Latest Articles

  • 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 »
  • Seven siblings team up to grow Brothers Home Improvement
    The replacement window business is a family affair for the Cavannas. They’re a big family and, together, they have built a big business. Brothers Home Improvement had a wobbly start in 1995 when second-eldest of nine siblings Gene Cavanna teamed up with the baby of the family, Ralph Cavanna, to start a northern California window installation business. The two, with 11 years separating their... 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 »
  • Use of product tracking technology expands with RFID looming for the future
    Radio frequency barcode scanning at window, door, and millwork distribution companies is one of the most significant technology growth trends of the last 5 to 10 years. To some extent, almost every segment of the supply chain has embraced the use of RF scanning. The great gain in operational efficiencies from the use of RF scanning provides a tremendous return on investment for those companies... more »
  • Targeting the replacement market, California company has developed unique processes and strategy
    Plenty of companies specialize in replacement windows. Few, however, specialize in replacing interior doors—a fact that suggested a big opportunity to the founders of Interior Door Replacement Co. “Homeowners have had to hire general contractors or a large home improvement store, which generally make a mess of a home, are in the customer’s home for days, sometimes weeks, and... more »
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    New study sees growth through 2007 with metal products remaining dominant
    After struggling through several years of economic downturn, the Latin American window market is rebounding. A new study from Interconnection Consulting sees sales recovering from a low of 23.8 million units in 2003 to reach 29.9 million by 2007.The Vienna-based market research firm sees gains through most of the region. Some countries, including Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela and Uruguay will see... more »
  • Regional window producer focuses on local needs, product guarantee for growth
    Comfort Windows knows how to serve its upstate New York clientele. After all, its employees and salespeople are battling winter temperatures and massive snowstorms right alongside their customers. Like many small window and door manufacturers, Comfort Windows has found success by focusing on the needs of the regional market. The company will likely never sell impact products in Florida or sliding... more »
  • Vytex develops strong regional niche by manufacturing and installing, while its customers generate leads and sell windows
    Vytex Windows wants its dealers to focus on what they do best—selling windows. That’s why the Laurel, MD-based vinyl window manufacturer installs and services just about every window it makes. “We make it easier for them to make their money,” says COO Chuck Scalzott. “We are their factory, in essence.” Vytex’s installation crews tackle as many as 25 jobs... more »
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    Point-of-sale measuring and order-entry system aims to eliminate errors, reduce time, increase upsells
    Some replacement window dealers may soon hang up their tape measures, pads of paper and calculators for electronic devices that automatically measure openings, configure window options and generate printed quotes for their customers. Taking the human element out of these traditional sales steps means reducing mistakes—a word that equals lost revenue to a dealer. “We’re a company... more »