From the Fabricator: Kicking Off 2019

We’ve made it to 2019, and it's time to talk about what I see business wise for the upcoming months.   

Overall, I am taking a positive outlook. I am hopeful that 2019 features a more even-keeled performance than 2018. For many, last year was a tale of two seasons—the first half not great, followed by a strong finish. This year should have a more consistent performance and be a year with a slight amount of growth. Backlogs are filled on the glazing contractor side, and the metrics I follow for 2019 are all looking up.  

The big worry is what’s coming in 2020. That’s where there’s some concern. Normally at this point in the cycle you can start to see what is heading our way, and the initial view does show some choppy waters. Residential and auto futures are looking softer for 2020, and that is usually a signal that commercial weakening could follow right behind. If that is the case, we could see an uneven 2020.  

I will note that it is still very far off, and things can and do change quickly, but for now I have a little pessimism in my bones for 2020. I’ll keep monitoring and updating here. Over the next few weeks, I am going to post my prediction review from last year and offer new predictions for 2019. Stay tuned for more to come. 

And no matter what the predictions or markets say, please check out Katy Devlin’s Glass Magazine blog, “How to Recession-proof Your Business.”  Tremendously helpful piece. 

Elsewhere…

  • Related to the above, the last Architectural Billings Index was a monster, finishing up at 54.7. This was a nice gain over the previous month, which posted the barely breaking-even score of 50.4. However, I have a feeling that the next release on Jan. 23 will be the first one in the last 14 months under the break-even number. We’ll see…
  • Glass Magazine review time: the December issue featured the team from Steel Encounters on its cover, moving glass. The issue was dedicated to handling equipment, so those articles were fascinating to me—so much advancement in that area. Also, I love any time my pal Joe Schiavone of C.R. Laurence Co. writes, and he has a great piece in there co-written with Brian Stratton of Linetec. Well done! Also, check out Bryan Bush’s backlog calculator article—extremely informative.
  • Ad of the month was a tough one again. There was a good mix of ads from handling folks, along with others trying to get their messages across. My winner for this month is Midwest Wholesale Hardware. I liked the bold approach with the font, use of color and layout. Congrats to the folks there on this smart approach!
  • During the holidays, I saw a lot of ads for Mirror.co, which is a fitness application built into a wall mirror. I found that very interesting. Anyone else see it, or have one of these yet? TV makes it look very easy and makes the mirror look good. Who knows, this could drive more mirror business someday…
  • I found a good article on design build and project management, and the process involved, at Building Design+Construction.
  • Last this week, just a sincere thank you from my entire family for the thoughts and prayers shared to us upon the passing of our mother, Ettie Perilstein. It was a tough week, but the support shown by so many of our friends in this great industry truly was meaningful and greatly appreciated. Thank 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.

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