AAMA Meeting Continues--Global Competition a Hot
Members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association
(AAMA) reconvened in Marco Island, Fla., on Monday, for its annual
meeting. The day kicked off with a presentation from Michael Collins
of Jordan, Knauff and Co. based in Chicago. The room was packed
for his seminar, "The Coming Wave of Competition from Chinese Window
and Door Companies." (For more on this topic, see the January issue
of Door and Window Manufacturer (DWM) magazine, a sister
publication to USGlass, for a feature length article on this
subject. Collins serves as a columnist and feature writer for DWM.)
Collins also shared insights from the door and window industry
benchmark survey his firm conducted of which 23 companies participated.
Collins gave attendees a glimpse into these findings (more on this
can also be found in past issues of DWM).
Regarding China, Collins reported that it will surpass the United
States this year as the number one exporter of manufactured goods.
Additionally, Chinese companies are expected to export $1 billion
in doors and windows in 2006. Exports had risen 50 percent versus
the same period in 2005.
Collins told attendees that there are several big picture questions
to ask themselves. These include:
∑ How many of my customers would find a way to order 6-8 weeks
in advance if I offered them a 30-50 percent discount on my products?
∑ Even if Chinese companies don't enter my market segment, what
will happen when the companies in the segments they do enter have
to enter my segment to maintain growth and profitability?
∑ What will happen in a few years when the Chinese domestic market
slows down and companies there begin to focus on exporting goods
to keep their plants producing at full capacity?
He did point out that while China poses a threat, U.S. companies
do have many advantages over their overseas counterparts. These
include unparalleled research capabilities; the fact that Chinese
patent applications are 1percent of those filed in the United States
and Europe; and a shorter supply chain allows a whole range of competitive
He reminded manufacturers to focus on the strength of the brand,
and ensure that a motivated workforce is in place in order to compete
effectively. He also said to consider hiring an outside consultant
to help redesign the organization, spend as much time as possible
interacting with distributors and end customers and train employees
to cater to "tough customers."
"You can't get the same level of responsiveness from an overseas
company," Collins said.
He also says manufacturers must embrace lean manufacturing to be
more cost competitive, reduce complexity in product, have shorter
lead times and eliminate labor wherever possible.
The Vinyl Material Council also met Monday, and Keith Christman
of the Vinyl Institute reported on some new developments. This includes
the launching of a new website--Vinyl News Services. The site, www.vinylnewsservice.net,
will keep individuals up to date on vinyl issues in the United States,
according to Christman. He also announced that the Vinyl Promotion
Network will be held June 5-6 at the Ritz Carlton Cleveland Hotel.
"The VPN represents the common interest of the vinyl value chain
and exists to help promote and define our industry. It will help
us all to become stronger, more effective advocates for vinyl products
and our industry," says Christman.
Much is going on in the word of vinyl this year as The World Vinyl
Forum, held once every five years, will be held Sept 26-28 in Boston.
On the subject of PVC, Christman reported that California has approved
the use of c-pvc pipe. "In this review, the state of California
did a very good job of reviewing environmental issues," he said.
"They found that the issues are not significant. The 427- page report
went through all the issues raised by activists. It's something
we can use to show third party validity to our claims about pvc
The Joint Fenestration Sealants Guide Manual Task Group also met
Monday and reported that it's work on the guide is almost complete.
The final order of business is to finish the glossary--the last
piece of the document. The entire document is available on the AAMA
website. The group hopes to have the document complete by March.
Meetings continue today. Stay tuned to USGNN.comô for updates
as they become available.