Window Industry Trends: Business Is Strong but Supply Chain Headaches Remain

The annual Industry Pulse Report from Window and Door starts by listing the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

Challenges: staffing, supply chain, material availability, allocation, labor, shipping container shortage, cash flow, lead times

Opportunities: increased sales, gaining market share, cash flow, strong housing market, production line optimization, new product launches, increased production, luxury market, logistics management

Long story short, business is booming thanks in large part to a red-hot housing market. However, the supply chain and labor are affecting every company at some level.

To overcome the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities, window companies need to firm up their supply chains and close any gaps that could negatively impact sales. Let us dig a little deeper.

The top four areas of investment for 2022 are:

  1. Modernize/increase operations efficiency: 63 percent
  2. Employee recruiting and retention: 55 percent
  3. Training and education: 45 percent
  4. Expand production capacity: 37 percent

While numbers 2 and 3 are focused on building staff and expertise, numbers 1 and 4 will require dependable supply chain partners that can meet deadlines and deliver top quality products at a fair price. Minalex is capable of producing aluminum extrusions for window components and parts according to tight tolerances while adding value with a number of finishing options and custom accessories.

Half of respondents said material costs increased 15-30 percent in 2021, while one-third reported increases of 30-60 percent! 82 percent have a longer backlog than last year.

Clearly, window manufacturers need options in terms of both materials and suppliers. Sourcing internationally has become risky, causing many window brands to seek shorter supply chains. Minalex is happy to be second or third option to call upon when needed, offering lightweight yet durable aluminum extrusions that can produced quickly and cost-effectively.

While market demand is fueling product development and innovation, supply chain and labor issues are making it more difficult to develop innovative products. The Window and Door report pointed out that “materials may even determine how, and which products can be developed.”

The top five in-demand products for 2021 are:

  1. Vinyl windows: 70 percent
  2. Traditional patio doors: 40 percent
  3. Multi-panel doors: 33 percent
  4. Energy Star-rated products: 32 percent
  5. Aluminum windows: 26 percent

Of course, aluminum is our wheelhouse. Because the supply chain is delicate, brands looking to innovate in this area would be well-served to partner with a dependable, domestic company that has a record spanning more than 50 years. While technology and automation are high priorities, they can take months to fully implement. Minalex can deliver almost immediate value as your supply chain partner.

Minalex Can Help

The good news about the latest industry trends is that the challenges can be overcome, and the opportunities fully realized, with the right strategic partners. Please contact Minalex to discuss how we can help you capitalize on these trends.

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We extrude and supply aluminum profiles up to 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) in diameter. Our aluminum extrusions can have tolerances as tight as +/- 0.001" on one or more dimensions of an extrusion, depending on the shape.

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Minalex alloys are sourced in North America and feature a number of series, including alloy 1100, 3003, 6063, 6463 and 6061.

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Our capabilities include Lbs/Ft <= 1.500, kg/m <= 2.2322; Sections >= 0.003 in, >= 0.076 mm; and circle size, <= 3.500 in. <= 8.890 cm.

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