Glass Industry Reacts to Rising Gas Prices

by Megan Headley

The newspapers have reported that many motorists are ignoring high gas prices to set out on travel this week in record numbers. While high gas prices can't be ignored by the glass industry when it comes to transporting products, many companies have tried to keep impact on their customers to a minimum.

Dana Zaring, secretary for Fort Mill Industries Corp. (FMI) in Rock Hill, S.C., says that fuel costs have "changed drastically" in recent months, but it hasn't affected the areas to which the company delivers its products. FMI offers delivery on its trucks within limited areas of North and South Carolina and Georgia.

"It's not changed anything as far as where we go," Zaring says.

Then how does this rise in fuel prices impact the customer? The when, rather than the where, is the area these professionals say has seen an effect.

"They [customers] want their material tomorrow and I can't get it to them because I'm not sending a truck a couple of hours away for one order," says Marie Staub, sales manager for Colonial Mirror and Glass, a fabricator located in Brooklyn, N.Y. "They have to wait."

These companies are aiming to tighten delivery schedules so gas is not wasted on repeated trips.

"We just have to make sure we're operating as efficiently as we can," Zaring says. "If a customer has two deliveries in one week, we ask them if we can deliver to them once."

Colonial Mirror and Glass has done the same.

"We routed our trucks so we go to a territory with a full load rather than going to a territory light," Staub says. "We optimize every inch on the truck. Instead of going to a location three hours away every day, we've rotated our schedules so we only get to that territory twice a week."

"We try to make our routes make as much sense as possible," says Jennifer Lang, president of Minneapolis Glass Co. in Plymouth, Minn. "If we were going someplace twice a week we may be trying to consolidate to once a week."

Staub advises that glaziers take this growing expense into account.

"Anticipate your needs before it becomes an emergency so your suppliers can at least book the orders to make one grand delivery to you instead of five small ones," she says. For more on how rising gas prices are impacting the glass industry, look for the August issue of USGlass magazine.

Megan Headley is an assistant editor for™/USGlass magazine.