Throughout this past year, I’ve written a lot about the changes and challenges the commercial glazing industry is going through. We’re looking at new ways of optimizing our operations, we’re deploying new solutions to overcome labor challenges, and we’re looking to new partners and suppliers to help us maximize what’s possible on the plant floor.
To that last point: I’m a firm believer in leaning on vendors and suppliers for outside perspectives and expertise. There’s not an individual in this industry who has all the answers, and moving forward as an industry means working together. The most architecturally daring glass projects around the world are accomplished by means of collaboration, as are the products and the components that make them possible.
What’s important to remember, however, is that this process only works when everyone is playing their part.
Indeed, in an industry that can become dizzyingly complex depending on the project or application, accountability and ownership at the individual level are of utmost importance. Because at the end of the day, you’re responsible for what you’re sending out your doors—and what you’re sending out is critical to the overall, long-term success of any project.
I think this is an important thing to remember, especially as our industry continues to move forward. We know that across all parts of commercial glazing, we’ve been challenged to operate leaner and to do more with less. And in many ways, those conditions have driven an increased need to trust your network of suppliers.
But that doesn’t excuse complacency. Fabricators can’t be entirely reliant on those outside voices. Ultimately, you have the best visibility of where your final units will be installed; your desiccant, spacer or sealant supplier, for instance, might not. The best vendors will ask, and will want to be a part of that conversation to provide you with the best possible solution, especially for more complex or unique glazing design. But at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to make the best decisions for your business and for the success of a given project.
Trust your suppliers. Open new lines of communication where possible. But don’t lose sight of where the buck stops. As we move forward in 2018, that’s my best piece of advice. The New Year brings some uncertainty in the form of regulatory shifts, a potential rewriting of the tax code, and the possibility of building code changes. But if we’re sure of ourselves, our teams and our suppliers, we can always move forward confidently.