The Talk

  • November 9, 2011
    THE TALK...

    More Cutbacks by Year End?

    I had noticed through the summer and early part of fall that the number of times I learned on Facebook that another friend had been laid off was  dwindling. In fact, it had been so many weeks without that pit-of-the-stomach feeling on behalf of a friend that I was a little shocked when I recently saw two friends in a matter of days announce that they were now desperately seeking work ... more »
  • October 31, 2011
    THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

    Who Would You Vote For?

    The presidential campaign has been going strong for some time on the Republican side. We've had debates, straw polls, withdrawals from the race, and a mix of front runners, including some who weren't officially candidates.  But given the fact that it's the first week of November and we're now a year away from the real election, I thought it was time for WDweekly's first poll of the 2012 ... more »
  • October 26, 2011
    THE TALK...

    Will Your Business Mirror Harvard's Predictions?

    Last week, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released the results of its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) study that indicates the home improvement market will falter in the early part of next year. The researchers expect the fourth quarter of 2011 will end up with home improvement spending at a pace of about $111 billion per year year.  ... more »
  • October 18, 2011
    THE TALK... | Energy Efficiency

    What Do You Think of New Energy Star Criteria?

    We know a little more about what the Environmental Protection Agency is thinking about the next set of Energy Star criteria, tentatively set to take effect in fall 2013. It issued a document last week, indicating U-value and SHGC performance levels it was considering for windows, doors and skylights.What stood out for me is an apparent EPA decision not to go for an R-5 level of performance ... more »
  • October 12, 2011
    THE TALK...

    What Area of Focus Allows Dealers to Excel?

    In case you couldn’t tell, we’re pretty excited this week to announce the 2011 class of Dealers of the Year. Like many companies in many industries, our winners have remained nimble and innovative in the last few years to maintain solid footing and grow in spite of challenging economic conditions.About a month ago, Lowe’s rolled out a new branding strategy. Moving away from ... more »
  • 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 »