The winds of change are always blowing in the fenestration industry.
I mean that both literally and figuratively. Commercial insulating glass products must stand up to the toughest weather and climate challenges in the world as architects and builders grow bolder with designs, all while maintaining peak occupancy and operational efficiency. Whether it’s hot, arid environments or the coldest reaches of North America, glass needs to deliver the right performance no matter what Mother Nature throws at them. Many buildings in temperate regions must be adaptable to both hot and cold extremes. And no matter the application, commercial glazing today must deliver resiliency, durability and thermal performance for long-term success.
Manufacturers and glaziers, meanwhile, must be able to successfully deliver those reliable, resilient products while maintaining profitability and stability in their business—no matter the market conditions. Code changes, economic headwinds, design trends, raw materials supply, the availability of new technology … there’s no shortage of factors that can influence a commercial IG fabricator’s or glazier’s business. Most recently I’ve been keeping tabs on some of the major mergers and acquisitions activity that’s been taking place among some of the industry’s bigger names. Some acquisitions expand the company’s footprint into a new geographic area (e.g., Glasswerks’ acquisition of NWI). Others, like YKK AP’s recent acquisition of Erie Architectural Products, may indicate growth in a new market—in this case, fabricated, preassembled architectural products.
I bring up these examples—the performance of our products and the performance of our businesses—to illustrate a broader point: Resiliency and adaptability in the face of change are important. Whether it’s an architectural façade’s ability to keep building interiors comfortable in a variety of weather or climate conditions, or our businesses’ ability to successfully navigate marketplace fluctuations, both entities must demonstrate resiliency and adaptability for long-term success.
What does that look like in practice? Consider spacer systems, which have evolved in the past few decades from traditional metallic systems to higher-performance, warm-edge systems. These systems have demonstrated resiliency in their ability to provide long-term performance benefits to commercial glass, and adaptability in their applicability to just about any commercial glass need.
When it comes to organizational success, resiliency and adaptability apply just the same—and those qualities must be rooted in your people. I’ve written over the past few months about the importance of organizational culture, especially in the face of leadership changes, mergers and acquisitions, and an ongoing labor shortage in our industry. An organizational culture that is both resilient and adaptable is important for the successful navigation of new challenges in an evolving industry. Adaptability might mean your plant manager adjusting the manufacturing process to accommodate new technology; resiliency means remaining committed to finding the right solution even if a certain approach doesn’t work the first time. Both attributes are important for a successful culture and business.
Is your company culture resilient and adaptable? Are you utilizing technology and processes with the same attributes? It’s worth asking yourself these questions as we get moving into a new year.
Joe Erb is commercial sales specialist for Quanex Building Products.