Volume 8, Issue 2 - February 2007

WDMA Opens Up

Raising the Voice of Suppliers
Component Members are Strategic Partners
by Joel Hoiland

Supplier members are integral, strategic partners of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). These members play an ever-critical role in WDMA and our programs. Recently we’ve made changes to the role that our supplier partners play in WDMA. These changes include wider responsibilities in technical committees as well as expanded leadership opportunities in the governance of WDMA. 

WDMA recognizes that it takes more than a quality material to make a quality door, window or skylight. Each of our members—manufacturers, distributors and suppliers—are critical to our industry success. As such, WDMA continues to develop and evolve its membership categories and programs to emphasize the evolution that is evident in fenestration manufacturing. Materials alone don’t matter—it’s the end-performance and satisfaction of standards that takes precedence and we consider everyone in our membership ranks an important industry stakeholder. 

You see where we are headed—to an organization that more fully represents, through trusted partnerships and alliances—the real world of manufacturing top-performing doors, windows and skylights. Supplier members include (but are not limited to) those who provide materials, components, treatments and coatings, fabrication equipment, machinery, software, testing and even publications. The expertise from all of these groups is needed to ensure high quality standards and top performing products. (There are three basic types of WDMA membership: regular, supplier and professional. For more information on specific categories, as well as a listing of current members, visit www.wdma.com.) 

Direct representation is critical for supplier members as we move forward. For example, the board appoints four supplier members to the technical process committee, who serve staggered three-year terms. In addition, supplier members are eligible to serve on any WDMA technical committee or task group, up to one-third of the total-voting members and may participate as corresponding members without limit. 

Supplier members have long been active participants within WDMA operations. For many years suppliers have helped lead the association in key areas, including standards development, code representation, product certification, market research, membership recruitment and promotion and education. These individuals have participated in all technical committee deliberations and vote on technical matters. In the past, WDMA reserved voting on issues related to Total Unit Standards to door/window/skylight manufacturer members. That has changed.

In August 2005, the board revised the WDMA Technical Handbook to expand the participation of supplier members and to allow their participation at all technical levels of the association. WDMA removed the barrier to voting on Total Unit Standards, and clarified that all committee members, regardless of member class, have equal voting privileges, including on standards approval matters. 

In addition, WDMA instituted a technical appeal process for its committee members who believe they may have been adversely affected by a committee ballot or standards action. This process effectively halts the appealed document or policy until the appeal can be resolved. The appeal process protects supplier and door, window and skylight manufacturer members from bias voting.

We recognize fully that it takes a wide variety of materials—wood, composites, vinyl, glass, hardware and much more—to make a fenestration product that will work well in today’s sometimes harsh environments, or meet ever-stringent building codes. By design, WDMA has continued to grow and evolve to more fully represent the reality of door, window and skylight manufacturing. Making our supplier members our trusted strategic partners ensures that our standards advocacy and programs recognize quality and innovative design. 

Joel Hoiland is the president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill. He may be reached at jhoiland@wdma.com.


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