From the Fabricator: Worry on the Index Front

It was an interesting week with regards to forecasts, indexes and predictions. As I expected, the monthly Architectural Billings Index (ABI) came back to earth. That big positive total in January made no sense. The ABI total was still in the positive range, but just by a hair. Now we wait to see if this settles into a trend or if it seesaws high again next month. Based on the forecasts from the start of the year, growth was supposed to be positive, but not by much, so seeing a big gain again soon would be odd. The key of this process is that this is a picture of where our economic standing will be in a year from now, and that year, 2020, has many of us in a fog. Trying to get a feel for it has been tougher than any forward-looking forecast since the middle of the recession. 

Also, rough news from the Associated Builders and Contractors with their backlog indicator down to 8.1 months. Those are 2014-like numbers. Ouch. But it has to be noted the report had serious bright spots, including the Midwest. In any case, I am going to keep digging and working the angles to see what we have upcoming but it sure is murkier than expected.

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of forecasts, good read here: what happens if the auto business starts a downward trend?
  • This week is a big one for events: in New York it’s Glass Expo Northeast and in San Antonio it is the Glass Processing Automation Days (GPAD) event. I will be in Texas for that one; it’s my first time attending that event and I’m looking forward to learning and networking there. Whatever insights I can gather that are good for the blog I will share here next week. Those of you in Long Island, please let me know the same!
  • Exciting news for a very popular industry figure and long-time friend of mine, Jon Johnson. Jon was named national sales manager at Architectural Grills & Sunshades. Congrats, my friend! Super company, and you will do great there.  I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to seeing you at all of the industry events again!
  • Speaking of new positions, a trio of people at Tristar Glass picked up promotions recently. Tim Rome, Derrick Williams and Erica Couch all moved up the ladder there and it was good to see. While I don’t know Tim very well, I have always been a huge fan of Derrick’s—I can’t tell you how many people would rave about how great Derrick is when I traveled through Oklahoma over the years. Erica is a true talent, a very positive force at shows/conferences and in our industry. Her approaches and insights will be very appreciated for sure. Congrats to all of you there and to Tim Kelley for making the call.
  • Glass Magazine review time: the new look really took another strong step this month with the focus of the magazine being “green.” The cover shot was a stunner!  The best article and section for me was the “The Green Building Maze”—a very well done walk through what can be a very confusing area. I have to give major kudos to Katy Devlin and Wendy Vardaman on the entire section. There was a ton of intel to be had there and it’s something that is worth keeping bookmarked for future reference. Also of note, this issue had a couple of my favorite recurring writers, Joe Schiavone and Matt Johnson with must-read pieces and I enjoyed once again the Trendhunter segment—this time with Ryan Park at Sage. Those who know me know I love the dynamic glass space and Ryan did a fine job of laying out the innovation.
  • Ad of the month was a challenge, especially after last month raised the bar very high. Still some wonderful pieces, but only one winner this time: the nod goes to Tremco. Great use of a building image that immediately catches the eye and then a big call to action statement in the middle. Both were great hooks to get me to stop and read. Well done to the folks at Tremco that made this one happen!
  • Last this week: March Madness is underway and I missed making my picks before the tourney started. So, I’ll make it now, and it was the pick that most expect: Duke. The Blue Devils are loaded, but I will admit I’d be quite happy to be wrong here as I am not a fan.

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.

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