Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • 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 »
  • Relationships of any kind fascinate me, but lately I’m stuck on the whole vendor-buyer thing. First, I raised a big ruckus by asking your opinion about the Masonite and Home Depot “break up”. Now I’ve just run across a story about an Atlanta-area homebuilder filing for bankruptcy, owing among many debts $1.3 million to pro dealer Stock Building Supply. Yikes. And I was... more »
  • According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 WDweekly recipients, 98 percent rate our coverage as “good” or better. In fact, 56 percent say we’re “very good” and another 15 percent score us as “excellent.” That was pretty great feedback to receive, but we’re not resting on our laurels. This week, we’re proud to introduce a new streamlined... more »
  • Coming to you from Charlotte, NC, this week, I’m beginning the second day of Profiles 2007, a conference looking at new technologies in plastic and composite building materials. We’ll report on the event next week, but much of the discussion is focusing on new developments and options for color in (or on top of) vinyl. There are already numerous options out on the market, of course,... more »