Welcome to Glass and Window blog. This blog has had weekly entries since April 2010, making it one of the largest, longest, and most verbose blogs ever, with specialist focus on the glass and window industries.

The Glass Racking Company, a specialist supplier of glass and window factory handling and transportation solutions, with customers across the globe. Over time we have enjoyed working with clients to create solutions for them which save time, reduce rework and hence costs, and address health and safety requirements.


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What will 2016 bring for the glass and window industries? Here's my picks :

1. Glass and windows will continue to increase in size and weight
2. The industry will be buoyant and more profitable than the last few years
3. Staff changes and restructures will be less prevalent than 2015 as companies focus on making the changes from 2015 work 
4. Significant investment in capital items, especially transportation
5. Significant growth and expansion of the second tier glass and window companies 

The last of the 2015 trends provided by readers

Okay, so here's the last of the glass and window industry trends for 2015 :

9. The big glass and window companies have continued to get even bigger but there is still a place for small and medium sized companies
10. There's been more significant staff changes in large glass and window companies in the last 12 months than in any year I've experienced.
11. Increased mechanisation and automation in the large glass factories is reducing the traditional glass knowledge and skill levels of the factory staff
12. The Glass Racking Company continues as a dedicated industry supplier
13. Barx Blog doubled its loyal readership in its 5th year of weekly blogs

More 2015 trends

Thanks for your feedback on last weeks list of the major changes in 2015. Some additional suggestions (the ones I'll choose to print!) are :

4. The complexity of glass types and their relative R ratings (insulation) has continued to increase.
5. The type of glass you have in your house is something people talk about at parties. Glass has become more trendy!
6. Glass lites just keep getting bigger and heavier.
7. Health and Safety issues are more important and more expensive to sort than in the past (when no-one really cared)
8. Christmas seems to have come earlier this year!

2015 trends

14 December 2015

Last week I was asked what the biggest changes have been the glass and window industries in the last year. My thoughts are :

1. Acceptance by construction companies that site glazing is needed and incurs an additional cost which they should pay for.
2. Most glass and window companies increasing their margins
3. Most glass and window companies are sticking to their knitting. If for example they are a commercial window glazer they are turning away opportunities for other work to focus on what they are specialists in.

These are all good changes for the industry, and good for each companies bottom line.

Visiting the regions

Last week I travelled to one of the smaller regions to meet with the glass and window companies there. At one of the meetings we agreed that I'd do an audit of their fleet of vans and frails the following morning, with a view to organising any maintenance and upgrade work which may be required.

The fleet was in excellent condition with the exception of a few replacement parts. The staff were very helpful and the entire audit took less than an hour.

The manager of the business (and his operations managers) were delighted that I visited their site, and very keen for me to help them in their business. They also requested an audit of some other equipment which I'll do on my next trip. 

My trips to the regions are often like this. I suspect these companies don't get so many visitors who genuinely want to help them, and when someone does come to visit they "drop everything" to take advantage from their visitor. As a supplier to the industry this allows us to be at our best, and provide the most benefit.

Plea

Further to last weeks blog this weeks blog is a plea to let us do your easy stuff as well as the hard stuff. If you need some simple tables or benches, or you need a basic storage system for offcuts or raw materials please have us do it for you. At our heart we are a metalworker, and our business needs man hours a simple jobs to keep operating, just as your does. Without the volume of work we cannot afford to continue with the product development and the innovations we're known for. 

This weekend the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup 2015, being the first rugby team ever to win back to back world cups, and also the first time the All Blacks of New Zealand have won the world cup outside of their own country (we've hosted the event twice). Many commentators from around the world have rated this All Blacks team as the best rugby team ever. Quite an accolade.

So what makes this team so good?

In my opinion the key to their success is their lack of weak links. Each player has a high level of fitness, skillsets, and has a backup player of similar ability who can come on as a replacement if an injury occurs. More importantly than this though is all the other aspects of the team, where there are no weak links. They have good strategies. They think positively and act accordingly without being arrogant. They all handle pressure well and don't get flustered, emotional, or angry. They all work well as a team without conflicts between team members. They support each other. They are sublime at PR, having the support of their home country and also have supporters from many other countries. They play an entertaining style of rugby which is a joy to watch. They have excellent sponsors who the team support, and who support the team in many more ways than just funding. And finally in the words of Steve Hanson, the All Blacks coach, "We have fun".

Simple things which are so hard to get right.

The power of the negative

Thanks to those who provided some thought provoking feedback to last weeks blog. I always appreciate your replies.

In the past few weeks I've been reminded of something I was told many years ago – that in personal and work relationships one bad experience can overturn all the good done by ten good experiences. Such is the power of the negative.

Logic says that if someone lets you down in some way, you should take a deep breath, and then reflect on what that person or organisation has done for you in the past. Consider whether this one event defines that person or organisation, or is it a single failure? That's the obvious thing to do, but most of us don't.

Split ups

On Friday I went to a funeral of a friend who died in his mid-seventies. He was a neat old fella, a very hardworking farmer and sheep shearing legend. His body was worn out and his time was up.

During his life he married and had children, then he and his wife split up in a very hostile separation. Sadly that anger targeted towards his ex-wife never waned and he held onto that negativity for the rest of his life.

I liken this to business relationships and partnerships that might at one time be very good then lessen or even fall apart. It happens. No-one plans for it, and most are sad when it occurs, but it still happens. To come out of these events with a long-term hatred or anger towards the other does no-one any good. A desire and plan to move forward for the betterment of your business is beneficial for the business as well as your own well-being.

Looking after yourself is as important as looking after your business. If you're heads in a negative space you won't do yourself or your business any favours.

Copies

Last week I saw more evidence of our products being copied. The companies doing the copying aren't new entrants to the market with new fresh ideas, but dead-beats who blindly copy our products. 

In business you always have 2 options. You either copy what someone else does, or you develop your own offering. To develop your own offering requires an understanding of your customers, their needs, their wants, the issues they face, their business plans. If you choose to be an innovator then you commit time and money to this path. If done well, you develop a good business model as your solutions help your customers to move ahead. It's often called a partnership.

The other option is to copy. To take someone else's thinking and make the products for a lower cost than the innovative company does. You can do this without actually understanding what you're making, what it's for, and how it helps. Of course your costs are lower and of course you can sell these copies for a lower price.

Over time copying just cripples the industry. The innovative companies get involved in price wars and the budget for innovation disappears. Innovation stops. 

Ironically the companies buying the copies are often the very same companies who need innovation to create a point of difference in their market.