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5 Glass Industry Factors to Watch in 2021

Freight and raw material costs, pricing, COVID-19 restrictions, and current demand are among the most critical factors affecting the glass industry this year.
Published January 19, 2021

Glass office image with text - 5 Glass Industry Factors to Watch in 2021
Valued at $115.8 billion in 2019, the worldwide flat glass market is expected to increase 7.3 percent throughout the next six years, according to business consulting firm Grand View Research.

Growth drivers include North American construction sectors and other expansions, and consumer and green energy applications. Tempered glass dominated last year, with a 28.9 percent market share. 

Tempering Guidelines CTA with text - What you need to know for your next projectOther drivers include freight and raw materials costs, pricing, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) safeguards, and supply and demand.


The following five key factors will significantly influence the glass manufacturing industry in 2021.

 

1. Freight Rates

“[When it comes to pricing] right now, we are not raising across the board—only where we have to—even as glass, corrugated wood [for our crates], and freight rates increase. We’ll continue to achieve the most competitive rates and best-possible solutions for our customers.”
— Garrett Ames, President, Dillmeier Glass Company

 

 

Handling more than 40 to 60 daily shipments during its busy season, Dillmeier Glass Company’s logistics department ensures a seamless process from start to finish. This includes navigating freight rates, weather conditions, customized crating, and other special requirements.

While the fabricator can negotiate cost-effective shipment processes, it doesn't control less-than-truckload (LTL) freight rates. According to industry trade publication Logistics Management, increases of up to 5 percent are expected.

Dillmeier Glass Company President Garrett Ames says these factors won’t affect the fabricator’s pricing structure. 

“[When it comes to pricing] right now, we are not raising across the board—only where we have to—even as glass, corrugated wood [for our crates], and freight rates increase,” he says. “We’ll continue to achieve the most competitive rates and best-possible solutions for our customers.”

2. Raw Materials

Materials used to manufacture both glass and wood products are also set to increase year over year. This will affect pricing for glass and glazing raw materials, such as silica sand, sodium oxide, calcium oxide, and feldspar.  

The lumber industry is also experiencing COVID-19-related mill shutdowns, materials shortages, and other restrictions. 

According to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as cited in industry trade publication USGlass Magazine: “In November, the monthly PPI for flat glass in the commodity category is up 0.1% from the previous month, and 0.9% from November 2019.” 


3. Surcharges

Many fabricators are adding surcharges to cover these increased raw materials costs and freight rates. Ames conveys this won’t apply to any of Dillmeier Glass Company’s customer shipments. 

“A lot of other companies are going to tack on surcharges to their orders [to cover price increases], and we aren’t doing that,” he says. 


4. COVID-19 Restrictions

The current pandemic has led to shipping, production, and installation process delays. Despite these setbacks, Dillmeier Glass Company has a process to mitigate wait times, fluctuations and other bottlenecks. 

It’s best to work with a fabricator incorporating creative planning strategies to alleviate pain points or other obstacles. 

Ames advises ensuring consistent communication among your fabricator and its accompanying departments such as engineering, shipping and logistics, and installation.

“Things could experience a slow down because of COVID-19, so it’s best to anticipate what you’re currently seeing, rather than what you’re used to,” he says. 

This challenging time is something the fabricator has fully embraced. 

“You have to be ready to execute things as they happen and have everything in place because of current restrictions,” Ames advises.

It’s best to work with a fabricator incorporating creative planning strategies to alleviate pain points or other obstacles.

 

5. Applications

COVID-19 has pivoted retailers, grocery stores, banks, offices, and health care facilities toward personal protective equipment (PPE). These include masks, gloves, and dividers and partitions for safe person-to-person contact when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-mandated social distancing cannot be achieved. 

According to the nonprofit National Glass Association (NGA): “People are putting up new glass partitions to protect people from each other. Glass is an amazing product for that. It provides a barrier.”

A reader survey conducted by online industry trade publication Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal affirms transparent partitions/sneeze guards will continue, post-pandemic. 

 

Consistency & Quality

It’s best to work with a trusted and experienced glass fabricator to ensure your project is expedited on time and within budget. 


Contact us today to learn how we can provide you with a customized solution to your project needs.

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