Loyalty to a Fault? Contract Glaziers No Longer Use One Manufacturer For Their Glazing Needs
August 5, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji

Word on the street is that glazing contractors are not dedicated to one manufacturer for all their products anymore. Various reasons play into this decision of the CG, including price, availability of products and shop drawings, delivery, architect specifications, preference and spreading the business around for relationship sake

"We like to have diversity with respect to the type of products we are able to supply our customers," says Jonathan Schuyler, preconstruction executive and partner with Giroux Glass Inc. in Las Vegas. "Considering what is integrated within façade's and how this is an ever-evolving sort of scenario, we do not feel it beneficial to be tied into one train of thought. This would ultimately be our main reasoning for not dedicating our business to sole suppliers.

"We do have relationships we tend to lean towards based upon past experiences, but to limit our abilities in such a way would only handicap us in today's world," Schuyler adds.

Mic Patterson, director of strategic development for Advanced Technology Studio of Enclos Corp. in Los Angeles, agrees. "There is really no reason for a contract glaziers to limit themselves to a single product supplier. The manufacturers (product suppliers) do not require exclusivity, and the contract glazier benefits from being able to pursue a project regardless of product type. The ability to work with any manufacturer or product supplier benefits them with greater flexibility in the marketplace."

Says Brian Clark, president of Trainor Glass Co. in Chicago: "Trainor Glass Co. has strived to build strong partnerships with our various vendors. Our choice of materials and suppliers are based on the best fit for the project in terms of what is specified, availability, and most importantly, value to our clients. We have learned that the lowest price doesn't necessarily offer the best value."

For Tom Wright, vice president, Sound Glass, Tacoma, Wash., utilizing more than one manufacturer wasnt by choice: "Here, on our contract glazing side, we had been loyal to one vendor, U.S. Aluminum. So much so, that we started a fabrication company solely for the purpose of selling, fabricating and distributing their products. The only time we would buy from a different company was if we needed to match existing product or if it was something that U.S. Alum. didn't offer. Well, that all changed in April when they went bankrupt. Now much like most other GC's have been buying from five or six different vendors.

Loyalty has been an important part of our success, Wright says. It helps to make our business model of outstanding customer service easier. We will continue our partnership with these selected companies. If they provide value for us, we will be loyal to them. After all it is a two-way street.

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