Volume 11, Issue 9 - November/December 2010


Making an Entrance
Doors Take Center Stage at AMD Convention
by Tara Taffera

“Rather than sitting back and crying we took the past few years to get ready and introduce new products.” These were the words of Keith Early of ODL, an AMD exhibitor that displayed its products during the association’s 46th annual convention held in Charlotte, N.C., in October.

They weren’t alone. Several other companies introduced products that will help distributors compete in this highly competitive and struggling market.

Doors and Decorative Designs
Masonite was one of the companies that introduced decorative door designs including those for French doors. The company showcased its Lumicor acrylic sheet with a choice of natural fabrics in between.

It also showed a new louver door that features wider slats than traditional-type doors, which director of sales and marketing Dale Mayfield said offers “a rich look.”

Of particular interest was the AvantGuard product that offers a fiberglass door with the look of wood. Rather than applying a stain over a textured fiberglass facing, an image layer is applied to a protective primer layer. This image is an authentic reproduction of the original wood including Spanish Cedar or Black Walnut.

Company officials say more new products are in the works for 2011 including some new clear textured glass products.

ODL also had an array of new products on display, many of which were introduced after the company spent a considerable amount of time tracking industry trends and homeowner preferences, according to Early.

“Customers are more savvy about trends so we are staying in front of that,” he said. In light of its trend tracking, ODL is adding a fifth category to its current four decorative patterns—Eclectic.

“That’s come out of us listening to customers and looking at other industries who are ahead of the design curve,” he said.

“Customers aren’t sticking to one style—they are melding different designs together.”

And while decorative glass often conjures up images of high-end homes, Early said the company has introduced some new patterns in the lower price points.

“You may not see others doing that but we know that’s where the market is,” said Early.

Simpson Door spent the past several years researching what it could do to make its wood doors last longer. The result was its Nantucket Collection which Simpson’s Brad Loveless said is “the longest lasting door a company could possibly make.”

He reported that the company did several types of testing on super-hardy woods such as Black Locust and Newca Cypress.

“We know that these doors are made of very sturdy construction. We subjected doors through severe conditions,” he said.

He added that traditionally wood doors have come with a one-year warranty but this product offers a ten-year warranty.

Distributors that want to buy all their doors from one source may want to look to TruTech Doors, which launched its All from One Strategy at AMD. Featured was the new Harbour Craft Premium Fiberglass door collection, available in multiple grains. The company also offers steel entry doors as well as a variety of decorative glass styles, including wrought iron glass, mini blinds and other door accessories.

Woodgrain Doors told customers that it has an impressive lead time—two weeks or less, according to the company’s John Jurcak. Woodgrain focused on its new fire door offerings at its booth this year—for both the residential and commercial market.

“With the tightening of the residential market we are expanding into commercial,” said Jurcak.

At Evermark, Frank Nolt said the company is trying to generate interest in different species such as American poplar. Evermark also featured Tango, its high-end door line, consisting primarily of Mahogany and custom Walnut.

Some door companies emphasized their relationships with other companies. Specifically, Therma-Tru has merged with Fypon so Therma-Tru’s Mike Rohler said the company is now introducing Fypon’s trim products to its distributors. He pointed out that the products are lightweight and easy to install in 30 minutes or less and won’t rot, flake or chip.

GlassCraft’s Matthew O’Shea said all the items in his company’s booth were “brand-new.” This included a hardwood front entry door, a new fiberglass door line and a full line of decorative glass for its door slabs.

“The fiberglass door offers the look of wood with fiberglass,” he said. “We offer very realistic woodgrains that are incredibly authentic,” and added that distributors at the show were very interested in the new products.

“People [distributors] used to not look as much at what their customers wanted but now they are really listening,” he said.

Multi-Point Locks and Door Components
Multi-point locks have been increasingly popular in recent years (see page 20) and several companies featured multi-point locks at AMD including Endura who introduced a multi-point astragal. According to the company, the product features patent-pending lock pawls activated by the deadbolt to engage keepers in the active door, providing three locking points and preventing deflection.

Another product featured at the show, a replaceable sill, received great feedback from attendees, according to Endura’s Mark Fortun. He said that with replaceable sills, customers can replace unsightly dented and scratched sills at minimal cost. Features include dunnage covers that offer complete protection during construction and a sill deck that is replaceable if future damage occurs.

Generation 4 Sales teamed up with the United Kingdom’s Paddock Fabrication to bring the Lockmaster multi-point door locking system, that can be used with both single and double door applications, to the United States. It is offered in both 6-foot, 8-inch, and 8-foot versions and can work with custom sizes as well. The product also offers high-security hooks and a quick change reversible latch.

Imperial Products introduced its mpls3, 3-point locking system. The product features a 1-inch deadbolt throw, lock tongues, which work in opposing directions for maximum security and weatherstrip compression, is made of stainless steel and is available in a 45-mm backset among other features. Imperial’s Dave Bryant said that until the introduction of this product, multi-point locks traditionally have been difficult to install not only in the astragal but also in the door.

“People have seen it and said, ‘Wow, that’s easy,’” said Bryant.

In addition to showing off its new lock, the company also demonstrated door testing on site to “demystify the testing process for pre-hangers,” according to Bryant.

There was much for distributors to choose from when it came to mouldings including TruChoice Ivory by Arauco. The ivory-primed finish is smooth and ready to paint and the company said it offers excellent resistance to cracks. The company said its premium trim products inspire creativity throughout the home.

EastCoast Mouldings already offered its customers 650 SKUs of mouldings according to Neal Grubbs, but it just added 280 more SKUs.

"People [distributors] used to not look as much at what
their customers wanted but now they are really listening."
—Matthew O’Shea, GlassCraft

The company also is adapting to meet the needs of distributors and allow customers to buy smaller quantities—and often. “EastCoast has always been strong in customer service,” said Grubbs.

The company now offers boards as well. “We’ve taken our moulding quality to boards,” said Grubbs. “We’re looking at the boards through moulding eyes rather than lumber eyes.”

TLC Mouldings also featured its Harmony mouldings, which are manufactured in the United States. Its high-quality pre-primed fiberboard mouldings are offered in more than 150 profiles in base, casing, chair rail and crown.

Software Services
Several software suppliers showed off their products to distributors, including Computer Associates, which featured its Ponderosa system. The Ponderosa system includes CRM (customer resource management).

“We’re addressing the industry’s needs,” said Jim McCooey. “Were giving them the tools to make good sales.”

Activant Solutions featured Catalyst, its newest product for the LBM industry. The company said the fully integrated solution streamlines core business functions, including quotes, orders, document management, purchasing and back office accounting. The Advanced Special Orders solution provides comprehensive tracking and analysis capabilities; The Catalyst Millwork Solution uses wizards to manage bill of materials, production schedules and status reporting; and the Catalyst Construction Services Suite makes it easy to start and optimize installed sales operations and includes modules for contract billing, installed sales and job costing.

Other companies displayed its warehouse management systems including Majure Data. DMSi offered some new options to its software and company representatives reported that while many companies are making purchasing decisions, many of these are waiting for the market to pick back up before they make the final purchase.


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