April 23, 2013

Unfortunately, The Sadness In Boston Will Ultimately Help Our Industry

By Paul Bieber

It’s an unfortunate path to more business in our industry.  The deaths of our fellow countrymen, the massive injuries, both physical and mental, and the resources used to catch the bombers are all huge costs we pay to live in an open society.  The money spent by the news networks alone could fund a small country for a year.  But, what does this mean to us in the glass industry?

It means a shift from current glazing patterns to the greater use of blast and bullet resistant glazings.  When I was working full time, our company fabricated laminated and tempered glass in the New York City area.  After 9/11 we saw a significant increase in heavier and thicker glass orders, which never subsided.  Just about every government building now uses heavy lami, every military installation, local and state police and courts are switching over to protective glazings.  And this trend will continue. 

How do you react when a customer or builder calls you and asks for Level III blast-resistant glazing?  Most small shops say it is too expensive and cumbersome for them to work with.  They don’t understand the regulations and are also afraid of the liabilities.  There is a basis of truth in this.  It is expensive, and a mistake in ordering size, or a ‘drop’ at the job site can really turn the job sour.  And what happens a year from now when a ‘bad guy’ walks into that late night convenience store and takes a shot at your glass?  But, this is why you are in the glass industry as an entrepreneur.  We sell these products, and no different than any other job, when you do it correctly, you can make a very nice profit. 

Any one who is reading this blog and does not sell or install bullet or blast-resistant glazing is missing a huge opportunity.

The glass is a small part of a proper job.  The framing is key.  If you put BR glass in a simple drywall situation, there really is no protection for the person behind the glass. Installation requires that the glass stay in its frame, even after repeated attempts to shoot at it or knock it out.

So, how do you get off your chair and do something with this opportunity.  Start on the web and look up ‘blast-resistant glass’ or ‘bullet-resistant glass’.  Read all the web sites you see here.  Look at the web sites of every laminater.  I can’t recommend one company over another, but there are a lot of good suppliers out there.  Don’t forget to look at the ‘plastics’ as well.  Polycarbonate, or laminated polycarb is an important part of the marketplace as well.

You have to start working quotes; and taking jobs.  You will learn by doing, ask your fabricator to send you a technician for your first couple of jobs.  A good fab partner will do this with you.  Don’t ignore this segment.  Opportunity, as unfortunate as it is, is knocking.