G3: Industry insiders talk glass
Mike Turner, vice president of marketing, YKK AP America,
“Upon looking at industry forecasts, indicators show steady and optimistic growth for the industry. Some of the key indicators that support this forecast are the residential market, which is climbing, and the Architecture Billings Index, which remains above 50.
“However, we are still in the recovery stage and growth is still somewhat volatile. While we have averted situations like the fiscal cliff, we have not really solved the problem. Rather, we have just ‘kicked the can’ down the road, leaving consumers cautious and hesitant, which in turn makes the overall market cautious. It is each company’s responsibility to convey a clear value proposition and premium service to create demand.”
Sue Moore, co-owner, Moore Glass, www.mooreglassjoliet.com
“2012 was not outstanding, but it wasn’t bad. My expectations for 2013 are to maintain current levels or do even better. We do auto glass, residential work, commercial, schools. We are diversified enough so we don’t have to rely on one side of the economy. … Being diversified is the thing that helped us the most [during the downturn]. When one area was down, another one would provide us with the necessary business.”
Scott Thomsen, president, Flat Glass Group, Guardian Industries
“In the U.S., I expect to see increased demand over 2012, predominantly in two markets: residential windows and doors, and automotive glass. We see as much as 15 percent to 20 percent growth in the residential market this year. Obviously, that will lead to increased float demand, and increased demand for low-E coatings and solar-control coatings due to the codes. The second area of growth will be automotive. Expectations are that 2013 will be a 15-million-vehicle build year, which is a solid production year. For commercial building skin facades, [we anticipate] modest growth in the 2 percent to 4 percent range. I think there is still a lot of vacant building space, and people are leery to construct new commercial buildings.
“One other thing that you have to remember is that over the last few years there has been a significant reduction in the number of float lines in North America. That also will impact the coming year. The float lines that existed back in the 1990s are no longer there. As the residential construction market improves in 2013 and 2014, I think there will be a little bit better balance in the market.”