Latest Articles in COLUMN

  • Another International Builders’ Show has come and gone. It’s by no means some new trend, but what struck me particularly this year was that the lists of new features and options rattled off to me as I talked to window and door manufacturers in Orlando all seemed very long. Of course, my take on the show is different from the average attendee’s. When I walk into a display, I... more »
  • Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” makes the point that it’s easy enough to identify what separates a good organization or company from a bad one. We can see examples of good vs. bad companies in all tiers of our industry—manufacturers who don’t deliver on time versus ones that do, dealers who don’t return customers’ calls versus those who do. But... more »
  • The first car I remember riding around in was a Vista Cruiser. My dad was an Oldsmobile guy, and over the years as I grew up, we had a Delta 88 and a Cutlass. At some point, the family added a second small car—a used Fiat. That was followed up by a Datsun, and my parents have been driving Japanese ever since. I think they’re on their fourth Camry now—and if my dad yearns for... more »
  • Used properly, a hammer can build shelter for people in need. Used improperly, the same hammer can be a blunt instrument of destruction. It is given that our world involves more and more standards. This requires more and more controls against misuse. We are getting the standards; I am concerned we are not getting the controls. Let’s agree that industry standards help the fenestration... more »
  • How long does it take for one to stop being an “outsider” in this industry? Three years? Five? A kindly marketing guy for an equipment supplier warned me when I started this job that if I stuck around for five years, I’d probably be a lifer. Well, the months and years are flying by and I can think of far worse places to be than the residential window and door industry. So maybe... more »
  • Two major goals drive most new product development—the desire to reduce hassles (for manufacturers, installers and end users) and the desire to reduce costs, and they do not have to be mutually exclusive.  In the last column I talked about getting out into the field and watching your customer’s customers install and use their fenestration products. This process is also known as... more »
  • There’s no doubt 2006 was a tough year for many in the window and door industry. The impact of the downturn in new housing was made clear by announcements of layoffs at year-end.  Of course, it wasn’t bad for everyone. Some regions—those less driven by speculative home buying—didn’t see the huge drops. Look to Western Canada and you’ll see markets in some... more »