Collins, the Trend Tracker

Standing Room Only

Jun 3rd, 2013

While waiting in a high-rise conference room recently, I did my habitual inspection of the windows in the room and those of the other buildings across the street. Looking out, I noticed a spider web like none that I’ve ever seen. The owner and creator of the web was a creature that we all must […]

Selling Innovation

Apr 29th, 2013

My last blog was the first in a series of two related blogs on the topic of innovation. In that first installment we discussed tactics for innovation, including initiating a close collaboration with customers throughout the process. Let’s turn our attention to positioning products that respond to some of the macro-level drivers for new product […]

Looking for Opportunities Through Innovation

Apr 15th, 2013

Product innovation helps companies grow and lessens the risk of one’s products becoming obsolete. Many companies that had previously slashed their research and development (R&D) budgets are again spending money on this critical activity. Most companies reduced their R&D budgets in response to the market downturn. Some companies confess that they have been in “survival” […]

Winning Them Back

Mar 25th, 2013

It is one of the toughest aspects of business, but we’ve all lost customers at one point or another. What I learned early in my former career as an investment advisor is that the loss of a customer is not the end of the game. Almost any customer can be won back at some point […]

Fostering Camaraderie and Cooperation

Mar 7th, 2013

I recently attended the meeting of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) in Tucson and I then traveled to Houston to serve as a guest speaker for the Earthwise Group at the Showcase Windows facility. I was struck by a number of similarities between these two groups that have meaningful implications for door and window […]

Avoid the Risk of Failure During a Recovery

Feb 11th, 2013

Recent economic commentators have raised what may seem like a strange notion. They believe there is a high risk of businesses failing as the economy begins to recover. There is no doubt that a risk of failure exists in the midst of a recovery. Many companies will have stretched all of their resources to the […]

IBS Impressions: Optimism Reigns

Jan 29th, 2013

This was the most upbeat Builders’ Show that I’ve attended since 2006. Nearly every one of the companies with whom we talked reported that sales are increasing. Traffic and attendance at the show were up strongly versus last year and the show was once again in two separate halls. Almost without exception, companies were happy […]

From One Cliff to Another

Jan 7th, 2013

The recent resolution of the first fiscal cliff likely did little to affect consumers’ ability to buy doors and windows. The payroll tax increase will be felt by the middle class but not nearly as much as would have the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. The wealthiest 0.5 percent of the country saw a […]

More Signs of the Recovery

Nov 26th, 2012

What do one of the greatest investors of all times and one of the top economists in the country have in common? They both think it’s a great time to buy a house. Warren Buffett has made a number of investments designed to profit as the housing industry recovers. The most recent of these acquisitions […]

Bringing Jobs Back to America

Oct 22nd, 2012

It’s election season, which always means two things: a spirited debate about the direction of our country and a burning desire for the political ads to stop. In less than two weeks when we leave the voting booths, the ads will come to a screeching halt. What will remain are the decisions that need to […]