It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here with Christmas just around the corner. And this year, the fenestration industry is back to its seasonal disposition. The operations folks can actually enjoy the slowdown and spend time on rejuvenation practices that were largely foregone in the last few years due to never ending levels of unprecedented demand.

These rejuvenation practices include:

1. Year-end equipment maintenance;
2. Installation of new equipment and equipment upgrades;
3. Preparation for first-quarter sales meetings; and, most importantly
4. Personal rejuvenation, which includes spending time with family and friends.

Equipment Maintenance

This oftentimes gets ignored during the course of the year as busy production schedules do not allow much down time. So catching up on such maintenance is absolutely critical as the year winds down. It would be a big disappointment to start the new year off on the wrong foot with equipment failures and the consequences this brings such as poor quality and extended lead times. The first few months of the year are a crucial time when dealers change suppliers if they see something they don’t like that might negatively affect their businesses. The ability of your equipment to help make quality products on time is crucial here.

Installation of New Equipment

Given the tax benefits of Section 179, it is important to install new equipment before the end of the year, so a one-week shutdown can be beneficial to upgrade your manufacturing facility while giving your employees a much-needed break to spend time with their families. With rising material and labor costs, it is now more important than ever to get out of the gate in 2024 with the most efficient manufacturing process possible to help your company compete effectively on a value basis. No one knows for certain what level of demand 2024 will bring, but inflation and higher interest rates are expected to remain in place at least for the first half of the year. This means competitive pressure will be ramped up, so you had better be poised to grab your share of a more limited market opportunity.

Preparing for First-Quarter Sales Meetings

Sales meetings may have taken a back seat to concerns about operations during the years of pandemic-induced crazy demand, but they’ll once again be crucial in the new year. Now is the time to prepare. Fabricators will broaden their product lines next year in response to the new Energy Star 7.0 requirements, which will significantly raise prices of Energy Star-rated windows. Non-Energy-Star-rated windows will be sold to the more price sensitive segments of the market. This will require higher levels of salesmanship at both ends of the spectrum. Is your windows without the Energy Star rating good enough and are your Energy Star-rated windows worth the extra money? Sales training is key to convince customers to part with their money and to choose your products over the competition.

Personal Rejuvenation

This is the most important of all. Now is the time of year to spend quality time with family, friends and pets, to give thanks and remind ourselves why we get up every day and go out in the world to do what we do. Hopefully we do so in a manner which positively impacts the world and the people who we interact with throughout the course of business. Rest and relaxation are absolutely essential to recharge one’s batteries in preparation for the coming year. You cannot take care of your customers and your business if you don’t first take care of yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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