September 13, 2017

GlassBuild 2017: Day 1 Recap

by Erin Johnson

As it always is, the first day of this year’s GlassBuild was a whirlwind. We took in plenty of new insights and developing trends, made connections with new contacts and caught up with some old ones. It’s always great to see the industry come together, especially at this critical time. In 2017, we’re facing some critical challenges that we must take on collectively in order to drive the industry forward.

Some thoughts from day one:

Workforce challenges aren’t getting easier. The ability to find and keep good workers, especially amidst a labor pool that’s changing demographically, is no easy task for today’s fenestration manufacturers. Opening session speaker Cam Marsten offered some tips on dealing with a multi-generational workforce—key among them were offering flexibility where possible, along with a focus on transparency and communication to keep younger workers engaged.

But of course, the labor challenge today is more than that. Marsten shared that the leading indicator of turnover across industries today is age—the younger the worker, the higher the potential they’ll leave.

But as we in the fenestration space know well, finding quality workers in the first place has become more difficult than ever. Which leads to another big trend we noticed today…

If you aren’t seeking new business efficiencies, you’re left behind. Dozens of exhibitors showcased equipment focused on one thing: driving new efficiencies on the plant floor, often with less labor.

Whether it was ancillary equipment or some of the full, high-speed automated IG lines brought to the show floor by some of the leading equipment manufacturers, there are plenty of ways manufacturers should be seeking out to drive new efficiencies in the manufacturing plant. In light of labor challenges, implementing new technologies on the plant floor is helping forward-thinking companies grow their business.

Capital investments come with a lot to think about—including what not making those investments might be costing you. Hard ROI figures were featured in several of the Express Learning sessions our team attended. And they can’t be ignored.

Weather keeps some away. Though pre-registrations for this year’s show indicated a significant boost in attendance for this year’s show, the lingering effects of Hurricane Irma were hard to ignore. Safe travel accommodations into Atlanta were hard to come by throughout Monday and into Tuesday morning.

With this in mind, GlassBuild organizers have extended show hours for both Wednesday and Thursday. There’s still plenty of show left to go, and we’re excited to be a part of it!
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Posted: September 13, 2017 by Erin Johnson Filed under: automation, Glassbuild, plant transformation