Latest Articles in Management

  • Few people in the window and door industry are sorry to say goodbye to 2008. We reported more than enough stories this year on plant closings, lay-offs, restructurings, and even complete shutdowns of companies. I just wish I could say I was starting the new year brimming with optimism. Current forecasts for the economy in general, and the new construction and home improvement markets, don’t... more »
  • So I'll admit I'm probably not the best person from which you should solicit an opinion regarding the Big Three auto makers and the current bailout banter. The Ford I've owned for one year dropped a transmission last week so I'm a little bitter at the moment. We'll save that story for another Talk... Should President Bush issue a bailout to U.S. auto makers? Yes No... more »
  • The Republic factory sit-in is “the start of a movement,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, told the Associated Press, adding "This story has resonated around the world." Even President-elect Obama weighed in on the situation. In covering the window and door business for 25 years, I’ve never seen an industry-related story attract so much national media... more »
  • Right now, there’s much talk about the need to bail out U.S. automakers. Those in favor say actions are necessary to save the economy from falling into depression and put the U.S. in a leadership role in next generation energy efficient cars. A stimulus program for replacement windows and doors... ...is needed and the industry should lobby for it. ...might be... more »
  • New 502-08 and 511-08 documents are good step toward the fair use of product tests in a forensic investigation
    For most companies the evaluation and processing of claims is one of those areas which can stand improvement; sometimes a lot of improvement. I assure you it is not uncommon to be good at window and door design, manufacture, sales and service; but be bad at handling claims. Even those that are fairly adept at handling those projects that have problems have been subjected to potential liability... more »
  • Last week, the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P issued its annual U.S. Litigation Trends survey, which found that 75% of manufacturing companies faced at least one new lawsuit in the past year, and 53% reported facing six or more new suits. That's actually good news, according to the firm, which suggests that 2007 and 2008 saw the number of cases and dollar amounts involved trending... more »
  • A manufacturer contacted me not too long ago to see if I had heard any news about one its local competitors. The reason he inquired is that he was seeing an influx of people from this competitor looking for jobs at his operation. While I hadn’t heard any news in this particular case, and I wasn’t much help, it reminded me of something said to me not too long ago. “If you can... more »
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    Baltimore—While many remodelers and replacement dealers are struggling in the current economic environment, some are growing. In conjunction with last week’s Remodeling Show here, Ply Gem Windows brought together a panel of Great Lakes window dealers that continue to see their sales increasing to share some of their keys to success. “We decided we were not going to participate... more »
  • While it's nice to ask customers “how are we doing?” it’s important to track how your competitors are doing too
    What is your competitive advantage? I have been asking that question frequently in my recent market research with building materials companies. Amazingly, the answers are generally all the same.Here is a brief summary: Our culture, our quality, our experience and our people. The “four feel goods” account for 95 percent of all responses.This begs the question–If everyone has the... more »
  • Manufacturers are looking for dedicated dealers who will get the job done, and dealers are looking for suppliers who value them
    A dealer buddy of mine sent me an email this week that started with an apology for ranting and then went on to his rant. He wants to know (not from me, but just in general), where his suppliers’ sense of service went through the years? He seems to have woken up and realized, now that business has ebbed a bit, that the door and window manufacturers supplying his dealership aren’t... more »