There have been a number of blogs recently on the generally positive tone at this year’s GlassBuild. For me, my impressions of the show always start several weeks in advance of the opening of the show doors on the first day. I typically reach out to owners and presidents of door and window companies to see if they’re going to the annual event and whether they’d have time to meet with me. In the past, the most common reason given by owners who weren’t attending the show was that they didn’t want to spend the money to look at a bunch of products they knew they weren’t in a financial position to buy.

This year, as always, there were a number of executives who indicated that they weren’t attending the show. Their reasons were very different, though. The most common reason given by executives who weren’t attending was that they were too busy to travel. Their businesses have picked up and they couldn’t spare the time. Many of the executives who did attend were so busy that their visit was one whirlwind day, packed with customer meetings and inquiries to new vendors. Several of the owners with whom I met asked me to come meet them by the booth of an equipment manufacturer. They were waiting in line (yes, there was a short line) to talk to their rep at the equipment makers. They were there to talk turkey about buying top-of-the-line new systems for their plants. Others were waiting to talk to a rep at a profile maker about arranging for a volume discount as their sales pick up. These are much more elegant issues to address than we have seen in the past.

On the new product front, there were not as many new products being introduced as we would have seen in the past. We attribute that primarily to the fact that we’re passing through the “shadow” of the past few years when R&D budgets have been significantly reduced. When you cut your R&D budget this year, the new products that were almost ready to be sold still make it out, but it affects your new product introductions over the next several years. We’re in touch with numerous companies that have brought in new engineers who are out there addressing the need for new products. Along with the recovery, we will undoubtedly see a return to stronger new product introduction.

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