In 2008, I expect new product launches and innovation in the window and door industry...

Christina Lewellen
November 21, 2007
THE TALK...

The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 11/21/2007:

In 2008, I expect new product launches and innovation in the window and door industry...

...to increase, as companies try to stand apart from the crowd in a tight market.

 

 

44%

 

...to slow, because builders and consumers aren't paying for innovation in a down market.

 

 

17%

 

...to vary, by segment—a bit more in the upper-end product lines.

 

 

17%

 

...to remain about the same.

 

 

13%

 

...to decrease, as companies try to trim expenses and focus on core competencies.

 

 

9%

 

In addition to guessing how the housing market will play out in 2008, many in the industry are taking a stab at how new products and innovation will fare in a down market. About 44 percent of respondents in last week’s poll expect that new products and innovation will be the key to standing apart from the crowd in what will likely be a competitive market next year. About 17 percent of others, however, voted that innovation may slow as builders and consumers might be less likely to open their wallet for advances. Another 17 percent contend that new product launches will vary by market segment, with more in the upper end, and 13 percent think innovation will hover at present levels. Last in the pack, at 9 percent, was the option that companies will cut back on innovation in an attempt to focus on core competencies to survive.

It does seem that 2008 will shake out as a year of the survival of the fittest, and the majority of our respondents believe innovation and product differentiation will be one of the keys to survival. Don’t tell John, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at a few of the comments that are part of our complete forecast coverage in the upcoming January issue of Window & Door. In addition to our annual Industry Pulse survey, the issue will reveal insights from a variety of industry representatives regarding how they think 2008 will play out, both in the area of new product development as well as the market in general.

“I suspect manufacturers that survive will be healthier on the other side. It will be a time of cleansing for the industry. It’s a down year. Everyone is fighting for business so I think it will be a year of returning to the basics—build a practical window that is energy efficient, performs well and looks decent.”
Dave Koester, brand manager for Weather Shield Windows & Doors


“While we need to be responsive to the challenging market conditions by aligning our costs and capacity, we know we can’t cut our way to prosperity. We must continue to focus on delivering demonstrable value, quality and service to our customers and all the way down the channel. That way, we’ll be poised and ready for growth when the market turns around. As I’ve told our associates, the future is bright. I just wish we could fast forward.”
Dave Haddix, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Therma-Tru Doors


“I think that there will be a shake out of weaker manufacturers and even the larger ones will have to downsize to survive. Everyone that I talk to in the industry is panicked and wondering what tomorrow brings. In the 20 years that I have been in the industry, I have never seen such panic.”
Alan Levin, president and CEO of Northeast Building Products


If you would like to throw your 2008 predictions and comments into the mix, please feel free to email me. And watch for the January issue to see how your thoughts stack up to the collective crystal ball of the industry.

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.

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