Latest Articles in COLUMN

  • 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 »
  • Direct marketing expenditures continue to grow. The Direct Marketing Association estimates direct marketing spending increased 4.4 percent in 2007 to $173 billion, despite negative developments in the housing and automobile markets and rising energy costs. As direct marketing spending grows, it is also evolving. Traditional print efforts are seen giving way to multiple forms of interactive... more »
  • Many of us in the building materials business have read this book before. Housing starts and permits plummet, sales drop and it is time to start the belt tightening. When it comes to cutbacks, they usually come in the following order: * Training* Market research* Marketing programs (dealer, consumer, builder and remodeler)* Sales support and/or customer service* Sales... more »
  • The first priority in the wake of the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts has been to upgrade construction requirements to prevent damage from excessive winds and wind-borne debris. Stronger code requirements for impact-resistant windows have since been adopted in many jurisdictions, ranging from those that reference current International Code... more »
  • News in the industry hasn’t been very good as of late. While I generally start new years with renewed optimism, I’m realistic about 2008. So Therma-Tru Doors’ David Haddix struck a chord for me when he noted for our industry forecast (page 51), “The future is bright. I just wish we could fast forward.” I share his optimism for the future and that eagerness to move on... more »
  • In January, it’s customary to focus on football and the Super Bowl, as well as the business outlook for the coming year. From the perspective of early December as this is written, both of these are likely to feature a clash between the very large and the very powerful. In football, the Las Vegas line at this point favors the Giants and the Titans. In the economic outlook, we have big... more »
  • In case you came to work today with nothing better to do, let’s chat about ripping off your customers. Not that I’m implying any of my dear readers would do such a thing, but let’s say your evil twin decided to put his toe to the edge of the slippery slope and flirt with some unethical, immoral and perhaps even illegal business practices. The question is this: Even if you put... more »
  • If you have an ache in your belly, who do you go see—a family practitioner, a general practitioner or perhaps someone who specializes in gastroenterology or internal medicine. Medicine today has become so specialized that it is often difficult to know just who to call for help. And it is not uncommon for the recommendations of one specialist to conflict with the recommendations of another... more »