Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • 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 »
  • You’re probably in the middle of a busy week, but you really should read an Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle story included in The Outside View this week highlighting the career and life of Jim Felton. This industry brother—well, cousin at least—has a string of home improvement companies in the Southeast. As the president of these companies, he goes out on a limb to employ recovering... more »
  • This week, we report on Department of Energy plans to raise the bar for windows to qualify for Energy Star. Energy Star standards are designed to “push the envelope” of energy efficiency, so to speak, so if it’s true that more than half the windows sold in this country are Energy Star qualified, the label clearly doesn’t serve that purpose. As we all know, there are many... more »
  • Window and door plant managers, equipment and software suppliers, lean gurus and other relatively educated production people have their own language and work in a world I’ll never comprehend fully from my industry-observing perch. One thing I do know, however, is the never-ending desire to improve efficiency and/or increase capacity often puts the focus on “the production bottleneck.... more »
  • We have a link in The Outside View... this week to a report from a Gary, Ind., newspaper, about a door manufacturer that won’t do installations in the city because the permit process is too time consuming. It’s not the first such story I’ve heard. More than one window and door person has said to me, “we avoid that city like the plague” when I’ve told them I... more »
  • RFID tags—the labels that automate product tracking, helping Wal-Mart and other big retailers keep costs low—have dropped in cost from about $1 each to close to a dime, according to a label supplier who spoke at the recent Fenetech Users Conference. Related scanning equipment costs have come down too. As a result, this technology could start playing a larger role in the window and... more »
  • During my college years (and even afterwards, while looking for my first editorial job) I worked in an electronics factory. I started in the machine shop, but they quickly realized I was better handling all the paperwork in the stock room than working a drill press. The job helped me pay for school, of course, but was also a valuable introduction into the business world. Now, my kids aren’... more »