Anticipate. Plan. Profit.

Capitalize on market growth at GlassBuild America and Window & Door Dealer Days
By Katy Devlin and Emily Kay Thompson
August 8, 2015
FEATURE ARTICLE | Strategies & Practices, Design & Performance, Markets & Trends

Higher demand doesn’t automatically translate to higher profits. As the construction market continues to ramp up, fenestration manufacturers need to ensure they are prepared to take advantage of growth and aren’t overrun by it, industry officials say. To capitalize on growth, companies should consider investing in new tools and equipment, fostering and maintaining partnerships with their suppliers and customers, and gaining the knowledge and tools to maximize profits in the changing market. The industry will have the opportunity to do all three during GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo, Sept. 16-18 in Atlanta.

“Busy companies can’t afford not to come to GlassBuild America,” says Nicole Harris, president and CEO of the National Glass Association and the Window & Door Dealers Alliance. “Where else can you visit with your existing suppliers, find new suppliers and products, and get industry insights and information to put into practice at your own business? As one 2014 attendee told us: ‘I work in my business all day, every day. I come to GlassBuild America to work on my business for the future.’”

“There is no other show in the North American market for contemplating ways to improve your company and learn about productivity solutions—whether that be through home-grown business innovation, production equipment, or glazing/installation methods,” says Michael Schmidt, managing director for GlassBuild America exhibitor Forel North America. “During the busiest of times, customers … attending this show [are able to] directly observe better or more profitable ways of achieving objectives in the glass and window/door industry.”

Make an Investment

For many companies, the busier market requires capacity expansion through new equipment and improvement of processes. More than 60,000 square feet on the GlassBuild America show floor will be dedicated to equipment for glass and metal fabricators and window and door manufacturers looking to make informed buying decisions.

“It has been years since we had to consider how to increase capacity or had the opportunity to leverage economies of scale to lower cost,” says Mike McHugh, president of exhibitor Integrated Automation Systems/OptiGas. “GlassBuild America will provide a fresh platform for companies to now consider the use of new technologies that were unavailable the last time our industry was faced with these challenges.”

“GlassBuild America is the opportunity to come to see equipment first hand, in action,” adds Erin Johnson, director of marketing, Quanex Building Products, which will be on the tradeshow floor. “More than that, it allows networking with the suppliers. You can see the line running and coordinate with the actual customer.”

Take Advantage of Education

Key to capitalizing on growth is learning the trends, challenges and opportunities of the evolving construction marketplace. GlassBuild America attendees will have several stand-out educational opportunities to meet these needs.

Manufacturers and dealers alike will have access to technical, business and industry-specific educational sessions as part of the Express Learning and Window & Door Dealer Days programs.

“We’re bringing back the TED Talk-inspired, 20-minute educational Express Learning sessions that were an overwhelming success last year,” says Jenni Chase, content director for NGA\WDDA. (Note: See the Express Learning schedule.)

Collaborate with Window & Door Dealers

New to the event this year is Window & Door Dealer Days, which focuses on networking and education specifically for window and door dealers. “There is a distinct advantage to this event: it’s all about dealers—and dealers alone,” says Jim Snyder, WindowJim.

This unique event fosters an environment for dealer-specific education as well as collaboration between dealers. “Locally we compete,” Snyder continues, “but nationally, we pull together. Competitiveness falls away at events like Window & Door Dealer Days, and can lead to collaboration.”

The focal point of Window & Door Dealer Days will be the Dream Showroom, a 4,400-square-foot pavilion on the GlassBuild America tradeshow floor featuring residential windows and doors from the industry’s leading suppliers, as well as an educational area for dealer-centric learning sessions. WDDA’s Harris explains, “The goal of the Dream Showroom is to serve as inspiration for dealers looking to upgrade their retail spaces aesthetically and in terms of the products they offer.”

Network with Industry Professionals

Increasing demand makes communication critical among all players in the supply chain. GlassBuild America and Window & Door Dealer Days provide an important venue for these face-to-face interactions among all fenestration professionals.

“You can send emails. You can make videos. You can do customer visits. However, nothing compares to coming to the show, seeing these products and talking to customers,” Quanex’s Johnson says. “You can’t get that kind of interaction anywhere else.”

The networking opportunities also provide a window to emerging industry trends and developments.

“GlassBuild is always a great opportunity to see old friends, network and ask questions about industry developments,” says Ron Crowl, president of exhibitor FeneTech Inc. “Companies should dig deep with suppliers to discover global trends, new products that might create advantages for them, and how to get more from the facilities, equipment and software they already own. You can always come away with valuable information if you ask the right questions.”

Organized by the NGA\WDDA, GlassBuild America is cosponsored by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association; the Glass Association of North America; and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. Window & Door Dealer Days at GlassBuild America is sponsored by NGA\WDDA.