Wednesday, January 09, 2008

2008- The top things to look for....

It’s time to look at what the Top 10 subjects/issues/happenings/goings on for our industry in 2008. Some are new and some are the old favorites, but all will be in your life during the 12 months. Anyway you slice it, we’ll have to be on our toes going forward because it looks to be a bumpy ride.

10. Size does matter- Darn it, I always hoped it didn’t… but anyway… on projects and on individual pieces, look for the sizes and jobs to get bigger and bigger. The medium to small projects are the ones drying up and the large jobs are coming in with lots of quantities and huge sizes that will challenge everyone in the chain.

9. Health Care- This will always be an issue, and it will probably continue to get worse. It’s major frustration for companies of all sizes. Did you know that some companies have decided to NOT even offer it- some in our industry never have- which is stunning to me on how anyone would work there.

8. NFRC- Not number 1 and that may surprise people. I am so convinced that the Titantic, AKA the CMA (which is the rating/certification program that will be willingly forced upon us) will fail, that I am not that worried. But I will follow, monitor and surely have fun with the process because having a monopoly like that should not be given a free and easy pass.

7. High profile departures and changes- I see this year to more active then normal in people leaving or retiring. For instance we know Stan Smith of GANA is retiring and he will be missed (though the deft maneuvering of GANA hiring a solid guy like Bill Yanek surely softens the blow) and there may be others. In fact, I just heard a pretty heavy hitter on the metal side just left his company and I am sure more of that will be coming down the pike as weaker companies cut back and stronger ones try to snap up talent.

6. New Products- 08 should see some the growth of the newer glass products (one example, Guardian’s smooth Crystal Grey series) as well as metal options (the Sunshade trend is hitting for folks like Kawneer and EFCO and others) and of course the new technology from the dynamic glazing side (Sage) and photovotalics… or however you spell it.

5. Ford/Visteon/ACH- The glass company that most know as Visteon will officially have new owners and a new name in 08 (yes another name) and hopefully stability. Will they come out with new products to make a splash? And more importantly, will the new owner recognize some of the awesome talent they have there and keep it on board?

4. China- It’s not going away. Getting somewhat less popular thanks to how many people are getting burned but I still get at least 2 e-mails a day from companies in China that have “found” my company and want to do business with us. Just remember, they are the fox and doing business with them gives them easy access to the henhouse. No one can say I did not warn you.

3. Residential and the BOTTOM- Sometime in 08, the residential side will hit the bottom. The markets right now are sick, in fact USA Today had THIS depressing article on the worst yearly start to the stock market- ever. Obviously that’s not good news for either residential or commercial, but the bloodbaths will continue on the res side and its not going to be pretty.

2. Consolidations- We had 3 major buys in 2007 and I can see at least 3 more in 2008. Glass and Metal will marry more. I believe that Kawneer and YKK will do something as well as I can see Marvin and Jeld Wen trying to follow Pella’s lead. All will be very interesting to watch.

1. GREEN- No doubt, 2007 was a banner year for green building and it will get only bigger and more prominent in 2008. This is a movement that is really affecting everyone in every walk of life. In fact states with old failing economies like Michigan are pinning their hopes on revival through the whole “green” process. They want to be the leaders in green and “green technology”- should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

So there you have it… the top 10 things to look for in the new year….

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