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  • Although I fear this reveals how remarkably unexciting my life is, I was recently reading a study commissioned by the Small Business Administration regarding the connection between educational levels and the likelihood that a person would go into business for him or herself. For the most part, the correlation stands—the more book smarts you have, the more likely you’d want to be your... more »
  • A leaner window and door industry may emerge thanks to this year’s tight market.
    Window and door executives across the country are adopting the following mantra for 2008: What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. It goes without saying that we’re in for another tough year, but many industry representatives believe the survival-of-the-fittest phase that will mark this year will result in a leaner, meaner fenestration industry on the other side of the downturn.... more »
  • Ahhh, there’s nothing like an eye-popping news story to get me all charged up at column-writing time, and I know it’s a good one when I’m still baffled after the third or fourth read. The folks at Milgard are in the courts attempting to iron out an unfortunate situation. The former executive assistant to President James Sweeney Jr. allegedly embezzled $1.6 million from the... more »
  • Direct marketing expenditures continue to grow. The Direct Marketing Association estimates direct marketing spending increased 4.4 percent in 2007 to $173 billion, despite negative developments in the housing and automobile markets and rising energy costs. As direct marketing spending grows, it is also evolving. Traditional print efforts are seen giving way to multiple forms of interactive... more »
  • 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 »