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Training for Success
By: Chris Fenwick


Dor-O-Matic 1690 Rod Adjustment Procedures

1:26PM on Tue 03 Jan 2012
In follow-up to part one of this month’s blog, “Unlocking the Secrets of Exit Devices,” I will go through the steps to remove, measure and, if necessary, adjust the rods of the Dor-O-Matic (or Falcon brand) 1690 exit device. The steps to follow are based on Kawneer’s “1690 Touchbar Concealed Exit Device Installation Instructions” (Document number 038-283) as posted on the KawneerDirect.com website. I recommend you download a copy of this document before attempting to adjust the device.
In part one, we discussed the symptoms common to devices that are either installed improperly or are out of adjustment. In part two, we will move past the symptoms and focus on adjustment.
Tools required to adjust the exit device are:
- A tape measure in increments of 1/32”
- A Phillips-head screwdriver
- A large flat-head screwdriver
- A pair of long-nosed pliers
Important note: We recommend removing the door from its frame and laying it flat on a table or across a pair of saw horses, with the interior side of the door facing up, prior to attempting any adjustments.
We will keep the primary focus on the top rod. Since locating most exit devices is determined by measuring from the bottom of the door to the center-line of the device, the dimensions for the bottom rod are typically consistent regardless of the overall door opening height. Therefore, it is more likely the source of any malfunctions is due to the length of the top rod. That said, we will also go through the process for adjusting the bottom rod as well.
<- Click here to see exploded view of exit device and part names1690Exit-Device-Explod-view
Disassembly and adjustment
Step #1:
With the door laid flat, and the exit device itself facing up, use a Phillips-Head screwdriver to remove the screws on the top and bottom of the housing cover.  Next, gently remove the cover (it may be necessary to lift the touch-pad to allow the cover to disengage).  If you now turn the cover upside-down, you can use it to hold the small parts as you remove them from the device until it is time to reinstall them.
1690-step1
 
 
<- Click on image to enlarge

 

Step #2:
1690-step2Next, remove the screws at the top of the lock stile to detach the latch mechanism and place them in the cover.   The assembled device operating mechanism will now be exposed and the top latch assembly will be loose.

Click image to enlarge ->

Step #3:
Remove the two brass-colored retainer screws, lift off the pinion gear retainer and the lift arm mechanism (it may be necessary to pull up slightly on the device touch pad to allow the lift arm to disengage).  The traveler that links the top and bottom rods and houses the retractor which operates the cylinder is now exposed and can be lifted out as well.  It is not necessary to remove the pinion gear itself. 
 
Step #4:

1690-step4Click image to enlarge ->


At this point, the top rod is only held in place by the white bushing and e-ring. Carefully insert a large flat-head screwdriver under the bend in the top rod to prop it up and away from the face of the door and expose the bushing and e-ring.  Gently pry the e-ring off the end of the rod and remove the bushing. You will now be able to slide the top rod assembly out of the top of the lock stile.

For the bottom rod: remove the screws from the face of the lock stile at the bottom, prop the rod up with a flat-head screwdriver and pry off the e-ring and bushing.  The bottom rod assembly can now also be removed.

       

Step #5:
1690-step5Lay the top rod assembly on its side.  Use the tape measure to determine the distance from the bottom of the rod (where it bends up into the lock stile), to the collar of the latch assembly (where the threads of the rod insert into the top bolt).  For a 7'0" door opening, this dimension should be 34 5/16".  If the door opening height varies from 7'0", add or subtract the appropriate dimension to or from 34 5/16".  If the measurement is incorrect, the rod length can be increased or decreased by screwing it further in to or out of the latch assembly.  For each full rotation, the length of the rod will increase or decrease by 1/32".  Once the necessary adjustments have been made, tighten the lock nut against the housing and it will be ready to reinstall.
The bottom rod should be measured in the same way; however, the rod length, regardless of overall door opening height, should always be 34 1/32”.
 
 
Re-assembly
Step #6:
Slide the rod assemblies back into the lock stile. Make sure the housing screws and the bend in the rods both face up. Hold the housing against the lock stile and reattach the housing screws.
Step #7:
Align the bent end of the rods with the cutouts in the lock stile and use long-nosed pliers to lift the ends until the flat-head screwdriver can be used to prop them up so they are exposed.  Slide the bushings back over the ends of the rods with the narrow ends facing toward the door cutout and reattach the e-rings.  (Note: If the e-rings do not achieve proper tension against the groove in the rods, they will require replacement.)  Once the e-rings are reattached, remove the flat-head screwdriver.  Double-check to make sure the bushing properly seats itself within the door cutout.
Step #8:

1690-step8aRe-insert the retractor into the traveler. Take care to position the traveler so the bottom rod inserts into the bottom of the slot, then gently move the traveler assembly over the bend in the top rod.  The retractor should also be positioned over the pinion gear.

 

Note:  The position of the pinion gear within the retractor will affect the cylinder operation in several ways. 
First:
If the “teeth” on the retractor were originally facing one way, and are reinstalled facing the opposite direction - the key will have to be rotated in the opposite direction to operate the device.

1690-step8bSecond:
If the pinion gear is positioned at the top of the retractor - it will be possible to “dog”, or put the device into a push-pull status with the cylinder. 
Third:
If the pinion gear is positioned at the center of the retractor - the cylinder will only allow the device to be unlocked with a key, but the key will not be able to be removed from the cylinder until it is returned to a locked position.
 

Step #9:
 Position the lift arm under the traveler.  Note that it may be necessary to lift the touch pad of the device to assist with the reconnection.  Position the pinion gear retainer over the pinion gear and align the fastener holes.  Reattach both retainer screws (Important note: DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN the retainer screws).
Step #10:
1690-step10The device cover can now be reattached and its proper function tested.
Prior to re-hanging the door, dog the device touchpad and move the top latch bolt back and forth (it should move freely and the bottom latch bolt should be flush with the bottom of the door).  Next, un-dog the device and trip the top latch into the locked position.  The top latch should remain locked and the bottom bolt should now extend at least 7/16" to 1/2" from the bottom of the door.
Step #11:
Re-hang the door paying strict attention to the required clearances and tolerances.
You should now have a properly installed and properly functioning exit device with no left over parts.
 
Regards,
Chris

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Unlocking the Secrets of Exit Devices

2:42PM on Wed 30 Nov 2011

Of all the product categories we cover in training sessions, entrances is the one that still generates the most apprehension. Maybe it’s the variety of offerings available, or the intricacies of coordinating different types of hardware with the construction and function of the door. Maybe it’s the strict tolerances that must be maintained to ensure proper door swing and latching, or maybe it is just an unreasonable fear of something that has never been adequately simplified.

When we address entrances in our customer training sessions, most people have a general understanding of hinging methods or the variety of closers and locks and their installation and adjustment requirements. What our attendees seem to gravitate toward are the common sources of service problems. Twisting an adjustment screw on a door closer to affect its closing speed or to lessen the amount of pressure required to open it doesn’t seem to intimidate anyone. Even stuffing shims behind the leaf of a butt hinge comes off as benign. Where we get the most attention is when we cover the topic of exit devices. Everyone seems to have a horror story about an exit device that drags the floor or won’t latch no matter what they try. For the sake of both Kawneer and our customers, we have created a very comprehensive document on the proper fabrication, installation and adjustment of our most common exit devices. The document is still a document though, and we all know the instructions sometimes seem to get lost on a job site.

Therefore, this month, to follow up my previous postings on Curtain Wall and Storefront, I will attempt to simplify the process of diagnosing and curing the out-of-adjustment concealed-vertical-rod exit device. As the test case, I will use the Door-O-Matic (or Falcon brand) 1690 Exit Device.

I will address three common malfunctions associated with these concealed vertical rod exit devices:

Exit-StrikeCommon malfunction #1: The 1690 device utilizes a “button” type strike on the frame header to trigger the latch. Sometimes a device does not re-latch properly because the strike is not positioned correctly to trip the latch when the door closes. This poses a security problem as it may become possible for the door to be pulled open from the exterior even when the device is locked.
Exit-Latch
Common malfunction #2: Door does not fully close because the latch mechanism is hitting the strike on its interior side and not in its “throat”.

Common malfunction #3: Device has its bottom rod dragging on the floor when the door swings and does not properly seat into the floor prep.
 
Causes of the malfunctioning units:
The primary cause of the first malfunction is related to the installation and tolerances of the door within the frame. If there is excessive clearance between the top rail of the door and the frame header, the strike may not project deep enough into the latch mechanism to re-latch it upon closing.

Service options to remedy top door clearance issue:
  • Raise the door within the frame to reduce the clearance and increase the depth of the strike projection into the latch, or
  • Shim the strike down away from the door header to achieve the same result. Many veteran installers refer to this second option as the “Penny-Fix” since a handy shim is a coin that can be placed between the strike and the header.

The primary cause of the other two malfunctions is most likely an improperly adjusted exit device. Critical adjustments occur in regard to the length of the rods themselves — if they are either too short or too long, the operation of the device will be adversely affected.
  • Rods too short: When the touch pad is depressed, rods will not lift high enough to fully unlatch the top mechanism and will not fully lift the bottom rod. In this case, it may be possible to open the door, but the bottom rods may drag because the top latch was not fully unlocked. Therefore, when the door closes, the latch mechanism hits the strike improperly and the door remains propped open.
  • Rods too long: The top latch will properly disengage, however this will occur too soon and the bottom rod will not be adequately lifted to clear the strike prep located in the threshold or the floor. This may make the door difficult or impossible to open, or it may be another reason the bottom rod drags on the floor.

With the 1690 device, the solution for these two malfunctions is:

Pull the rods and adjust their length to the appropriate dimension and reinstall them into the door. Kawneer publishes the exact dimensions of these rods, as well as instructions on the procedures to remove, adjust and reinstall them. In part two, I will go through the procedure to make these adjustments and provide information on how to not only take it apart, but also to get it all put back together without any parts left over.
Stay safe, secure and well adjusted!
 
Thanks,
 
Chris

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Preventable Storefront Failures

8:50AM on Fri 22 Oct 2010
In my previous posting I wrote about some common causes of curtain wall failures and how the glazier can prevent them during fabrication, assembly and installation steps.  As you may have guessed, I have also been asked about other systems (please, keep the questions coming) and if there are similar issues where quick remedies could have prevented the system failures.
 
Storefront systems typically do not have to meet some of the performance requirements inherent to multi-story curtain wall systems. That said, there are several potential deficiencies that can lead to leaks, condensation or excessive air infiltration. 
 
Establishing and maintaining a clear path for water evacuation is critical in flush-glazed storefronts because they use a “gutter and downspout” method of controlling water within the system.  Believe it or not, the glass itself is one potential obstruction to a clear evacuation path.
  • Issue One:  Water has drained down the vertical glass pocket and collected on top of the lower lite of glass where it has diverted toward the interior of the framing.
  • Issue Two: Over time, water that has collected on top of the lower lite of glass has caused failure of insulated lites themselves. 
  • Remedy: Installing water deflectors at the intermediate horizontals and positioning them so that they extend past the edge of the lower lites will maintain proper water control.
 
H2o infiltration <-- Water that infiltrates a storefront system is channeled down the vertical members to the sill and can weep out from there.
H2o deflector -->
Water deflectors are applied to the ends of the glass pockets and span across the ends of the glass below to force water to drop down the verticals (downspouts).
 
 
 
Sill flashing presents its own set of issues that can arise on a storefront installation. Over the years, I have had a number of conversations regarding the correct shimming of sill flashing, location of the seals and proper installation of end dams. 
  •  Issue One: Water is running up over the sill flashing.
  • Remedy: When installing sill flashing, it is important to raise it off the floor and to level it.  Providing a step-down from the frame’s sill will help evacuate water away from the flashing, rather than allowing it to settle against it. 
  • Issue Two:  Trapped or accumulated water in the frame has lead to leaks at the back of the sill flashing. 
  • Remedy: This could have been caused by improperly sealing over the joint between the flashing and the sill member, or from locating the sealant bead in the bottom corner against the back leg of the flashing reducing the dam height of the sill and leading to leaks.  The sealant should be located along the top of the upturned leg of the flashing to provide the maximum possible dam height.
Sill-caulking <-- Here you can see a cut through the sill flashing and the seam the water runs out.  The water seeps out between the sill and the flashing. Note that if the installer caulks over the seam instead of under the flashing it prevents the water from exiting as designed.
 
 
  • Issue Three: Water collecting on the sill flashing has penetrated the corners of the framing and entered the building.
  • Remedy: Properly install end dams and seal their contact points; note it is also important to mechanically pin the end dams to the flashing with a small screw to keep them properly positioned.  Also note:  All fasteners that penetrate the sill flashing should be sealed over.  Remember even the tightest screw can allow water to seep under the screw head and down the threads.
End Dam Here you can see how the end dams are placed under the sills and then caulked and fasten into placed.  This allows the end damn to move with the sill during expansion and contraction. Note that if the installer caulks over instead of under the flashing it prevents the water from exiting as designed.  Note that the flashing does not run under the door jamb, but only to the outside edge.  Sealant should be run along the edges where the sill meets the door jamb and into the glass pocket creating a slope to force the water back onto the flashing -->
 
Connecting joints, expansion joints and splices are typical metal to metal contact points that pose an opportunity for water to work its way into the framing system. 
  • Issue One:  Water is leaking into the framing system at the joints where horizontal framing members intersect with the verticals.
  • Remedy: Because of the design of storefront systems, critical seals at these metal to metal contact points are necessary to force the water down and away from the joints.  Be sure to seal properly and per the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  • Issue Two: Undue stress on the perimeter fasteners around their seals have caused leaks to occur.
  • Issue Three:  Excessive expansion has caused entrances adjacent to a long run of sidelites to bind and not latch properly.
  • Remedy: Locating expansion joints per the manufacturer’s recommendations for said storefront system can prevent issues two and three.  Be sure to check the correct installation instructions for your specific framing system.
  • Issue Four: A sill flashing splice joint has been exposed to excessive amounts of water and is showing evidence of deterioration. 
  • Remedy: If the sill flashing is spliced too close to an intermediate vertical member, they can be exposed to excessive amounts of water.  Splices should use manufacturer recommended locations and materials. Note:  When using a metal splice, it is important to use bond-breaker tape where indicated to prevent three-side adhesion that can result in torn seals.
Expansion1 <-- The sill flashing, like all other members, will also expand and contract.  For runs longer that 12’ we recommend a splice joint.  To achieve this, the flashing should be installed with a 1/2” gap between the two pieces.  The installer should run silicone down both edges and apply the Kawneer Xpandr® splice sleeve pre-bent so it runs up the height of the rear up-turned leg across the gap.  The bottom of the splice sleeve has a temporary adhesive to hold it in place until the silicone cures permanently.  Once the splice is pressed into place, silicone will ooze through the holes.  The excess sealant should be tooled (wiped) off.
 
 
Expansion2 -->
Note that the flashing should never be spliced directly under a vertical intermediate.  The higher volume of water increases the risk of leaking through the splice into the interior of the building.
 
Unwanted glass movement can lead to a variety of issues. Even in markets where seismic activity is not an issue, vibrations from traffic or construction can cause the glass to “walk” into the deep pocket of the frame.
  • Issue One: Glass shifting has occurred and contact with glazing gaskets has been minimized in some locations causing air and/or water leakage.
  • Issue Two: Glass breakage has occurred due to extreme over-shifting and continued contact between the edge of the lite and framing members.
  • Remedy:   Installing side blocks as specified will prevent unwanted glass movement that can lead to either issues outline above.
Side-block
 
<-- To install the “W” side blocks, the installer flattens it and slides it into the gap between the gap of the glass and the mullion.  A putty knife is used to push it all the way into the glass pocket where it will spring back to its normal shape and prevent the glass from “walking” back into the deep pocket.
 
 
As noted before, none of these issues are outside the glazier’s control.  Following the systems’ installation instructions and paying close attention to the details of each project will ensure the required performance is obtained.
 
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
 
Best regards,
 
Chris
 
 

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Preventable Curtain Wall Failures

10:22AM on Wed 13 Oct 2010
Of the many topics and products covered by Kawneer’s Commercial Training Department, one that has resonated the most in recent years has been a segment called “Preventable Curtain Wall Failures”. 
 
We all know the cost of call-backs and remedial work can often make the difference between profit and loss. And all too frequently it feels like glaziers are required to accept responsibility for things they cannot control.  Contrary to this feeling, when fabricating and installing a curtain wall, the most common causes of system failure are entirely within the glazier’s ability to address and prevent.
I’d like to share with you the most common sources of system failure as reported by our installation managers and curtain wall engineers.  These do not lie with the building structure itself or with other trades, but can be addressed and prevented by the glazier.
 
The first source of potential failures  — Seals around and within the curtain wall system.  The perimeter caulk joint serves two main purposes: preventing air/moisture from penetrating the façade of the building and separating dissimilar materials.  Since curtain wall systems are required to be able to move with the building, wind load drift, live load deflection and creep and shrinkage can all strain and potentially tear inadequate perimeter seals. 
Shop drawings and installation instructions will indicate the sizes and locations of the perimeter seals in relation to the framing members. 
  • If the project’s shop drawings indicate a ½-inch perimeter seal to allow for the aforementioned field conditions, installing a mere ¼-inch joint can lead to leaks, condensation and even glass breakage.
  • There should be no gaps in the perimeter seal, nor should it interfere with the ability of the system to weep (or drain) out any infiltrated water. 
  • The perimeter seal should also isolate the exterior and interior framing members from each other so cold exterior air is not in contact with the interior facing jambs, heads and sills — thereby reducing the potential for condensation.

Other sealant related failures can result from inadequately cleaning the contact surfaces and from using sealants that are not compatible with all the materials that they come in contact with.  Omitting any of a curtain wall system’s critical internal seals that contribute to the overall air and water tightness of the system can also result in failures.
 

 
MFG seals MFG seals2
<-- Be sure to apply all of the manufacturer's critical seals as shown on their installation instructions. Each seal contributes to the air and water tightness of the system.

-->
At right, an example of the seals at the horizontal joint in one of our curtain walls.  Note: the sealant over the fastener head and around the joint plug.  The omission of either can provide a seam to allow air and water to be drawn into the system.
 
 
  
A second source of potential failures concerns the assembly and installation of the components themselves. 
Shims: Simple decisions like supplying shims of the proper composition and installing them at the correct locations can prevent unnecessary stress on the frame and the glass.  Non-load-bearing shims can compress.  Wood shims can deteriorate.  Shims located under the anchors and not between the anchors and the mullions transfer excessive loads to the anchors themselves and to the perimeter fasteners.
 


Shims1
Shims2<-- The shims at the mullions should be located between the mullion and the anchor.
-->
The function of the system anchors is to attach the curtain wall to the building and to transfer its load to the structure itself.  If the shims are located under the anchor, the weight of the system will bow the anchor, and put excessive stress on the perimeter fasteners themselves.
 

Setting Blocks: Glass failure is too often the result of installing setting blocks not designed for the system or from locating them improperly.  Kawneer’s setting blocks are designed and tested specifically for the individual system.  Their size and hardness is critical.  Setting blocks without the correct hardness can strain the lites.  Setting blocks of the incorrect size can create improper pressure points on the glass lites or the spacers.
Gaskets: Most gaskets are designed to be cut into individual pieces not to be run continuous around corners.  Stretched gaskets of insufficient length will shrink-back.  Gaskets run around corners will pull away.  Gaps can allow air to infiltrate and condensation can result.

Gasket1
 
<- Unless using a system with molded gasket assemblies, one continuous gasket will pull away at the corners and allow air and water infiltration.
 
 
 
 
A third source of potential failures concerns water management. 
Because of the manner most curtain wall systems control water, it is critical to properly locate weep holes in pressure plates and covers.  It is also imperative to establish and maintain the required air seals in the system.  If the pressure plate fasteners are not those designed for the system, are not located as specified in the installation instructions, or the proper level of torque is not applied to them, air can infiltrate and draw moisture with it.



Weep1
PrPlate Fast1
<- The weep holes in the pressure plate and cover are also offset in a stair-step pattern to prevent any water from being blown back into the system by wind currents.
-->
Some applications, such as impact framing, require closer spacing of the pressure plate fasteners.  In many cases the 9” on-center is reduced to 6” or even 3”.  If the proper torque is not applied, a fastener in every hole will still not prevent air and water infiltration.
 
In Kawneer’s 100+ years, we have visited our share of jobsites.  Too often expensive remedial work is the result of something as simple as the lack of attention to what is thought of as a minor detail.  What are some areas of concern for you?

I’d love to talk to you more about how we can work together to prevent failures and ensure the success of a job.
Best Regards,

Chris

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Benefits of Cross Training

3:15PM on Tue 26 Jan 2010
Where do you begin with training an employee new to the industry?  Ours is not a trade typically taught in high school or college, so the avenues can seem limited.  An elemental understanding of the construction market is a nice beginningAsk yourself: where does your company fit in? What are your strengths? Who is your customer base?  These are topics most effectively covered through an orientation process and by observing and working with coworkers and various managers.  Then what and where to go for it?

Additional sources I am most familiar with are select manufacturers that dedicate resources to both internal and external training, trade organizations like the National Glass Association, trade schools and even some unions.

Kawneer, for example, conducts training schools for our customer network focusing on system design, estimating, fabrication and installation.  We are committed to a working partnership with our customers and are not content to be just their vendor.  We recommend that each person begin by acquiring a working knowledge of the types of systems and products inherent to the industry.  We begin by teaching the basics of framing; providing an understanding of the critical elements and conditions that must be satisfied to select and install the proper type of framing system for a given structure.  We accompany this with an introduction to doors and hardware.  These sessions lead to curtain wall design and selection and some of the more advanced applications.  Whether the student is employed as a draftsman, estimator, glazier or project manager, it is critical to understand why a part is needed rather than just knowing that it is.

Today, with the advancements in software and equipment, it is easy for someone to become an expert in their specific role without seeing the bigger picture.  We see estimators, who have mastered reading plans and inputting data into a program like PartnerPak+, but have difficulty telling the difference between a storefront and a curtain wall. We see project managers that live and die with lead times and change orders, but depend on others to make reliable recommendations regarding product applications.  And we see a huge disconnect between what the draftsman is detailing and what the installer can actually do.  That’s why we are totally committed to cross-training to achieve the most effective teams.

In the past few years, travelling around the U.S. and Canada, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of glazing contractors of various sizes.  All have been successful enterprises that have emphasized their strengths and have consistently stayed ahead of the curve in their individual markets.  At the same time, all have been unique, be it via product or process.  The market is currently experiencing the lingering effects of the passing recession, and, unfortunately, commercial construction tends to enter and exit market downturns later than most industries.  As I stated previously, the time to prepare for the future is the present.  One of the demands of the current market is the ability to do more with less.  Work smarter, not harder.  If your office staff understands the installation sequence of a framing system, and your glaziers understand the cost ramifications of a call-back, then your team will excel.  Think about it: how much does a trip back to a jobsite cost?  Not only in terms of material, but also in terms of man-hours wasted and the expense of driving that glazing truck across town when gas or diesel costs $2.50 to $3.00 per gallon.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Knowledge comes by eyes always open and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power.” Through a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, we have the power to face the future, and the challenges it may bring, head on. Glaziers, estimators, draftsmen, engineers, project managers and owners – there are the teams, the “working hands”, that are preparing to seize the day when the day comes. 
 
Let me know your thoughts on how training helps you seize the day.
 
Chris

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Why Training in 2010?

8:45AM on Thu 14 Jan 2010
As Kawneer’s Commercial Training Manager, I am afforded the opportunity to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada assisting employees and customers with expanding their knowledge and understanding of a very demanding and specialized market, as well as of our portfolio of product offerings.  In my travels I have found that each region faces its own challenges and opportunities. Some are facing a devastating downturn in the construction market while others, though not robust, are moving ahead with some emerging signs of recovery. While when and what kind of recovery is more in the wheelhouse of people like Andy Nag, our Manager of Market Strategy & Analysis, what I am aware of is 2010 will have opportunities and now is an excellent time to get your organization and personnel ready to seize those opportunities as soon as they arise.

Even with some small signs of recovery, competition is fierce and many companies are currently still in survival mode – seeking out every crumb and morsel. Through the demands on our own estimating staff, we have seen that many glaziers are not waiting for opportunity to find them, but seeking opportunity by increasing bidding efforts. While increasing bids is one strategy that can be taken to build business and grow revenue, another is to look for parallel markets or products where little or no previous revenue was generated. Try and find markets that are relatively simple and will be inexpensive to shift resources. Success using either strategy is dependant upon the talent of your organization and employees to develop skills in new roles or with new products.  In the survival mode, how quickly proficiency is achieved is critical.  In the long term, the ability to actually take advantage of the current market and to expand your business beyond the boundaries of its historically best years may mean starting the next race before the current one has even ended.  Where to start?  Training.

Kawneer has always committed substantial resources to training.  We have a veteran workforce and can take advantage of that experience by leveraging the talents and skills our team affords us as we search for new opportunities. However, half the challenge is in identifying where the opportunities lie.  Through training we work to help customers identify opportunities and better understand how to go after them. We currently conduct classes on the design and application of storefronts, curtain walls, entrances, windows and many other architectural aluminum systems.  Most training is conducted in a classroom setting and led by an instructor, such as myself.  Understanding the product make-up, fabrication and installation is key as customers hunt for opportunities.

My question to you now is, “What else?”  If we can all accept that the market will return, that we are in it for the long haul and that we will be there when it does return, let’s ask ourselves,  where are the new products and opportunities?  The automobile made the horse and buggy obsolete. The PC did the same for the typewriter.  Look what MP3 players and iPods did to compact discs after compact discs did the same to records.  Where are the market-changers in our industry?  Is it in unitization and pre-glazing?  Is it sustainable solutions like photovoltaics? Businesses need to continue to train themselves on the tools that are available to them, and seek out those that are not. Train yourselves, your employees, and your customers. Train your minds to understand the resources in front of you and how to leverage them to find new opportunities. As an industry, we don’t want to fight the last war.  We want to prepare to win the next one.
 
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts, so be sure and comment.

Chris

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