Latest Articles in COLUMN

  • Last March I suggested in this column that the handwringing over the housing slump and the general recession that many were sure it would bring were overwrought. Let's see, some six months later, where all that stands.In essence, the jury is still out. True, the housing crunch and its economic downturn have reached epic proportions and remain the highlight of campaigns for Presidential hopefuls.... 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 »
  • Many public comments submitted related to energy conservation
    The last opportunity to submit proposed revised language for the 2009 International Codes passed in June with the deadline for public comments. Comments were limited to those topics already addressed by code change proposals that were submitted in 2007 and heard during the International Code Council code development hearings in Palm Springs in February 2008. ICC received over 1,000 public... more »
  • Questions and concerns about a possible shift to triple-glazing have been floating around the industry ever since the Department of Energy issued its preliminary announcement about potential changes to the Energy Star Windows program. The new, more stringent U-factors DOE said it was considering for Northern climates in a couple years would be tough to meet with even the best double-glazed, gas-... 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 »
  • A minor variation in energy performance as manufacturers push the “state of the art” could create liability issues
    Federal preemption is probably not a concept many would associate with the fenestration industry. I suspect many readers have never even heard the term. It’s a concept, however, the industry should understand and promote. The underpinnings for the principle of federal preemption are found in the U.S. Constitution and the goal is the uniform regulation of matters of strong national interest... more »
  • In a recent cartoon, a mother first offered her daughter a T-shirt made out of recycled cotton, then her son sandals soled with recycled tire treads. The punch line was one sibling observing to the other that perhaps they should have been more specific when they told their mom they wanted to wear something green for St. Patrick's Day. These days it seems that everyone is jumping on the "... more »
  • Given numerous well-publicized issues and events over recent years-the 2004-2005 hurricanes, mold from building envelope leakage, high energy costs and terrorist bomb threats-state and international building codes, industry standards and a variety of other rating programs have been steadily raising the performance bar for windows and doors. The primary focus has been on energy efficiency, impact... more »
  • Without question, a window and door manufacturer's most direct interaction with users of its products comes at the customer service and field servicelevels. Companies maintaining comprehensive customer service and warranty service programs routinely place employees in a position to address an owner, user or installer-each of whom is calling because he/she has a problem. The job of responding is... more »
  • I'm a bad bedtime negotiator. My two- and four-year-old girls know their bedtime, know the routine and know the two-books-each rule. When my husband finishes the books, he gives them a smooch, turns off the light and chipper little voices call out, "Good night daddy" as he closes the door. When I shut the final book and reach for the light, the ballistic fits ensue. I deserve the... more »