Are Old Problems Coming Back?

John G. Swanson
April 30, 2013
THE TALK... | Management, Operations

The housing market continues to recover, but not at the rate many of us would like to see. Economists attribute sluggish growth levels to rising material costs and a lack of skilled labor, among other reasons.

Builders around the country are pointing to such problems, particularly in some of the hotter new home markets. It's been a long time, however, since I heard such complaints in the window and door industry. But I couldn't help but wonder if manufacturers and dealers were seeing these issues impacting their businesses.  That's our poll question of the week. 

And, of course, I'd like to hear from you.  Are your material costs rising?  Has your company, in turn, been able to raise prices on your windows and doors?  On the labor front, are you able to find the skilled workers you need–whether it's installers in the field or equipment operators in the plant?   Email me or post a comment below to let us know what's happening in your market.


Survey Results as of 05/07/2013 :


In today's environment, we are seeing:

Increased material costs and difficulties finding skilled labor.





Increased material costs, but no difficulties on the labor front.





Difficulties finding skilled labor, but no increased material costs.





Neither increased material costs or any difficulties finding skilled labor.






The economy must finally be getting better. The majority of our poll respondents report increased material costs and more difficulty finding skilled labor these days.  

In talking to window and door executives over the years–specifically during the years when markets were growing–I regularly heard such complaints. I also recall more than a few saying, "These are good problems to have.  It could be a lot worse."

So now we've all seen "a lot worse," and I agree, problems like rising PVC costs or difficulties finding installers don't seem so bad.