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  • Many of us in the building materials business have read this book before. Housing starts and permits plummet, sales drop and it is time to start the belt tightening. When it comes to cutbacks, they usually come in the following order: * Training* Market research* Marketing programs (dealer, consumer, builder and remodeler)* Sales support and/or customer service* Sales... more »
  • The first priority in the wake of the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts has been to upgrade construction requirements to prevent damage from excessive winds and wind-borne debris. Stronger code requirements for impact-resistant windows have since been adopted in many jurisdictions, ranging from those that reference current International Code... more »
  • In the current market, it’s time to get started
    You may be busy. You may be understaffed. You may even be in denial. But the time for action is now. In today’s market, window and door manufacturers need to cut costs, and they have to do it by getting manufacturing processes in order and under control.Relax...it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. There’s no need to spend $100,000 for the advice of an outside consultant; no... more »
  • News in the industry hasn’t been very good as of late. While I generally start new years with renewed optimism, I’m realistic about 2008. So Therma-Tru Doors’ David Haddix struck a chord for me when he noted for our industry forecast (page 51), “The future is bright. I just wish we could fast forward.” I share his optimism for the future and that eagerness to move on... more »
  • In January, it’s customary to focus on football and the Super Bowl, as well as the business outlook for the coming year. From the perspective of early December as this is written, both of these are likely to feature a clash between the very large and the very powerful. In football, the Las Vegas line at this point favors the Giants and the Titans. In the economic outlook, we have big... more »
  • Retention of talent often begins at the end of the process. Chances are, an employee who is walking out the door will be more honest and forthcoming than a person who still depends on your company for a paycheck. But in order to ensure truly effective exit interviews, a leader must establish a climate of trust long before he receives the letter of resignation. Often the exit interview is an... more »
  • Seeing’s how windows and doors aren’t all made in one WindowLandTopia, many of us in the industry are road warriors. Well, air warriors. Having spent more than an hour of my day yesterday trying to figure out travel plans for a quickly approaching, cross-country trip, I started digging up news items, columns and blogs to see if the opinions in this country fall on the side of air... more »
  • I have recently been perusing dozens of resumes for a client that is hiring a salesperson. The consistent trait I see for nearly every salesperson is a lack of personal investment in his or her career. There is an old saying between two campers in the woods, “You don’t have to worry about being faster than the bear if you can be faster than the other camper.” Given the lack of... more »
  • If you do not know what a "normal" compensation package is in your industry, you have no point of reference about what to offer. You might be offering too much or not enough. Both extremes will end up costing you money. Many organizations perform salary surveys, including chambers of commerce, business associations and other agencies. Another useful way to better gauge industry... more »
  • Happy New Year. I generally come back to work in a pretty upbeat mood following the holidays, but I confess that going into 2008, my optimism is tempered. No one expects a dramatic upturn in new housing soon, and I’ve seen more than a few economic forecasters say a recession is possible for the coming year. Still, I’m hopeful. The remodeling and replacement market has shown signs of... more »