The Top 100 Manufacturers of 2009
Starting with a housing downturn that evolved into a “global financial crisis,” the past three years produced tremendous challenges to the window and door industry. Those challenges clearly emerge in the 2009 edition of the Window & Door Top 100, our annual feature presenting North America’s 100 largest manufacturers of residential windows, doors and/or skylights, based on sales volumes.
Going beyond providing numbers, our annual rankings, which follow on pages xx to xx, highlight the recent activities of the industry’s movers and shakers. This year’s report shows a lot more shaking, with many in the ranks closing down plants and reporting layoffs over the past year, and even some significant shake-out, as some companies have closed down altogether. Looking through the updates in this year’s rankings in comparison to past report , it is also evident that the once-fervent pace of mergers and acquisitions nearly grounded to a halt in 2008.
Reports of plant shutdowns and layoffs were common in Window & Door last year, and this year’s Top 100, unfortunately, serves as a reminder of just how tough a year it was. Among the companies in the top two tiers of our rankings, Andersen, Jeld-Wen, Masonite, Pella, Atrium, Fortune Brands and Ply Gem all closed down window and/or door manufacturing facilities. Moving down through the listings, MI, Milgard, Weather Shield/Peachtree, PGT and Stock Building Supply were among the many companies that pared back operations last year as the housing industry deteriorated. There’s little doubt many companies further down the list also cut back on their workforces.
Vinyl window production operations at Sunrise Windows, one of the 2009 Top 100.
Due to the number of private companies in the industry, and the fact that many window and door manufacturers are hesitant to provide sales figures, Window & Door presents its Top 100 companies alphabetically within 10 sales range categories. From year to year, the overall list doesn’t change too dramatically, but we generally note each year the companies that move up from one sales range category to the next. This year, we can only do that for one company, Northeast Building Products in Philadelphia. Reporting growing sales of its window line incorporating Sashlite technology, as well as the acquisition of another manufacturer, National Vinyl Products in Massachusetts, Northeast moves up from the $15 million to $30 million sales range category into the $30 to $40 million category for 2009. Many companies reported they had moved down a category this year, not surprising considering the recent decline in window and door demand.
The Top 100 also lost some names that have been on the list in previous years. While that has happened in the past, often due to acquisitions, this year saw a number of companies close their doors completely, including Texas-based Window Enterprises and Jancor Cos. the parent of Kensington Windows and Survivor Technologies. Republic Windows captured national attention when it closed down at the end of 2008. Monarch Holdings, owner of Hurd and American Weatherseal, filed for bankruptcy, although Hurd has emerged under new ownership and remains in our Top 100.
Despite the tough times, not all the news coming from Top 100 manufacturers was bad this year. Some companies, including Soft-Lite, Vinylmax and, a new entry to the rankings, Vista Window, reported they enjoyed solid growth in 2008. Some companies continued to expand, including Marvin Windows & Doors and Velux America, which announced plans to invest in expanding their plants last year.
Finally, while last year didn't produce the "big deals" of the past, there were a few acquisitions of note. Kolbe & Kolbe acquired Point Five Windows, a high-end window and door maker based in Colorado, and Peter Kohler Windows, based in Nova Scotia, added Equibuilt, an Alberta based company, to gain a foothold in the Western Canadian market.
Putting It Together
No list is perfect, and we don’t make any definitive claims regarding the annual Window & Door Top 100. There’s no doubt the numbers presented here are not comparable on an apples-to-apples basis. For many companies, sales volume figures include products other than windows and doors. In other cases, sales volumes consist not only of manufacturing operations, but distribution, retail and even installation operations. Still, we believe the end result reflects the leading manufacturers in the residential marketplace, at least from a sales perspective.
In putting this feature together, we start with last year’s list, contacting individual companies to obtain information and confirmation. We also gather input from a number of industry experts as to what other companies should possibly be on this list. In addition to contacting the companies themselves, we also use independent sources, such as Dun & Bradstreet, and information published elsewhere to determine which companies may belong in the rankings. Finally, we generally hear from one or two companies each year that haven’t been on our radar, but who tell us they should be included.
A few companies always ask that we not include them and refuse to provide any information. We understand the sensitivity of releasing sales figures, and we attempt to respect that by presenting our Top 100 Manufacturers in sales range categories. That being said, we do not omit any manufacturer simply because it asks. Our primary mission is to provide the most accurate information to our readers. While we admit the Top 100 Manufacturers rankings will never be perfect, we do the best we can with the information available. We always look to make the Top 100 better, so by all means, if your company belongs on the list, let us know so we can recognize you properly. And if your company is on this list, but our estimates are wrong, please let us know. It is only with the cooperation of individual manufacturers that Window & Door’s Top 100 rankings can be as accurate as possible. Questions or comments about this year’s rankings and requests to be included next year can be sent to email@example.com.
Finally, we note that annual sales are only one measure of success. Bigger profit margins, better quality measurements and higher customer satisfaction ratings may all make better yardsticks in comparing one company against another. Inclusion in these rankings doesn’t necessarily make any manufacturer’s window or door better than a competitor’s offering. Still, we believe our Top 100 reflects this industry’s leaders, at least from a sales perspective. I always note that the companies on the following pages should be proud to be on the list. Given the challenging times, perhaps this year, they should be even prouder.