May 4, 2021

We Are Returning To Normal. What Is That Again?

By Paul Bieber

Cities are relaxing standards on masks and stores are opening full-time. People are going back to a workplace instead of the kitchen table. Glass shops will begin to see more walk-in business. Customers will ask our industry to come back to their homes. Most glass shops remained open during the COVID times; construction went on. Our next 12 months will be like nothing we have seen before.

So, what is the new normal for our little slice of the economy? People have money to spend. Employment is high and wages are spiraling up as workers have the pick of their job opportunities. As a glass business owner or manager, you must decide what your new normal will be. You don’t have a lot of time to make this decision either.

For many of us, it is a once-in-a-lifetime-chance to hit our reset button for our companies. I can tell you that six months or at most, one year from today, is too late to make these decisions. A good indicator is the advance purchase of glass equipment. IG Line manufacturers, tempering line makers and aluminum extruders are taking orders for next year. To me this is the key indicator for our industry. The equipment houses are betting on heavy growth in our near-term future. So, here is what I would do:

  1. Decide your geographic reach. Are you thinking of a new location? Start now. Hire folks for your new area and begin their training with your crews.
  2. Plan what product lines you want to add to your company. Get early help from the key vendors.
  3. Order what equipment you need … a new truck or two; updated computers; get help from your vendors including price reductions and incentives to carry their products.
  4. Select a branch manager and begin in-depth training for this person’s new role.
  5. Join the business community of new areas you wan to be in. Go to Rotary Club meetings; sponsor a Boy or Girl Scout Troop; donate workers for a day to help clean a park or a group home. Place ads in the local papers. Find out which local web groups you can join for answering questions about the glass industry.

Enough of my meanderings. Create your own new normal. Don’t wait for the new business to come to you. Create your own future.