Industry Growth Raises New Issues

Glass Magazine reported in the just-released Top 50 Glaziers issue that the combined 2017 gross revenues of the Top 50 Glaziers increased nearly 15 percent over the 2016 combined gross. That industry good news is bringing emerging challenges for the glazing and curtain wall industry.

At Integro, we are looking just over the horizon at specific industry-wide issues arising in the current high-growth, high-demand marketplace. Specifically, we are focusing on demand producing upward price pressures; cost pressures being exacerbated by new tariffs on aluminum; and skilled curtain wall labor becoming increasingly less available.

The challenge to our industry is that all clients need to know that their curtain wall and glazing companies are deploying strategies now that anticipate and accommodate these developments. By way of example, our company has put into place three strategies to directly address and work around these dynamics.

First, our two-country, multi-location production strategy helps mitigate or avoid increased cost surprises for clients. We order material for our U.S. jobs from U.S. extruders, and we order materials for our Canadian jobs from Canadian extruders, so tariffs likely do not come into play. Additionally, by design, we are one of few companies able to manufacture “closer-to-the-client” at any one of our geographically-diverse production facilities regardless of project location, thus keeping down costs and avoiding transportation delays.

Second, we have made sure that our production capability is properly aligned with the marketplace, regardless of the level of demand. The company has 200,000 square feet of total production and assembly capacity, with 75,000 square feet in Florida, 75,000 square feet in Toronto and 50,000 square feet in Vancouver, Canada, with additional engineering support and sales representation from offices in Cincinnati and Dallas. This allows for fast turnaround and responsiveness, and keeps costs down. 

Lastly, we established a steadfast operating principle that avoids labor shortfalls and design, engineering or production bottlenecks, as well as additional costs that frequently exist in the industry. Specifically, as part of our “Integrity-Based Performance” corporate strategy, we do not overstretch. With busy market activity, we start hiring and putting into place any additional and necessary skilled people in advance of market-driven company growth. We carefully monitor the amount of business we take on to assure delivery on time and on budget, without compromising quality.

Our industry is built on smart planning and sound execution. The issues arising now are ones we can address through these same industry-wide skills.

Jim Mitchell is CEO and president, Integro Building Systems.

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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