The 12th annual FeneVision fenestration ERP software user conference, which took place in Aurora, Ohio, 2-4 June, has highlighted that some glass companies have a new problem: getting enough supplies to meet demand.
Attendees at FeneTech’s annual user conference, which took place 2-4 June in Aurora, Ohio, gave the idea that there is a new type of problem for glass companies regarding supply and demand.
“Companies in this industry have spent the last five years trimming costs and deferring investments to survive,” said Ron Crowl, president of FeneTech and host of the user conference. “Although managing backlog and supplies are challenges, it is one all of them would rather have compared to previous years.”
The schedule of the two-and-one-half day user conference included joint opening and closing sessions each day and separate breakout sessions for glass fabricators as well as door, window and sunroom companies.
“We’re certainly seeing growth and feeling more confidence in the economy over last year,” said Greg Flynn, technical specialist for Architectural Glass North America (AGNORA) in Collingwood, Ontario. “We deal in unique products and see lots of demand for the large and complex shapes we make for commercial and residential applications.”
“People are moving forward with projects with less hesitancy.”
AGNORA provides CNC fabrication, tempering and lamination for single pane and insulating glass shapes of up to 130 x 300”. The company’s primary market is the US but it also has customers as far away as Dubai.
As far as investments in technology and equipment, Flynn said the company in recent years has installed the largest heat soak testing oven in North America and a single-edge glass polisher, which can handle thicknesses up to four inches.
“In 2014, we’re continuing to improve how we work with and serve customers with on-time delivery of extra-precise and ultra-high-quality special shapes,” he said. “Technology like our FeneVision ERP system helps save time and deliver what we promise when we promise.”
A major focus has been on making web-based estimation and order entry available to all the distributors, dealers and contractors in its selling channel. “I think the industry has reached a point where if you don’t offer the tools where a customer can price and place their own orders, you can’t get in the door, he said.”
While companies are working to manage growth issues and are hopeful the market will continue to improve, most are retaining some of the caution that enabled them to survive the recession where others could not.
“Will this last?” asked one attendee. “We think so but want to see how it continues the rest of this year.”
Business has also increased this year at insulating glass fabricator INTIGRAL Inc., in Walton Hills, Ohio.
“Our competitive advantage is that we can deliver sequenced carts of custom IG to our customers in the shortest possible time,” said INTIGRAL president Jason Thomas. “We believe the market will continue to improve overall and we will continue to improve our integration with our customers and offer the best IGU spacer options along with the high-valued specialty options for their IGU.”