The Talk

  • October 6, 2011
    THE TALK...

    Low Margins and Short-Term Thinking

    Margins are razor thin in the window and door industry. I suspect that most companies' cash reserves are too low for comfortable sleeping. Why is that? Margins in the fenestration market are set by large firms playing a “contribution to margin” game. Everyone else has to react to the prices at the bottom.For the most part, small companies can get a little more margin ... more »
  • October 4, 2011
    THE TALK... | Sales & Marketing

    Are You Keeping Up Online?

    An electronic newsletter came to me yesterday from Abe Gaskins at MGM Industries.  He is an active blogger and the Tennessee vinyl window maker's website is filled with his wisdom on a variety of topics. This week he talks about search engine optimization and blogging and how it can translate into leads.  He says it's working for MGM and its dealer customers and he ... more »
  • September 28, 2011
    THE TALK... | Energy Efficiency

    Tax Credit for 2012?

    This week, WDMA expressed its opinion on behalf of the window and door industry that tax credits for energy efficient products should be reinstated. In a letter to House officials, WDMA argued that the tax credits worked to spur purchases of energy efficient fenestration products, particularly among middle-class homeowners.Here in the industry, many of us believe that tax incentives created ... more »
  • September 20, 2011
    THE TALK... | Aesthetics & Style

    Are You Still Selling White Vinyl Windows?

    I thought I would return to GlassBuild one more time for this week's Talk. This week, I'd like to note that looking at the booths of vinyl window extruders in Atlanta, you would almost think no one sold white windows anymore. Nearly everything had a coating or laminate on it.Of course, that's not true in the real world, or at least the U.S. market as a whole. White still counts for the large ... more »
  • September 13, 2011
    THE TALK... | Energy Efficiency

    Is Your Company Still Talking R-5?

    Walking the aisle of GlassBuild last year, one of the most common terms I heard and saw was "R-5." It hasn't disappeared completely at this year's show, but I am definitely hearing it much less. It's also not as evident in the displays of suppliers. Companies are still talking about energy performance, certainly. Gas-filling, triples, triple silver coatings. They're ... more »
  • September 7, 2011
    THE TALK...

    Cut Profits or Increase Prices?

    I found a cool survey this week from our friends north of the border. Canadian business owners indicate that they’d sacrifice the profits of their businesses in order to protect their employees or customers from price increases. This got me thinking about how these questions would have been answered 12 months ago, or six months ago, or perhaps even six months from now.So this week for ... more »
  • August 30, 2011
    THE TALK... | Management

    Do You Have Plans in Place for Disasters?

    Visiting Cape Cod this past weekend, I got a first-hand look at a hurricane and also saw the effects of the storm. They were not catastrophic around me by any means, but trees went down and there were widespread power outages. This week's Talk comes from a friend's house as a result of power being down at my own.Anyway, the storm is on my mind, and I was curious how window and door ... more »
  • August 22, 2011
    THE TALK...

    Are Your Customers Too Busy?

    A recent blog from the Wall Street Journal hit close to home for me. The writer is asking readers whether they too suffer from what she calls her “home improvement inertia.” I think many of us fall into this category depending on how busy life seems to be at the moment. I will admit that it recently took a home alarm company three visits to my house to catch me at a good time (a ... more »
  • August 16, 2011
    THE TALK... | Channels

    Are You Hitting the Road this Fall?

    I still have a week of vacation to look forward to, but I feel like summer is slipping away fast. September is coming and it will be back to school for the kids. For me, September also means hitting the road, as I’ll be making my way to GlassBuild America, the first of several industry trade shows this fall.What about you? There’s GlassBuild, the Remodeling Show, the Association of ... more »
  • Do You Restore or Repair?

    This week, we share with you news that a group of window restoration specialists is working to raise the profile of their unique niche within the window and door industry. They are developing standards for restoring and preserving historic fenestration products, older wood and steel windows in particular.These specialists, who enjoy the support historic preservation groups and others, also ... more »