Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • A bit of a surprise at last week’s Remodeling Show was the fact that relatively few vinyl windows were on display. They were there, sure, but not at a level that reflects their number one market share position. That’s been true for steel entry doors for several years now. Even though they still account for more than half the residential entry door market, manufacturers don’t... more »
  • Today, ladies and gentlemen, is the day for some serious truth telling. Get ready to fess up—I’ll start the confessional. For all the mouthing off I do about windows and doors all day, every day, I’ve never actually put a fenestration product in a hole. I’ve seen many, many products being made. I’ve even bought my fair share of replacement products and happily... more »
  • “What should I be for Halloween?” It’s October now, and if you’re like me and have kids, that question has probably popped up around your house already. Of course, we all know Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore, and I know our home office at the National Glass Association in Virginia isn’t the only place of business where employees come to work dressed up on... more »
  • Last week, I had the privilege to speak at a gathering of Pella’s engineering team. The group’s focus was innovation, and the list of speakers included an interesting guy—Paul Leinberger. A marketing and branding guru, Leinberger said that innovation is no longer a competitive edge, but a consumer expectation. To get noticed at all, he suggested, companies need to be innovative... more »
  • As far as I’m concerned, the retirement benefits generation-shift is official. Andersen announced this week that it’s stepping away from a traditional pension plan and moving to a 401(k) program. Whether it's better for employees or not, the realities of the business world have led companies large and small—in all industries—to move away from traditional pensions. Century-... more »
  • Aside from the concrete floors and florescent lighting, trade shows are pretty cool environments. For me, trade shows mean reuniting with my industry contacts, learning new things and listening to exhibitors talk about what fires them up the most—their product offerings and how business is going. There’s a lot more buzzing this week at GlassBuild America than just equipment being... more »
  • The kids are back in school and I’m busy tying up loose ends before heading to Atlanta next week for GlassBuild America. As usual, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new on the floor and catching up with industry friends. The event should provide a good gauge of the industry’s mood. We’re all making preparations for 2008 and I’m very interested to hear what... more »
  • ProSales recently reported about an experiment Home Depot conducted at one of its stores. They placed a pile of wood featuring “FSC-certified” labels on the floor with an employee nearby promoting the wood’s greenness. They then placed a second pile of wood nearby, not labeled at all—almost to suggest it came from unknown origins and possibly a not-so-environmentally-... more »
  • It’s hard to find toys that don’t bear the words “Made in China” somewhere on the product or packaging. On the heels of a recall by Mattel and some other companies of millions of toys coming from China tainted with lead-based paints, the Chinese government is stepping up efforts to provide greater assurance of quality and safety to the world’s consumers. Will... more »
  • John Swanson, editor/associate publisher of Window & Door Lobbyists aren’t the most beloved figures in America, but as one speaker told attendees at last week’s WDMA meeting—“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the plate.” I think the organization’s members were already convinced, but WDMA is now planning to step up... more »