Latest Articles

  • As the market corrects, industry players take the time to focus on innovation, differentiation
    The window and door industry (and the residential building market in general) is catching its breath. Mainstream media outlets are telling scary ghost stories to the country and its arguably shaky consumers, with a message that house prices are tumbling, existing home inventories have spiked and new home construction in some areas has come to a screeching halt. Most economists, on the other hand... more »
  • NAHB’s massive trade show to take Orlando by storm in February
    Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any bigger, the International Builders’ Show has another growth spurt. You’ll need your comfortable shoes to make the rounds, with the 450 new exhibitors the National Association of Home Builders has added to the show floor roster—bringing the grand total to 1,800 suppliers spanning 300 categories of residential and light... 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 »
  • 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 »