WDMA Outlines New Strategies for Future
Kohala Coast, HI—Under new leadership for the past six months, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association unveiled an updated strategic plan at its 80th annual meeting, held here this week. Joel Hoiland, who became the WDMA president last year, joined with key members of the strategic planning committee to outline the organization’s new direction.
WDMA now represents about 60 window and door manufacturers and 80 suppliers, Hoiland noted, adding that among these companies are most of the industry’s leaders. “We want to represent the entire window and door industry, but we want to focus on our core competencies,” he said, pointing to manufacturers of residential exterior products and architectural interior doors.
Looking back to the last time WDMA put forth a strategic plan in 2001, it has been very successful achieving one of its key goals—strengthening its position in the technical arena, where it now is very active as far as developing industry standards and representing the industry on the code front.
“Where we’ve been quiet,” Hoiland continued, “has been on the marketing side.” Noting the fact that WDMA was involved in talks with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association for several years, he continued, “much was on hold.” Jim Hackett of Jeld-Wen Inc., current chair of WDMA, echoed those sentiments. “For some time, we were encumbered. We’re unencumbered now.”
Looking forward, said Dave Beeken, president of Eagle Windows and incoming WDMA chairman, efforts will focus on positioning WDMA to be a market-driven organization to lead in the advancement of the window, door and skylight industry by promoting the benefits and value of superior performing products. One of the key messages, he added, is that “window and doors matter.” As an association, it’s important to recognize that window and door manufacturers are not just competing against each other, but against other products, and that’s where WDMA’s efforts are key, he explained.
Hoiland emphasized that WDMA plans to be a “market-driven” organization, not a "marketing" organization. The emphasis will be on determining what the market and industry needs, he said. “What is it that your customers want from the industry?”
WDMA also plans to be nimble and ready to act on behalf of the industry. As an example of this, Hoiland pointed to recent efforts in the Minnesota legislature to pass a law requiring safety screens to prevent child falls from windows. WDMA has mobilized quickly with its members to educate the legislators involved, pointing out that such safety screens are not readily available on the market and that the introduction of such screens would present its own set of issues related to egress.
“Advocacy will be the lightning rod that will help us attract more members,” Beeken said. “It’s admirable to have a lot of members, but we feel it’s a lot more important to have the right members,” Hoiland noted. WDMA now represents many of the industry leaders, large companies with many of their own resources. “They may see value in membership from an advocacy basis, from the technical side, but a lot of smaller companies don’t have the same resources,” he added. One question WDMA still looks to answer, he said, is “What can we bring to them?”
WDMA will continue to look at a number of issues to better serve the industry. Hackett noted that traditionally, the group has been divided up into a window division and a door division. It is now looking at dividing itself instead into an exterior division and an interior division. “We need to determine—does that make more sense?”
Meeting structure is another issue still being examined, noted Beeken, who emphasized that just about everyone agrees there is a need to add more content. “The goal is to have a meeting that everyone wants to be at. We’re going to get that done.”
Rick Kon of Masonite, incoming chair of the door division also noted that a lot of WDMA’s new plans will require money, and that means doing a better job both retaining and attracting new members. An important element in this effort will be to attract and involve more suppliers in the association, he said.
The 200 plus attendees also heard from Harvey M. Bernstein, a vice president with McGraw-Hill Construction, about construction industry trends, among them the green building momentum. He sees “2007 as the tipping point” for green building in the residential market with the majority of builders reporting their involvement. JGS