Taking stock of cost increases
Here we are two weeks into our latest adventure, so I checked in with glaziers and fabricators from all over North America and gained their perspectives to add to mine. I thought for this week it was time to talk about what is happening now and how people are handling it.
Overall, it was pretty uniform that people sat down and worked through it. Battled. Yes, jobs were lost to overseas players. As was predicted. Yes, jobs were put on hold until things could be determined more. As was predicted. But we did see intelligent and creative work from so many to work through this the best way they could.
The point being made to me in several ways is that we can’t just hide under the covers. We have to figure it out and deal with this hand. Kudos to every sales manager or estimating head who had to make those phone calls, re-work quotes, and deal with the confusion and turmoil. There was a ton and you dealt/are dealing with it. Good on all of you.
Now, one more piece on the actual increase. I was constantly reminded about the costly nature of making glass. That’s not in dispute. The issue will always be timing and approach. It could’ve and should’ve been better. Especially when I see how smartly some are handling (more on that below), we had a chance here to do things better.
One person reminded me of something I would point to a lot here in my travels. A lot of our pricing was the same in 2019 as it was in 1958. Obviously, advancements in machinery and technology allowed us to keep pricing “stable,” but eventually, when the world finally hits a breaking point, that bill would come due. And I’d say from a business sense with inflation rampant and no one at the higher levels of at least the U.S. government seemingly interested in effectively addressing it, that time is now.
So here we are.
By the way, lost in some of this is how the big Cardinal purchase of AGC played into this. It changed the landscape, unintentionally at first, and that play helped push this rock down the hill. No doubt when that deal happened no one saw a crazy landscape as we have now.
OK, so on the next steps—it’s been handled in many ways. Viracon had a classy approach which is to be expected. Oldcastle took the bull by the horns. That was important to see and experience, and kudos to them.
Independents took various angles, but for the most part, all are doing their best for the industry and their customers. (Though I’ll note some cowboys out there aren’t. And that thinking is frightening and will not be good in the end.) Anyway, the march here goes on. We will lose work. We will probably have to re-fight a window-to-wall ratio (thankfully, the NGA and the great industry volunteers will be on guard there.) But kudos to the fabs and glaziers who are doing all they can to protect our way of life.
Guardian and Vitro Education on Offer
I need to note that while I have been commenting on the Guardian and Vitro approaches, their support for the industry in other ways—like education, sponsorship, advocacy and technical—are huge components of what they do and the value there is immense. I’ve noted several times that the education centers (and I think Vitro’s is incredible) and support of events like GlassBuild matter, and I don’t want that lost in the shuffles here.
ABI Remains Positive
I keep getting stunned. Yep. This time it was the latest Architectural Billings Index being in the positive again with its latest report. I am starting to doubt its accuracy or approach, because it’s not jiving with everything else. Again, I would love to be wrong, but something doesn’t feel right. They’re the experts and no way would they put out details that aren’t accurate, so I’ll take the win…cautiously.
Upcoming From the Fabricator Pod
I’ll be recording for my next podcast this coming week and I am excited for the guests I have lined up. Two highly successful companies will be represented and I’m excited to get insight into how they’ve done it.
Speaking of podcasts, a new one to recommend is one from John Spelman of YKK. He has the “Glazing Guru” podcast, and it’s an outstanding effort. I love the range of guests he’s had, including the awesome Frank D’Aprile of Kenpat (whom I could never get on my pod, too big time for me these days!) and one of the talented younger stars in our world—the Arch Insider Russell Williams. Check it out where you get pods online but here’s the Apple link or search for “The Glazing Guru”
New Thirsty Thursday
I’m so far behind on the embodied and operational carbon issue within our industry so I am thrilled that the great Dr. Kayla Natividad of NSG Pilkington is doing a Thirsty Thursday this week on it. Excellent way to get up to speed from one of the best in our space.
Ron Crowl’s Promotion
Congrats to Ron Crowl on his new position! Ron was named as managing director of Compusoft + 2020 Doors, Windows and Glass Vertical Group. Ron is a huge industry supporter and it’s great he’ll continue to be so active in our space!
Independence Day Hiatus
Last this week; no blog next week because of Independence Day in the U.S. If something wild happens I’ll post and note on LinkedIn. But hopefully, it’ll be quiet; to all of you celebrating the 4th of July, be safe, enjoy, and take it easy around the fireworks, both for your health and the dogs in the homes (like me who has too many of them) who go crazy during this time of year!