Volume 35, Number 1, January 2000


What’s in a Name?

in the glass business, getting a name wrong
[on a product] may cost you big bucks

by Max Perilstein

In January of 1999, we found out my wife was expecting our first child. Our thoughts immediately turned to what we were going to name the baby. We knew the responsibility of naming our baby would be huge, and if we made the wrong choice our child possibly would be saddled with a moniker that he or she despised or would be teased about.

 Getting it Right

So what’s in a name? Well, names and the importance of knowing names is the point. Getting the name correct on your orders/samples is just as important as the names you give your children. If you name your child Sunlight Teapot Perilstein, you’ll have a very unhappy teen with extremely annoyed grandparents. But if you don’t get the name correct on your glass, you could have a very expensive mistake on your hands.

The basic difference is if someone gets your child’s name wrong you may be offended. In the glass business, getting a name wrong may cost you an offensive amount of cash.

The simple products like clear and bronze are no brainers. There’s no variety among them and little to no chance of making a mistake. Care, however, must enter the equation when dealing with all of the other products available on the market today. The grey family is more intense than it used to be, thanks to differing levels of light transmittance and product differences among manufacturers. If an architect calls you and wants a sample of dark grey, what do you send? Time will be wasted and problems will abound if specifics are not used. Usually what happens in this educational period is that the architect will ask you to send him a sample of all of the products that may fit the above bill.

 Series Names

Part two of the name game in the glass industry is series names. All manufacturers use them, but customers easily can abuse them. Specifics on these items are crucial. Some trade names are so ingrained in our minds we use them even when we are not using that actual product. Gelatin, from any company, is still called Jell-O. And, if I sneeze I don’t grab a tissue, I grab a Kleenex. What you call the aforementioned items will not hinder you, but calling a blue or another tinted reflective by the trade name you recognize the most may be hazardous to your business health. Not including soft coats, there is now a large variety of tint reflective products on the market. So not knowing the precise names could have you seeing red.

For example, one of our customers recently ordered blue reflective. No specifics were listed and no details of any samples were on the fax. At that point, the mandate came to a halt because without proper name and identification this lost puppy is going to the pound. We held everything until contact was made and confirmations were in place.

A few years ago when we didn’t have the variety of products we have now, it was easy to just write down a tint and reflective and the customer was given the only product stocked. Now attention to detail on both ends is necessary. Staying on top of the name game will help you and your customer avoid losses and frustrations. Taking the time to educate your employees and customers will help you avoid major pitfalls that come with non-specific ordering.

By the way, our bundle of joy arrived and we were ready. While I was tempted to name the child either Pink Rosa Perilstein or I.G. Perilstein my wife won out and we named our daughter Natalie Page. What a name!

Max Perilstein is vice president/general manager of PDC Glass of Michigan. His column appears bimonthly.


Copyright 2000 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.