Glazing Executives Forum Tackles Supply Chain Issues, Labor Challenges, Smart Growth and More

Glass Magazine
September 13, 2018

More than 200 glazing professionals gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center Wednesday for the 13th annual Glazing Executives Forum. Hosted by the National Glass Association and held in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo, the full-day education and networking event presented a dynamic program addressing the top issues facing glazing contractors, from supply chain challenges to finding and keeping employees to getting paid.

The program kicked off with a discussion on Navigating the Supply Chain, with panelists Allen Mathis, vice president of operational excellence, YKK AP America, Garret Henson, vice president of sales and marketing, Viracon, and Jeff Rende, director of supply chain management, Guardian Glass. The session was moderated by Max Perilstein, founder and managing partner of Sole Source Consultants.

According to the panelists, key concerns for customers include keeping up with high demand, uncertainties over material tariffs and managing lead times. Communication between suppliers, glaziers and end customers is critical to mitigating these challenges, they say. “We need to be making sure there are open lines of communication,” says Rende. “This is a dynamic market, we need forecasts and information about what’s coming to meet the customers’ demands.”

A driver shortage also continues to affect industry lead times. “More people are retiring than are entering [the trucking industry],” Mathis says. “Companies are increasing pay, introducing sign-on bonuses, and they're passing that cost on. … I saw a study last week that the trucking industry is operating at 90-95 percent capacity utilization. It’s not good for any industry to tap out that much capacity.”

The supply chain panel was followed by four Ask the Expert presentations. Led by industry experts in their respective fields, these presentations addressed leading business concerns of today's contract glaziers, including recruitment and retention, cash flow and financing, contract and legal issues, and exit planning and succession.

Kevin Kennedy and Joe Bazzano of Beacon Exit Planning LLC discussed how an owner can successfully exit their business to the next generation. Dustin Anderson, president of Anderson Glass, offered tips on recruiting the younger generation. Matt Johnson, a member of the Gary Law Group, and Courtney Little, president of ACE Glass, offered tips on getting paid—becoming the priority invoice. And Little concluded the expert presentations with discussion of smart growth—knowing if a company is financially ready for growth.

The forum concluded with an economic forecast from Connor Lokar of ITR Economics.