Closing Out Busy Season Confidently

I returned home from this year’s GlassBuild show in Atlanta to some unseasonably warm temperatures. Anyone at the show this year also felt the heat on day one, where temperatures topped out in the upper 90s.

It got me wondering if we’ll see warmer temperatures creep their way into fall and if we’ll see a bit of an extension of the industry’s typical busy season. The calendar says it’s autumn, but it sure doesn’t feel like it right now. That means there could be an extended window of opportunity for glass professionals to complete many more projects before winter inevitably slows things down.

If you were on the show floor at GlassBuild, you felt a sense of urgency—foot traffic was healthy, and many attendees were on a mission. USGlass’s Debra Levy summed it up in her blog from last week: “Atlanta always attracts more day-trippers too, as a number of visitors with whom I spoke said they were just there for one day. No matter the length of time it was clear, visitors came to buy in Atlanta.”

I had a lot of great conversations with customers and colleagues at GlassBuild, and with the show behind us, it’s back to business. Here are a few things I think are worth keeping in mind as we close out some of the year’s busiest months:

Stay organized. Plant floor organization is key to efficiency and to making the most of your available floor space. If you’re busier than usual, optimizing floor space is critical, especially if you’re cranking out more units that might need to remain on the floor for a little while before they’re able to be shipped to their final destination. You’ve probably heard about the ongoing driver shortage, and I’ve heard anecdotally about some negative effects it’s had for manufacturers.

Do what you can to keep everything and everyone organized. And while a busier time of year might not be ideal to completely change your line layout, keep an eye on things. What’s working? What isn’t? Make a list and start thinking about some of the bigger changes you can make over the winter once things settle down.

Stay focused on safety. It’s always necessary to put safety first, but toward the end of a busy season, it’s especially important. Everyone’s working quickly to meet increased customer demands—something they’ve been doing for months now.

Don’t let your people get too worn down, and don’t allow your commitment to safety to slack. Make sure it’s as high a priority as ever. And as commercial glass jobs become more complex, consider making investments in new equipment and technologies that reduce manual touchpoints, improve ergonomics and make it easier to put together quality units.

Keep communication lines open. As jobs continue to come in, that means you’ll be needing more raw materials and components to keep producing a quality product. Continue to communicate with your suppliers and vendors on lead times, availability and more. A good, reliable vendor is flexible, communicative and will be able to provide the support you need to close out busy season strong.

A busier tail end of the year, especially when the weather cooperates, is a great opportunity to maximize profitability and boost your business. Remember: The summer and fall months for the glass industry are a marathon, not a sprint. Control your quality, operate safely and keep a steady hand. Best of luck as we approach the finish line!

Joe Erb is commercial sales specialist for Quanex Building Products.