Bringing the Future to the Present

Is it better to wait until change is forced upon you, or to be an active participant in creating the new normal? Those constructing new markets see excess profits, then these new markets become standard, and many more arrive looking to ride the wave. Even with flocks of new companies looking to capitalize, the earliest adopters are best positioned and typically continue to prosper. A textbook example, the iPhone. It doesn’t appear waiting for change to be forced on you is the answer. If you’re waiting, you probably have already been left behind.

In the glass world, market leaders embrace change, especially using ever-changing technology. They’re using technology to create entirely new markets, producing new opportunity for their businesses. For example, the progression of smart products like electrochromic and dynamic glass are becoming an economical solution with an almost endless list of applications.

Additionally, the new International Building Code dictates that glass in handrails, guardrails or guarded section must be constructed of laminated tempered or laminated heat-strengthen glass, unless there is no walking surface below or the walking surface is permanently protected. This was updated years ago, yet we’re awaiting implementation across our market. Many companies are preparing ahead, looking at laminating solutions to complement their current tempering capabilities. Still, my experience is a lot more are dragging their feet because, as of now, these codes are not a requirement in most markets.

If you’re dragging your feet, consider this: tempered glass is strong, but not unbreakable. The next time you’re in an airport, mall or even a multi-level lobby, make note of the amount of glass handrails you see, specifically those with a possibility of someone walking unprotected below. If a panel on the third floor breaks, glass falls onto people below, and a gaping hole in the balustrade is practically begging a child to see if their body will fit through. With the addition of lamination to the code, we ensure this scenario does not happen. If this code were mandated tomorrow, would your business be able to reasonably bid these jobs? I see an enormous opportunity for those ready to capitalize. What do you see when you look at all this glass?

With GlassBuild America 2017 rapidly approaching, make the most of the opportunity. You will be in the presence of those creating the changes for the future, and those with experience working in new markets. Take time to speak with them. With symposiums and learning sessions each day, you can focus on upcoming changes that will affect your business. Take time to identify trends and study them; knowing these allows you to be prepared or even to become the next game changer. Do you want to be a follower into a new market or one of the leaders? The latter is where I am looking to be!

Pete de Gorter is vice president of sales and marketing at DeGorter Inc. Contact him at Pete will be presenting an Express Learning session on machinery purchasing during GlassBuild America. Attend his presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m., to learn more.

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



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