Latest Articles in COLUMN

  • The Legal Department
    We don’t need new laws; we just have to enforce the ones we have…” This line has been applied in innumerable ways to issues which have been the subject of a cry for more legislation. Sometimes, the furor results in old laws being enforced with new vigor. It’s good to know when that happens. We are seeing newly vigorous enforcement of an “old law” that has come... more »
  • The Department of Energy is scheduled to release new, more stringent criteria for windows, doors and skylights that carry the Energy Star label this month. As we went to press, DOE was talking about three sets of new requirements, and while I don’t know what the numbers are, I can ask, “Are you ready?” And I’d like to focus that question on the longer term. The first set... more »
  • You can hear the following from dealers and manufacturers all the time: “With all the electronic access to information today, why is the customer taking longer to buy?” or “We know they’re going to buy, we just don’t know when.” Today’s extended buying cycle is frustrating for sales and marketing people who don’t know how to adjust to it and deal... more »
  • It is important not to lose sight of the long term and fundamental strength in the residential housing market. Admittedly, it is difficult to see this silver lining through all the doom and gloom publicity about the housing slump. It can be even more difficult when we now hear talk of recession.  Maybe certain politicians are, for reasons of their own, saying we’re on the precipice of... more »
  • Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love a dealer with an angle. It’s tough to develop a focus, a niche, a personality for a business—so when I run across a really good angle, I’m definitely doing a little happy-column-dance. This month I’d like to introduce Windows Plus, a replacement retailer based in Northern Virginia. The dealer’s is a story like many... more »
  • With marketing dollars scarce in a slowing economy, it’s a very good time to take a fresh look at grass roots marketing referral techniques that won’t break the bank. Word-of- mouth or viral marketing has been growing and is even becoming more formalized with the formation three years ago of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Grounded on the proposition that people like to be... more »
  • We have often spoken of the “101” series of international window and door performance standards. The current version of this is AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A440-08, which allows window and door products of different framing materials and operator types to be objectively and fairly assessed for structural performance in response to wind loading, air leakage and water penetration... more »
  • If I offered to hand you $15 or let you flip a coin to earn either $20 or $10, which would you choose? Taking a chance might mean I only fork over $10 to you but playing it safe means you give up the opportunity to walk away with $20. In this example, the difference is only whether you’re buying me one round or two, but what if the stakes are much higher? How risk tolerant are you when it... more »
  • Most window and door companies tout the fact that their products are energy efficient. Many want to go further and say their products are green. But what does that mean? Is it a product’s U-value or solar heat gain coefficient? Is it some recycled content, certified wood or lead-free PVC?  If you’ve covered all those elements, can you say your products are green if your company... more »
  • Ahhh, there’s nothing like an eye-popping news story to get me all charged up at column-writing time, and I know it’s a good one when I’m still baffled after the third or fourth read. The folks at Milgard are in the courts attempting to iron out an unfortunate situation. The former executive assistant to President James Sweeney Jr. allegedly embezzled $1.6 million from the... more »