From the fabricator: Trainor
There’s no doubt that the Trainor story was a huge event in our world. The emotions and fallout surrounding it continue to be intense. The news of its closure was more of a surprise because it ceased operations and didn't file for Chapter 11 reorganization and keep operating. It was the finality that was the knockout punch. As for the emotions and feedback from the industry, the biggest concern is the welfare of the employees. My heart goes out to those folks, all of whom had been pumping along and then BAM it's over. No last paycheck, no benefits. Just over. You’d have to be a very cold person to not feel terrible and hope that those guys and gals can find new employment elsewhere in our world. Surely there are some talented people now available. In any case, talking to some of the folks caught up in this is heartbreaking, and I hope only the best for them.
Now onto the business side of this. There were excellent, well thought-out comments left on my blog last week. Eventually, I see the Trainor situation becoming a case study because there are teachable moments here from a business standpoint. You have all of the factors in place: family dynamics, multiple locations, industry prominence, misjudged expansions into markets and products (the decorative and solar were great angles, just wrong time, place and focus) and much more. All of that plays out in the big picture of things.
So yet again, we start another era in our industry as we have several times in the last few years. And while I am very positive about our future and there are a lot of very good things happening in our world, there’s still the worry and malaise that hangs over us. Bottom line: I hope we are continuing to learn from these events, and gaining the knowledge that will make us stronger and smarter as people, companies and an industry as a whole.
- Pretty big story popped late Thursday and into Friday that Serious Materials was closing the famous Chicago plant that they took over a few years ago. (The plant featured a sit in, made national news and eventually had a visit from Vice President Biden when it reopened.) That closing is now delayed, but we had some interesting moments leading up to it. The story here is a remarkable read about what happened. In any case, this one will bear watching because it will be fascinating to see who possibly steps up in this.
- Congrats to the awesome Carol Land of the Glass Association of North America, as she celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend. Carol is one of my all-time favorites, and I am thrilled for her and her husband for hitting this awesome milestone!
- Last week, the AABC Energy Management Guideline for building owners, design professionals, commissioning authorities and energy management professionals came out. (That was a mouthful eh?) Once again, it reflects negatively on how our industry is perceived. 256 pages in all, and it covers everything under the sun building-product-wise that can help the building save money and be efficient, with the exception of glass/windows. Nothing on improving the window to increase efficiency, but hey, if you want info on low-flush toilets, it's in here. H/T and thanks to Chris Ketchum of RavenBrick on this one, I would’ve never have seen it otherwise.
- Last this week, a great marketing read via link that was tweeted out by Guardian’s Earnest Thompson. It’s about how cars get their names, and as anyone who has had to name products knows, it’s not easy or fun. This story reminds me about a lunch I had once with the legend of Ford Glass and Visteon Mr. Lowell Rager, when the “Versalux” line of products were announced. At that lunch, I heard about the demise of the greatest glass name ever, “Jade Ice,” and the launch of the line of names that sounded like vacuum cleaners or dishwashers. No matter how it may sound, some things just fit better than others, and this article Earnest sent shows it’s an issue all over.
The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.