Software Purchasing Comes Back into Play
While the economy suffered the past few years, no segments
of the door and window industry was hit harder than software and machinery—not
a huge surprise due to the high investment necessary. Reports from machinery
suppliers that sales are on the rise (see article, page
18), are being echoed by software suppliers. Further bolstering the
case for growth is a study from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
(ELFA) which says that U.S. businesses will spend in excess of $1.5 trillion
in capital goods or fixed business investment (including software) this
Ron Crowl, president FeneTech, says “if you were selling software to just
window manufacturers in the past few years it would have been very difficult.”
Thankfully, FeneTech serves not only the door and window market but also
the glass fabrication market which remained steady. Thankfully, the door
and window software segment is now picking up.
“In recent years the glass fabrication market segment has been very strong
in terms of continued investment in software that will make their business
more efficient while the window, door and sunroom market segments have
been very quiet,” he adds. “The activity we have seen in the window segment
has been primarily around sales and quoting tools. However, the last 6
months have shown a renewed interest in efficiency gains on the manufacturing
floor. We are currently very busy supplying upgrades to our existing customers
and are actively meeting with new prospects who have an interest in our
FeneVision software to run their entire business.”
Nick Carter, president at WoodWare Systems, agrees that inquiries are
“Most were sitting on cash and capital not wanting to buy, and being very
cautious,” he says. “But over the last year we are wearing our implementation
team out. We have a backlog of customers waiting who want to upgrade to
Carter adds that companies were waiting to see what would happen with
economy. “There was a pent up demand.”
Jim McCooey, president of Computer Associates/Ponderosa ERP Software,
also says things are on the upswing.
“In my conversations with CEOs, most are saying very positive things about
the state of their businesses,” he says. “In fact, we’ve had a number
of clients who recently purchased additional user licenses, a clear indication
that business is good and they are hiring.”
And like machinery, those who put things on hold during the economic crisis
of the past two years are now interested in moving forward.
“Some clients signed deals several years ago, then subsequently them put
on hold. These clients have recently contacted us about finishing their
installation and getting training,” adds McCooey.
Additional good news is the fact that these purchases sometime mean hiring
“With the business from 2013, and the anticipated new clients coming on
board this year, we’re actively seeking to fill several management consulting
positions within our LBM software practice,” says McCooey.
Carter reports that he just finished visiting a California customer who
is adding personnel which he attributes to the help of technology.
The reverse, however, may also be true for those window companies that
may not be able to hire additional employees just yet—software can be
a time saver, according to Richard Schilke, president, SureFire Systems
“We’re seeing the most growth in our new product for window and door manufacturers
and their customers who are now experiencing growth and want to hold off
hiring for that growth as long as possible,” he says.
He says his company is also taking advantage of a change in the software
industry—a move toward web-based systems running in the cloud.
“What we’re seeing is that this is a change the industry is getting more
comfortable with,” he adds. “I think the entire value equation is going
to change, with manufacturers looking for less complexity instead of more.”
CGI Expands into Vinyl Impact Market
It’s no doubt the vinyl window market continues to grow. Further evidence
of this fact comes from the recent news that Miami-based CGI Windows and
Doors has added vinyl impact windows into its line of aluminum impact
products with its new Targa line. Steve Dawson, executive vice president
sales for CGI, says the company added vinyl to fill out its product line
and quite simply because “there is a demand for it.”
“Our market is primarily Florida and the Caribbean,” explains Dawson.
“But there a lot of homeowners from the Northern states coming down here
and they are used to vinyl so there is demand for it. We see the market
CGI has been planning for this new line for two years and it seems the
market is ready.
“The window dealers in Florida are well aware of vinyl,” says Dawson.
“Everyone thought it was the right move. What is unique about this product
is it very attractive which is unique in the impact world. People are
surprised that is a good looking window.”
The product line is available for use in both residential and light commercial
“In Florida you are seeing vinyl being used in condos, etc.,” says Dawson.
“It hasn’t taken over aluminum yet but the demand is coming.”
He adds that where the product is used in Florida will vary based on the
state’s different regions. For example, Dawson says in the Southeast part
of the state such as Miami-Dade, etc. there will be slower growth.
He adds that the product was designed specifically for the Florida market.
“A lot of products are for retrofit applications but this was exclusively
designed for the needs of this market.”
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