trust, rising peer influence
Individuals continue to turn to each other to make decisions, while CEOs and mega influencers, like institutions, have less influence. Micro influencers are growing in importance, and 2018 will reward businesses that inspire loyalty and passion among employees and customers, blurring the line between advertising and advocacy. Businesses should set goals for advocacy and build real, lasting relations with customers and employees. Facebook Groups are one social media space that supports virtual communities. Sharing customer and employee stories is another opportunity for the intimate spaces of social media.
 
4. AI to find new adoption and more practical uses
Artificial intelligence is embedded in websites and social networks, and will become more so. Computers are adapting to people rather than the reverse, elevating customer care and allowing humans more time to deal with higher level problems such as building relationships. Messaging apps are becoming an important content delivery channel. Chatbots personalize offers, look for information that connects businesses to customers and answer common questions that customers ask. 
 
5. Realizing the potential of social data
Social media collects enormous amounts of data, but it’s difficult to understand how to use and integrate the data into existing company systems. Marketers are still the evangelists when it comes to the role of social media. However, other personnel, like sales teams, will become increasingly, and necessarily, involved as social media’s role in customer service becomes more apparent. Setting business goals and having real conversations with customers on social media platforms will make for a more effective strategy in 2018.

Wendy Vardaman is assistant web editor for Glass Magazine. Contact her at wvardaman@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.