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November - December 2003

TARA from the Publisher

I Have Questions --
I Hope You Have Answers

by Tara Taffera


A conversation I had recently with my brother Joe, who works for one of the large cola companies, prompted me to make some correlations between the beverage and window and door industries. Maybe they’re two completely different breeds for which no comparisons can be made, but I’m not so sure. You be the judge. 

Joe just found out he is getting transferred to another state due to a company restructuring plan. Though he doesn’t want to move, it’s either that or look for another job. Of course, he doesn’t want to conduct a job search because he feels there is better job security with “the big guys.” As an area manager for three states selling the company’s non-carbonated beverages, he could go to work for an independent beverage company, but he doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. One of the beverages he represents used to be an independent organization, but was bought out by the large cola producer. 

A unique case, no? My other brother Lou lost his job when the nationally known juice company he worked for was bought out by another beverage giant. 

Just like the beverage industry, the window industry has some “giants” as well and other companies attempting to become giants. There are always expansions going on in our industry as companies often merge with others or simply build new facilities. For example, in our news section on page 30 you’ll find the expansions section, including the latest organizations attempting to get bigger and better. Also, on page 40 you’ll find a feature article on Milgard Windows, a West Coast window and door manufacturing giant that is in the midst of a major expansion plan.

All this is great news for the window and door manufacturing industry. It means that at least in our business the economy is strong enough to warrant expansion plans. After all the housing market is one of the brighter spots in a less than sunny economic outlook, right? 

While the above assumptions may be correct, is there anyone in our industry who is not profiting from a bright industry outlook? What about the regional manufacturers who are perfectly content and financially sound to stay regional? Will they be hurt because they don’t have big growth plans? Will the large companies slowly start taking their piece of the pie? Will these companies be bought out by the larger ones in the near future? 

Do the smaller window and door manufacturers believe there will always be a need for the smaller companies? Do you worry that one day you’ll have to sell out to a larger manufacturer in order to survive? Will what’s happening in the beverage industry come to pass in the window and door market, or is it a different situation for which no comparisons can be made? 

I realize that is an awful lot of questions I just threw at you, but I’m curious to hear your answers since you know best what is going on in your industry. I look forward to hearing from you. 


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