Volume 13, Issue 3 - May/June 2009

Dear Reader
Going Against the Flow

Newton’s third law of motion suggests that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For this issue, I assigned myself the responsibility of finding those equal and opposite reactions amid this economic recession. And I couldn’t be more pleased to report that I was successful.

At a time when companies are reviewing bottom lines and cutting back in every way possible, I found three doing just the opposite. In 2008, some manufacturing companies were searching for a way to cut as little as $15 in expenses. I can’t say that Commonwealth Laminating and Coating, the Martinsville, Va.-based manufacturer of SunTek window films, reacted equally, but it did do the opposite—to the tune of $15 million. On page 30, you can find out where part of that money went. And what partly motivated the expenditure might surprise you.

The concept of “value added” has become increasingly difficult for some distributors in the current economic climate. For some, the act of moving product from one part of the supply chain to another is difficult enough under tightened budgets. But Energy Products Distribution, a Baltimore-based distributor, recently made sizeable investments to ensure that its doing more than just moving product. The company recently expanded its operations from one to two facilities and spared nothing in the design of its new main office, nor in converting its old facility into a state-of-the-art training facility. But EPD’s investments all center on one thing—its value added proposition. Jim Hondroulis, EPD’s owner and president, says it’s his company’s responsibility to employ every possible technology in educating and equipping its dealers for success. On page 20, find out what Hondroulis says should arrive with every box of film.

Last but not least, St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M recently invested in a restructuring aimed to help the company respond to the fast-changing environment of renewable energy. Ranjit Thakur, head of its Energy Management division (including window films), says his company is gearing up to combine technologies and create new products aimed at taking advantage of every opportunity in an energy-conscious era. Thakur took the time out for an interview recently and on Page 24 you can read what he has to say about 3M’s new structure and goals.

Equal but opposite reactions don’t always make sense, especially to someone like myself (an English major). But, in times like these, one thing is for sure—they give us positive news and something to be hopeful about.

Drew Vass

Drew Vass is the editor of Window Film magazine.

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