Skip to main content

Sharpen Your Competitive Edge Through Partnership

Considerations for vetting your current and potential vendors

GlassBuild 2022 is right around the corner. As with any year, it marks a great opportunity for fenestration professionals to network, collaborate and identify new ways to sharpen their competitive edge for the year ahead. Whether you’re headed to the show to scout new manufacturing equipment, compare window and door components or learn about some of the latest trends impacting our industry, there’s a little something for everyone.

But if the past two years have taught us anything—two years filled with surging demand, supply and labor crises and, of course, the pandemic—it’s that success in our industry is about more than a transaction. It’s about more than a simple product or component. It’s about continual collaboration with your vendors to find optimal ways to grow your business.

So, if you’re headed to GlassBuild to sharpen your competitive edge, here are some things to consider when vetting your current and potential vendors:


Consider this: Energy Star 7.0 is coming next year. Stringent new criteria are going into effect that have the potential to dramatically reshape how you make some of your top-tier product lines. Hitting the numbers, should you choose to do so, will require some significant design and engineering effort on your part.

It'll also require some new technology. High-performance warm-edge spacers will be required, low-e coatings a necessity, and if you want to avoid the route of making triple-paned insulating glass (IG) units, you’re going to need a framing system that can deliver outstanding thermal efficiency. You may even find that triple-paned IG is the way to go, but you’ll still need a high-quality framing system to manage the excess weight and dimensions of triples. And even if we set Energy Star aside for a moment, it’s worth remembering that customers simply expect their new windows to be energy-efficient in today’s marketplace, whether it has that label on it or not.

The point is this: You need to figure out the ways to achieve optimal levels of performance that best suit your business. A supplier who has knowledge of multiple high-performing technologies may be able to provide some insight and consultation on how you’ll get there. This can be invaluable as you focus on running every other aspect of your business, especially if you’re short on in-house engineering experience.


When vetting new technology options for high-performance window systems, a question worth asking is whether that option has demonstrated proven performance in field applications. New entrants into the fenestration space might sound appealing, and they might tout some impressive performance figures. But can you be sure such an option will deliver the kind of longevity your customers expect and demand?

Another question worth asking: How have your vendors handled the supply chain crisis? Have they been able to keep their customers whole throughout these tough past two years? I hope this question is on its way to becoming less pressing, but for now, it’s still relevant. It’s important that your suppliers are able to maintain an adequate level of supply stability to keep up with your needs.  

These are some of the considerations you can make when vetting vendors as you pursue new ways to differentiate your product line. They can make all the difference between finding just another supplier and a true partner.


Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson is the national account manager for Quanex. Email him at