The Talk

  • 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 »
  • July 18, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Are there states or localities where your company won't do business due to onerous requirements to meet code or get a permit?

    We have a link in The Outside View... this week to a report from a Gary, Ind., newspaper, about a door manufacturer that won’t do installations in the city because the permit process is too time consuming. It’s not the first such story I’ve heard. More than one window and door person has said to me, “we avoid that city like the plague” when I’ve told them ... more »
  • July 11, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Where does your company stand with RFID technology?

    RFID tags—the labels that automate product tracking, helping Wal-Mart and other big retailers keep costs low—have dropped in cost from about $1 each to close to a dime, according to a label supplier who spoke at the recent Fenetech Users Conference. Related scanning equipment costs have come down too. As a result, this technology could start playing a larger role in the window and ... more »
  • June 27, 2007
    THE TALK...

    Do you hire young people for summer jobs?

    During my college years (and even afterwards, while looking for my first editorial job) I worked in an electronics factory. I started in the machine shop, but they quickly realized I was better handling all the paperwork in the stock room than working a drill press. The job helped me pay for school, of course, but was also a valuable introduction into the business world. Now, my kids ... more »
  • June 20, 2007
    THE TALK...

    When it comes to collecting money from customers, my company...

    Relationships of any kind fascinate me, but lately I’m stuck on the whole vendor-buyer thing. First, I raised a big ruckus by asking your opinion about the Masonite and Home Depot “break up”. Now I’ve just run across a story about an Atlanta-area homebuilder filing for bankruptcy, owing among many debts $1.3 million to pro dealer Stock Building Supply. Yikes. And I was ... more »
  • June 13, 2007
    THE TALK...

    What percentage of your prospects and/or customers get the majority of product and service information from your company electro

    According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 WDweekly recipients, 98 percent rate our coverage as “good” or better. In fact, 56 percent say we’re “very good” and another 15 percent score us as “excellent.” That was pretty great feedback to receive, but we’re not resting on our laurels. This week, we’re proud to introduce a new ... more »
  • June 6, 2007
    THE TALK...

    How would selling three standard, non-white colors, with a minimal upcharge, affect your sales?

    Coming to you from Charlotte, NC, this week, I’m beginning the second day of Profiles 2007, a conference looking at new technologies in plastic and composite building materials. We’ll report on the event next week, but much of the discussion is focusing on new developments and options for color in (or on top of) vinyl. There are already numerous options out on the market, of ... more »
  • May 30, 2007
    THE TALK...

    In the current housing market, charging customers more for product is...

    It certainly isn’t getting any cheaper to make windows and doors, but is the market just too tight right now to even consider increasing your prices? Reading Masonite’s quarterly report, we learned the sweeping implications of the company’s 2006 price hike. The door manufacturer’s biggest customer, Home Depot, dropped it for a competitor, leaving Masonite to deal with ... more »
  • May 23, 2007
    THE TALK...

    John, your gripe with window air conditioners is...

    Air conditioners started humming last week in my neck of the woods, so it seemed like a good time to share a pet peeve of mind—window air conditioner units. My neck of the woods—New York City—has some stately old brownstones, adorned frequently with beautiful old windows. These windows obviously don’t get the respect they deserve in many cases, because the homeowner is ... more »
  • May 14, 2008
    THE TALK... | Channels

    How would you describe the relationships between manufacturers and dealers, recently?

    I visited with Four Seasons Sunrooms last week. The company reported recent success in picking up new dealers because of its “more complete” product line. Their new dealers like that they can buy from one source, and get more support as a result, yet satisfy more customers with different needs and different budgets. I can see why that would be appealing to many dealers. But I also ... more »