From the Publisher July/August 2021

August 20th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

“We Have Windows”

As a door or window manufacturer, you may not like it, but the state of the industry today is this: If you have product to sell, you may just have secured some new business. Because these days, if you can say, “we have windows,” or “we have doors,” you just moved to the top of the preferred vendor list.

Many manufacturers anonymously report lead times of at least 12 weeks. So if you have product to move, you may have just gained a new dealer. So what does that mean when all these supply concerns calm down? If you provide a good product, then the company that just tried you out will likely add you to their line up of ongoing providers. If you were the supplier that couldn’t provide materials, then you may just have dropped off the list. The new reality is this: in many cases, dealers no longer have their go-to brands. Whoever can get them what they need, when they need it is now the vendor of choice.

Will that change when demand eases? Maybe, but it has taught us that having multiple suppliers to choose from is definitely a good rule of thumb. In some instances this is easier said than done. Let me give you an example. A president of a major door and window manufacturer recently told me his biggest problem area for supply right now is extrusions and hardware. Hardware, not as hard to find a supplier. Extrusions—extremely hard. You can’t just order that up. Changing suppliers here is a major endeavor so the door and window manufacturers are at the mercy of the system right now.

But what’s the lesson to suppliers of such things as hardware and vinyl extrusions? When the supply chain calms down, you better take a good look at your systems and see if there are areas in which you can improve. Because when things slowdown in those winter months, your customers may just be looking to retool their plants and make some changes. It’s the harsh industry reality right now.

Sorry if I depressed you. If I did, let’s end things on a positive note. Check out pages 20-26 for our annual look at the industry’s Fast Growing Dealers. I always love seeing how companies are thriving, and how they are doing so. I encourage you to check out those four amazing profiles, written by [DWM] editor Drew Vass.

Take care, and I hope to see many of you in Atlanta, for those of you who will be door and window shopping.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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