The Talk

  • September 26, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Is the window and door market splitting into high- and low-end segments, with little in between?

    Last week, I had the privilege to speak at a gathering of Pella’s engineering team. The group’s focus was innovation, and the list of speakers included an interesting guy—Paul Leinberger. A marketing and branding guru, Leinberger said that innovation is no longer a competitive edge, but a consumer expectation. To get noticed at all, he suggested, companies need to be ... more »
  • September 19, 2007
    THE TALK...

    In the retirement benefit arena, my company...

    As far as I’m concerned, the retirement benefits generation-shift is official. Andersen announced this week that it’s stepping away from a traditional pension plan and moving to a 401(k) program. Whether it's better for employees or not, the realities of the business world have led companies large and small—in all industries—to move away from traditional pensions. ... more »
  • September 12, 2007
    THE TALK...

    From what I see, the industry is approaching capital investments...

    Aside from the concrete floors and florescent lighting, trade shows are pretty cool environments. For me, trade shows mean reuniting with my industry contacts, learning new things and listening to exhibitors talk about what fires them up the most—their product offerings and how business is going. There’s a lot more buzzing this week at GlassBuild America than just equipment being ... more »
  • September 5, 2007
    THE TALK...

    What are your plans for GlassBuild America?

    The kids are back in school and I’m busy tying up loose ends before heading to Atlanta next week for GlassBuild America. As usual, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new on the floor and catching up with industry friends. The event should provide a good gauge of the industry’s mood. We’re all making preparations for 2008 and I’m very interested to hear ... more »
  • August 29, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Assuming equivalent energy efficiency, we could sell a "greener" window or door...

    ProSales recently reported about an experiment Home Depot conducted at one of its stores. They placed a pile of wood featuring “FSC-certified” labels on the floor with an employee nearby promoting the wood’s greenness. They then placed a second pile of wood nearby, not labeled at all—almost to suggest it came from unknown origins and possibly a ... more »
  • August 22, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Has your attitude changed about sourcing from China?

    It’s hard to find toys that don’t bear the words “Made in China” somewhere on the product or packaging. On the heels of a recall by Mattel and some other companies of millions of toys coming from China tainted with lead-based paints, the Chinese government is stepping up efforts to provide greater assurance of quality and safety to the world’s consumers. Will ... more »
  • August 15, 2007
    THE TALK...

    When it comes to representing its interests, the window and door industry...

    John Swanson, editor/associate publisher of Window & Door Lobbyists aren’t the most beloved figures in America, but as one speaker told attendees at last week’s WDMA meeting—“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the plate.” I think the organization’s ... more »
  • August 8, 2007
    THE TALK...

    When it comes to hiring, our company...

    You’re probably in the middle of a busy week, but you really should read an Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle story included in The Outside View this week highlighting the career and life of Jim Felton. This industry brother—well, cousin at least—has a string of home improvement companies in the Southeast. As the president of these companies, he goes out on a limb to employ recovering ... more »
  • August 1, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Is it time to make Energy Star requirements more stringent?

    This week, we report on Department of Energy plans to raise the bar for windows to qualify for Energy Star. Energy Star standards are designed to “push the envelope” of energy efficiency, so to speak, so if it’s true that more than half the windows sold in this country are Energy Star qualified, the label clearly doesn’t serve that purpose. As we all know, there are ... more »
  • July 25, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Where is the biggest bottleneck in your process?

    Window and door plant managers, equipment and software suppliers, lean gurus and other relatively educated production people have their own language and work in a world I’ll never comprehend fully from my industry-observing perch. One thing I do know, however, is the never-ending desire to improve efficiency and/or increase capacity often puts the focus on “the production ... more »