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    Big investments are few, but companies are adapting to stringent performance criteria in the market, and thinking about even stronger requirements on the horizon
    Following a period of little investment in new plants and production lines, window and door manufacturers are beginning to look again. Some see signs that sales are creeping up, but the primary driver is the need to upgrade window and door lines to meet new, more stringent performance criteria, including the new 30/30 minimums set for new tax credits, revised Energy Star criteria set to go in... more »
  • In 1985, a young window salesman was sent to Columbus, Ohio, to negotiate a contract of $275,000. His supervisor had commanded that young salesman to come back with the order and allowed, if necessary, that the salesman had the latitude to adjust the price by as much as $25,000. The very inexperienced young salesman walked into the office and met an intimidating purchaser who quickly exerted... more »
  • When the economy turns and the tide of red ink finally ebbs, the predominant color in a resurgent construction and remodeling market is very likely to be green. On the commercial side, the U.S. green building market is accelerating at a dramatic rate, says McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2009: Trends Driving Change report, released last November at the Greenbuild Conference. The... more »
  • The 2009 edition of the International Codes is now available. The debut of a new edition of the I-codes usually sparks a flurry of questions about content and enforcement. It is timely therefore to devote this column to the most frequently asked questions and their answers: Is the 2008 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 referenced in the 2009 I-codes?Yes. When the phrase “I-codes... more »
  • Move to JIT manufacturing can shift costs elsewhere without an integrated strategy
    Today, many window and door manufacturers find themselves in survival mode. To combat a decrease in demand, some are frantically trying to increase their sales, while others are searching for ways to augment profitability. The most successful companies are not looking to boost sales alone, they are also investing in proven cost cutting methods. Reducing overhead is an obvious path toward... more »
  • Nothing feels better to me than the beginning of summer. And from an industry perspective, it’s great to see things warming up a bit. With the spring came news that workers were returning to window and door plants, and I suspect many distributors and dealers brought back employees as business picked up in the office and in the field. Whether you attribute the increase in activity to normal... more »
  • It wasn’t the main topic, but customer satisfaction was a recurring subject of discussion at a focus group of custom and semi-custom home builders I moderated recently. Held in Las Vegas at the same time as the International Builders Show, the session revealed a shift in builder reliance upon manufacturers for “customer satisfaction,” as opposed to dealers and distributors. The... more »
  • As consumer product companies embrace the reality of empowered consumers and the Internet-enabled world, many have been moving to an “open innovation” product development model, report Pat Conroy and Art Ash of Deloitte LLP. This model is based on the idea that information can now be gathered on a mass scale by using both external (end users, suppliers, academia, etc.) and internal (... more »
  • Bits and pieces of bad news continue to linger in the industry, so I wanted to share something positive I see happening right across the street from where I live.  The apartment building there is in the midst of a window replacement and they appear to be doing the upgrade right. It's an older building that probably started with wood windows that were replaced years ago with single-pane... more »
  • I was having coffee last week with the president of a window manufacturing company and we got to chatting about how difficult state regulations can sometimes make running a profitable business. There are some serious hoops to jump through, and then there's the issue of taxes. I'm not sure if it was the topic of conversation or the extra caffeine, but it's easy to get your heart pumping on a topic... more »