Remember backlogs?

If you think back really hard, you might recall something called a backlog. Remember that once seemingly ubiquitous term? There hasn't been much talk of backlogs recently. However, I recently took a trip down e-glass weekly memory lane and discovered an August 2006 article, Selectivity helps glaziers control backlogs. The lead reads:

"In the midst of a busy nonresidential construction season, many glazing contractors nationwide face growing backlogs that stretch personnel resources and force managers to more carefully consider what projects they accept."

It was a totally different world back then, when backlogs were a major consideration for glazing contractors. That world was turned upside down by a Great Recession that continues to shake up our industry in some major ways. However, the word "backlog" has returned, albeit tentatively, to the vocabulary of some attendees here at the Building Envelope Contractors Conference in Las Vegas.

"In 2012, we have begun to see backlog," said Gloria Hale, president of Hale Glass. "We have been estimating like crazy. ... There's pent-up demand that's becoming opportunity."

Courtney Little, president, Ace Glass Construction Corp., said his company also is building up a healthy backlog. "Things have started to turn around for us," he said.

However, recovery has not ramped up in full for the industry. "These are still tough times for people," Little said. "Our company has a backlog, but nationally, I think it will be 2013 before we see improvements."

Despite the caveats, and the knowledge that the industry is certainly not out of the woods yet, hearing "backlog" spoken again has been music to my ears this week. Let's hope it once again becomes a must-cover editorial topic for us. 

Devlin is senior editor for Glass Magazine. Write her at kdevlin@glass.org.

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