Suppliers, fabricators and manufacturers will convene at the largest annual gathering place for the entire glass, window and door industries in North America, now in its 16th year, where they can track trends, meet customers and learn more about the industry.
“GlassBuild America is not only an annual event appreciated by visitors interested in topics related to the construction industry,” says Martin Boulanger, director of marketing for Energi Fenestration Solutions. “Every visitor and exhibitor is able to obtain business profits. Each exhibitor demonstrates the commercial impact and profitability of this event.”
Syndi Sim, vice president of marketing and business development, Diamon-Fusion International, calls GlassBuild America “the epitome of the epitome.” The event will take place Sept. 12-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
What to expectThis year’s GlassBuild America will host an estimated 450 exhibitors from a broad spectrum of companies, many focused on glass and glazing but also including manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and equipment companies that support the manufacture of residential windows and doors. Show organizers report that the increased interest for exhibit space for the 2018 show required the addition of an extra hall.
“With the industry thriving, we knew we’d have increased demand again,” says Molly Grenn, events director, National Glass Association, the event organizer. “We maintained the larger space, even adding a few more thousand net square feet and, as of early April, we are nearly 90 percent sold out; even more so for the machinery space.”
New for 2018 is the Opening Reception, featuring food, drinks and some fun activities. Held the evening of Sept. 12th on the trade show floor, entry is included with registration. “Participants indicated they want more networking opportunities, so this will close out the first day with time for people to be social and make more connections,” Grenn explains.
Another big theme underlying this year’s event is the National Glass Association’s recent merger with the Glass Association of North America. Nicole Harris, NGA’s president and CEO, says that the positive impacts of the merger will be seen on the trade show floor, in the education content and in the Association resources on display.
“NGA now represents the entire architectural glass and metal industry supply chain,” she says. While that supply chain is always evident at GlassBuild America in the displays and attendance, Harris anticipates that more of those supply chain participants will now be attending. “This combination further solidifies GlassBuild America’s position as the industry’s annual gathering place.”
Keeping up with trends
A key aspect of adapting in the ever-evolving industry is keeping up to date with the trends, challenges and opportunities that are constantly affecting it. “For VEKA, we are going to have an emphasis on integrated window and door technology,” says Steve Dillon, marketing director for Veka Inc. He adds that color continues to be a trend attendees can expect to see on the show floor.
Another innovative trend that is getting a lot of attention is automation. “Because labor is the biggest issue our customers are facing right now, they all come [to GlassBuild America] to see what’s new in high-speed automation lines,” says Erin Johnson, director of marketing, Quanex Building Products.
To this, Ron Crowl, president and CEO, Fenetech, adds that the ongoing challenge of finding reliable labor will continue to drive investments in software and automation.
“Along with advances in IoT and Industry 4.0,” he says, “[the labor challenge] will be prominent at this year’s show.” GlassBuild America is an important resource to keep up with what’s new in automation. An estimated 24 percent of this year’s exhibitors will be showcasing machinery and equipment and/or software solutions for the changing industry.
“With the expansion of business within the industry, it is more important than ever to meet with customers and suppliers,” John Moore, vice president of marketing, GED Integrated Solutions, says. “Automation, robotics and software solutions play a big part in alleviating labor concerns that many of our customers have mentioned. We have solutions in all three areas that we will be highlighting at the show. This is a great opportunity for our customers to see the products in operation.”
The industry is not only evolving internally but is also subject to external codes and regulations. It is important for companies, no matter how seasoned, to keep learning about the industry. GlassBuild America hosts several educational sessions through Express Learning sessions and action demonstrations on the floor (both included with registration).
This year’s GlassBuild America will include a new set of educational topics to keep participants as up-to-date as possible on the information that is most relevant to them and their businesses. But it’s not just attendees that will be learning more to grow their business. “While we invest a lot of time and resources on education, oftentimes we’re the ones who learn from our customers,” says Andrew Haring, VP of marketing for C.R. Laurence Co. Inc.
“It comes down to actively listening to our customers’ needs and ultimately helping them solve their problems. Attendees are there to improve and grow their businesses—a goal that we wholeheartedly embrace and advocate for,” Haring continues. “Our purpose is to present ways where we can add value to these efforts. Whether they’re looking to increase capacity, enhance efficiencies, incorporate new products into their existing offering or tap into new business segments, CRL is ready to partner with these companies to help them succeed.”
Even with all the resources available to participants, many say that the most invaluable part of the event is the chance to meet and speak with customers face-to-face. “GlassBuild America is important to the industry because this is the one venue in the U.S. where all parties come together—from customers, to suppliers to other industry experts,” says GED’s Moore. “Attendees have the opportunity to quickly see multiple solutions to their challenges. It provides us all a chance to connect, face-to-face, at a time when email has become an important part of our personal communications.”
Those opportunities for interactions abound. Matt Taylor, director of product development for HOPPE North America Inc., says he always looks forward to an opportunity to connect with friends and partners in the industry. “GlassBuild America is an excellent venue to shake hands and have face-to-face conversations that seem harder and harder to come by these days,” he says. “We are also looking forward to the industry’s feedback on the current business environment particularly some recent supplier consolidations. Finally, we want to know what challenges our customers are currently facing and, at the same time, how they have experienced success this year.”
With educational forums, networking opportunities and a trade show floor full of the latest, most innovative equipment, products, technologies and services for the glass industry, the event provides participants with knowledge and information to help build a better business. “GlassBuild America gives us the chance to share our best practices with the industry and to learn from others. With so many industry leaders in one place, we always come away with new ideas,” says Mary Avery, vice president of marketing, Tubelite Inc.
Source: Window & Door