April 19, 2022

Glass Expo Northeast Wrap Up – the Industry is Seeking Knowledge

By Paul Daniels

In the last two weeks, I have had a chance to attend two trade shows: Glass Expo Northeast, which was held in Long Island, New York, and the 2022 Glass and Glazing Forum run by the Finishing Trades Institute in Southern California. It was great to be part of these in-person events. They were both very well attended by vendors as well as trade professionals, demonstrating how important these types of events are to the glass industry.

Both events from two totally different markets had a lot in common. Customers were looking for new and innovative products, educational seminars to keep them up-to-date on best practices in the industry, and ways to expand their supply base to avoid product disruptions. These are the issues that are affecting glass shops across the country. Both events really hit the mark. They attracted vendors that were there to show their innovations and educate their customers. I am sure thousands of years of experience, shared by all, were on the show floors. Both shows also offered educational seminars that were well attended.

It seemed like most people I spoke with were asking “How is your inventory? What are your lead times? How long does it take to get a quote?” This really highlighted the anxiety in the market over supply chain disruptions. The attendees were smart to be looking for new suppliers to give them a better sense of security. As I have said in the past, if you are out of inventory, you are out of business. It is important to build relationships with alternate suppliers. You also want to choose suppliers that can help you with product substitutions and creative solutions to help with supply issues. Most architects I talk to are more open to substitutions and alternate solutions than ever before.

Inflation was another issue on the minds of those at both shows. Costs are going up at every level–not just material costs. You need to keep this in mind when quoting a job. Setting a 30-day expiration date on quotes and escalation clauses on large projects are musts. This is a good time to follow up on all your quotes to let people know that prices are rising, so this is a good time to commit to your project.

It was very nice to see large groups attending from most companies. These were local shows making it easier for shops to bring more of their people. This gives ownership an opportunity to show that their employees are an important part of their business, and their input is important and listened to.  In-person events are great opportunities to build relationships, show your employees they are an important part of the business, and keep up-to-date on innovations that can help your business grow.