July 12th, 2011
It’s always interesting to look at the J.D. Power and Associates study regarding doors and windows to see who tops the list, and what makes builders and remodelers happy.
A few things came to mind after looking at this year’s results. When highlighting the top companies the study points out in which categories the top companies performed particularly well. I couldn’t help think: Are there companies who can do it all? Are there companies who can deliver in all the factors in which J.D. Power ranks: ordering and delivery; operational performance and durability; price; appearance and design features; warranty; and repair/replacement?
In any industry there are companies that have their strengths. Heck, you can find it anywhere. In baseball you may have a great hitter but do they always perform in the field? Once in a while you find those all-around great players and once in a while you find a company that earns top honors across the board.
But if you don’t, should you focus on your strengths or you should you work on ramping up those other categories? Why not aim for all the-around MVP award?
I also found it interesting that contractors don’t play as big of a role when it comes to purchasing decisions as they may have in the past. I talked to a few others in the industry to gain their thoughts, including Jim Plavecsky, owner of Windowtech Sales and a fellow DWM blogger.
“I would agree that consumers are making decisions themselves. You can hop on the Internet and within hours know just as much or more than many of the contractors know. I am often surprised by the lack of product knowledge that contractors have. Many are well-schooled and experienced when it comes to installation but cannot intelligently answer questions regarding products and new technology. They need to spend more time learning the business and latest trends,” he says.
Marty Davis, Simonton marketing manager, told me that while contractors’ roles may be decreasing, he still feels that they serve as a trusted advisor in many cases.
“There are some consumers that say, ‘I don’t really have a brand preference so I will go with what you decide.’”
He adds that consumers are always looking for recommendations from family and friends as well.
As for the latter, I’m sure we all know that is true, and it is even more so for all of us in the window industry. I have a friend who I only talk to a few times a year but who remembered where I work. When she bought an older home recently she immediately emailed me for my thoughts on who to call to get window quotes.
Overall, though the consumer is definitely more educated and Davis says “we have the tax credit to thank for that as it raised the level of awareness.”
Lastly, I wish the J.D. Power study would have expanded on builders’ dissatisfaction with the ordering process, so I asked Davis to comment on this.
“I can only speak to our order process,” he says. “Our value proposition is delivering a quality product, on time and complete. We feel like we provide great value. We feel like we have the best sales teams in the industry with respect to fielding orders.”
I challenge you to take a close look at your ordering process. Are you one of the companies that contributed to builder satisfaction? Perhaps looking at these and other factors you can be one of the companies that comes out on top come next year.